DLGP

Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Inspiring Lessons on Transcendence from the King of Horror

Written by: on February 10, 2022

When the King of Horror, author credited with over 60 novels, 200 short stories, and countless films/TV series, the creative mind behind diverging stories like The Shining and The Shawshank Redemption, writes a book on writing, it is most likely going to be a master’s class. 

 

In On Writing, King argued, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”[1] 

 

But before King became the prolific writer, synonymous with horror, he faced the starts and hard stops of the creative process, internally and externally. This psychological journey is what our second author calls “Resistance.” 

 

A unique creative thinking and popular psychology book of short prose, The War of Art, explains why humans do not meet their creative potential. Pressfield determines that resistance creates barriers between the life we live and the unlived life. Resistance holds us back from living out our creative spirit, filling our heads with self-doubt. 

 

Pressfield argues that resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it. [2] In other words, while resistance can have external stimulants, such as the people closest to us, it mainly derives from our strong emotions of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. These internal distractions are mental games that clog up our headspace or are expressed in actions we take, which ultimately lead to not fulfilling our creative potential.  

 

How do you overcome resistance? First, according to Pressfield, we need to embrace the fact that we have fear, anxiety, and uncertainty because that’s part of the creative process. Then, looking more intently at these intense emotions, we discover that the reason behind it is our love for this thing we are hoping to create. 

 

Instead of running away from that fear, the author urges us to run to that fear and tackle that most difficult thing. For King, that meant posting a publisher’s rejection letter on the wall or later, tackling his demons of alcoholism. 

 

Both Pressfield and King invite creatives to organize their lives, identifying what causes the most significant distractions and resistance. As King would urge readers to shut their doors, turn off the phones, and begin creating. 

 

Pressfield nudges creatives towards receiving inspiration from a higher source, which ultimately points to the desire for transcendence within all humans. Finally, King talks about the motivation behind creativity, stating with all his success that he has never once done it for the money but for the joy of creating and sharing it with the world.

 

Both King and Pressfield’s books provide deep psychological insight into the journey of creating something out of nothing. 

 

As we stare into the overwhelming burdens of balancing vocational callings, families, personal lives, and this doctoral program, may we take encouragement, knowing that the satisfaction of accomplishment starts right where we are, beckoning us forward despite our nagging doubts and fears, knowing that what lies on the other side is worth it. May we take hope and strength, knowing that what we are doing now comes from a divine calling to make a difference in this world through the love of Jesus Christ.  

 

[1] King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. ( New York: Scribner, 2010), 6.

[2] Pressfield, Steven. The War of Art. (New York: Black Irish Entertainment LLC, 2002), 16. 

About the Author

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Andy Hale

CBF Podcast Creator and Host, Senior Pastor of University Baptist Church (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), & Professional Coach

9 responses to “Inspiring Lessons on Transcendence from the King of Horror”

  1. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Andy, I really like how you drew insight from both authors. Of all of your insights taken from both books, what do you think finds application to the creative process for pastors who speak on a regular basis? (Asking for a friend)

    • mm Andy Hale says:

      Roy,

      I enjoy the creative process of developing sermon series, thinking deeply about where my people are and what they are dealing within in their lives, along with where our church is going and how spiritual formation fits alongside it.

      Additionally, I love the creative process our staff develops ministry programs, events, and initiatives. It’s not just about what we have done but the innovative process afterward to look at how we can approach it differently and celebrate what went well.

  2. mm Troy Rappold says:

    Andy: I got a lot out of both books, too. There were plenty of practical advice given, especially with King. It is always good to review how adverbs are unneeded, rotten animals. But also the personal revelations, such as King’s alcohol and drug addiction and is waxing about the creative process were helpful. Pressfield was inspiring, especially his first two sections. Do you do any writing for the sake of it? When you have an interview coming up and you prepare questions, is that a period of creative outlet for you?

    • mm Andy Hale says:

      Troy,

      I think you’ve raised a fascinating point for clergy that might have that itch that can’t be scratched by their work. The podcast has been that avenue for me.

      I have complete creative control over who we have and the topics we cover.

  3. Kayli Hillebrand says:

    Andy: In reading King and Pressfield this week, did you find that some of their writing suggestions can cross-function from podcast content, sermon writing, and academic writing you’re engaged in right now or do you think they each require a different skillset and mentality?

    • mm Andy Hale says:

      Kayli,

      Absolutely. In fact, I’m exploring several new podcast series avenues right now, along with a vocational shift. Doing this program, and not a traditional D.Min, was a step in expanding my creative horizons. But, of course, discernment is an integral part of the creative process.

      As I mentioned in my comment to Roy, I love the process of developing sermon series based on the needs of our people, along with the vision of our faith community, figuring out how spiritual formation fits into all of it.

  4. mm Eric Basye says:

    Thanks Andy. Well said. To the point.

    From this week’s reading, with what concepts do you resonate? Or disagree? As you wrestle with these concepts for your own development and leadership, what are your greatest victories or challenges? No need to respond. These are the questions that came to mind as I was reading. Perhaps longing to hear more of your heart.

  5. mm Andy Hale says:

    I love the discipline of sitting down and writing each day simultaneously.

    At the beginning of the week, I spend time figuring out where my creative time needs to be. When the creative flow isn’t happening, I’ve also learned to shift to something new or move around for 5-10 minutes to get the blood flowing.

  6. mm Nicole Richardson says:

    Andy thank you for your reflection on these books.

    As you engage that pioneering spirit God gave you, how might you talk about balance of creativity and discipline in light of what Friedman says about resistance and what we have gleaned from The Molecule of More?

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