April 11, 2015

Going Green--Bamboo Green by Connie Inglis

I do enjoy seeing the new growth, the new green, of spring. I realize for some of you, spring has been green for a few months. For those of us on the Canadian prairies, the new green growth of spring is just beginning. And it is truly invigorating after months of white, months of no growth but only cold harshness.

My writing went through a long, long winter like that--something I shared about in last month's blog. But then shoots of growth started sprouting--Holy Spirit-driven sprouts of greenness and new life. It was unexpected but oh so welcoming to my frozen heart and soul.

I cannot explain how my life has changed since those green sprouts returned. I just know I never want to go back to the tundra. Which presents a challenge: How do I keep my writing green?

First and foremost, I need to invite the Spirit into everything that pertains to writing... that includes any reading I do, any listening to sermons or podcasts I do, any music listening I do, even any tv watching I do. I am still learning this one. It takes practice but if I keep it up, it will become a habit. I have discovered that you just never know when an idea will jump out at you if you are in the "write" frame of mind. That's one of the things I LOVE about the Holy Spirit--He is anything but predictable. That's what makes His inspiration so fresh and green.

In his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King states, "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot." I've always been a reader. However, I have recently been choosing books that help me with my writing--books like, Ordinary Genius by Kim Addonizio, Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury and, You are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins. Each author has a unique perspective on their craft and as I read I feel like a young "Grasshopper" sitting at their feet with so much to learn.

I am also learning to read proactively--to read seeking something fresh, green, inspirational. You might think that ruins the enjoyment of reading but it actually has made the reading more enjoyable. Sounds strange I know. Again, I believe that's the working of the Spirit.

It's the writing that I had stopped long ago that has returned and I'm learning that it requires work. I always thought that for famous authors writing came easy, with little work. I am learning that this is a false assumption.  In the book mentioned above, Jeff Goins says, “Everything is practice. Every word you write and action you take is a chance to get better.” Believe it or not, this encourages me. I'm not afraid of work. I have learned throughout my life that perseverance pays off--that the Spirit is present in the perseverance. That doesn't mean there won't be slow days or "writer's block" days. But I believe it does mean there will no longer be years of winter. For that I am thankful.

I am still a novice--my toes are just beginning to sink into the pristine sands of an undiscovered tropical island, one that is lush and green. Funny, when I think of green growth, my years of living in Southeast Asia take my imagination to a picture of bamboo forests. I love bamboo for many reasons. In how it relates to writing, I love its green growth--without hibernation, without winter. Bamboo is strong yet pliable. It will bend but not break. It is also persevering. Cut it down and the growth will return. In fact, some species of bamboo can grow three feet in 24 hours. What?!! Now that's prolific. It's sort of scary to say this (because of the prolific part) but I feel like my writing is a bamboo forest right now--a forest where God's Spirit is alive, weaving in and out of the graceful jointed stems, catching the Light on the slender leaves. I feel alive--hardly able to breathe sometimes--and it is beautiful. God is oh so good.


  1. For a 'novice' your post was spot on! Thank you for the encouragement. I'm in a bit of a dry season myself and found this quite inspiring.

  2. It's so encouraging to hear how you are in a "green phase" of your writing, Connie. We all go through dry times so when a Christian brother or sister is going through a growth spurt it helps me remember that it's all in Gods timing and will come around to each of us in his perfect time. I especially appreciated how you have disciplined yourself to only read and listen to books that will help you stay "green",
    Pam Mytroen

  3. Since I too am working toward a "greener" experience spiritually and in writing, I appreciate what you are saying on so many levels. I have seen some green blades rising arround here too, as noted in my post yesterday. The Holy Spirit is working in our souls as we make ourselves available. Thanks for your tips on books for writers. The one by Jeff Goins sounds especially appropriate, and it would be great to be familiar with his writing before he shows up at Fall Conferences.

  4. Connie, I have a sticky note on my laptop reminding me to Pray: Episodes/Courses/Blog. But TV? C'mon -- TV? Shoot. Have I ever invited the Spirit into my TV viewing, and choices thereof? Nope. Never. Interesting concept (she admits, grudgingly). Ask me in a month and I'll let you know if it's found a home! LOL

  5. Thanks for your words of encouragement, Tracy.
    Yes, Pam, I am really enjoying these days the books that keep me "green."
    Sharon--I am always amazed at how beautifully the Holy Spirit works. It is exciting.
    And Bobbi--I have actually become more aware of themes of hope, love and redemption in tv shows lately (not all of them, of course). It's a beautiful reminder that God really desires to speak goodness into all of us, even through the television. Surprising to me but makes me smile.

  6. Thank you Connie for the encouraging post ... it seems the struggle continues, but steps can be made to move ahead. I'm with you on feeling invigorated with signs of spring and new growth. Thanks for the book suggestions as well. Write on!

  7. Connie, I so enjoyed your thoughts on how we can keep our writing 'green'. I appreciated catching a glimpse of your own writing journey (struggle) and am glad you're feeling green these days!

    Wishing you a lovely Spring....

  8. Thanks Jocelyn and Brenda for your encouraging and kind words. Yes, keep pressing on and may each of you have a lovely Spring.


Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.