Psalm 105:4, “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek His face always.”
As a writer, sometimes I have difficulty coming up with fresh content. We’ve all been there. You end one amazing project and want to start the next grand adventure. Or maybe you’re itching to find that extra ‘oomph’ your current project needs but can’t seem to find it. Either way, a lack of inspiration is like that itch you can’t scratch. We wish it weren’t that way, but until Christ comes back, the exhaustibility of our brains is part of living in an imperfect world.
Now, many artists and writers have discovered many a smart remedy breaking the ‘dry spell’ curse. These include observing other people’s creative works, taking a nice walk, and spending time with loved ones. However, for today I want to focus on an as-of-yet untapped resource for regaining your creative mojo: Scripture. That’s right. The Bible can be the master-key to your imaginative potential. No other resource has better insight into our world, the human condition, and God’s character than it does.
Now, I’m not saying you can’t use the usual advice anymore. I myself listened to tons of music and watched movie scenes on repeat while writing Celestial. There’s nothing wrong with them. You know how you operate. By all means, do what refreshes you, but if you bring the Bible into your process, trust me. It’ll do wonders not just for your project but for your life as well.
So without further a-do, here are six ways to draw inspiration from God and His Word!
This tip might sound dull and obvious, but it’s the most important one of all. Hence why it’s first. Just as we rely on Christ to save us from sin, He also wants us to rely on His Spirit to interpret His Word correctly. He won’t turn you away for asking His help in this. In fact, He prefers it, so before you even begin, beseech your greatest Teacher. He will help you understand what you need to learn and be your ultimate muse.
#2. Re-create a Biblical Scene
This is the most straightforward way to draw inspiration. There are plenty of wonderful films, books, and paintings that centered on Biblical accounts. Heck, how many Exodus and Jesus movies have we filmed by now? However, even if directly adapting the Bible is not what you’re project is aiming for, don’t dismiss this idea. This might still be helpful to you. Maybe writing a short-story of David and Goliath from Goliath’s point of view might be the window you need to get into a villain’s head. Or challenge yourself to portray Samson’s one-man fight against a whole army in poetic prose. It might be the right kind of kicker your brain needs. Just pick a scene reminiscent to the part you’re stuck on; let your imagination spring from it, and as your mind dwells on those pivotal moments in history, you just might find yourself noticing things you overlooked that would greatly amplify your narrative.
#3. Study a Biblical Figure
Nine times out of ten, a fictional character is based off of somebody. Even if one fictional character was based on another fictional character, odds are the originating character was inspired by a real person. It all makes sense, though. When aiming to write a complex character, what’s more complex than a human being? Well, God had the lives of many people recorded in His book for us to learn from. There’s bound to be at least one who’s remotely close to the kind of character you want to write. Of course, you can study the most popular ones. Moses and Noah come to mind, but don’t forget. There are a ton of lesser knowns that have yet to be creatively tapped into. To name a few: there’s Ehud, the left-handed warrior who saved a nation. There’s the redeemed Pharisee, Nicodemus. Few have heard of Hosea’s show of ceaseless love for his scandalous wife, and once you’ve thoroughly studied him, you could never forget the profound nobility of Prince Jonathan. In fact, I’m thinking about doing a few blog exposés on the Bible’s most forgotten figures right here on FlyingFaith myself! Still, I would recommend everyone to take the initiative and dive into the Bible’s archives for themselves. Studying first hand is really the best way. So choose a person. See what hidden treasures you might find among our spiritual ancestors who lived in faith before us.
#4. Observe the World through Biblical Eyes
History’s consequences tend to trickle down through the years, and the general consistency of nature demonstrates a consistent design. If we believe the Bible is true, then it’s reasonable to expect that what’s been recorded in it still affects us today, and how it says our world operates should still be very much in motion. You want your book to explore mankind’s true nature? No place better to check than the Bible. You want to accurately portray how the spiritual world works? Study everything the Bible has to say about it. If you really work at it, you could even tackle super complex questions like: where was God’s hand in Russian history? If Atlantis was real, why might God had allowed it to be destroyed? What Biblical events might have birthed certain Greek myths? How would that have even happen in the first place? The possibilities explode from there! True, this kind of thought process takes a lot of effort and requires much brain power, but if you place your trust in God’s guidance and you were truly serious about dedicating yourself to Him in the first place, then He’ll empower you to do it. Besides, this really is the sort of mental training you should be undergoing and using for daily life anyway. Here, we’d just harnessing the same logic to our creative thinking in this case.
#5. Biblically Confront Your Spiritual Need
Whenever we read books or watch movies, the ones that challenge us where it hurts are the ones that tend to stick with us the most. This fact couldn’t be more relevant to Christians. Our needs, pains, and weaknesses are what drive us to rely on Jesus’s grace everyday. Hence, why we love stories of heroes who persevere through the worst hurts unto triumph. The Christian life is in and of itself that same kind of journey. Now, God asks us to address our spiritual needs through prayer and His Word already. I’d urge everyone to do this regardless of their circumstance, but who knows? As God carries you to reach those milestones, maybe you’ll find the breakthroughs He’s made in your life are too wonderful not to share or contextualize through story. If there’s a personal battle in you to be fought, fight it through prayer and God’s Word. Then, if you’re comfortable, you can apply the lessons you experience in your narrative. It’d be an encouragement to those hurting the same way you did. Not only would it add a raw layer of realism to your story. It would likely transform your very life too.
#6. Verse Theming
Verse theming is in fact how my book Celestial found it’s plot. I need not tell you that every story carries a theme - even if that theme is about weird nonsense like Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland. The character’s growth, the big moments, and the small moments in the plot in most circumstances lead to a point. It’s the story’s worldview. It’s the foundation it’s built upon, and it can be good, misguided, or absolutely wrong. As Christian Creatives, though, we’d want our themes built upon a foundation of truth. Where better to find truth than the Bible? If you find a single verse or a series of verses that speak to you, ones that reveal a message you passionately know our world needs to hear, then what is there to stop you? Study that verse. Cross-reference it with similar verses both in the Old and New Testaments. Get to fully understanding it and all its facets. There can be more profound story material in a single line of God’s spoken Word than any man’s entire essay. Best of all, it can be your anchor whenever you find yourself adrift in the exhaustive parts of the writing process. For me, it was 1 Peter 1:10-12. Celestial was a complex beast to conceive. I sometimes got lost in my own web of speculations, but then I’d remember those verses. Then through them, God would often help me re-focus and put the plot right back on track. Verses are often the linchpin in maintaining our spiritual walk. It can also be the linchpin to your story and everything in it.
I hope you all found these new methods to zapping the creative juices helpful and spiritually charging. Remember that weaving a tale is not a journey meant to be traveled alone. Jesus wants to be a part of your odyssey, so then, as you create together in tandem, He’ll use the quest to bring you closer to Him too.
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Did you find this list useful? Which tactic on this list might help you the most? How has God drawn you closer to Him during your projects?