January 02, 2023

A is for Art ~ Wendy L. Macdonald


The ABCs of Writing Inspirational Poetry and Prose

Sing to him a new song;

    play skillfully, and shout for joy.

Psalm 33:3 NIV


A is for art. For fun, I looked up the word art in my 1944 edition of the Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language. It didn’t disappoint. Here’s a quote from the first definition:

 “Skill, dexterity, or the power of performing certain actions, acquired by experience, study, or observation; knack.” 

Let’s break down the above definition into subheadings:


Experience is a splendid teacher. When we practice writing in a friendly atmosphere where inner editors are told to hold onto their red pens until we’ve done the first draft, words can fly willy-nilly across the page. 

A stinky first draft can be transformed into a work of art. 

A blank page cannot be anything but a blank page.

To learn to write we must write. To learn our artsy way with words, we need lots of experience experimenting. A private journal, a word processor, and/or a blog are all wonderful ways to discover, grow, and refine our voices.  

The art of writing differs not from any other craft in its need for practice, practice, and more practice.

Word by word, page by page, manuscript by manuscript we uncover our calling and strengthen our art of composing poetry and/or prose.   


There are so many ways to study the art of writing. There are books, magazines, websites, online classes, conferences, and blogs that teach those who desire to study their way to publication.

But the most important thing is to remember is the most important thing: Sit down and write. We need to show up faithfully in a way that works for us. In the way that God’s been whispering to us between blank pages. 

Therefore, we write. I usually write in the early mornings.  I can hear His whispered ideas better. But it maybe you hear Him better late at night. Or in this instance, when I wrote the first draft for this post, I did it in the afternoon when no one was home from work yet. I had planned to do it in the morning, but I ended up writing two chapters for another project and had to bump this blog writing to later.


The power of observation has the power to transform the art of writing. The best way to observe how to write is to read widely and frequently. This is like watching someone paint. When we see a blank canvas transformed into a work of art, we’re inspired. Reading fiction or nonfiction teaches us without us even realizing we’re learning. Some suggest we read good books twice. (The first time to enjoy and the second time to absorb the how-to aspects of the writing.) 

Even poorly written books can teach us. They teach us what not to do. It’s best to stick mostly to a healthy diet of high-quality ones if our goal is to learn how to write the good stuff. 


Knick knack paddy whack 

Give the writer a pen

And tell her to keep writing

Until the end.

~ wlm

No, that’s not necessarily the way of knack. Knack is a skill that’s either acquired or natural.

From all the writing books, literary blogs, and podcasts I’ve listened to over the last ten years, it’s common knowledge that all writers need their work edited. They may be gifted enough to do most of the editing themselves. But a fresh set of eyes on a worn manuscript takes the wrinkles out of the writing. 

How do we know if we have any natural knack or not?

Do we need to write? Do we write in a journal and find it cathartic to do so? Do we take delight when we form a phrase that leaps off the page and gives us goosebumps? Do we pause while reading a good book and savor a sentence like toffee? (In my case it’s coffee.)  

Without any natural knack, writing can be grueling. 

Rejection by publishers or agents may make us suspect we’re rubbing against the wrong art form. But there are so many stories of famous authors who didn’t give up. Not everyone is going to like our art. That’s why we need to notice when someone does. Most likely they’re part of our target audience—our tribe. Something about our voice or story resonates with them. That’s why it’s so important to get lots of writing experience, observe lots of writing, and study the art of writing. 

Our knack may be waiting for us just a page or two away. 

(I had fun with the letter a. I hope you do too.) 

Happy New Year & blessings for 2023 ~ Wendy Mac

Wendy L. Macdonald is an inspirational blogger and podcaster who loves to photograph nature on Vancouver Island. Her byline is: “My faith is not shallow because I’ve been rescued from the deep.” Her main website is Wendy L. Macdonald where she enjoys interacting with readers.       



  1. What a wonderful start to our year, Wendy! Loved your ‘Knick, knack, rhyme - it brought me a smile and a quiet chuckle. And, in my best Canadianese - this post was wonderful, ‘A’. 😉

    1. Thank you for making me smile too, dear Sharon. "E is for Eh" might make a fun prompt for May. :)

  2. Thank you, Wendy. Lots to take in here, and I, too, enjoyed the "knick, knack" rhyme.

    1. Thank you, dear Lorrie. Rhyming is generally a no-no in most writing. It's fun to slip it in now and again.

  3. Thanks for your introduction to our year and our new themes, Wendy. You have wonderful advice for us to continue working at our art. I particularly related to the need to connect with and focus on "our target audience—our tribe. Something about our voice or story resonates with them." I'll remember that.

    1. Thank you, dear Sandi. Yes, targets are important. If we aim for all targets, we'll miss being effective overall. I'm still working on defining mine.

  4. Thanks for starting us off with this brand new stream, Wendy! Looking forward to a fun and interesting year!

    1. Thank you, dear Tracy. I look forward to reading what everyone shares. So far it's looking wonderful. Hooray!

  5. Hi Wendy!
    Your helpful start,
    To the love of our art,
    Has already come and cuddled my heart.

    Thank you for paving the way to this first month of a New Year. I enjoyed how you broke down the definition of art. I sensed a poignant stir within me when you said, "A blank page cannot be anything but a blank page." Oh my, how sad, but how hopeful. We get to save blank pages with our words, our art. I appreciate your thoughts and words of this post for it draws me back to learn more as I read it again. Happy New Year hugs, Wendy!

    1. Thank you for making me smile, Alan. And yes, a blank page has two sides: Potential and more potential.
      Blessings as you write your way through the alphabet.

  6. "A stinky first draft can be transformed into a work of art." And most first drafts are stinky! That thought has helped me so many times to just get the words down and worry about fixing it later. Thanks, Wendy.

    1. I'm also grateful for learning to accept how stinky first drafts tend to be. It gives us the freedom to create now and edit later.


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