Encouragement for Faithful Writers everywhere. Please share with your writing friends by forwarding this email. (Reading time: under four minutes)
October 31, 2019
Hi, Faithful Writer,
The holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas are almost here. Be gentle with yourself during this frenzied time of year. Maybe it’s a good time to scale back your writing goals. Or maybe your primary writing during November and December should be sending love by mail in the form of holiday greeting cards. If so, please include a personal note. Your friends and family deserve more than just a signature.
Faithful Reflection: Pray without ceasing
In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells a parable to his disciples about praying ceaselessly and not losing heart. He told about an “unjust judge” who granted justice to the widow who wore him out with her repeated pleas for help. The judge finally gave in, saying, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” The parable ended with Jesus’s reminder: “And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?“
Now my Southern manners would suggest it’s not polite to keep bothering someone, especially an authority figure. Clearly this parable is teaching otherwise. The woman didn’t whine. She didn’t try to manipulate the judge. She didn’t ask for anything other than what she felt was just.
But her faithful persistence got results.
How often do I give up on prayers when they’re not immediately answered? How often do I fail to even make requests that seem beyond the realm of possibility, even if they are my heart’s desire?
May God give me the wisdom to pray without ceasing, trusting Him to answer, even if He has to say “No,” “Not yet,” or “Not this way.”
If persistence is a God-sanctioned practice, maybe this story has applications for my writing life too. Certainly we Faithful Writers must persist in asking for the wisdom and discernment to write words that God will use for good.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
What books are on your nightstand?
“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”~ William Faulkner
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
This was a sweet story about a widower, Arthur Pepper, who is still struggling to regain his equilibrium after his wife’s death a year before. When he discovers a valuable and exotic charm bracelet in her closet, the charms and inscriptions indicate she had a secret life she had never shared with him. Hurt and mystified, he feels compelled to call a phone number on one of the charms. It is answered by a man in India who remembers Arthur’s wife very fondly from decades before, when she was his nanny. As Arthur tracks down the stories behind each of the charms, he comes back to life emotionally and finds others who share his devotion to his beloved wife.
The No-No Boy by John Okada
Originally written published in 1957 and poorly received, this outstanding book was rediscovered by a new generation of Asian Americans who found it to be a powerful and honest depiction of their experience. In the recent edition I read, the Foreword by Ruth Ozeki and the Afterword by Frank Chin helped me understand why this book is such a classic of Asian American literature. Protagonist Ichiro Yamada was a “no-no boy”—someone who had answered “no” twice in a compulsory government questionnaire during WWII. Conflicted by loyalty to his country of birth and loyalty to his Japanese-born parents, who had been interned by the U.S. government after Pearl Harbor, Yamada returns from incarceration to a fractured and confused post-war community. This book was beautiful, heart-rending, and thought-provoking.
I’d love to know what you’re reading right now. Hit “Reply” to this email and let me know. CLICK HERE to see my entire reading list for 2018 and 2019. When you purchase any books from the Amazon links on that page, the small affiliate fee helps support this newsletter and my blog.
Faithful writing Quotes
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.” ~ William H. Gass
“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” ~ Oscar Wilde
Writing Tip of the Month
There are many ways to be a faithful writer
You do not need to be a published author to be a faithful writer. If you write because you feel called or inspired…or because it helps to process your thoughts or handle your emotions, or move closer to God, you are a faithful writer. Claim it!
You can find images for this and earlier Tips for #FaithfulWriters HERE.
October Writer’s Resource
I joined Hope*Writers about a year ago and have found it to be a lively writing community that provides a fantastic library of resources and weekly hour-long interviews with writers, editors, agents, publishers, and more. Happily, there is now a Hope*Writers podcast that pulls the highlights from these weekly interviews and offers them for free. You’ll find some more useful to your particular stage of writing than others, but I’m finding many of them very helpful. Look for it on your favorite podcast player.
The Hope*Writers group opens its enrollment three times a year, so I’ll let you know the next time, but here’s my affiliate link for getting the “Top 20 questions writers ask.”
New on the Heartspoken blog
“Are You Feeding The Monsters?” – Sometimes poetry speaks more powerfully than any lecture. In the work of our country’s 2019 Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo, I found both recognition and strength. Are you feeding the monsters?
“Heartspoken Moment: Your Circumstances Don’t Care About You“ – The circumstances of your life at any moment don’t care about you at all, so don’t waste time or energy trying to change what you can’t control.
“Heartspoken Book Review: Meet Me At The Museum“ – This book by Anne Youngson is a tender treatment of the complexities of a decades-old marriage and the heart-stirrings that come when one feels heard and understood after years of emotional neglect.
If you’d like to be featured in a future “Faithful Writer Spotlight,” please let me know. Leave a comment below or email me.
If you’re not receiving my other Heartspoken Newsletter “Compass Points,” you’re missing out on content not found on the blog. Email me if you’d like me to send you a sample or CLICK HERE to get it in your own Inbox on the second Saturday of each month.
That’s it for this month. I’ll be with you again in November. In the meantime, keep an eye on the Faithful Writers Facebook group, where I post articles and resources I think you’ll find valuable.
P.S. Have a question or comment? Need some help? Leave a comment below or email me.
P.P.S. If someone shared this newsletter with you, why not get your own? When you add your name to my email list, CLICK HERE. you’ll get a special gift, this monthly newsletter, and my enduring gratitude.