Monday, June 28, 2021

Tips for Managing a Creative Crisis

In my previous blog post, I wrote about feeling creatively depleted, uninspired, and a little panicky since summer flies by so quickly. Many writers call this phenomenon writer’s block, but that sounds so chopping block or road block. I asked my writer friends to weigh in with some ways they address a creative crisis...and don’t try to tell me you’ve never had one.

As promised, here are the suggestions submitted by some of my writer friends. 

Cyrus says, “Close your eyes. Inhale good thoughts; exhale bad thoughts. Breathing deeply, take your body and mind to the stars. Release your mind from any thoughts and continue to breathe. Re-engage your mind with thoughts of walking without floors, seeing without eyes, hearing without ears, and become one with yourself. Empty your mind, fill your heart and breathe. Let the thoughts and words come through you and not to you.”

Wow! That’s some existential stuff there, Cyrus...very meditative. I do meditate in preparation for prayer, but I never thought about preparing for writing this way. I’ll definitely try it.

Monti, another author friend, suggests, “Go for a walk, find a tree, and discover an image in the bark patterns. Write about that image, tell what it means to you, and what the important words are. Put it in the little notebook you are carrying with you.”

Yes to the walking part, Monti! It’s one of my favorite energizer activities, and it works equally well for increasing both physical and mental energy. I like the bark idea, too. That’s definitely a new one, and I will try it. The “little notebook” is my phone, but it’s the same concept.

This morning, after my first good night’s sleep in a week, I realized I wasn’t in a crisis. I was just plain tired. Sometimes I don’t recognize when I need to take a break. I think I’m supposed to trudge through the fog of fatigue when stopping to rest and recharge would be a better plan.

But I appreciate the excellent suggestions from Monti and Cyrus. How about you other creative writers? What do you do to re-engage your muse?

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Monday, June 21, 2021

Creative Crisis

Photo Courtesy of HighBabe

Okay, school is out for the summer, and I have time to write again. Yay! So, here I sit waiting for my muse to show up, and she is several days late. What to do! Let’s start with another cup of coffee.

Nope! That didn’t work, either. Even writing a blog post--something I normally enjoy--is a struggle. Is this how it’s going to be all summer? Do I just need to chill and wait until the mood strikes?

Some people call it writer’s block. For me it’s not so much a block as a fog. I can’t seem to concentrate or get my thoughts in order. Without an imposed schedule, I waste precious time and get distracted easily. Believe it or not, I have a YouTube channel. I was hoping to actually use it this post some videos about my writing career that might be helpful to other creative writers. But how can I advise others when I’m in a slump.

Fellow writers, what do you do to break the cycle of a creative crisis? I’d love to hear from you. Please send your helpful hints. I’ll compile and share them on my author page and website...maybe even on my YouTube channel. We’re all in this together.

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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Pigpen and Me


Image courtesy of Wikipedia

We all remember the character, Pigpen, from the comic strip, "Peanuts." Wherever Pigpen went, a cloud of dust enveloped him. Little boys seem to be drawn to dirt. I have a picture of my son as a toddler dressed for church on Easter Sunday. As soon as I turned my back he was out the door and heading for the drainage ditch in our backyard. Before I could scoop him up, he had squatted to play in the mud, hands submerged up to his wrists, shoes covered with muck, and pant legs drenched. At first I was horrified, but then I couldn’t resist laughing and grabbing my camera. Now that he’s a grown man, I treasure that photo. It reminds me of how quickly we can become covered with the dirt of living. It happens when we run away from God; when we ignore God’s Word and God’s will.

I consider myself to be a good person, one who cares about others, one who tries to be kind and compassionate and truthful. But, like every human, I am a sinner. In Romans 3:22 and 23, we learn, “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It doesn’t say “some” or “a few” or “everyone else” has sinned. It says “all.” This means every human is stained with the soil of sin. Fortunately, Paul doesn’t stop there. If he did, we would have no hope. In Verses 24 and 25, we learn that “All are justified freely by [God’s] grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.” 

When I think about all the mistakes I’ve made, all the little white lies I’ve told, all the times I’ve gossiped about someone or judged someone or envied someone or worried about a situation, I feel ashamed. I feel like Pigpen, surrounded by a cloud of dust, weighed down by my sins. But there is good news for every one of us sinners. God, through Jesus Christ, can wash away the dirt of sin that threatens to envelop us. How? Verse 25 makes it clear that redemption comes through believing in “Christ’s sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood--to be received by faith.” In other words, Christ’s sacrifice--through his crucifixion--is a free gift which can be received simply by faith in the resurrection.    

What would happen if, instead of charging headlong toward the mud puddles of temptation, worry, and selfishness, I allowed God to scoop me into his arms of forgiveness? Would my life be free of problems and challenges? No. Would I be free of sin? No. Would I be forgiven? Yes!

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