By Terri Gillespie
“. . . and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:12, NKJV
I have a friend who was a vice-president of a major financial institution in Manhattan. He’s an incredible idea person—a real visionary. While overseeing operations for a ministry, I tapped my friend’s brain frequently for various business insights.
One bit of advice he regularly gave me was, “Terri, you need to shut your office’s door, then put your feet up on the desk and let your mind go.” He said that investing in the creative side of our brain is important because that is where innovation is birthed. And that required stillness.
At that time, I was working 50-60 hours a week, so I thought he was crazy. Over the years, I have learned the man was spot on.
Inspiration roots in a quiet mind.
Allowing ourselves to pause or stop is critical to the creative wellbeing of the writer. We need the opportunities to connect with our Creator and listen.
Like a tree shedding its leaves for autumn, ideas can cascade in our minds. A few of those ideas might resonate. Once an idea clicks, and the seed is planted in our imagination, write it down. Whatever you have available, an envelope, gum wrapper, a check, write it down before it blows away.
Like everyone else, our lives can be chaotic. Planning for those moments don’t have to be complicated, but we need to be purposeful.
To get you started, here are three ways I put my feet on the desk:
- Writing Exercises
- Painting, Coloring, Drawing
Retreats: Getting away from the laundry, mowing the lawn, caring for the kids helps us get into the space to hear. These retreats do not have to be long—it can even be for a day—but it is important to get away. It’s amazing how much we can accomplish when the everyday distractions are removed.
Including other authors in the retreat is fine, provided there are scheduled times away from each other. There are great benefits to having feedback and brainstorming sessions, too.
Writing Exercises: I am a big fan of these. Writing exercises can unblock writer’s block and remind us of the joy of creative writing, in just a few minutes. Using a visual prompt—a word, a photo, a drawing, or a brief set of instructions—set the timer for five, ten, or fifteen minutes and write whatever comes into our mind.
My favorite book of writing prompts is, The Playful Way to Serious Writing. Last I looked the book is out of print, but I found copies on eBay and even Amazon. There are other books out there including Unjournaling: Daily Writing Exercises That Are Not Personal, Not Introspective, Not Boring!
Painting, Coloring, Drawing: Meditating on God’s word with art has helped stir those creative juices or trained many in being quiet in His presence. There are several devotionals with graphics suitable for coloring and painting, as well as downloadable coloring pages (check Pinterest). Or next walk you take, bring a pad and pencil, find a rock or curb and sketch whatever catches your eye.
All these feet-on-the-desk activities are meant to open our hearts and minds to those wonderous seeds of inspiration. It’s healthy to give ourselves permission to listen in the quiet, to write for no reason except God gives us a sweet revelation. To capture a thought in color.
Like Elijah, it is possible to hear our Heavenly Father’s still small voice. How do you put your feet on the desk?Put your feet up on your desk and listen. @TerriGMavens #ACFWBlogs #writetips #ChristianFiction #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet
Terri Gillespie is VP of the NWGA ACFW chapter and regularly “puts her feet on her desk.” Her first traditionally published book was Making Eye Contact with God—A Weekly Women’s Devotional. She’s won various fiction awards and, by faith, appreciates the publishing process. Member: ACFW, CAN, AWSA