by Rachelle Gardner
Books & Such Literary Agency
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Gen. 1:2, NIV)
I’ve always loved that tiny pause right there in Genesis 1:2, were it says “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” It feels like a moment of rest before God’s explosion of creativity begins. The Amplified Bible expands on that word “hovering” and adds the word “brooding.”
What does it mean to brood? In a literal sense, it’s when a bird covers, warms and protects her eggs in preparation for their hatching. More metaphorically, we use the word brooding to refer to turning something over in our minds; pondering; dwelling continuously on a topic.
So I imagine God hovering over this vast nothingness, feeling warm and protective and even a little worried about this baby He’s about to hatch. I imagine Him pausing right before He is about to create everything that exists, and pondering it. Turning it over in His mind. Letting His subconscious work (does God have a subconscious?), unleashing His creativity to its fullest extent before making even one brush stroke in His actual creation.
And then I ask myself: Do I have enough “hovering” time in my life?
Do I allow myself the time to ponder my creative works, to brood over the challenges and obstacles in my life and my projects? Do I create space for simply allowing my mind to work and allowing God to speak?
These days, most of us are go-go-go from the moment we wake in the morning, and on top of that, we rarely have “radio silence” in which we don’t have input of some kind. The only way we can create hovering time is to intentionally leave times in which we are silent… open to the workings of our subconscious, open to the voice of the Spirit guiding us.
I find the best times for creative idea-generating and problem-solving are:
• First thing in the morning upon waking, before even rising out of bed. If you can allow yourself at least 15 minutes between waking and rising, you may find this to be one of the most creative times of the day
• While doing menial tasks such as dishes, laundry, vacuuming. If you’re alone and you keep the TV and radio off during these times, and you set your intention on a particular creative venture or problem in your life, you may find answers bubbling up.
• While outdoors: gardening, hiking, walking, bike riding.
• While driving (if your car isn’t full of kids and you keep the stereo off).
As a writer, your life is probably very full, and when you finally have “writing time” you drop into your chair, open up your WIP and try to get right to work. But I encourage you to consider your “brooding time” to be just as important as the actual writing time, and make sure you intentionally work it into your schedule.
“The best time for planning a book is when you’re doing the dishes.” -Agatha Christie
What are YOUR best brooding times?
Rachelle Gardner is a literary agent with Books & Such. If you’re interested in submitting a project, read her Submission Guidelines. Visit her popular blog for writers at RachelleGardner.com. You can also follow Rachelle on Facebook and Twitter.