When we think of our writing, we often focus on the challenges. This month we ask the question: In what ways is writing a joy to you?
Sometimes the answer is simple—making a list: “How do I find joy in writing? Let me count the ways” (with apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning). But sometimes the answer is not that straightforward.
Let’s dig deeper.
The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength
(From Nehemiah 8:10)
In June 2015, our InScribe Writers’ Online blog topic was: “When I write, I feel His pleasure.” This experience was a game-changer for me; I was sometimes discouraged with my writing progress, but through reading others’ blogs that month, I became vividly aware that God does take pleasure in our writing.
About that time by Divine Timing, I read Louise DeSalvo’s The Art of Slow Writing. She said that writing for a few minutes each day on what went well and what we have learned “can afford us insight into our writing lives and our works in progress… If we understand what went well today, and why it went well, we’ll be more likely to engage in activities that will yield positive results in the future.”
As a result of these two events, I began a journal of joy. I knew these reflections would help me overcome discouragement and instead focus on how God was pleased with my writing.
God instructed His people to “rejoice in all that you put your hand to… in which the Lord your God has blessed you” (Deuteronomy 12:7).
But can we reconcile “joy” with times we’re bogged down with our work-in-progress? Or when our hopes for success fall apart? Or when critical needs or emergencies take over and we’re unable to write at all?
Perhaps not. But it is at these times God brings a new perspective that will eventually lead to joy. Here are some of the ways God has given me greater meaning and joy.
Dialoguing with God about our situation. “If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14). The key is to pray specifically. The more I dialogue with God about issues, the more He gives me peace and a way forward.
Rejoicing in God’s love and plans for us. Just this morning my devotional reading brought me to Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope”. He has already made plans for us, and has promised to guide us.
Doing one small thing towards our goals. Our pastor often asks: “What is the next step God is asking you to do?” Sometimes the next thing to do comes as an insight, while other times it is, as Gloria Guest said in her January blog, “with continued effort”. As a result, both we and our writing become lighter and those “small, minute changes can turn into a wide open curtain and a room full of sunshine.”
Focusing on our readers and praying for them. People long to be encouraged. Many are broken and hurting. People need Someone to fill that void in their lives. God has given us the ministry of reconciliation through our writing (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). This last summer joy welled up as I began to pray more deeply for the ministry of our InScribe Writers Online blog. I prayed that our words would be a part of meeting those needs, elevating Jesus and reconciling readers to God.
And now it’s your turn. In what ways is writing a joy to you? What draws you to the page or computer day after day? What satisfactions do you receive, in both your unpublished and published works?