Writing With Abandon

Sisters At Play

Whatever you do work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

Colossians 3:23

There was no feeling like the joyful abandon of play as a child.  I could spend hours outside with my friends and siblings lost in time until the dinner bell brought us home.

Brenda Ueland in her book If You Want to Write, describes a class of children painting with that kind of abandon:

“Now these children worked for five or six hours at a stretch…with the blissful, radiant power of a Michelangelo or Blake…It is the way you are to feel when you are writing – happy, truthful and free, with that wonderful contented absorption of a child stringing beads in kindergarten.”

An author that I know started writing “Playtime” on her calendar instead of “Work”.  It helps to come with a sense of expectation to the desk instead of dread.  When I lose myself in the writing I do my best work.

Brenda Ueland also advises writers to guard against writing to impress others, instead to be bold and confident in who they are: “…writing is not a performance but a generosity.” Children do this naturally in play.

May I bring a child-like abandon to my writing today.

Time to play.

Laurie and Betsy, writingsisters.com

Writing With Peace

My Favorite Writing Spot

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition,

with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6

“What if?”

These words are a writer’s worst enemy.  They bring up all kinds of insecurities.

What if I can’t find words today?

What if my manuscript is rejected?

What if my book doesn’t sell?

Worrying can sap my strength and stop the flow of ideas.

Linda Dillow gives a great antidote for anxiety in her book, Calm My Anxious Heart.  Drawing from Philippians 4 she gives us four choices we can practice that allow us to experience God’s peace.

  • Choosing to give our anxieties to God – I can make a decision today that I will not worry about my work.
  • Choosing to pray specifically – I can choose lift up my concerns about my work to God.
  • Choosing to be thankful – Gratitude helps me focus on God’s faithfulness.
  • Choosing to dwell on the positive – I can make a choice to see the glass half full.

God’s peace or my worry?  It is a matter of choice. I can give in to the “what if”s or I can choose to practice peace.

Today I choose peace.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7

Betsy Duffey, writingsisters.com

Writing With Humor

A joyful heart is good medicine.

Proverbs 17:22

When I see Lucy and Ethel coming out in their bakery hats I start to smile.  As I watch them desperately wrapping candies unable to keep up with the speed of the conveyor belt, I totally relate to the feeling.  I’m already behind today.  Now I’m laughing and feeling connected, not alone in my frailty and human condition. It’s a relief to be reminded that I am human, made of dust. My own busy day pulls into perspective.

As a writer I can use humor to relate to my readers and to help my readers connect to their own humanity,  but humor can be misused too. How can I use it wisely? In an article for the Soul Care Bible, Liz Curtis Higgs explains the difference between the humor of the world and the humor of the one who knows God:

Worldly Humor

  • Glorifies Sin
  • Puts down others
  • Ridicules righteousness
  • Hurts the spirit

 Godly Humor

  • Avoids offense
  • Builds up others
  • Honors the Lord
  • Heals the Spirit

Humility and humor and human come from the same root word, humus, which means soil, earth, ground, or sod. The best humor invites us to share in the experience of being human or even being made of dirt by a God who loves us.  Worldly humor comes from a platform of superiority over others, Godly humor from a platform of humility.

Humor is a gift from God to remind us who we are and to keep us humble, best of all it makes us laugh.

I think I’ll watch Lucy and Ethel one more time before I get back to work.


Writing With Vision

Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Where there is no vision the people perish.”

— Proverbs 29:18

A children’s book writer shared one of her fan letters with me.  Printed with crayon on bright yellow construction paper it read: “Thank you for writing god books.” We chuckled at the truth in the error, god vs. good. But later it made me think:

What is different between a good book and a God book?

As I grow in my faith and as my writing efforts shift to Christian books I want to know the difference. How do I write as a follower of Jesus?  What does Christ-centered writing look like?   Christ-centered writing begins with God’s idea instead of my idea, but how do I know the difference?

In his book Visioneering, Andy Stanley presents two ways to know the distinction between good ideas and God ideas:

1.  A God-ordained vision will eventually feel like a moral imperative.

Have you ever had the idea for a book that would not let you go? “As the burden in you grows, you will feel compelled to take action.” My ideas wane over time, God’s grow stronger.

2.  A God-ordained vision will be in line with what God is doing in the world.

My ideas serve myself or advance my career.  God’s ideas are part of a bigger plan.  This is not always apparent at first.  “Initially, you may not see a connection.  If not, wait.”

My idea?  Or God’s idea? Will I ever know for sure? Probably not, but I am encouraged that Jesus was big on restoring people’s vision.

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes.  Immediately they received their sight and followed him.”  Matthew 20:29

May my eyes be opened too.

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