FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! We’re happy to bring you these links by some wonderful writers and thinkers and hope they’ll add beauty and encouragement to your day.

Love and blessings,

Lisa and Prasanta

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“Tripping Over Joy” via Daniel Ladinsky (a poem)

Considering the Trees on Ash Wednesday via Isaac S. Villegas (an essay to help us prepare for Ash Wednesday)

The Gate of Heaven Is Everywhere via Fred Bahnson (is this what’s missing from contemporary American Christianity?)

Art + Faith: A Theology of Making, with Makoto Fujimura via The Trinity Forum (a conversation on the theology of the act of creating)

Calvin: Refugee and Pilgrim via Randy Blacketer (learn about the theology of pilgrimage via the life and writings of John Calvin)

7 Letters from Famous Authors Sharing Fantastic Writing Advice via Nicole Bianchi (find inspiration from these authors)


The 7 Habits of Highly Inefficient Writers

I’m always hooked by articles about becoming a more efficient writer. Most of them don’t disappoint: they’re full of good practical tips – for example, stay focused, avoid negative self-talk, find your best time of day to work, and so on.

The other day, while thinking about this issue, I looked up the word “efficient” and read the following definition: maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort. I have to say that it made me shudder. It made me think I don’t want to be an efficient writer after all.

The fact is, I am not productive to the max in the sense of being prolific. I’m not able to churn out books and articles one after the other, no matter how often I write at my best time of day. It takes time for my ideas to steep, like tea leaves having a long soak to produce the richest flavor. Sometimes, I put a piece of writing aside for a while. I daydream a lot. I rest.

Here’s a confession: I just released a book, and I don’t have a new book proposal ready to go out. I don’t even have one in the works. I feel like I should, but I just don’t. I need a little time to lie fallow.

Photo by Keira Burton on Pexels.com

But in the end, I’m not too bothered by this because I believe that steeping and daydreaming and waiting are key parts of the writing process. I’m going to go a step further and say that I’m being productive when I engage in these activities. Simply put, they help me produce. My writing will not go where I want it to go without them.

A few years ago, author Leslie Leyland Fields wrote a post entitled “The Slow-Writing Revolt.” Her words resonate with my thoughts about efficiency (or the lack thereof). She encourages writers to “slow down. M a r i n a t e. Wait. Sometimes even—stop. Sometimes even—say No.” Leyland Fields calls it “marinating” while I call it “steeping,” but the idea is the same. It takes time for the good stuff to come.

I recently talked with Jonathan Rogers of The Habit podcast, and during our conversation he said something very interesting: Being too efficient can stifle creativity. Going straight for that one source you’ve pinpointed for your project means that you may miss other sources and ideas along the way. One of the best ways to aid new discoveries is wandering the stacks in a library. I did this many times during my graduate studies at the University of Chicago. On my way to a particular book, I took the time to let my eye wander over nearby book titles and discovered valuable information I wouldn’t have found any other way. It was time consuming but completely worth it.

Fellow writers, be encouraged that inefficiency is a virtue. Steeping and daydreaming and resting are legitimate parts of the writing process. Even if words aren’t flowing from the pen (or marching across the computer screen), things are likely happening behind the scenes, in your heart and mind.

A couple caveats:

  • Please note that I’m distinguishing steeping from procrastination. They are very different things. Don’t procrastinate—even though I do it all the time.
  • I understand that the need for a paycheck may complicate my arguments. Sometimes a writer may have to be efficient to put bread on the table. But I still think all writers should take time to daydream and wander through their mind palaces.

I summarized my points in this list – The 7 Habits of Highly Inefficient Writers

  1. Steep (your ideas) – let them develop a rich flavor
  2. Wait – it’s ok to put your project aside for a better time
  3. Daydream – get lost in your mind palace and dream up new ideas for your writing
  4. Rest – fill the well by taking time off when you need it
  5. Wander (the library stacks) – see what you discover by exploring with no particular goal in mind
  6. Say no – feel free to decline a writing project if it’s not the right one or the right time
  7. Live life – writing is intertwined with life, so don’t hesitate to enjoy your friends and loved ones, laugh, and be fully engaged in all the pleasures and responsibilities of daily life

Write on — inefficiently. Creatively. And well.


FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

It’s time for Friday Favorites! Find prayer, hope, healing — and encouragement to keep writing and creating no matter your circumstances — in this week’s collection of posts and podcasts.

Wishing you all God’s blessings,

Lisa and Prasanta

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A Litany of Healing for a Time of COVID via Christine Sine (a prayer for healing during this time of suffering)

My Porch Is My Pilgrimage via James Laurence (a poem for shelter-in-place pilgrims)

Whatever Tomb You’re In via Tammy Perlmutter (although all may seem lost, your rescue is already in play)

Making Christians Great Again via Leslie Leyland Fields (“This leader is like no other. He bent like a slave to wash His people’s feet. He chose our lashes instead of His power…”)

Susanna Clarke on Piranesi, Illness, and Faith via Church Times (in this podcast episode, listen to Clarke talk about her novels and her struggles towards faith)

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Relying on Perfect Conditions to Write via Cassandra Lipp (how to write when your circumstances change, you’re too busy, and so on and so on…)


A PRAYER BEFORE WRITING

Before writing, preaching, and perhaps even blogging, we all need to pray. So today, I’m featuring a prayer before writing from Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274), a Dominican friar, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. Aquinas’s Feast Day is January 28.

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O Creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with the loving knowledge of you, that I may bring your light to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries which you have revealed.

Source


FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! As we continue along in the first month of the new year, enjoy these posts and podcasts that will help set a good tone for living faithfully, creatively, and communally. Praying that 2021 will be a good year for all of us.

