Sunday, June 06, 2004

stumbling along

Lately I've been very disconnected from my own creativity. Perhaps this is due to the sabbatical I'm currently navigating. I'm wondering, a little, what this is all about. It's only been about a month since I set aside the novel-writing bit. I had pictures of reading all sorts of classic literature and great books on creativity + faith. Working on my art. Lots of time alone in the Word, me and the Spirit, Him speaking to me, me listening and saying, "Yes, yes. I see the light. I see it all clearly."


I'm dung. Yep, that's pretty much it, folks. A month into this time and I'm feeling like something scraped off the sole of a zookeeper's boot.

I'm dying to write fiction right now. But I know without a doubt this is what God wants from me today, and tomorrow, and for the next eleven months. I'd say the biggest surprise is that I always thought, before this, that I was a writer who just wrote because God called her, out of obedience to the gift given and the "whole bit like that." This time is proving to me that it's more than that. That I'm actually one of those weirdos that feels compelled to write. I never knew that about myself. "Shoot," I'd say, "I'd much rather draw." But I hardly ever draw. Not only am I dung, I'm stupid dung!

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not getting all down on myself. I know this is probably part of the down-time process. And I do still possess the capability of seeing myself somewhat as God sees me and that I'm worthy in His sight through the shed blood of Christ. And it's not that I was relying on my writing for a sense of true worth (or not completely) but I think the whole novelist thing hid myself from me. And believe me, it's not about me thinking I'm all that because I've got published novels under my belt. I don't. It's about the busyness, the mind-space, the actual time that writing novels takes up.

So I thought this time apart would be this great illuminating, mind-bending experience of me actually getting serious about the God stuff of my existence, to paint and write poetry, you know - lofty doings. Instead, well, I honestly don't know what I'm doing with my time. Other than sitting around the cigar shop, doing the mom thing, the house thing, the church thing.

I'm hoping this is temporary. How about you? Ever take time off from your writing? What was that like for you? Would somebody please tell me this is normal?




Blogger Becca said...

I didn't purposely take time off this spring, I just started to avoid writing. Or should I say editing and rewriting. (Yuck!) I felt the amount of work left to complete my novel was just too much, so I started filling my time with other activities. Now the desire to write is coming back, as well as the determination to get this story finished.

I don't think I would ever tell myself I couldn't write fiction - I've been doing it since I was a child so I see it as part of who I am - but I certainly could benefit from using more of my time for Bible study. And that's just me; other writers would use their time away for different pursuits.

I'm fairly sure I couldn't go a whole year without writing fiction or at least jotting down a new plot idea. Maybe you don't need that long either?

June 6, 2004 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger Deborah said...

When I stopped working at a full time gig, I was amazed at how much my time filled up with errands, church stuff, friends. I was busy. How did I ever have time for a full time job?

I have to carve time out for writing. Carve time out to spend with God. Otherwise I drift. I enjoy drifting sometimes, but not when I have the nagging feeling I'm somehow not cultivating my calling, whether that's writing-related or spiritual.


June 6, 2004 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Jules Quincy Stephens said...

Take time off from writing? I wish I could take time off from NOT writing. I'm the epitome of writer's block.

June 7, 2004 at 12:57 AM  
Blogger Donna J. Shepherd said...

I haven't been writing long enough to take time off. *g* But I've heard sometimes it helps to channel all that creative energy into some other type of artistic endeavor - like pottery, painting, singing, etc. Have you tried gardening? I don't know how many writers I've talked to who enjoy gardening and get tons of inspiration while working with God's green earth. Just some thoughts!


