I finished editing the first draft of my book and turned it over to the hands of Moody Publishers this past week. Yay. While my first thought was one of celebration, the second thought was what will my next book be? You would think I would be ready for a think-cation. Take a little mental break. But I love the creative process. I like the potential of a blank page.
Leonardo da Vinci turned a blank page into the Mona Lisa.
Walt Disney turned a blank page into the first feature length cartoon.
John Hancock and the United States' founding fathers turned a blank page into the Declaration of Independence.
Paul turned a blank page into scripture.
A blank page can become a song, sermon, screenplay, scientific formula, sketch or something never done before.
But as I noodled the potential of my next project, I had the nagging fear...
sequels are rarely equals.
A lot of follow up projects suffer what is called the "sophomore slump."
Bands become one hit wonders, never able to equal the success of their first EP and they are left feeling like "ice, ice, baby too cold, too cold."
Sports teams win the championship only to come in last place the next year. I was tricked into becoming a life long Chicago Bears fan because I grew up with the Super Bowl Shuffle and their amazing 1985 season, ending with championship rings. There has never been a season quite like that since.
The same phenomenon happens with movies, like the smash hit "A Christmas Story." It's traditional in my family to watch the holiday comedy every winter. We can quote 90% of the scenes yet we still laugh. Did you know there was a sequel? Probably not because it was awful.
One of the reasons why follow up projects don't do so well is that people try to duplicate rather than just create. They are trying to capture the essence of that first project. Rather than looking at a blank page, they are looking at the success of the finished page and trying to figure out how to match it. This is creatively crippling.
One of the things I love about God is how creative He is. He doesn't feel the pressure to duplicate miracles. He's content to do one once and do something entirely different the next time and yet each one is awe inspiring.
There's only one Jericho who's walls miraculously fall down.
There's only one day where the sun stands still.
There's only one wedding where water was turned into wine.
There's only one time where Peter walks on water.
I find this encouraging because when God is the inspiration, every blank page can be totally different yet equally miraculous. I don't have to worry about what my next book will be, God has plenty of ideas about that. Previous projects become inspiration rather than competition. If God could inspire the first one, He can inspire an infinite number of others.
What is God wanting to do with your blank pages?
What project is He inspiring you to tackle?