Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Early spring reflections

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven… Ecclesiastes 3:1

Today was one of those days where I couldn’t wait to get home and pick up my “magic” pen. Unfortunately, being my longest day of the week, that didn’t happen until late in the evening. So I scribbled myself a note and let the ideas stew in the back of my mind while going about my various tasks.

There’s just something that has always amazed me about how ink flows from the tip of the pen and, with the steady movement of the wrist, forms intricate loops and whorls which in turn paint an image in the mind’s eye. I admit that I’ll write nonsense simply to watch the letters form, but sometimes the unexpected happens when I move my hand aimlessly across the page…a story is born.  It may be a short story that never sees the light of day, but it’s a form of creation just the same, and with that creation comes a feeling I can rarely recreate on a keyboard.

So what brought on this reflection of the pen you may wonder — in a word: sunlight.

After what promised to be another gray day, the sun battled his way through the rain, and everything seems to have woken from its winter hibernation all at once. Pink and purple buds appeared on the trees lining my street, and my mother’s almond trees are currently adorned in white blossoms. Even the normally drab field grass would make an emerald green with envy.

Now, I love the fog and the rain. Watching clouds creep across the mountains surrounding the Rogue Valley gives me a chill of delight. However, it is the change of the seasons that inspires me most.

Each of the four seasons brings its own unique beauty and wonder. As a visual person it is these changes that bring me fresh ideas, new scenes, and help me explore various moods in my writing. The waxing and waning of each season also serves as a reminder that without change there can only be stagnation.

Sometimes as writers we become so entrenched in our particular style of writing that we miss out on seeing something vibrant and new. Worse, we don’t even realize we’re stuck. All we know — all I know — is that I find myself struggling with questions of relevancy and skill, and I desperately wonder what happened to the passion that used to burn so deeply that my arms literally ached if I wasn’t filling a notebook with the help of my magic pen.

“So what do I do?” you ask.

Set your manuscript aside for a moment, along with whatever mantle of pressure you’ve placed on your shoulders. Go for a walk. Let your surroundings speak to you. Close your eyes and listen. What do you hear? Breathe deeply. What do you smell? And touch everything. (Well, maybe not everything.) Then come back to your desk, pick up your own magic pen, and write something completely new.

Your Work In Progress (and your family) will thank you for it!



  1. Jen, what an inspiring post! I, too, love the change of the seasons and whatever new thoughts, opportunities, and creative activities the change from one season to another inevitably brings. Great job!


  2. Thanks for your feedback, Deb. I have a journal I keep that focuses specifically on my writing (I also have one I keep for personal reflections and another for my Bible studies) and looking back, I've discovered I'm always the most productive during these times. I'm more apt to take risks come fall, I'm more reflective as winter sets in, in the spring I focus on scenery, the summer, however, seems to vary from year to year depending on my outside activities.


  3. Beautiful post, sister! I was struggling with putting my pen to the paper, today, stumped by the questions of relevancy and skill. I picked up God's Word and remembered Who I serve and from Whom my gifts came. Being reminded that "without change there can only be stagnation" was just what I needed to get me back on track. Thanks for the lift, sister! May God continue to bless this ministry and expand your territory for His glory!

  4. I'm so glad this post spoke to you, Xochi. Even better, I'm thrilled that you were reminded that you a unique purpose that only you can fill. Keep up the great work. I'm so excited to see where your writing and ministries take you!