Monday, June 14, 2010

Writing with the Spirit

By Ali Cross

Last week I wrote about the importance of seeking Heavenly Father’s help with your writing; today I’d like to talk about how you recognize the Spirit’s influence in your work.

This past week I set out to revise my story The Jump Boys. Several critique partners had suggested changes to the story that would make it stronger and more believable, and I thought their ideas were great. However, as I plugged along, I felt more and more discouraged. I became struck with apathy—I couldn’t move forward, and I couldn’t even think about the story without my thoughts becoming tumbled and confused.

Driven to my knees by pure desperation, I asked Heavenly Father what I was doing wrong. I got the distinct impression that I was asking the wrong question. After thinking about it for a moment, I realized that my problems had begun with the new story changes, so I asked Father two questions: Should I clean up the original story? Or should I continue to make major revisions? Surprisingly, I felt I should stick with the original story.

But I wasn’t ready to give in quite so easily—I asked Father to let me wake in the morning with a sense of contentment and happiness if this choice was right. And He did. I woke with a smile on my face, ready to tackle The Jump Boys again with a clear vision of how the work should go.

That was three days ago and while I’m not done yet, I continue to feel at ease with the direction the story is taking. More importantly, I haven’t suffered from any writing apathy or discouragement.

Thinking about this experience has made me realize that I’ve felt this way before. It seems to me that whenever I hit a wall in my writing that I can’t scale, tunnel under or go around, it’s not because I’m a terrible writer or the story is pointless—it’s usually because the direction I’m going is not the right one. A simple step back, time spent in prayer seeking guidance and counsel, and the willingness to follow through in faith, is all that’s needed to knock that wall down and get back to writing.

How does the Spirit manifest in your writing efforts?


Evelyn Campbell Curtis said...

I have had similar experiences. Recently, I had been doing some side blogging with a fictional story in the 4rd person past. I realized how much I like that tense. I then began questioning my novel, which is 1st person present...not an easy tense to write in.
All in all, I was questioning two years worth of writing (yes, I have taken my time). It had been a month or so since I had even written on it. That was how discouraged I was. But last week, I finally got the gumption to either start from that point in a different tense and change the rest during editing, or stick with the original.
I felt very stressed and clouded about changing it. The only thing I could do was pray. When I finally decided to try writing a little more in the original tense, things began to flow, and I finished 3 1/2 chapters within a few hours.
It was a great experience.
Thanks for sharing. Once again, and inspiration!

Angie said...

Wonderful post, as usual, Ali. I'm going to try harder to let the Spirit inspire my writing.