ACW

ACW

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Coming up with the Goods by Jane Clamp

I'm no chef. Anyone who knows me would confirm that. (Sadly, the talent seems to have skipped a generation and it is my younger son who daily wears the whites.) But if I were, and I were called upon to feed a crowd of hungry folk, I imagine looking into a well-stocked larder, pulling items off the shelf and performing that miracle of producing tantalising and edible goodies for all to enjoy. Instead, I am a writer. I am commissioned to feed the hungry with my words. But just lately, every time I go to the metaphorical larder I don't find it empty but, rather, full of scraps: little fragments of thoughts that don't look like they'll quite stretch.

So, what's the back story here? Well, the pressing issue is that there have been a number of deadlines to be met. My writing to-do list at the start of January read as follows:

10 x Thoughts of the Day for Premier Radio
7 x Lenten reflections for BBC Radio Norfolk
Finish devotional book
I can't even make a cup of tea properly...
Continue NaNo novel
Find agent / publisher for my completed novel.

So far, the first one has been ticked off, but ideas for the others are coming in tiny bursts of inspiration and long hours of typing. My head is constantly buzzing with either the ideas themselves or thoughts about the pressure of having to come up with them. I have a notebook at my side most of the time. I have had to pull over at the side of the road to write down the outlines of a chapter that came to me as I drove to work. I have had to stop painting at work to jot down a nugget or two. The other night I was just getting into bed when some ideas for the next chapter pinged into my head. No notebook to hand - I had left it downstairs on the table - I un-creased a used tissue on my bedside cabinet and wrote on it the cue I would need in the morning.

God is so good and so faithful. I know He will enable and equip as I seek Him. He really is the master chef who can use these scraps and remnants to turn into the feast. But there are times when I feel overwhelmed with the task, unable to switch off, even at night. Is it just me? I hope not - or actually, I kind of hope so: I'd hate to think we're were all in this state! I haven't found the solution yet, although I know the theory. God is the author and inspirer. I'm simply the one who holds the pen. I just hope it won't always feel so heavy in my hands.




Jane Clamp is Creative Writer in Residence on the Sunday Breakfast Show at BBC Radio Norfolk and on the Thought of the Day team at Premier Radio. She is currently very tired...

14 comments:

  1. You've summed this up perfectly. You are certainly not alone when it comes to ideas tipping up at the most innopertune moments.

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    1. I wish it wasn't always at such inconvenient moments....

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  2. You are so right. I have several projects I need to finish/work on and yet yesterday I spent the entire day writing an entry for a competition I hadn't even intended to enter. Still, as procrastination goes, at least it wasn't ironing or sorting out the sock drawer, and, who knows, it might reap a reward *hopeful face*

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    1. i entered a competition at the last minute recently, because the to-do list obviously still wasn't long enough ๐Ÿ˜•

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  3. Like you, I have periods of hyper -idea-ing too. But, having just finished a huge non - fiction project, I find I'm in a dry period novel-wise and blog-wise. Am I running away from them or just in need of a long-earned rest? Who knows? Well, God probably. Perhaps I should stop running and actually ask him ๐Ÿ˜‰ Great post Jane x

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement Deborah. I'm rubbish at resting, but just this last week or so have been pausing throughout the day to ask God if I'm doing the right thing at that point. It's helping. Enjoy your rest, and the satisfaction of finishing something.

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  4. Good post, Jane. I hardly feel qualified to comment among such company as you and the earlier commenters, but sometimes it is necessary to stand back from what we are working on (or feel we ought to be working on) and look at the bigger picture prayerfully. If we go on working all the time (which is a temptation for creatives, as was highlighted on Music Matters on radio 3 yesterday) we are likely to suffer from burnout or similar problems. Sue

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    1. Absolutely right, Susan. I'm very silly over pacing myself but absolutely don't want to over-do it.

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  5. I wish ideas would form an orderly queue, and appear at decently-regulated intervals! Either I have too many of them to think straight, or I'm stuck for inspiration. Thanks for sharing, Janey - hope you can find space to rest soon. xx

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    1. Thanks, Fiona, I do too. At least I don't suffer from writers block! Xx

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  6. Lovely post, Jane. Know exactly what you mean. The feeling of being overwhelmed can then swamp any creativity and suppress them if not careful. As for awkward times to get ideas, mine are nearly always when I'm in water - in the shower, swimming and so on. Not exactly convenient but it is how it is!

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  7. May your random scraps come together to create the perfect offering

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