April 30, 2022

What Writing Projects Make Your Heart Sing? By Sandi Somers

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We’ve all worked on writing projects that we loved (passion projects), and projects we’ve---well, loved less. Lady Bird Johnson advised: “Work on projects that make your heart sing.”

As I’ve been thinking through Lady Bird Johnson’s wisdom, I’ve thought of projects that have sustained my interest until completion, while other projects initially excited me, but then became a chore, and I wished I hadn’t started them. What made the difference? It helped to know that I needed to discern whether a project excites me initially, or whether it continues to enliven me, bringing a sense of life, and making my heart sing.

I’ve recently come across a number of relevant concepts, concepts I want to share with you.

1.   To discern whether we’re enlivened or only excited, the psychologist Dan Allender asks us to probe the following questions: “What moves me most deeply? What do I most enjoy doing? Where do I find the greatest pleasure and joy? What is it about this activity…that brings me such a sense of life?”

2.   If we’re enlivened, we write from love and joy. The writing instructor and author Elizabeth Andrew says, “Write from a place of love—for the subject matter, for the writing process, for the language, for our readers.”

3.   Even in joyous experiences, we can run into discouragement, uncertainty, obstacles, and setbacks. We may need to acknowledge that we need help. But ultimately we need to persevere, to think of creative solutions, to turn to the Lord for His guidance and how He is sustaining us.

4.   Then we need to look beyond ourselves, to think of how we can inspire others. Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Dillard advised us: “Dedicate (donate, give all) your life to something larger than yourself and pleasure—to the largest thing you can: to God, to relieve suffering, to contributing to knowledge, to adding to literature, or something else. Happiness lies this way, and it beats pleasure hollow.”

5.   Ultimately we give our passion back to God to develop according to His plan and His mission for us.

6.   I conclude with a very personal note. “To everything there is a season,” the Preacher wrote (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Projects that make us sing come to an end, and the Lord directs us elsewhere.

Over eight years ago, our then-moderator of InScribe Writers Online, Brenda Leyland, invited me to develop monthly themes and become the lead writer. Doing so has stretched my faith and writing, from my first tentative posts, to a variety of writing strategies. The Lord has been my constant guide. Comments from other bloggers have encouraged me, and in addition, I’ve developed both professional and personal friendships through this blog.

But now I sense the Lord asking me to close this chapter. Beginning with our June blog, Wendy Macdonald will assume these responsibilities or designate others in these roles. I will not completely disappear from IWO, however. For the foreseeable future I will continue as a regular contributor sometime during the month.

I pray that this ministry will continue with God’s blessing. Please continue to pray for our writers, just as I extend my love, gratitude and prayers to you.

~ ~ ~

Now over to you.

As you think of your past or current writing projects…How have you discovered Lady Bird Johnson’s advice to be true? How does doing so honour the Lord in your writing?

 Surround yourself with love and beauty as you write.

You are here to live in God’s love and reflect it to everyone around you.


  1. Thank you, dear Sandi, for this introductory post and for all the other ones you've written with thoughtful care.
    These concepts you've shared with us today have confirmed a project I've been working on over the last year. (One I've been dreaming about for several years.)
    I'm grateful God is a passionate God who allows us and enables us to live and write with passion and purpose too. No writer is blessed more than one who draws grace from the well of God's will.
    May we Inscribers continue to fulfill His loving will for our lives and writing one word at a time.
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

    1. Thanks, Wendy, for your tribute, and for how the Lord has confirmed your project. I also am thankful for your wonderful observation: "God is a passionate God who allows us and enables us to live and write with passion and purpose too. No writer is blessed more than one who draws grace from the well of God's will." Our passion comes from God Himself.

  2. First of all, let me say that you have been the guiding light for this blog for so many years with your thoughtful, powerful and well constructed posts. You have truly led the way! Thank you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Sandi for your faithfulness in this ministry!
    I consider you a personal friend, from the time we spent together here on the blog and on the executive together. It has been a joy to hear your heart in your writing, and you always have sage advice as you set the stage for the rest of us to follow.
    As to this months topic, I loved the differentiation between excited and enlivened. I've never thought of that before. It gives me much to ponder as I prepare to write my own post later on this month.
    Much love and blessings, friend!

    1. Thanks for your tribute, Tracy! You've encouraged me so much over the years as you've faithfully responded to all my posts. You're also an inspiration for me to keep posting as a regular contributor to IWO, as you've continued to write for us, even with all your health issues and other writing projects.
      It has been wonderful getting to know you, too, from our first FC together about 10 years ago, and to see you take on various leadership roles with InScribe. God bless you!.

  3. What a great topic this is. I've found that things I want to write are way more fun than things I must write. My books were painful but they clensed my soul of the bad feelings from my past. I also loved writing about rabbits and the things my long-eared friends did in my home. Freelance writing wasn't fun since few magazines wanted what I was excited about. Either they were too technical or they were too basic. What I enjoy doing today is blogging about songs which meant something to me and what the Bible says about the song's topic. So may all of you be blessed in your writing. And thanks, Sandy, for moderating the blog for so long.

    1. Thanks, Bruce, for sharing how your writing career has encompassed both what makes your heart sing and what hasn't. I think we've all been there. May God bless you as you can now write freely from your heart. And thanks for continuing to be a faithful contributor to this blog--your music and what the songs mean to you have been inspiring!

  4. Thanks for your faithful guidance, your genuine encouragement and a plethora of ideas that have stirred creative juices within us all. Hoping to continue to get to know you better as we journey through our writing and beyond. Blessings on your new chapter.

    1. Thanks for your encouragement Sharon. It was wonderful touching base with you earlier this year, and discovering how you and your husband are in a transition season. (How did your farm sale go?) May God bless your new chapter, and I hope you continue writing faithfully.

  5. Lady Bird Johnson's sage advice has been a touchstone in my own life and I was glad to see you mention it. How often I referred to her words during seasons when my heart no longer sang. I came to realize that it was one of those ways He guided my times and seasons: when the joy left, when the song dried up, often it was an indication the time had come for me to move on. So thank you, Sandi, for the opportunity to consider this wonderful theme over the next few weeks.

    Let me also take this moment to say a BIG thank you for your beautiful presence and guidance to our blog all these years. Eight years already! I always looked forward to your lead post each month when you introduced new thoughts and themes for us to explore in our writing. I'm so glad to hear you will continue to share through your writing here. Many blessings as you move into new, heart singing opportunities.

    Brenda xo

    1. Thanks for your tribute to my eight years with IWO, Brenda. \i just discovered Lady Bird Johnson's quote a short time ago, and it has meant a lot to me. I heartily agree with your statement, "when the joy left, when the song dried up, often it was an indication the time had come for me to move on." This is one way, too, that the Lord leads me to move on.

  6. Thank you for your thought-provoking monthly prompts over the years, Sandi, and for always setting the bar high through your posts, just as you have above. Continued blessings on you and your writing.

    1. Thanks, Susan. Continued blessings to you and your writing, too!


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