Writer's Flow

Other writers talk a lot about writer’s block. There are hundreds of blogs, even books on how to clear out the dam and get going again. I tend to have the opposite problem. Despite having perilously low amounts of energy and strength due to my chronic illness, I am full of ideas begging to be written down.

Book titles pop into my head all the time, demanding action. I dutifully write them down in my journals, or make a note in Word. Characters grab me by the collar whilst I’m eating, and start fleshing themselves out without my permission. Theological musings hijack my rest times. Scenarios leap-out at me, Cato-like, from the back of the fridge, when all I wanted was a Tunnocks bar.

Poems, well, poems are the worst, since they invariably assail me in the middle of the night, without any consideration that I might need to sleep.  I sit up bleary-eyed and write down the lines, knowing the following day I will be squinting at my spidery writing in an (often vain) attempt to decipher my own “genius.”

Please tell me I’m not alone. And please understand I am not complaining. A deluge of creativity is perhaps a balancing out for all the physical things I can’t do. Except… except that most of my writing begins in prayer. And it feels like grace (as though it is coming through and not from me). And I can’t help thinking and feeling that this outpouring is akin to the loving grace of God. There is always so much of it, that we don’t quite know what to do with it, how to frame it. It rushes into our lives unstoppably and beautifully. We want to share the bounty and don’t always know how best to do that.
Helpfully, God has given me the image of weaving. I sort and gather my threads, my trains of thought, the gems in my prayer journals, and then weave it all into something. Some of the wonderful things about weaving are that there are so many different colours, so many shades of light and dark, and probably little imperfections here and there that hopefully don’t show too badly. To feel my writing is woven helps me make sense of the many strands and themes, and I don’t worry too much about the bits that don’t seem to quite fit just yet.

Weaving also takes a long time. And it’s slow and steady work, which perhaps strangely helps me feel a little easier about how much material there is. Maybe that image will help you too, or maybe you are more of a knitting machine writer, zooming row upon row of wonderful neatness. We all work differently and no one way is better, and the world will be glad I hope, one day, for everything we craft. May it bless others abundantly, however much or little there is of it, and however long it takes.

Artwork my own.

Keren Dibbens-Wyatt is a disabled writer and artist with a passion for poetry, mysticism, story and colour. Her writing features regularly on spiritual blogs and in literary journals. Her full-length publications include Garden of God’s Heart and Whale Song: Choosing Life with Jonah. She lives in South East England and is mainly housebound by her illness.