“Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans,” said John Lennon.
In a similar vein, when it comes to writing, I often find that writing ideas happen when I’m busy doing other things.
One year, I was asked to write a series of short devotionals with assigned Scripture texts from the book of Judges. As I read the story of Samson, I noticed that his mother’s story took up almost all of Judges 13, but her name is never given. Then in Judges 14, Samson’s Philistine wife appears throughout the chapter, but her name is never given either. That made me wonder, how many other unnamed women are in the Bible? I started searching, and then went on to write Remember Lot’s Wife and Other Unnamed Women of the Bible.
It wasn’t that I was searching for a book idea at the time, but the idea found me while I was working on something else.
The idea for Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal came to me while on vacation a few years ago. Last week, I got a sermon idea while watching the movie, Man of Steel. I’ve sometimes solved a writing problem not by working on it or even thinking about it, but by setting it aside to take a shower or clean up the kitchen and coming back to my work with a new idea.
So where do writers get their ideas? From reading, observing, and thinking about things, of course. As gifts of God borne out of silence and prayer, yes. But just as often in random and unexpected ways when we’re off doing something else.
Writing/Reflection Prompt: f you’re involved in writing or other creative work, where do you get your ideas?
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