Take to Summer: Embrace a Break in Habit
Not in the spontaneity of come-and-go inspired moments that ebb and flow based on time of day or mood, but in the regularity of embracing creativity do artists produce. Some wake up earlier than dawn while others work deep into the evening, and still, other creatives hone their craft throughout the day - what is common to the producing creative is schedule.
As a writer, I struggle with discipline and regularity far more than the writing itself. I always try to convince myself that if I lived an adventurous life similar to Hemingway, I too would write with an intimidating ferocity. My keyboard would fear me, and the many books written as a result would wall me in literary glory. The convincing and the glory don’t stand a chance pitted against a schedule filled with work deadlines, family commitments, rest - not to mention the countless other minor distractions given attention to.
During the writing of my book Earth and Sky I reached a point of creative drought. All my words written and phrasing sounded like a monotonous merging of the same idea stated the same way over and over and over again. I hated the sound of keystrokes and the feel of pen in hand as all my effort lacked the creative passion I first started out the book with. I fought for my regular writing schedule because everyone reinforced the necessary discipline. As a result, those early mornings were losing battles piling higher. And the book wasn’t being written.
We reach points when we need escape: from ourselves, and the effort given.
Escape doesn’t become a necessity because of productivity or because of accomplishment. Every creative knows the rush of inspiration and glimmer of genius that graces our work at times, just as every creative has felt like a beggar hoping for something. Getting away from your work, and more so, the pressure felt from work, will often help you work better.
After shelving my manuscript for nearly eight months, I left for a cabin in the mountains, knowing I had a book to finish, but unsure of how and when. In a few short days, I found the trail and scent again. The last four chapters were written with such simplicity that I remembered again what it felt like to be a writer. Creativity flows freest in the most unrestricted times, sometimes outside of habit and discipline and schedule.
Getting away always brings healthy impact to my work. A new environment stimulates creativity within me and displaces the deflating pressure to produce. I can’t always retreat to a snowy cabin in the mountains, but I can embrace a break in habit with a simple change of pace or environment. During the early mornings of summer, I leave behind the indoor and escape to a shaded spot on my patio to write. A simple escape to a coffee house or library may very well do the trick. While it’s a certainty that habit does, in fact, fuel creativity, habit alone does not sustain creativity. Take to summer and embrace a break in habit as a means of learning something new, seeing your work through new perspective. These breaks are what sustain.
Guy Martin Delcambre is an author and public speaker based in Dallas, Texas, who writes about faith in thin moments, strength found in weakness, and God’s grace immeasurable. Guy was once a pastor, a church planter, and a widower, in that order. From the darkest night in life— the death of a spouse— to learning to live life as a single father to three young daughters, Guy has traveled the greatest distance of the heart to find home in God’s faithful goodness. Together he lives with his wife, Marissa, and three daughters, Elizabeth, Emily, and Chloe.