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Faith and Writing #9 – Big Write/Little Write

I love to write by hand.  I enjoy it because it feels good.  I enjoy it because it feels like I am writing, not just working.  I enjoy it because I can do it any time or place.

That last one is a biggie.  I write in an A5 notepad with a hardcover and ring spine, so I can flip it open and pen a few words whenever the notion takes me.  I write in queues, I write in traffic jams, I write in boring meetings, or just wherever I may be. 

This is what I call the “small write.”

It is a lot like prayer.  I don’t wait for a special time and place to pray.  Wherever I am, when the notion takes me, I shoot off a quick word to God.  I tell him how I am feeling, and ask him for help with something.  Or just say “Hi, it’s me.”

But I also like to write at set times.  Like for at least 30 minutes in the morning before I start the day.  It helps me to get the nights thoughts out of my head, and onto paper.  So I commit to an hour of writing in the morning.

This is what I call the “big write”.

I do the big write every day, regardless of whether I feel like it, or whether I have anything interesting to say.  I just write.  Because I need to make a habit of writing if I want to call myself a writer. 

The big write reminds me why I want to be a writer, and the small write reminds me that I am a writer.  I can’t live without both of them.

In the same way, I start each day with set prayer.  I pray at set times, like lunch, or at night, as well.  Even if I don’t feel like praying, or don’t feel like I have anything to say.  I pray, to remind myself that I am a Christian.

The set prayers help me to want to pray throughout the day, because it starts the day right, and keeps me focused on who I am.

“Small prayer” makes my life a Life of Prayer. 
“Big prayer” makes me want a life of prayer.

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Posted by on February 11, 2011 in Faith and Writing

 

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NaNoWriMo ’10 – Day 12-17

Well, it has been a while since I posted.

I have had a heavy week, and a heavy weekend.  Last night I only got back to my home/office at about 7PM, and the last thing I felt like doing was writing.

So, I am at 27000 words right now, where I should be at 28,333.  Which is not too bad, but I have been chasing that day’s lead since Saturday.  I should have written harder last week after the wonderful victory of Day 11.

On the plus side, my story threads are starting to weave themselves into a plot.  As they usually do towards the end of week two.  I now know why my main characters brother is leaving the clergy, and what it has to do with the plot.

I also just realised that the novel is not satire, but well-disguised Christian fiction.

Who would have guessed.

For a day-by-day account, go here.  To see more about my novel, go here.

 

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Posted by on November 18, 2010 in NaNoWriMo, Novel

 

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Faith and Writing #7 – The Creative Spirit

We are told in the Bible that GOD made us in his image.  Male and Female he created us, and then he breathed his Spirit into us.

In his image.

With His Spirit.

But what does that mean?

Well, the first thing we see of GOD in the Bible is in Genesis where he is creating the Earth, and everything in it.  GOD is a creator.  More than that, he is a loving creator, who loves each beautiful thing he brought forth.  He created the peacock because he loves beautiful things, he created the Hippopotamus because he has a sense of humour.

And he loved each thing he created.

juliecameron-artistsway In my writers group at the moment, we are working our way through a book called The Artist’s Way.  The book is subtitled “A Spiritual path to Higher Creativity”.

I like that.  I like the fact that the author, Julia Cameron, says that GOD is a creator, and when he calls us to be like him, he is calling us all to be creators as well.  Suppressing your creative spirit is not only suppressing what GOD gave you, but also suppressing part of his purpose for your life – to create.

I have always felt a strong connection between my writing, and my spirituality, and I think this is one of the ways GOD wants me to express not just myself, but also Him.  I remember a line from Chariots of Fire, where Eric Liddell says, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

I believe God made me for a purpose, and it might not be to be a writer.  But when I write, I feel His pleasure.  Because then, I am using His creative spirit.

And I hope I can learn to love everything I create, not because it is beautiful, or humorous; but because it is my creation.

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Posted by on July 30, 2010 in Faith and Writing

 

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Living with confidence in a chaotic world.

 

 







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The book claims to be “Practical instruction for living a confident life in a world filled with chaos and crisis” and contains lessons about re-connecting with God and his message, with particular emphasis on the current worldwide financial crises.

The book did not really do a great deal for me.  The theology was sound, if a little cliched, and the ideas were good.  I just felt as if it was better suited as a series of sermons than a single written book.  Take note as well that while the book is not exclusively for US citizens, the language shows is a definite prejudice that way.  All the statistics are based on the US only, and the author refers to “we” as being US citizens. 
Read it and see what you think; take out some good ideas; but don’t expect anything groundbreaking, unless you haven’t read many other books of this kind in the last 10 years.

(I reviewed this book as part of the Thomas Nelson : Book Review Bloggers Programme. )

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2009 in books

 

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Free Will

I posted this poem over at fictionpress today.  It is not great, and I don’t know whether I am going to work on it anymore or not; but it summed up how I feel sometimes. 

Why can’t you just
overwhelm me already.
You gave me free will
a wondrous gift to be sure.
But I don’t think I’m using it right.
Can’t you take it back please
?


 

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Posted by on August 3, 2009 in Poetry & Prose

 

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Faith and Writing #5 – If it’s worth doing…

 

I have heard it said that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.  My response to that is… Nonsense.

If something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing badly. 

Particularly writing.

If you spend too much time agonising over every word, and getting it just right, then you will never finish anything.  There is a story told of James Joyce that one day a friend arrived at his house and found him crying over a manuscript.  He asked him, “What’s wrong.” 
“I wrote seven words today.”  He replied.
“Seven words?  But that’s good for you James!”
“Yes,” he replied, “but I don’t know what order they go in.”

writing We often get what might be called Paralysis by Analysis.  Where we are so intimidated by choosing the right first word, that we can’t even get to the second one.  So decide to use the wrong one, and then take it from there. Ray Bradbury said “Your creativity know what it wants to say, don’t get in the way.”

This I believe is the way to go forward.  People accept less than perfection in other areas, why not writing?  If I tell people I paint in my spare time, they are all impressed, regardless of the result.  If I take them to my study, and show them my paint-by-number set, they smile and say, “At least he’s happy.”  I play the guitar.  Really badly.  And people are okay with that.  As long as I don’t try and play for them.  So why do I feel I have to be perfect as a writer?  Why can’t I make mistakes, and learn from them.

The same with our faith.  Why do I feel like I have to get it right every time?  I know God told me to be perfect, but seriously! That’s not going to happen overnight.  If I make a mistake, and slip backwards, I beat myself up, and think I not be a real Christian, because I can’t get it right.  So what do I do?  I stop trying.
I fall back into an old habit or sin today, so I don’t even try and avoid it tomorrow.

But the secret is to keep learning and moving forward. 
To see every split infinitive and sin as an opportunity to become better.
Not to wallow in self-pity over spilled vowels and impure thoughts, but to vow to do better, recognising that nothing comes without effort.
To recognise that if I try so hard to be perfect, I will set myself up for a fall.
To know that if I wait until God’s voice is audible, or my creativity dictates the perfect book, I will have a long wait, but in the meantime, to just do the best with what I think I hear, and let him guide me to hear better next time.

So get out there and do it, even if you do it badly.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2009 in Faith and Writing

 

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Day of Ash

I have a new poem over at fictionpress called Day of Ash.  It is about today being Ash Wednesday, and what the day means to me.

The explanation is a little heavier than usual on this site, so I have posted my reasons for it at Sharkbait’s Reef  if you are interested in reading about it.  Otherwise just take it as a poem, and see what it means to you. 

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2009 in Poetry & Prose

 

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