I had it all planned out: morning run, shower, reading of the bible, and then finally some time with my computer open to a blank Word document. The promise of that last item spurred me out of bed when I would have rather ignored the alarm; each snooze cycle meant four precious minutes wasted in mediocre sleep that might otherwise have been spent in crafting sentences.
The morning went just as I had planned, right up to the point when I found myself with a mug of hot tea within easy reach and forty-five minutes to do nothing but write.
And then? Nothing. A blank document that stayed blank. A mind that just couldn't seem to focus. Hands that remained idle in my lap, refusing to perform their dance across the keys.
So I sat in the my circle of lamplight, the semi-darkness of early morning surrounding me. I stroked the purring cat upon my lap, and I watched the licking tongues of flame as they consumed the log in the wood stove, and I let my mind wander where it would. I prayed. I closed my eyes and savored the feel of Earl Gray running down my throat. Save Nap's small rumbles as I rubbed her tummy, all was quiet, and still, and calm.
I did not construct a single sentence this morning. I did not develop an outline or a thesis or a character study. I didn't even really come up with any great ideas. Though I set aside time to create, I have nothing to show for it, no end product to share, no word count to tally.
But the time was not wasted, after all, for the ideas came later - as I was blow-drying my hair, driving to work, reading e-mail. Nothing big, nothing earth-shattering or world-changing, but some lines of thought to pursue, some areas to explore.
And it makes me wonder - if I am to be a creator, an artist, a writer - can I really do such things if I am constantly on the go? Do I not need to take the time to be still, to be quiet, to just be?
To stare into the embers and to let my mind wander, to take a walk in the forest and listen to the birds sing, to sit with a cat in my lap, my fingers in her fur - on the surface, these things are not creative.
But perhaps, the mystery of it all is that they really are writing after all. That somehow, those still moments are as much a part of the creative process as putting pen to paper, paint to canvas, bow to strings.