Friday, September 10, 2010

Creative Process

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.


  1. Totally cool! I;ve been inspired by music lots as well. I also like how you often have no ideas when someone first says "you should write this" but then your mind works subconsiously and something comes up.

  2. Every screenplay I've written so far has at least one song as the seed for the idea, and some of them have a veritable soundtrack of various songs I use for inspiration and to create the feel or the mood I'm looking to convey. Music is very powerful for that and inter-connected with my writing. Glad to hear I'm not alone in that respect!