The creative process is something that carries the weight of tension in the area of expectation. I’ve had a desire for years to write… and write… and write… There are moments when the words flow easily. There are moments when the words do not flow at all. In my laziness, I would simply dismiss the reason for it and trust that that is just the way that it is. No intention beyond that.
In truth, however… I am coming to understand that writing is work. Even in the ‘down time’.
My day job puts me in a place where, for most of the year… the work flows steady to heavy. It is during those times that the functional nature of the work is satisfying, because people can leave at the end of the day, feeling accomplished and able to say that they have earned their keep.
In recent weeks, however… the flow of work has been on the slow side. This is out of our control, but creates a bit of a panic in the white collar world of functionality and efficiency. It is disheartening at the end of the day to know that you are able to produce more for the bottom line, and not be able to deliver, simply because the data that needs to be processed is not there. People begin to become desperate to justify what it is that they are doing and there is a cloud of uncertainty as to their value in the company.
I try to encourage them to enjoy the breather and focus on the fundamentals of what they are doing, because in our environment… things will again pick up… and the fruits of the downtime will pay dividends when the stream of work becomes heavy again.
There is a great deal of truth to that, because the skills that can be defined more during the slow times can become razor sharp… and automatic… things that are needed when there is less time to think about what you are doing, and simply produce.
This is true for any area of life.
It’s the basketball player who spends hours just practicing jump shots on an empty court.
It’s that time spent in middle school typing class plucking out something about a lazy brown fox over and over again.
The same is true for writing.
During my times with various blogs through the year, I would find that there are seasons where posts are plentiful… and then nothing. The few people that do check in to what it is I am putting on the site have come up to me during a slower time and point out what is obvious to me, ‘nothing has been posted in a while.’
This I know… and it typically involved an internal guilt of some sort that I couldn’t put my finger on… which then led to just putting up a post, simply to… put up a post.
My expectation was that I should be ‘doing more’ in the area of combining nouns, verbs and the sort to keep the flow of the blog moving. That’s no longer good enough for me.
Truth is… there are slow periods during the writing process.
Truth is… I am not intentional about how I use that time.
So… for the New Year, my writing resolution is simple.
I am going consistently… simply to write… and keep the skills sharp.
Saying that, I am going to acknowledge that when the writing seems less than inspired:
- I am going to be more intentional about using that time as an opportunity to ponder more on the ideas that I desire to frame into something structured… and call that writing time.
- I will keep a notebook or voice recorder on hand to ponder out loud the ideas that are still taking shape… and call that writing time.
- I will allow the merging of the forming ideas and the discipline of writing them down to be less than perfect, trusting that with time, the nature and purpose of the ideas will be clear and articulate.
It is my hope for the New Year, that I will be satisfied in this resolve to become a better writer, and it will be for writings sake.
Happy New Year.
Viewing writing as prayer has made all the difference for me. I squeeze out words onto “the page” that are, at once, my life and God’s to-do list.
Those are good words, friend.
Happy New Year, brother.