Last Thursday had an artist date. I got the idea from The Artist Way by Julia Cameron, where she suggest we go on an excursion once a week to nurture our inner artist, similar to dating your partner. You get to know yourself again and fill your creative tank by spending time alone doing things you enjoy.
My creative tank was feeling pretty low. So I wandered around my community looking for something inspiring to photograph. Unfortunately, the fall in Georgia isn’t very picturesque. The flowers are droopy from the hot weather and lack of rain. The trees are either green or turning a brownish-yellow. Nothing at all like the vibrant reds and oranges back in Illinois.
I ended up at the community Visual Arts Gallery. I walked around admiring the paintings. I stopped and pondered a few. One particular painting reminded me of Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh. I wanted to purchase it, but the $700 price tag dissuaded me. So I left the gallery empty-handed and uninspired.
I thought my artist date had bombed. I figured I’d try again next week. But as I headed out of the parking lot a tree caught my eye. I have been fascinated with the kudzu and english ivy growing on the trees since we moved here last summer. The way the vines encircle the tree, slowly feeding off it and eventually killing it reminds me of the movie The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
I wasn’t quite sure how this tree would inspire me, but I snapped several shots nonetheless.

The way the vines climb up the trunk creeps me out.

As I drove off, I wondered why I would want to have a photograph of something that gives me the heebie jeebies. But then it occurred to me those vines are a lot like negative thinking. It starts out small, slowly feeding on thoughts, until we are overpowered by doubt and fear. And much like the tree, we begin to depend on the negativity. It becomes a part of who we are. Deep, huh?
Well, the next day I went on a date-date with my husband. We were enjoying a lovely bottle of French Chardonnay on the patio when I noticed a tree that had been overcome by a vine. It struck me that if negative thinking is like this vine we had better take it seriously.

As writers, it is easy to doubt ourselves and our abilities. There are so many other good writers out there. The publishing industry is hard to break into. We face repeated rejection. But we can’t let that stop us. We have to remember our desire to write comes from the Lord.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10 ESV
Our writing fits into a larger picture than what we can see or understand. We can’t let those vines of negativity prevent us from telling the stories only we can tell. There is someone who needs to read it. So what are you putting off that you need to do today?
Vow this week to cut away any thought that doesn’t serve you.
Until next time . . .

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