Writing Parables – Life lessons that apply to writing 


My kids are still at the age where picking random flowers, rocks, worms, the dead leaf in the driveway, and giving them to mom is fun. They love me to ooh and awe over their latest find and stick so many flowers in my hair; I make hippies look normal. One such time came a few days ago when I was given a dandelion as we were getting into the car. It needed a “safe” place for it to ride, so it got the honorary spot in the cupholder. After a hot summer day in the car, my kiddo was devastated to realize the flower had wilted, and we had not been able to enjoy it. 

Sometimes our story inspiration can be like this. We gain a spark of inspiration and run with it. We can’t wait to see our grand creation spelled out on paper because we know it will be the next dazzling tale to grace the publication world. 

Yet the creative momentum is short-lived as we step away from our work for a short time for whatever purpose or need. We soon find ourselves staring blankly at the text cursor blinking ominously, almost mockingly, at us. Our vision has turned to a dry riverbed, and we wonder if this is truly a statement about our gifts and talents. Perhaps we were not meant to write after all, and our creativity well is as barren as the Sahara Desert. In other words, our idea ideas popped up like the fast-growing dandelion and wilted just as quickly. 

However, did you know that the world’s largest underground lake is found in the Kalahari desert? Enormous crevices in the earth have filled with water under the desert sands and deep in the recess of the cave is one of the rarest species, the Golden Cave Catfish. It persevered in this isolated place when it was discovered in 1986. 

When your idea has withered in the light of neglect, or simply life, it is time to dig deep. Just as the desert holds life-giving water and rare fish, you hold untold creativity and a rare story. Perhaps it is similar to another, but the Golden Cave Catfish is simply a blind catfish, who persevered in the darkness of a cave. Perhaps the story you find hiding inside of you is not the same as you thought it would be. That’s ok. What is most important is that you do not simply give up because the heat is turned up, and things are hard. It is that you dug deep and found the life spring of your story and the inspiration that persevered in the drought of writer’s block or, if you are like me, writer’s distraction. 

Have you ever had an inspiration that grew cold that you later reignited? How did you go about it? Perhaps you need to make a commitment not to give up on an inspiration? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.