BLOGGER: JAN KERN
Pre-Conference Next Level Clinic Coordinator and Nonfiction Mentor
Morning Mentoring Nonfiction Coordinator and Nonfiction Mentor
UNLEASH WONDER IN YOUR WRITING
Living in California, drought metaphors come easily as we make our way through one of the driest years on record. I’m reminded every time I step out my door. But at my desk or in front of my computer screen, another kind of dryness threatens to invade my writing efforts. My fingers pause longer than I’d like above the keyboard.
Where am I going with this section of my book?
Is it what my readers are grappling with too?
Does my structure and voice make sense for this project?
What am I trying to say and can it really make the difference I hope for?
Where am I connecting with my potential readers so I can find out?
Is God leading me? Am I listening?
Sometimes we hit a writing drought and our creative progress crumbles like dry dust. We need reminders that rain is on its way.
Recently a ten-day vacation treated my husband and me to beautiful vistas of the northwest. While that area is also experiencing drought conditions, rain still falls. We saw evidence of that everywhere we looked. Lakes are nearly full. Waterfalls tumble down mountainsides. Rivers seemed to bounce and gurgle with life.
Home again, I stepped outside to enjoy a familiar walk along nearby pathways. The changes, even in the few days we had been away, were stark. The drought continued to sap any remaining moisture. A bubbling spring-fed creek now dribbled into stagnant puddles. Manzanita seemed burnt, fragile and gray. My steps crunched on fallen brown leaves that had skipped their transitional colors of yellow or orange.
As I walked back toward my home, I prayed that I might catch glimpses of wonder in the drought-stricken landscape. I couldn’t see it. Not that day.
Waking the next morning, I pushed the covers aside and prayed, “Lord, let your Spirit flow through me today. Fill my heart with wonder again.”
The prayer startled me. Where had wonder gone? Had I let it drain away? With legs swung over the side of my bed, feet ready to hit the floor, I realized that my writing days had become much like my walk the day before—stagnant, lacking delight-filled engagement with wonder. I shifted my prayers toward more specific requests.
Lord, please unleash wonder in my rhythms of writing.
At that moment, wonder became the promise of rain for my writing drought.
Where do you need an infusion of wonder in your writing journey or current projects? Try these tips:
Reconnect to your purpose.
William Wordsworth wrote, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. Sometimes we’ve lost our heart along the way to filling our word quotas. One of the greatest places of wonder is found in reconnecting with our initial passion for what we’re doing or to what God has been recently stirring inside. Write a small piece simply for creativity sake.
Remember your readers.
God captured Moses’ attention through a burning bush and called Moses to a specific purpose and people. Step outside and take a walk in a new direction. As you do remember those to whom God has called you to write and what is important to them. When you return to your writing, start in a new place with your readers in mind.
Create your inspiration.
Create a motto that inspires you to keep moving forward with wonder and inspiration, one that you post near your writing desk. Or borrow this one: “Ignite the power of faith and creativity. Be unquenchable!” This happens to be the tagline for the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.
Whatever you choose to do, keep moving forward, keep writing. As a friend very wisely said to me, even in the drought there is still life if you look for it.
One place you can be certain to find the promise of rain for a writing drought and to take your current writing project closer toward publication is through Mount Hermon’s Morning Mentoring Clinics. The 2016 groups—both fiction and nonfiction—will focus on specific genres and types of projects. Apply, meet your mentor, bring your project and anticipate wonder!
You’ll meet Jan Kern at the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 16-22, where she will coordinate the Pre-Conference Next Level Clinics and coordinate the Nonfiction Morning Mentoring Clinic. Jan is also a nonfiction mentor in both programs.