The slump. Oh, the slump.
When it comes to writing my own stuff on my own schedule, I don’t fret about slumps. I will write when the time is right and God can decide when that will be. A project can be left to steep, or be set aside altogether, perhaps for a year or more. I figure the Lord’s timing will be based on more accurate criteria than mine ever will.
Commitments, however, are a different story. When I know someone is expecting a polished piece of writing at a certain time, that’s when anxiety kicks in and I try to take charge.
And it’s usually a bust.
Methods I have tried.
- Set out a schedule
- Avoid distractions by working at the Library
- Set up an environment conducive to creativity
- Make a list of ideas
Methods that did not work.
- The schedule was bumped for more urgent, interesting, or time-consuming things.
- The Library held more distractions than home. (Did you know the Downtown Edmonton Library is a haven for homeless folk, where they can curl up on a soft chair and snooze in the warmth? And each of them has a story. I wonder what that story could be….)
- A creative environment, with coffee, a cozy blanket, soft music, perfect lighting was so lovely I didn’t want to spoil it with the stress of work.
- And my list of ideas had my brain bopping around like a kid on a pogo stick.
There is an alternative, though, and that's to wait. Simply wait. Not saying it’s easy. I mean, the calendar says I’m presenting at a workshop in two days and I still only have the rough, obviously not good enough notes that babbled out of my brain a few weeks ago. Lord, when are you going to come through? What am I going to write about? Will I have time?
Yes, I still go through the panic, but these days it’s short lived. God has come through so many times, I simply have to remember what he’s done, and know he’ll do it again. And that there’s a reason for waiting. It’s not just to test me, to get me to practice patience and trust, although that’s part of it. Ultimately, needed input will come - I’ll read something, hear something, experience something that will speak directly to what the Lord wants me to share in this particular venue, to this particular audience. Or maybe it’s just one person in that audience.
In the end I’m reminded that the deadline is not about me. It’s about the writing.
You see, if this blog post were my last published written work, Jesus would still love me. My salvation would still be secure. If my September, October, November, December blog posts didn’t materialize, you readers would either forgive me, or move on. And Jesus would still love me. And my salvation would still be secure.
Has this been helpful for you and your writing slumps? If not, I’m okay with that. Forgive me. Move on. Jesus and I are fine and that’s all that matters in the end!