Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Created to Create by Jayme H. Mansfield

I'm sure we all have our creativity quirks -- those routines that prepare us to undertake a new project. I know I do. Today, author Jayme Mansfield shares how she gets in the creative spirit. -- Sandy

Jayme: It’s a bit quirky and most definitely a great procrastinator, but I have an innate need before I work on my manuscripts to straighten my desk, rewrite my to-do list, open the blinds, water the plants, refill my coffee…you get the picture. I like to think of this ritual as my version of a creative dance.

However, as much as those activities can wreck havoc on my word count (which if tracked, looks something like a cardiogram), I find those activities are actually my running start, my warm up, so to speak, to dive into the action for which the Creator called us to do—create.

If given the chance, I would have loved to ask author and Christian, Madeleine L’Engle what she did before sitting down to write one of her many books. In Walking on Water ~ Reflections on Faith and Art, she fills the pitcher to overflowing with her wisdom about the creative process, and most importantly, its Source. She shares that we are made in our Creator’s image, and thus are created to create.

She describes this mysterious relationship— “The artist cannot hold back; it is impossible, because writing, or any other discipline of art, involves participation in suffering, in the ills and the occasional stabbing of joys that come from being part of the human drama.” As writers, it’s wonderful to know that despite how we arrive at the final piece, the journey is never in isolation as much as it can feel that way.

Instead, even though throwing ten more balls to my dog and sorting paperclips in my drawer might be part of my choreography to write, I know my purpose is intentional. Ultimately, my true tasks as a writer are to listen, to be aware of the words and stories on my heart, and to finally park myself at the computer and respond to the Creator by creating.

Whether I meet a self-imposed word count or not, I must remind myself that sooner or later, the need to write will triumph. Because I, just like you, was created to create—and clearly, it is not of our doing to decide otherwise. So, before I open another file and make strides on my current manuscript, I think I’ll look out the window at the sunrise and thank God for a new day. For in the words of L’Engle, “In the act of creativity, the artist lets go of self-control which he normally clings to and is open to riding the wind.”

How do you prepare for that next creation? Do you have a particular routine you follow while you ponder the story?


Chasing the Butterfly
From a vineyard in the south of France to the sophisticated city of Paris, Ella Moreau searches for the hope
and love she lost as a young girl when her mother abandoned the family. Ella's journey is portrayed through a heartbroken child, a young woman's struggles during the tumultuous times surrounding World War II, and as a reflective adult. Through a series of secret paintings, her art becomes the substitute for lost love, the visual metaphor of her life. But when her paintings are discovered, the intentions of those she loves are revealed.

Jayme H. Mansfield is an author, artist, and educator. She provides vivid imagery as she melds her inspiring writing and artistic talents. Her debut novel, Chasing the Butterfly, released in October 2014 from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Jayme is the owner of Piggy Toes Art Studio in Lakewood, Colorado. After a career in both the business and creative sides of advertising, Jayme received her teaching and Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and Creative Arts. For the past seventeen years, she has shared a passion for literacy and the writing process with her students. She teaches at Aspen Academy in Greenwood Village. Jayme is married to James and has three teenage boys.
To learn more and connect with Jayme, please visit:
The Blank Canvas blog:


  1. Great post, Jayme! I'd never thought of it like that before.

    No matter how clutter my house is (and it is very cluttered), my desk has to be clean and clear. Even though I can't control the rest of the world, if I can fix this one little part, then I can create.

    And love that Madeleine L'Engle quote!

    1. Thanks, Angie! I had to laugh at myself yesterday. When I was finished writing, my desk was strewn with papers, books, pens, crumpled sticky notes, and remaining jelly beans (only the white and black ones). Oh my, those story characters seem to invite themselves in and leave a mess.

    2. My jelly beans were multi-colored. :)

  2. I also feel the need to be surrounded by order when I sit down to write. Even though it doesn't always happen, I try to get the clutter out of the way, at least the part I am looking at!

  3. Barbara, I agree. Perhaps I'll start wearing blinders. But really, if we are honest, it's the heart and mind that need to be "in order" when we settle in to write. Isn't it amazing how the Lord invites us to pray before the words are released on the computer?

  4. My desk must be tidy or I can't think, but before I even sit down to work, my heart must be clean. Thanks for a lovely post, Jayme!

  5. "My heart must be clean." Dora--that is beautiful.


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