June 8, 2004 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger cee said...

i'm currently contract-less and thought it'd be a great time while my agent searches for a home for my last novel to work on those projects i never get to work on. the writing experiments, those two screenplay ideas, expand the novels ideas and see what takes off. i keep saying "when we move, when school is out for the kids, when summer comes, when promotion for last book is less, when that book convention is over...WHEN?" it's still frustrating and a little terrifying. am a deadline writer? am i a dead writer? the questions aren't prodding lately, they're plaguing alright.

hey lisa, you're blogging. it's more than you know. will be more than you realize i suspect. this first's like the breakfast on a day of fasting. you get so hungry and wonder what's the point (never really knowing in this life). next year, or maybe the next, this year might be better understood. enjoy the cigars, the errands, kid comments, the life outside becomes something for storyweaving, or more perhaps.

most fondly from one scrape of dung to another.

June 8, 2004 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger TriciaG. said...

Me too. I'm writing. Well sort of. I have these magazine articles to write, partially to promote my book and partially to have some money coming in. Fiction novels don't pay much. My plan is to finish these articles up and then begin researching for my next fiction novel on July 1. I feel like I'm lost. Since Jan. 1 I was writing and editing my last novel. I want to hurry and get these articles finished because I'm tired of forcing myself to sit down at the computer to accomplish something. I miss getting to know my characters and creating a story-world for them.

June 8, 2004 at 7:59 PM  
Blogger ragamuffin diva said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

June 9, 2004 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger ragamuffin diva said...

Opps. I deleted my comment by mistake because there was this little thing that looked like a trash can next to it, and I never saw that before and couldn't resist clicking it. Damn!!!

Okay, now I have to say it all again. Here goes, and I'm only doing this because I love you, so, Lisa, and I am a writaholic.

There were years that I didn't write. There were times that I was too depressed, or too crazy, or life was kicking my big 'ol badunkadunk. But there was *always* the compulsion to write, along with a certain, too familiar misery that accompanied not writing.

When I wasn't writing I was *saying* what I would be writing, often talking some poor unsuspecting soul into a coma. I'd become a griot of sorts, spilling stories every time I'd open my mouth. Or, if I wasn't writing, I was thinking about writing--dreaming about writing, paying money I couldn't afford on books that would tell me how to write, or give me permission to write, while I starved my soul's need to put words on paper. I was as sick as an Anorexic from my self-imposed exiles from what I am made to do.

When I wasn't writing, I was endlessly ruminating on the fiction in my head. Depressed? I can't even tell you how many times I've written my death in my mind. You name it. Not happy in my marriage? I wrote my next romance and second wedding in my head. On fire for God? I become the ferverent preacher in my mind. For better or worse, for evil or good, I speak and think and dream in writer. It is what I do. I am neurotic when I don't write, and here's the paradox: I am neurotic when I do. I'm a mess of epic proportions, but I can't not be me. And me is writer. Even when I'm not writing.

God is a trickster. He gave me this bend, this way of being that is writer, and He uses it. I have written myself Home, many a day. I have found more often at the end of a period, some revelation of God, whether it was my own writing I was reading, or someone else's. God uses literature to speak to me, even if it is me writing it. And this is grace.

Sometimes, I think writing is my best thing. I'm better at it than wife, mother, clerk at the hospital. Sometimes, I think it's my only thing. A mis-perception at best, but writing is as much 'me' as the freckles that I only have on the backs of my hands. Life takes courage. Authenticity will tell you a whole lot about yourself, and about God. You're feeling Jeremiahs fire. You will find a way to create, even if you do so unconsciously. It's what you are made for. God's design. Not yours.

Do Lisa. Whether you write or not, God will still do God, and will meet Lisa exactly where she is. You cannot be disconnected from creativity because you *are* a creative. As my boyfriend, Stevie Wonder would sing, "Don't chu worry 'bout a thing, mama." Feeling disconnected from creativty does not change God's design for you any more than not feeling 'feminine' makes you any less female. God made it so,writer/woman and He is the Big Creator, who makes all artists, whether or not we surrender and create.

In Big, Juicy Love,
Claudia, who is also dung, but God loves us. He doesn't see us as dung. He sees us as divas. He told me so.

June 9, 2004 at 8:51 AM  
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