Writer Girl: What to Do During Those Times When you Don't Know What to Write About

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Day 2:
"And when you can't write? When nothing comes? Those unproductive seasons are times of storing. I replenish by reading, reading, reading. You have to allow ideas to fill your reservoir before they are ready to spill over. A writer has to reflect the totality of life, not just the high points"
 -Luci Shaw, Breath for the Bones


 9.30.08
I am looking at this year as the starting point for a breakthrough.  I have always envied people who could commit to writing every day.  But I could never seem to make the commitment.  I think I waste most of my energy on living a life that is emotionally draining. Add to this, a nasty habit I picked up of writing emails which is writing I guess but ultimately drain my creativity and time.  Case in point, about a year ago, a friend and I emailed one another as a way of connecting before we met up for a retreat we were both attending. This went for about six months. I saved all the emails thinking that I would compile them and bind them into a book as a beautiful memory for both of us. What I found as I began to edit the emails is that we created 126 pages.  This made me realize that sitting down to write could be as simple as… well… sitting down to write to a friend.

I have heard that to develop a writing practice I have to simply write a page a day. Doing the math, I realized that even if my friend contributed 1/2 the pages, I obviously have the capacity to achieve a goal that I viewed too intimidating.  I am taking a personal inventory and recognize that I have been making excuses for not moving forward and simply writing.

Julia Cameron, in her book "The Artists Way," describes this type of behavior as 'shadow artists.' The idea of pent up creativity flowing sideways into other venues in an effort to cue the defiant artist that he/she is not living the fullness of his/her life. Whether it hearkens back to being discouraged from exploring art as a child or feeling incompetent or simply viewing the task as a waste of time, the idea of creation for its own sake rather than a manifestation of outcomes take a ton of courage.

As I choose to allow GOD to show me how my shadow artist can move into the light, dusting off years of denial and complacency and just plain laziness, I pray that this year would awaken within me the thrill of living again, outside the noise of drama and emotionalism and draw me into the inner peace a life with Jesus is supposed to bring. As I journey to the well for fresh water of ideas and awareness, I know I cannot help but change.

Priming the Pump:
What are the ways in which you drain your writing practice?  List friends, chores, responsibilities, fears, expectations.  Now that you have brought those diversions into the light, what does your shadow artist wish to write about?
Write 100 words OR write for 15 minutes (set a timer to help you focus and whatever you get down on paper for 15 minutes let grace hold you – well done!)

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