I am fascinated by how the creative process functions. A few months ago, a friend from church asked if I would consider writing a short play for the kids to perform at Christmas. In the past, they have scoured the internet for something suitable for each age group, and created a presentation from that, but since I'm writing regularly now, they came to me.
I had no ideas at all for this endeavour. None. In fact, I completely forgot about it until last night, when I was on my way into Calgary for a meeting with other Sunday School teachers. In an effort to lift my low spirits, I grabbed a Christmas CD to listen to on my thirty minute drive.
I popped it into the CD player, and felt immediately happier thinking of the upcoming Christmas season and all of the joys it brings to me. I was listening to Amy Grant, and when the song 'I Need a Silent Night' came on, inspiration struck. As I drove, I could visualize a stage, and the settings I would need to dramatize the song and focus on the theme of slowing down and finding true peace in the season.
I listened to the song over and over, allowing my mind to wander where it wanted to go, and by the time I arrived for the meeting I had the whole thing designed and planned in my head. I was itching to skip the policy discussions and the many forms to fill out, so I could concentrate on capturing on paper what was crystal clear in my mind. I wanted to list the characters, and describe the set pieces, and give each person dialogue to speak which would convey the feeling I had when I listened to the song.
The further I get in the writing process, the more I relax into understanding that the ideas come when they are ready, and not before. I can't force it. And when they come, if I give them the space to let my mind draw the pictures, then I can hang onto the spirit of the piece until I can sit down and capture it. I don't panic so much about "getting it all down". I know the biggest thing is to let the ideas germinate and develop at their own pace, and then be available to record them.
Now I have to figure out permission to use that song, and get a list of the kids who will be in the play, and then I can get it on paper. It's been many years since I've attempted to write a play, but when you get an idea, you want to carry it through and do your very best to do it justice. I love being open to the fact that inspiration is all around me, every day, if I will simply take notice, and trust the creative process to work.