I'm a bit of a musician. I've played the piano for as long as I remember, played clarinet for a number of years in high school, I sing, and I’ve written songs. I like to think I'm one of those people with a fairly good sense of timing - you know, someone who can clap in church to encourage the musicians out the front, and not put them off with faulty counting :)
In music, rhythm is regarded as the pattern of sounds and silence; how the beats are structured decides the rhythm. Tempo is slightly different, in that it refers to the speed of the music, whether it is fast, medium or slow. This has to do with the number of beats per minute: allegro (which means fast, bright or quickly) is played at 120-168 beats per minute (bpm), whereas adagio (which means to be played at a leisurely pace) is around 54-56 bpm. It’s often the tempo that can determine the mood of a piece of music – you don’t tend to hear too many fast-paced sad songs.
Lately, I've been learning in my writing journey about writing rhythms: the ebbs and flow of creativity and marketing and how that relates to productivity and just plain life.
Sometimes we have seasons of creativity, where the words are begging to get onto the page (or into the computer). Other times it's more of a challenge, like when we feel stuck in a box with no whisper of inspiration to be heard, when every sentence written feels like it deserves some form of chocolate reward. Sometimes we might move into a period of promotion, when selling ourselves is considered necessary (even if we find it painful – hello, fellow introverts). At other times, life—by way of family, health, work—can feel like it’s hijacking our writing journey, and we may feel like we stutter to a stop, or at least to an uncertain pause.
I’m learning that whatever the season I’m in, whether it be the very, very fast pace of ‘prestissimo’ when words are pouring forth furiously and deadlines and marketing demand an accelerated pace (hello: where I feel like I've spent most of my year!), or the quieter times of ‘calando’ when circumstances slow and it feels like one can breathe again, the most important thing is to keep listening to the rhythm orchestrated by God. God is always constant, like a metronome that sets the tempo and regulates our rhythms. This means we need not panic when life feels like it’s getting out of control, nor despair when it seems like nothing is working out.
God’s character never falters, His promises remain steady, and as we read His word and listen to His leading, we can be assured by the fact that He knows the various rhythms of our life. God is right there with us, a steadying heartbeat, in the ‘presto’ and the ‘tardo’ and all the other tempos of our writing journey, and our lives.