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Friday, October 10, 2014

Transforming Your Creative Process

by Allen Arnold

When you sit down to write, you become aware of many things.

How the words are flowing. Whether you are in the zone. How comfortable your chair is...or isn’t. If you’re on track to hit your daily word count.

But would you notice if God didn’t show up?

I find it fascinating that when Moses was called to lead his people through the desert, he placed God’s presence before the very mission itself. He felt so passionate about this Moses said he’d call the entire trip off if God didn’t lead it (Exodus 33:12 – 18).

And by leading – Moses didn’t mean that God simply bless their trip in some vague way.

Moses was hungry for God’s tangible glory and presence. His deepest longing – to see the face of God – was rooted in a desire for intimate fellowship during the journey.

He literally demanded that God join him on the trip. You can bet he’d notice if God didn’t show up.

So back to my earlier question. In your writing, would you notice if God didn’t show up?

 Do you feel you can lean on craft, discipline and past experience to tell a story even when you don’t sense God’s presence? Or do you so depend on writing with him in Creative Fellowship that you’d call off a day of writing if you knew you were doing it on your own?

Because really there are only two ways to write.

Alone or with God.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the Giver of your gift waits for you to invite him into the creative process.

I think God loves it when our posture is like that of Moses.

God doesn’t just want to be asked to bless our efforts or watch us strike out on our own to prove what we can do.
He wants us to crave him.

To refuse to move forward without him.

When you invite God into your writing time, you enter into a new realm of artistry. You are creating with the One who created the mountains, music, whales, sunsets, and stars.

(If that thought doesn’t take your breath away, pause until it does.)

You get to enter a creative playground with God where you discover and develop story together. It’s an active process - like tossing a baseball back and forth. Something you can’t do alone.

What the world needs most is the warmth from the glow off the face of those who spend time with God. And that only happens with writers who savor the presence of God more than even story itself.

It’s the difference of a storyteller who sits around a small campfire telling her own stories...and a storyteller who’s face is glowing so bright she doesn’t need a campfire to warm the souls of those listening.

You can’t fake that kind of glow.

Just ask Moses.

So let me ask you...

What are you and God creating together today? 

Allen Arnold loves the epic adventure God has set before him. From the mountains of Colorado, he leads Content & Resources for Ransomed Heart Ministries (led by John Eldredge). Before that, he spent 20 years in Christian Publishing - overseeing  the development of more than 500 novels as founder and Publisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction. He was awarded the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. But that doesn't really describe the man. Allen savors time with his family, craves the beach, drinks salsa by the glass, is hooked on the TV series "Once Upon a Time" and is passionate about helping storytellers tell better stories from an awakened heart.


  1. Excellent post. Do we make God our co-author, or are we God's co-author? Sorry, couldn't resist that. I want God in the writer's seat. With God's help, I wrote a Bible study yesterday. Was asked to fill in for my pastor this Friday. Asked on Wednesday. Prayed and got the answer to what to teach. Sketched it out on Wednesday and then used Thursday to research.

    Where God helps me the most now is with my memoir. It is sensitive stuff and I have to keep going to Him for help. When I reach a block, I pray and God gives me the way to plot out of it. My memoir covers abuse and some of my ways I used to survive - some are not godly.

    When I got saved, my pastor spoke over me that God would use my past to minister to those from my past. This is happening now. I'm in touch with pagans and witches from my past - mostly over sending condolences for the death of the wife of one. In writing him, I thanked him for saving my life. Told him that I'm a Christian now, but firmly believed that God used him to save my life until I could come to God. The guy wrote back that I'm the nicest Christian he knew. He's now reading my memoir - and I'm hoping he reads it to the end, when I come to Christ.

    I'm writing first person, so the occult stuff is the greatest thing since white bread at this stage of the game, but I'm careful how much I include. God is all over it and my godly counselors tell me they see the hand of God all over it. I pray hard to make sure I don't include too much or too little.

    My pastor's wife told me my book has helped her understand things she never experienced and she has used them to speak with others.. A priest who is editing my book told me he's used the facts from the abuse that I included to help three people with similar pasts.

    I love seeing how God is using a book that isn't even published to help others. I'm praying that each seed I plant in the lives of those people from my past bears the fruit of salvation.

  2. Amazing post, Allen. Thank you. I can definitely tell the difference when I feel God's hand on a project or not. When I feel in a spiritual desert, my writing suffers. My prayer is always may my words point to your truths.

  3. Enjoyed reading this today, thank you!

  4. Thanks for the reminder, Allen. How could we forget? Yet we do.

  5. This blessed me so much! Great thoughts!

  6. Great post, Allen. And a message I needed to hear TODAY. Love when God does that.

  7. Just a note to say how much I appreciate your responses. I think the Creator takes specific and spacious delight when we choose to create with him - knowing our time with him is the best story we could ever imagine.

  8. Allen, so beautifully said. Thanks so much for sharing it with us all.


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