September 10, 2011

Generating Ideas - Bonnie Way

Recently, I started editing and rewriting the fantasy novel I wrote over a decade ago.  I've talked for years about doing this, but the project has always seemed daunting.  Novels are big projects that take a lot of time.  Yet I realized I would never have lots of time to focus on the novel; I would simply have to make time.

The first day I sat down at my computer and opened the file (is there an electronic equivalent for "dusty"?), I made it only a few pages in before becoming overwhelmed.  There was so much to do, yet I didn't know where to start.  I thought the space of a few years would give me fresh perspective on the characters and events; instead, it discouraged me.

I persisted a few days later, getting a few pages further.  And then, after I turned off the computer, something wonderful happened.  The characters and their problems continued to churn through my head.  Snippets of dialogue formed.  Character insights occurred.  Ideas popped up, swirled around, formed into new scenes and new chapters.  The next time I sat down at the computer, I typed.

I remembered then the joy of writing—a joy I had forgotten.  In that time of leisure I knew as junior high and high school, I could sit at my computer and write when ideas came to me and then return to my math problems or science assignments when I ran out of ideas.  Lately, as work and motherhood and other duties have demanded my time, I had forgotten about how ideas generate.  Yes, I need time to sit at a computer to actually work on the novel.  But I can keep working on it mentally as I'm doing laundry, washing dishes, or pushing my daughters on their tricycles.

As I thought about this, the theme for this year's Fall Conference popped into my head: "words descending like dew" (Deut. 32:2).  In this verse, the prophet or poet asks for words to proclaim God's greatness. He uses images of dew or showers of rain to describe all the things he has to say on this topic.  It reminds me that God is the giver of our inspiration; as I take time to nourish my creativity and to use the gifts He has given me, He will reward that.  As I work on this novel, I pray that He will give me words like dew and that my novel may somehow bring glory to Him.


  1. I loved the way you took the conference theme and made it personal.

  2. Chuckled at the mention of dust on electronic files -- guess that would be e-dust -- wonder if it makes a person sneeze? haha

    Enjoyed your thoughts about words like dew too!


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