Every week I have the honor of writing an article for the newspaper. Every week, knowing that a deadline is approaching, I begin looking for a theme or some point of inspiration upon which to base my writing. Some weeks it comes easily. An event takes place, an incident occurs, a wonder arrests my attention, or just another episode in the saga of life transpires. The story that I wish to tell is virtually written before my eyes and all I need to do is put words to the picture I see. Those are the weeks that deadlines are non-deadly.
Other times, however, I sit down with my computer in my lap and the blank screen matches my blank mind. I write a few words, hit the delete key, and start again. I forge my way through bad ideas, labor over good ideas that go bad, or work with good ideas that go nowhere. Trial and error, hit and miss, attempt and fail coupled with tenacity and the pressure of a deadline have the uncanny ability to produce an end result. I think that is amazing. I much prefer the inspiration and ease scenario over the brainstorming and labor archetype, but both ends of the spectrum seem to be methods by which I fulfill the task of producing an article.
I more frequently accomplish the work that is required of me out of obligation rather than out of inspiration, motivation, and stimulation. This is probably true of most of us. Rarely, if ever, would our employer exempt us from coming to work on the basis that we felt no internal prompting to show up. Few parents release their children from homework or chores because emotional invigoration is absent.
Setting my hand to an assignment seems to draw out the talent, skill, training, and ability resident within. Duty places a demand upon potential, summons the aptitude, and extracts from the gift. Duty actually creates the consistent platform upon which talents can be regularly displayed. Duty demands constant production, thereby not allowing my forte to be undeveloped, unexercised, and unchallenged. Whereas, if I waited only for the occasional inspiration, I might discover that I am less productive and even less creative.
Inspiration is awesome. Bring it on! I go to church, to prayer, and to the Scriptures for inspiration. I love a good book, a movie, or a song that moves my heart and stirs a new fresh breath of ideas within me. I muse, ponder, and reflect in hope of gaining new insight and perception. Without the enlightenment, all of my production would eventually be less productive, and the deadlines would be met with dead, non-vital compositions.
I’m glad life has a balance of both. While I am waiting for inspiration, may I be found faithfully laboring in my assignments. And, while I am working, may I be always attentive to the fresh breeze of inspiration that may blow in my direction.