Big Al searching for inspiration in the Thames 1948
Writing is a quirky thing.
I have no idea where the inspiration comes from, but when it does arrive it is definitely “work” in a very strange sense. I’m pretty sure it originates with the Creator though and not from lying down in a river in Great Britain.
For me, it has always been a natural ability. I honestly cannot take credit for a gift.
Not comparing myself with Hemingway or Dickens, but just that it’s always been there (math, however, has eluded me since Mrs Golden in 8th grade starting using letters and parentheses in Algebra). And grammar was way too complicated (I leaned over Donna Keller’s shoulder a lot in 7th grade to get my prepositions undangled).
At 12 when everyone told me, “You should be a writer.”
I think all creativity, especially writing, comes from the Creator. Without Him, and His generous dipping of us into His pool of creativity, there would be nothing.
So when folks like my work and ask for writing advice, I just tell them to pray and ask the Creator to help them. It’s His gift to give, which is pure grace (like the thief on the cross who’s saved by doing nothing, getting what we don’t deserve without any merit to warrant it).
Once inspiration does arrive, then the work begins and that is just getting “clay” on the page…anything to start molding it into something better than the lump it starts out as initially. Just start typing some clay and see where it goes. I’m always surprised, especially if it’s a story, when the character takes over and does things I didn’t want to happen (I wonder if God feels that way when we start going our own way in His story).
Well, if you want to be a good writer, it helps to have the natural giftedness (everyone thinks erroneously that they can write, sing, and paint). If not, you can read, take classes, find a mentor, and practice until you get good, but by all means ask the Creator to help with your creativity.
Like everything else in life, writing well starts with Jesus.
A Christmas gift this year (1936) that works perfectly (by grace)
Consider what Jeremiah wrote about clay:
The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.
Or the Apostle Paul in Romans regarding the Gentiles joining the Jews in His salvation plan,
On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?
And Isaiah echoes our helplessness too,
“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker — An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?
The bedrock where the cross stood in Jerusalem
The point is this. It takes some real humility to admit we need His help, both in writing and in salvation. We all need to surrender for the latter because their is no perspiration (work) in His salvation gift. Like His inspiration with writing, salvation is pure grace too.