Sunday, May 05, 2013

Inspiration and The Writing Process

Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work.  It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole.  Resistance is protean.  It will assume any form, if that's what it takes to decieve you.  It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nime-millimeter in your face like a stickup man.....Steven Pressfield, The War Of Art
I’m going to let you in on an uncomfortable little secret. Before I sit down to blog I consider quitting. My mind and my emotion tell me I shouldn’t write. A little voice reels off a list of reasons, “Almost everybody writes better than you. You won’t say anything original. It doesn’t make a difference. Who are you anyway that you think you have something to say?” That voice is really good at presenting reasons not to write. Pressfield calls this Resistance. His exhortation is to show up anyway. So I do.

When I set my butt onto the beat up blue office chair at my desk something amazing happens. Often I sit down with no idea of what I’m going to write on. I’ve settled on a maxim from Hemingway and I write down one true thing (H/t Glenn). This usually gets me started. I type and words that scaffold the ‘true thing’ flow from someplace. I do not say they flow from my brain because that’s not how it seems. They do pop into my brain but they seem to show up out of nowhere. Pressfield calls this ‘the muse,’ most agree that it’s some intersect between talent and spirit. To me it makes sense that a superior Creator would allow for or give His people the ability to create on a much smaller scale, as we are created in His image. However it works ideas and images flow through me and onto a Word document.

The piece begins to come together and the ideas keep coming. There are junctures where a phrase or concept will percolate and in my gut I know it works but logically to my mind it seems not right. In these instances I go with my gut believing that to be, again, some interface between spirit, my subconscious and my rational processes all working together…which leads to a deeper thought….

What must it have been like for the writers of the Bible to write under inspiration? It would be like my experience but on steroids. In that case they wrote God breathed scripture attested to by the Holy Spirit and formed in them by each step and experience that God had led them through. Theirs wasn’t an interface with self or (small s) spirit but with the Living God Himself. I can not imagine.

With my butt still plopped down in the big blue chair the process culminates in lashing together all the pieces and ropes to make one sturdy concise piece. This too seems otherworldly since I often fail to see the whole while working on each little section. Even the ending seems to come from a center that isn’t mine; mine are just the hands that tie it together to strengthen the piece into one.

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