I’ve made many new resolutions to change my writing habits this past year: waking up early, committing to blog twice a week, and seeking out places of writing and reading. Still I fight the practice. It’s easy to put it on the back burner for the day as I stay in bed for another hour, prioritize other activities, and even find myself wondering what to write. If everything else in my life aligns for the day, then I will write. Otherwise, it may or may not happen.
Even though I have this adversarial relationship to writing, I go to bed feeling something is missing if I don’t take time for it. A deep desire exists to express myself and the world around me through words. Part of my problem is hearing my inner self and others saying that writing is just a hobby, it’s not important. However, recently several words about writing have encouraged me to take it seriously again.
Words of covenant. Walter Wangerin, Jr. talks about his relationship to writing – and subsequently the readers – as a covenant. This is not an insignificant word. It reflects a serious intention related to writing. An ethical response to this work. It’s a bond of trust with the writer and herself, her writing, her readers. A voice in me whispers that maybe Wangerin can get away with this because he’s a real, published writer. But does that make my work any less respectable? Probably the first person who needs to take my writing seriously is me.
Words of spiritual practice. Often I have thought about writing as a spiritual practice. I journal during my quiet times and find myself in a cathedral recording thoughts about God’s work in my life. However, I’m learning that the content or place of the writing doesn’t necessarily make it more or less spiritual. As we see Jesus as God incarnate – that mysterious intersection of God and human, spirit and material – we can catch a glimpse of what spiritual writing may be. Not writing that is only about spiritual topics, but writing that comes out of an ever more incarnationally lived life.
Words of platform. Suggestions related to getting published may not at first seem the best way to be inspired to write. Often such things can even squelch creativity. Yet, concrete ideas to develop a more focused means of getting my work to others is helping me to develop that writing self. So often I allow the random currents of life to dictate what I write – or not write. A little bit here, a little bit there. Constructing a platform (or maybe a canoe) can help me ride these currents better and even provide a better way for readers to understand what’s coming.
These words of covenant, spiritual discipline, and platform, along with others connecting writing to play and as a means of forming and sharing stories are starting to pull me out of bed and to the computer, one day, one hour at a time.
What words and prompts get you to write?