For many of us, summer feels like the opportunity to sit back, relax, and while away the lazy, hazy days of summer. We look for any excuse not to work, not to write, not to do anything more strenuous than barbecue and sip iced tea. After all, we’ve worked hard all year, gotten the kids through school and after-school activities, completed our own studies and projects, and we deserve it. Even church seems more laid back, with plans for vacation Bible school and picnics and outside activities.

As writers, it can be really easy to fall into that same mode of setting aside the book or story we’ve been working on so we can join in with the outdoor stuff everyone else is doing.

As my pastor says, “Show me where Jesus did that.”

Ouch.

Jesus never took a day off. Even when He went to the temple, He was either teaching, reading Scripture, or tossing over tables. When He went to a wedding, He turned water into wine. When He took a trip to Samaria, He got a woman and a whole town saved. A journey into the badlands resulted in a demoniac being restored and a herd of pigs jumping over a cliff. And although a long day of preaching turned into a picnic with over 5,000 of His closest friends, the preaching came first. A storm was calmed during a jaunt across a lake, fish were caught during a visit to the seaside, and a woman was healed during a walk through town.

When we focus on God’s calling in our lives, we see opportunities to minister no matter where we go, no matter what season of the year it is. As writers, the story is still there, inside, waiting to come out, whether it’s July or January.

Here are some ideas to help you renew your creativity and your passion to write:
— Allow the words to pour forth during this relaxing season.
— Encourage the stories by visiting new places.
— Flesh out the characters in your stories by doing some people watching.
— Expand your knowledge by taking a course.
— Try writing something in a new genre or a new form, such as poetry or song.
— Renew your creativity by trying out new recipes and new seasonal foods.

Creativity flourishes and grows as we use it more, as we compel it to interject itself into our stories, as we feed our senses with smell, touch, taste, sound, and sight. Enjoy the summer, but instead of using the summer as an excuse to put aside the hard work of writing, use it to grow your stories.

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