Monday, September 8, 2008

The Creative Process

In sports, athletes sometimes experience a false start. Everyone is called back, and they begin again. We often jump the gun and commence writing before our ideas have sufficient time to develop. What we view as writer's block can actually be the result of going into the work phase too fast.

Currently, I'm writing a story for A Cup of Comfort for the Grieving Heart. With plenty of personal experience, reams of notes, and 2 years walking through this time of mourning, the story seemed ripe. I prayed God would give me direction and help me sort and sift out what didn't belong in this particular piece. Part of this process included reading and re-reading the publisher's guidelines.

The first version tore me up on the inside. I wrote full steam ahead for a hour, and virtually collapsed. The piece emphasized too much pain and not enough hope. Version 2 came closer to hitting the mark, but didn't quite achieve the take-away element. At this point, frustration reared its ugly head. Should I put this project aside? Maybe I was wrong about the timing. Again, I brought it before the Lord, asking for direction.

My prayers were answered in an unexpected way. Several blog posts caught my attention at the time I was grappling with this story. The problem didn't originate in the piece, but in my lack of understanding about the creative process. As I read, it dawned on me how I'd often stumbled through these phases without realizing I was following a pattern. With my newfound knowledge, I could flow with these principles and defuse the negative self-talk when the writing appeared to be stalled. You can read Kristy Holl's posts for yourself at Check out posts dated August 22 - September 5, 2008.

Version 3 is written, ready for my writers' group to critique, and close to the submission point. Whether or not it's accepted by this anthology or somewhere else, I've gained valuable insights on how a story develops.


quietspirit said...

You have encouraged me with this entry. Thank you for your kind words on my blog.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

Thank you for your comment. We need each other in the Body of Christ. Your post brought back a sweet memory.

Susan :)