My writing went through a long, long winter like that--something I shared about in last month's blog. But then shoots of growth started sprouting--Holy Spirit-driven sprouts of greenness and new life. It was unexpected but oh so welcoming to my frozen heart and soul.
I cannot explain how my life has changed since those green sprouts returned. I just know I never want to go back to the tundra. Which presents a challenge: How do I keep my writing green?
In his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King states, "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot." I've always been a reader. However, I have recently been choosing books that help me with my writing--books like, Ordinary Genius by Kim Addonizio, Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury and, You are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins. Each author has a unique perspective on their craft and as I read I feel like a young "Grasshopper" sitting at their feet with so much to learn.
I am also learning to read proactively--to read seeking something fresh, green, inspirational. You might think that ruins the enjoyment of reading but it actually has made the reading more enjoyable. Sounds strange I know. Again, I believe that's the working of the Spirit.
It's the writing that I had stopped long ago that has returned and I'm learning that it requires work. I always thought that for famous authors writing came easy, with little work. I am learning that this is a false assumption. In the book mentioned above, Jeff Goins says, “Everything is practice. Every word you write and action you take is a chance to get better.” Believe it or not, this encourages me. I'm not afraid of work. I have learned throughout my life that perseverance pays off--that the Spirit is present in the perseverance. That doesn't mean there won't be slow days or "writer's block" days. But I believe it does mean there will no longer be years of winter. For that I am thankful.
I am still a novice--my toes are just beginning to sink into the pristine sands of an undiscovered tropical island, one that is lush and green. Funny, when I think of green growth, my years of living in Southeast Asia take my imagination to a picture of bamboo forests. I love bamboo for many reasons. In how it relates to writing, I love its green growth--without hibernation, without winter. Bamboo is strong yet pliable. It will bend but not break. It is also persevering. Cut it down and the growth will return. In fact, some species of bamboo can grow three feet in 24 hours. What?!! Now that's prolific. It's sort of scary to say this (because of the prolific part) but I feel like my writing is a bamboo forest right now--a forest where God's Spirit is alive, weaving in and out of the graceful jointed stems, catching the Light on the slender leaves. I feel alive--hardly able to breathe sometimes--and it is beautiful. God is oh so good.