Family Day holiday has given me the unexpected opportunity to spend some time in my favorite cafe, regathering my writerly energies after two intensive months when I’ve not been able to focus as much as I would have liked on my writing projects. As always when I’ve not been writing for a while, the same familiar doubts have surfaced and are “haunting” my writing time, no matter how many positive writing books I browse through, or how many wonderful writing podcasts I listen to.
One of the perks of my writing life is a deeper attentiveness to my own life, my experiences, and my surroundings. So when I’m not writing regularly, I can feel that I’ve fallen out of touch with myself. Since I’m hoping that the next two months will be a time more focused on writing, I need to reconnect on a deeper level with myself, with my doubts about writing, and with my call as a writer.
Today, my reflections were initially guided by Sage Cohen’s extremely practical book, The Productive Writer. Gradually, I veered away into a personal reflection on my essential attitudes for my life as a writer. In the generous spirit of K. M. Weiland’s Writing Manifesto, I hope that these convictions will inspire other writers besides me:
Creed for a Writer’s Life
• That God wants to speak through me (not that I’m directly inspired, but that God works through my prayer and the circumstances of my life to give me the topics to address and how/what to say about them.)
• That, when I speak from the honesty/ground of my experience, it is gift–for myself and others
• That I commit to continually improve as a writer–not to be perfect or brilliant, but to be always more competent
• That I commit to honesty and to growth in my the level of craft so that the books/scripts I write will be worthy of their topics and their audience
• Writerly qualities or characteristics that I commit to cultivating as essential for my writing life and calling:
* authenticity/transparency in what I write
* attentiveness to my daily experience
* a heart that listens deeply to others, to the needs of the world, and to the signs of the times
* prayerfulness and a spirit of faith
* the will and daily effort to improve in my craft and deep understanding of the needs of the audience and the topics I am writing about
(If any Paulines are reading this post, you might be surprised to notice that each of these characteristics are an essential element of the Pauline spirit: Christocentric, “totalità” or a life that integrates every aspect of life, the blend of the contemplative/active life, attentive listening to the Word of God, fidelity to the audience, reading the signs of the times, discipleship [or “studiosità”–the ability to learn from everything and the desire to grow in every experience], a spirit of servanthood or spiritual motherhood, and an attention to the language of the media.)
If you have written your “Writers’ Creed”, please share it below!