Love,

Lisa and Prasanta

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10 Fresh Ways to Read Your Bible in 2021 via Traci Rhoades (practical ideas for getting started or picking the Bible back up again)

What Are We Expecting in the New Year? via Ed Cyzewski (are we expecting to find God each day? or are we expecting the worst to happen?)

Homesick via Elizabeth Gatewood (finding home and rest in a community that is bound together in mutual concern)

Hospitable Hospitals and Space to Grieve What’s Lost via Lore Ferguson Wilbert (finding space to doubt, fear, and grieve all that has been lost)

And All Shall Be Well via Marjorie Maddox (a poem with no beginning or end)

Creating Courageously During Difficult Days via Shawn Smucker and Maile Silva (how should creative people engage with culture during these difficult days?)


FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome back to Friday Favorites! The new year has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start, but we hope you will still find joy in Jesus, in your faith, and in community. We find community partly through listening to one another and sharing our experiences, and with that in mind, we hope you’ll enjoy the roundup of posts below.

Love,

Lisa and Prasanta

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Pray Every Day: Isaiah 10 via Mary DeMuth (on this podcast, Mary prays us through the Bible every day; today, listen to Isaiah 10)

Keep Your Lights Up via Aarik Danielsen (a plea to leave your Christmas lights up for as long as you need)

The Gate of Heaven Is Everywhere via Fred Bahnson (perhaps the contemplative tradition is what’s missing from American Christianity)

Yeats’ The Magi (and a poem of mine) via Malcolm Guite (to mark Epiphany, listen to Malcolm read Yeats’ poem)

On the Streets Where They Lived via Eleanor Parker (the more you learn about the history that’s all around you, the more companionship you will find)

Resolved to Write a Nonfiction Book This Year? Let’s Do the Math! via Ann Kroeker (you can write your book this year)


FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! Click the links below to explore poetry, Advent resources, and gratitude as we continue our journey through the season.

May God bring light into your darkness.

Lisa and Prasanta

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Turning Darkness into Light: A Soft Shroud’s Folding via Emily Polis Gibson (Rowan Williams and the beauty of Advent)

Untitled via Trischa Goodwin (a poem)

The Advent Project via Biola University (a daily devotional series celebrating the Advent season through art and Scripture)

Advent Calendar via Visual Commentary on Scripture (discover an artwork each day during the Advent season)

12 Tiny Things to Grow Gratitude in Your Home via Ellie Roscher (small practices to grow gratitude)

10 Best Books to Buy a Writer for Christmas via K. M. Weiland (writing-craft books for the scribbler on your list–or for you)


FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome back to Friday Favorites! As we head into the Advent season, here are some lovely links — including liturgy, caregiving, and poetry. We hope they’ll help you on your journey through the season.

Love and blessings,

Lisa and Prasanta

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The Shaking Reality of Advent via Alfred Delp (“Here is the message of Advent: faced with him who is the Last, the world will begin to shake”)

Journey Through Advent via Dorinda Miller (a series of reflections, practices, and resources for the season)

A Liturgy for Celebrating the Holidays Apart from Loved Ones via Sandy Ovalle (a liturgy as we reimagine this holiday season)

Braiding: a Caregiving Detour via Dheepa R. Maturi (a beautiful personal essay on the immediacy and anchoring of caregiving)

Angels everywhere via Luci Shaw (a poem)

Poet Laura: The Generosity of a Poem via Laura Boggess (poetry gives and makes a great gift)


FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! This week, Prasanta Verma and I were struck by the number of posts and podcasts that wisely and gently help us through difficult times. And, dear friends, you may have noticed that the times are difficult. We urge you to keep your hope and faith alive. The words below may help — soak up these writers on finding God and tranquility in disruption and sorrow.

Be well and be blessed.

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A Liturgy for Embracing Both Joy & Sorrow via The Rabbit Room (a liturgy that feels particularly appropriate for this time)

Open or Closed: Welcoming an Expansive View of God via Gem Fadling (an Unhurried Living podcast episode that walks us through a practice to cultivate a greater vision of God during overwhelming times)

Searching for Certainty: Finding God in the Disruptions of Life with Shelly Miller via Sally Clarkson (how difficult times can become purposeful times of spiritual growth)

Poems for All Saints Day via C. Christopher Smith (from the Englewood Review of Books archives, some poems by and about the saints)

Bookish, Tranquil, and Wise via Joy Clarkson (in this podcast episode, Alan Jacobs discusses how to recover our tranquility by reading old books)

Hilary Mantel on How Writers Learn to Trust Themselves via Literary Hub (Mantel talks about routines, early readers, and trusting your writerly self)


FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! Prasanta Verma and I hope you enjoy this week’s roundup, which includes wonderful words on creativity, kindness, poetry, saints, and spiritual practices. Enjoy and be blessed.

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Touching Sacred Earth: Expressive Art and Spiritual Practice with Christine Valters Paintner via EarthRising podcast (disciplines that cultivate a connection with creation and the Creator)

A little more kindness, a little less madness via Cara Meredith (could this kindness be the Christ?)

Seven Suggestions for Living a Creative Life via Dorothy Greco (creativity is part of our spiritual DNA . . . get inspired with these suggestions)

The Return via Marilyn R. Gardner (holy moments and the peace of belonging)

Beyond Juan Diego and Kateri: Meet other indigenous American saints via Meg Hunter-Kilmer (learn about lesser-known saints who embraced Christianity without rejecting the beauty of their own cultures)

Book Launch Interview with Luci Shaw via Writing for Your Life (hear the prolific poet read her poems and talk about writing, divine creativity, and advice for new writers)