Encouragement for Faithful Writers everywhere. Please share with your writing friends. (Reading time: under five minutes)
August 24, 2019
Hi, Faithful Writer,
I can’t believe the summer is almost over. I confess this time of year brings a bit of melancholy. I’m trying to lean into that and remember it is part of the natural cycle of seasons and emotions in my life. I’m finding the best way to make sacred space in my mind, heart, and soul is to be more consistent with my meditation. I’ve started thinking of my walking time as prayerful meditation, and it refreshes me more than I thought possible.
Do you have a spiritual practice that you find helpful? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Faithful Reflection: “Writing is its own reward”
This quote from American writer Henry Miller (1891-1980) got me thinking about the pressure I often put on myself when I let “purpose” become “obligation.” It can rob me of the joy of writing just to write…writing that no one else will ever see except me…writing that flows from my heart and soul for no other purpose than the act of writing. This kind of writing can actually become a form of worship, don’t you think?
I was reminded of this again when I listened to Emily P. Freeman’s post “How To Create Space For Your Soul To Breathe.” She shared a daily routine she has dubbed PRWRP. That’s an acronym for Pray-Read-Write-Read-Pray, a practice she says takes about 30 minutes and starts her day drawing near to God. I was struck with “W” for Writing, because she said this writing is rarely seen by anyone else but helps to prime the pump of her creativity.
This led me to remember the “Morning Pages” routine popularized by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way:
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages– they are not high art. They are not even ‘writing.’ They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.
Do you ever write just for the reward of having written?
What books are on your nightstand?
Good writers are good readers, because the ideas, events, people, and places we experience while reading can inform and inspire our writing. Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:
The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery, by Louise Penney, was a gripping story with remarkable character development and deep spiritual insights. Penny has an impressive grasp of the range of human emotions and motivations. A seance goes awry in the peaceful Canadian town of Three Pines. As Inspector Gamache looks for a murderer, he also encounters demons within himself and on the police force. The title is from T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land.”
I stepped out of my typical book choices to read Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations by Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy Retired). It was a riveting memoir, each chapter of which was worthy of becoming an action movie. From his incredibly rigorous training as a Navy Seal to his missions involving some of the most famous military operations in recent decades, I couldn’t stop reading this action-packed and thought-provoking book.
A fellow member of a local writing group, Sarah Kohrs, contributed a chapter to Slavery’s Descendants: Shared Legacies of Race and Reconciliation, edited by Dionne Ford and Jill Strauss. Each essay was a poignant, moving, and heart-expanding look at the way many individuals have stepped out of their comfort zone, opened their eyes to the truth of past wrongs, and “come to the table” with those whose lives are different from theirs. Inspiring!
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.
Faithful Writing Quotes
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
“It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.” ~ C. J. Cherryh
“A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.” ~ Sidney Sheldon
Writing Tip of the Month
Become a Collector of words
Make words your hobby—keep a list of words and phrases you love from your reading. Learn new words and use them—not to show off but to be more articulate. A dictionary and thesaurus should be within arm’s length.
You can find images for this and earlier Tips for #FaithfulWriters HERE.
August Writer’s Resource
The Communicator’s Companion by Jean Wise
Jean is a member of our Faithful Writers group and has written a book you should all have on your bookshelf: The Communicator’s Companion: Devotions for Speakers and Writers. It inspired me, encouraged me, and gave me not only spiritual guidance for my writing life but also practical suggestions on how to apply spiritual principles to my writing ministry. CLICK HERE for my review of her excellent book:
If you have any writerly resources you’d like to share with others in the group, hit Reply and email me or share it in the Faithful Writers Facebook group.
Faithful Writer Spotlight: Jessica Messinger
Jessica has self-published a children’s book called Stinky Feet, and her current works in progress are in various stages of completion from “ideas” to “editing.” A devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, her current calling is to work with the young women in her congregation. She describes herself as a “Domestic Goddess” and rejoices in her roles of wife, mother, and grandmother – well, most days anyway. She and her husband have 4 children and 4 grandchildren.
Jessica has found a form of meditation that helps with her writing. “It’s a simple but very effective meditation consisting of three equal time periods, so it can be as short as 30 seconds, or as long as you want! (I’ve only made it to 45 minutes.)”
- First give thanks; I thank Heavenly Father, but you can thank any deity you worship, Mother Earth, or just send gratitude out into the universe.
- Second, be still. You can focus on breathing, listening, picture a sunrise, or God holding you in His hands. Just be still. If your thoughts are swirling, picture yourself laying them in a stream and letting them go. Gently bring your focus back to being still and quiet.
- Next, you write. Write anything; lists, a difficult scene you’re trying to figure out for your WIP, ideas, nonsense words, journaling your feelings. Just write.
New on the Heartspoken Blog
7 ways To Make Your Next Vacation More Soul-Nourishing – with a little prep and practice, you can do this!
Claim Your Own Glory – A life lesson from Toni Morrison
Heartspoken Moment: Find Common Ground– We always have a choice about whether we focus on our differences or look for common ground.
A Heartspoken Book Review: The Communicator’s Companion by Jean Wise – my 5-star review and this month’s Faithful Writer’s resource.
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 September.
P.S. Have a question or comment? Need some help? Just reply to this email…it will come straight to me and I’ll respond.
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