New Book: Love Letters to Writers by Andi Cumbo-Floyd

Love-Letters-to-Writers_screen_72dpiThis is a great month for new books in our contemplative community! Last week, I reviewed Ed Cyzewski’s new book, Independent Publishing for Christian Authors. And TODAY is release day for a wonderful new book by Andi Cumbo-Floyd — Love Letters to Writers: Encouragement, Accountability, and Truth-Telling. I’m thrilled to offer an excerpt from this book below.

Andi’s book consists of 52 letters (love letters!) to writers. The letters share bits of Andi’s own writing journey and offer wisdom and encouragement for others on the writing path. For the times we’re in need of practical guidance, Andi’s book has advice, suggestions, and practices for getting our writing done each day. What about when we need a dose of hope? Yep, this book’s got that, too. With honesty and love, Andi’s letters encourage us and keep us company when the writing path is difficult.

Enjoy this excerpt from Love Letters to Writers on creating space so that our words can breathe.


Giving Space

Dear Beautiful People,

If you would, close your eyes and imagine the most beautiful thing you’ve ever experienced. Let it pull you close . . . see the colors, hear the movement stilled for a split second, and lean into the void of nothing around the color or sound you experience. What I want you to feel, my friends, is the emptiness there. Let it tug at you, pull you in.

Now, sit where you are in this moment. Turn down the music. Dim the lights if you can. Walk outside or into a closet to quiet if you need. Feel the nothingness that is most of the space around you . . . then feel deeper, feel the energy there. Take a deep breath. And another. And another.


I’ve been taking a lot of deep breaths lately. This morning, I went out to the garden to harvest, as I do each morning this time of year. Usually, I put in earbuds and listen to a podcast or book, but this morning, I went out bare with the gentle intention of holding space for whatever I needed to hear or see.

I picked cucumbers and then started to walk by the asparagus beans, taking note that they had their purple blossom dresses on. But then, I slowed and bent nearer . . . and there were beans, three-foot long beauties that had been there for days—days when I had walked past this trellis fifty times. But each time, I had been so busy doing whatever it was I thought needed me that I had missed them . . .

I spent the next minutes twisting the bean vines up onto the trellis with gentle twirls so that I wouldn’t miss the beans again.

Here’s what I take from those few moments: I have to hold space to be surprised. I have to hold space to see the fruits of what I’ve done. I have to hold space for my words to find new climbing trellises. I have to hold space wide open and take the gifts that are given. 

Maybe you are much better at this than I am, but if you’re not, try this week to hold space for two things:

  1. Hold space for nothing. Intentionally create short periods (or long periods if you have them) of time where you just wander or sit on the porch and stare or look out the window at the rain. Notice what you think about, what your mind feels like, how your breath slows.
  2. Hold space for your words. Writing is not something that happens spontaneously, at least not in my experience. We have to be creating space for it, space to think, space to let ideas percolate, space for the actual manifestations of language to be noticed, and space for the physical act of extracting those words and writing them down.

So this week, my friends, try slowing down. Stare at beautiful things. Listen to music without doing anything else. Read a book for three hours in a row if you can. Give yourself space so that your words can breathe, too.

Much love,



Andi Cumbo-Floyd head shot
Andi Cumbo-Floyd is a writer, editor, and farmer, who lives at the edge of   the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband, four dogs, four cats, six goats, three rabbits, and thirty-six chickens.  She writes regularly at

Buy Andi’s new book on Amazon!

Book Review: Independent Publishing for Christian Authors by Ed Cyzewski

Ed's book cover
Today I’m thrilled to review Independent Publishing for Christian Authors: A Guide to the Why, When, and How for Writers, the newest (independently published!) book by Ed Cyzewski. Most of you here know Ed. He’s an author, contemplative, writing coach, and the founder of The Contemplative Writer. Geared toward Christian authors, Ed’s new book explores the ins and outs of commercial and independent publishing. The book grew out of Ed’s conversations with writers, who often ask him just which publishing path they should pursue.

Ed’s book is a wonderful combination of facts, practical tips, and spiritual guidance. At the heart of the book is a series of chapters weighing the pros and cons of commercial versus independent publishing. The title of the book makes it clear which path Ed prefers, but his goal is to lay out all the facts — the benefits and drawbacks of each process — so that writers can make the best decision for their own work and life.

Ed also guides writers through the steps they will need to take if they decide to publish their books independently.

For me, a really helpful section of the book is in chapter two, where Ed outlines a possible career trajectory for a new writer. He shows how a writer might begin with blog posts and from there start writing short eBooks and, later on, print versions of these books. From there, the writer can decide whether to continue in independent publishing or to try a commercial publisher. I really like this organic model of career growth, and I appreciated seeing it laid out step by step. Are you a new(ish) writer? Read this section of Ed’s book!

These practical guidelines are invaluable. But what makes Ed’s book shine is the spiritual guidance. It’s possible that a reader could get some of the facts about publishing from other books, blog posts, and articles. But here’s what you won’t get anywhere else — mentoring on the spiritual implications of publishing your book. Over and over, Ed reminds his readers to separate their writing ministry from the business of getting published. Here’s what he says about his own work:

If my mission is to help people pray better rather than hitting a particular sales goal, I have a very clear idea of what “success” looks like and the steps I should take. My goal isn’t necessarily to find the authors with the most influence, the social media users with the most followers, the podcast with the most listeners, or the blogs with the most readers. My goal is to find people who share my vision and goals who will partner in helping me minister to those who need help with prayer.

It can be a lifesaver, Ed says, to get some clarity about your mission and why you want to write and publish in the first place. This will also help you decide which publishing path to take.

Ed also has some hard questions for his readers. In your desire to be published, have you lost sight of your mission and ministry? Are you serving your ministry or serving a publisher’s demands? Is this the publishing career you wanted? I’d rather not be asked and have to think about these questions, but I know I need to. Maybe you do, too?

Facts and guidelines + spiritual guidance = a great book on publishing. Writers, do yourself a favor and get a copy of Independent Publishing for Christian Authors. Let it be well with your publishing soul. You can find Ed’s book on Amazon.


Ed Cyzewski is the author of Flee, Be Silent, Pray and A Christian Survival Guide. His books on writing include Write without Crushing Your Soul, Pray, Write, Grow, and The Contemplative Writer. He writes regularly at He has spoken about independent publishing at the Festival of Faith and Writing and the Indiana Faith and Writing Conference.

When he’s not publishing books, he works as an editor, author coach, writer for online magazines, and blogger for small and medium-sized businesses.