Thursday, July 15, 2010
Necessary tools for writing
I am in the process of getting a book ready to be published and have been focused on it to the exclusion of other things (like this blog for the past month or so). At the same time, I have also started working on another book I would like to publish sometime next year. Attempting to carve out time, energy, and inspiration to work in the next book has taught me some lessons. I have noticed three powerful barriers to getting that task done.
The first and more obvious barrier is that of finding time available to focus on writing. I have walked into my office intending to give a block of time to the writing task only to have a half dozen other things come to my mind that need to be tended to. My desire to write gets buried under an avalanche of expediencies. Thinking that my office is the proper place to do this work because my books are there along with my other completed sermons and lessons from which to draw material, I discover that my office is one big cubicle of undone tasks begging for my attention. Well, I can fix that. I'll just go home and write there; but distractions abound there as well. Along that line, I find that I need a size-able block of hours to be able to focus and get a few pages put on paper. I just can't cram this kind of work into little half hour snippets because, for me, there is a need for revving up, so to speak, to get a flow to my writing. Interruptions put me into neutral, and I have to start over in first gear. Along with the time element is another equally weighty issue to writing.
The energy element cannot be ignored. Sometimes I am just too tired to write. When this becomes my condition, I am just as likely to snooze off as to get words on the screen. I know that some people get up at the early hours before phones ring and people are running around demanding things. I wish I was one of those who needed minuscule amounts of sleep. Unfortunately, I am on the other end of the sleep spectrum. Anything less than 7 hours of sleep per night, and I am a zombie the next morning. Thinking I would write today, I awoke at 6 a.m., closed my eyes to rest just a minute, then opened them again at 8. Oh boy! Afternoon hours are sometimes unproductive for the same reason. The after lunch malaise sets in and my brain gets foggy. If I try to read then, I may just read the same sentence over and over again.... for a half hour. I have to time writing when I have the energy to get things done with a clear head, and the ability to focus. By the way, am I the only one finding it increasingly difficult to focus in this advancing period of my life? ... Let's see, where was I?
The final element needed for writing is what some call "the muse" and we religious types call "unction" While sometimes I am too drained of energy to write, other times I have an empty head. I am ready to write but nothing comes to mind. The inspiration just isn't there. I guess that's what some call "writer's block". I've noticed that in the arena of ideas I simply must get beyond my own brain to find edifying content for my writing. That means research, which is what you call it when you steal ideas from more than one source; otherwise it would be plagiarism. I have also learned that by means of daily contact with the Holy Spirit who resides in my own spirit, I am given insights and gleanings to make me a slightly more mature believer with each passing day. I am reminded of 2 Cor. 3:18, "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." By means of that connection, I not only grow towards maturity, but I have more inside my mind to communicate through speaking or writing.
So there it is: time, energy, and inspiration; the big three when it comes to transferring thoughts from cranium to paper or computer screen. I am hoping that today will be one of those days when all three will be present. Just a literary thought.