By Eleni Papanou
One major facet of writing visionary fiction is that the author spiritually grows during the writing process. There are periods where I have to put my work aside, either when I’m in spiritual stagnation or not feeling worthy enough to write because of a personal challenge that I have yet to overcome. Only after I sort through whatever issue is troubling me can I proceed. Each book’s conclusion connects me to the lessons learned by the characters, whose interior growth mirrors my own. What I find most revealing is that my characters ascend to a higher level than me; however, they take me one step further on my own path. They inspire me to become a better person.
I posed the question to some of my fellow authors of how they handle spiritual stagnation during the writing process and got some insightful responses.
Bob Fahey, author of Entertaining Naked People says “understanding the situation can only help so much. I know from long experience that these last for a few days while something marinates within me and then suddenly bursts free in unbelievable spouts of inspiration. And yet I still go through funks. I am just this morning coming out of a three day one. I call these being human. I can’t seem to connect with my guides in meditation; can’t feel healing energies flowing through me for those at a distance; have no ideas for whatever books I may be writing at the time. I am merely human for a while and I don’t like that. But I also realize the masters have better things to do with their time than constantly babysitting me and feeding me ideas, so perhaps I may be of some small service to them at the time by simply not pestering them and begging for more.”
However, Fahey isn’t sure whether he believes in spiritual stagnation:
“I see us as vibrant spiritual beings even when we’re unaware of it so I am not sure I believe in spiritual stagnation once you really have that ball rolling.”
I agree with the statement; however, the egoic part of me—the part that sometimes disconnects from the eternal light within me—can become stagnant. Upon reflection, I realize I need to go through periods of disconnection in order to live through a lesson, along with all the pain that comes along with learning what I must learn.
While some writers may break from writing during stagnation, others plow right on through their challenges. Sandy Nathan, award-winning author of the “Earth’s End Trilogy,”—and a plethora of other books—makes it clear why she is so productive in her writing endeavors.
“I don’t think a writer needs to be going through spiritual and personal barriers like crazy to write well. So much of actually seeing a book in print is a “seat in chair” type work, not active inspiration. If a book is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration, the inspiration can happen whenever. Before the writing, one hopes.” That isn’t to say Sandy hasn’t experienced her own challenges: “At times in my life, I’ve been flaming spiritually. Such a period occurred when I wrote my spiritual memoir, Stepping Off the Edge. This was from about 1993 to about 1999. My spiritual life has been less dramatic since, but I wrote so much in the “flaming era” that I have a stockpile of material that will probably take me the rest of my life to write.”
Bob Fahey can also work through his experiences. “Another blessing is that I create characters, dialogue, and such out of what it happening around and within as I write. “ He offers some advice to other writers on how to work through the process.”You could give such challenges over to a character and have him or her work out in the story for all the world to share in. This could actually help some of the readers who may be facing down similar issues.”
While Sandy and Bob can work during periods of stagnation, I find that I must detach for a while to process whatever challenge I’m facing. Most of my writing will go into my spiritual journal. I recently went through a period of spiritual stagnation, which directed me toward a new path in my life, one in which may become a story one day. The challenge was excruciating, at first, but it eventually led me to a new passion…singing Greek music. It has reconnected me to my nationality that I have turned away from because of the prejudice I’d experienced as a child.
Whatever circumstance lies behind our spiritual stagnation, many of us who write VF heal and evolve spiritually during the process. Jan Krause Greene, author of I Call Myself Earth Girl, says, “My experience was that writing my novel – the first fiction I have ever written (I was a columnist for years) – created a surge of spiritual questing and growth. It was totally unexpected, but I can honestly say that writing this book opened a closed part of me to spirituality.”
And that is something this author can attest to!
Eleni Papanou is an award-winning author and perpetual student of life. Visit her website for news and updates.