June 01, 2021

How Do You Write with Passion, Purpose, and Persistence? by Sandi Somers

Now that's persistence! 
Image by Pixabay

Last summer I enjoyed the book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Psychologist and author Angela Duckworth interviewed hundreds of people who were successful in their fields. She discovered that talent wasn’t the only indicator of success—sometimes a lesser talented person achieves more through what she called Grit. With effort, talent becomes skill. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than your unmet potential.

Duckworth said we begin by exploring our interests. From this exploration, we’ll discover what we’re really passionate about: something that will hold our interest over the long haul. Something that expresses our deepest desires.  

 … About ten years ago, I began giving more attention to writing. Every idea could be a book. However, gradually I dropped several ideas—some were too undeveloped or didn’t hold my attention for long. My passions lie in devotionals, my experiences working with different immigrant and refugee groups, and InScribe Writers Online.

But we must have a purpose, a calling, that will benefit others, says Duckworth. Something to connect to a larger picture. She gave an example of two bricklayers: one bricklayer says he’s laying bricks. The other bricklayer says he is building the house of God.

 ...For a time I wondered if God was really in my writing—should I even continue? I kept getting hamstrung by my short attention span of two or three months on one project. And my mental energy kept wearing down – I needed to take down time after major projects.


However, through prayer God confirmed that writing was one of my ministries. My purpose is to tell part of God's greater story of redemption, a story only I can tell—to point people to Jesus’ victory, his deliverance over sin and death, and his empowerment in our lives.


Then Duckworth discovered we foster our passion and purpose through practice. Thousands of hours of deliberate practice–taking a specific area that needs improving and deciding on a “stretch goal”. With great effort, we practice until we reach that stretch goal. When we’ve mastered that skill, we choose a new stretch goal.

 In each piece of writing, I practice such things as scenes, anecdotes, and sensory detail.This winter and spring I took two writing courses in personal essays to practice new strategies and receive professional feedback.

Further, Duckworth said that growth mindset leads to perseverance. Rather than reacting to setbacks and mistakes as though they're harmful, step back, analyze them, and learn from them. Keep working hard. Stay optimistic.

 …As I persevered, I learned that my shorter attention span has benefits. Like gardening and yard work that require different tasks throughout the year, and like my teaching career that focused on different units each term, I came to the conclusion that writing on seasonal topics and even two or more projects at a time facilitates my growth and keeps ideas flowing.  


However, I knew Duckworth missed out a vital component. God provided it for me this weekend as our church’s sermon this weekend was Our Number One Priority: Jesus. Sunday evening, a sermon from Charles Stanley emphasized this same theme. As we spend quality time with Him in the Word and in prayer, the Lord is actively working in, through, and for us. Stanley’s points are worth repeating: The Lord quietens our spirits so we’ll be calm for what might blow others off course. He refreshes our emotions. He purifies our hearts to face anxieties, frustrations, and sin. He gives us insight and instruction. And finally He gives us deep, abiding joy.

 More and more I’m experiencing how God gives me specific writing directions. Just last week, two specific ideas came to mind for my writing course, and God outlined several points. He even told me where to find an earlier draft in all my hundreds of computer entries. And many mornings in my quiet time, a thought that God brings to my attention becomes an insert into an article—or even a whole article. Now that’s co-creating with God.   


How have you demonstrated the above qualities in your faith and writing?

What challenges have you faced in keeping true to your vision of writing and creativity?

In what ways have you been a co-creator with God in developing your talents?


Thanks to the following InScribers for initiating this blog topic:

Sharon Heagy encapsulated many of the elements of passion and purpose when she advised us: “to never give up, to push through the writer’s block and blank pages until words appear that pierce or comfort a heart, all to the glory of God…Keep going…Never give up. For someone out there needs to read your words.” l

SusanBarclay illustrated another component of passion and purpose: centering different areas of her life around the Lord in a way that pleases Him.   


  1. Wow. There is a lot to process here and I truly appreciate your insights. I believe this month will be both a challenge and a time of immense growth for our readers and writers!

    1. Thanks, Tracy, for daily getting our comments off to a great start. Yes, I, too, enjoy reading how our different writers approach the theme and what God has been doing in their lives and writers. I always learn so much.

  2. My passion has left me. I just want to retire and enjoy all the wonderful things God has granted me to own.

    Thanks for the encouragement anyway. The only way to walk 25 miles in a day is to keep on walking until you're there.

    1. Thanks, Bruce. God will be with you as you relax with writing. It will be wonderful to know what God has in store for you after you retire. And yes, walking 25 miles is a journey of one step at a time.

  3. “ The Lord quietens our spirits so we’ll be calm for what might blow others off course. He refreshes our emotions. He purifies our hearts to face anxieties, frustrations, and sin. He gives us insight and instruction. And finally He gives us deep, abiding joy.” - where would we be without Him? Thanks for such a stimulating start for this month’s posts and thank you for the nod, Sandi.

    1. Thanks, Sharon. Yes, where would we be without the Lord?


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