Writing Resolutions: Be Gentler!

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I believe that writing, like the spiritual life, has seasons. And perhaps the time away from writing—which I have both regretted and worried over—has been a good thing. (God makes all things work for the good!) After all, God is the One in charge of the seasons of my life, and God has taught me so much in the intervening years! It would be such a blessing to bring those lessons into my writing—both how I write and what I write. So I’ll share here some very personal writing resolutions, as I begin writing again.

I would like…

  • to be kinder and gentler to myself as a writer: letting go of perfectionism when I’m writing rough drafts, letting go of worrying about others’ judgments, and focusing more on listening to God’s voice, to God’s invitations to express what I feel called to say, to be true to myself. (Author and writing coach K. M. Weiland, who produces one of my very favorite writing podcasts, recently released a wonderful episode/blogpost on how judgment and creativity don’t fit together.)
  • to write in a way so that communication is always more “circular”—so that readers can “talk” to me before, after, and while I write for them. I would love for our conversations to become part of each book, even before it is finished! I started trying this years ago, but now I will have the opportunity to pick up that project and complete it!
  • to forge a new relationship with writing: letting go of any guilt when important commitments prevent me from writing, but also not being afraid or apologetic to set writing as a priority. For almost five years, I set writing aside for other (important) matters. Now, I am able to make it one priority among many. I don’t want to feel guilty either for writing (which I used to) or for not writing (which I have also been carrying).
  • to simply enjoy the gift that writing is—to me, and I hope through me, to others. Mother Paula, the sister who brought our congregation here in North America in 1932, used to talk about the new titles we published as being “babies.” And I really feel that way about the books that I write. Every book is an intense labor of love, but each book truly comes to life only when it enters into the lives of its readers…and makes a difference in those lives. I believe that the Lord has a plan for each book, each article, and from now on, I intend to simply follow where the Lord leads.

I’ll start back here blogging very simply, sharing favorite authors, blogposts, and articles about writing, spirituality, artistic practice and the spiritual life. The first resource I’d like to mention is from Sister Nancy Michael Usselmann, FSP, who just published her first book, A Sacred Look: Becoming Cultural Mystics—Theology of Popular Culture, in which she encourages us to become pop culture mystics. I’ll review it soon, and perhaps interview her here. If you have any questions for her, send them in and I’ll ask her!

Do you have a topic that you’d like me to write about on Windows to the Soul? Please post something in the comments below, send me an email, or respond on Facebook. (I am gradually organizing the various social media platforms that I am on so that I can respond in a timely (!) fashion to Facebook and others, and I look forward to many fruitful conversations!)

Above all, know that I keep you—every reader—in my prayers, carrying you in my heart to Jesus in the tabernacle during my daily Hour of Adoration. God bless you!

8 thoughts on “Writing Resolutions: Be Gentler!

  1. Hello Sister,

    I always enjoy your posts, but find movie reviews particularly useful and interesting. It helps to have a knowledgeable lens to help us decide what to watch.

    Book reviews help, too, I’d love to see your take on novels in particular.

    thank you for your prayers, and I will hold you in mine as well.

    BTW, a while ago your community offered an online retreat, which I thought was a fabulous idea but I was so busy and swamped at the time that I knew I would not be able to keep up with it or give it the attention I needed to give it. But I sure hope you do things like that again.

    Blessings to you,

    Kathy

    Kathy http://reinkat.wordpress.com

    > WordPress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy,
      Thank you for your thoughts. I’d love to review novels, and have thought about it in the past… I will think about it!

      Thank you for the comment about the online retreat. We are planning to offer more. I will try to post here to let people know when the next one is coming.

      God bless you!

      Like

  2. Thank you sister Marie for your thoughtful piece. I read all your film reviews even though I haven’t been to cinema in over twenty years. Must confess I find films dissatisfying. I suppose because they are so contrived and leave nothing to the imagination. Rarely have I seen a film that I didn’t forget the day after. Films don’t stick in the head, I never find myself drawing or reflecting on a movie to better enhance my experience of life or my Christian walk. Why is literature the opposite? I bet you reflect more on Middlemarch than any film you’ve seen! Think too how often over the years we re-read Psalms or the Gospels and ceaselessly find something new each time. We don’t do that with films do we? How many times do people watch Ghandi, Casablanca or Titanic before dying of boredom? Surely it is significant that God didn’t send Jesus in a time when his words and deeds could be captured on film. Imagine how fantastic that would be as a tool for evangelism! The reason God didn’t do this I feel is because even the real Jesus caught on camera would become boring–and not disclose his true glory and fulness. When we read we engage at a much deeper level than when we watch movies. That’s why folk always say “the book is better than the film.” Reading gets our creative juices flowing! We have to summon up people, places, landscapes in the mind’s eye, and this can become deep rooted and very precious to us over the years. Think too of the impact poetry has on those who memorise it. Cinema doesn’t come close to this. That said, I concede that people have come to faith through religious films–but not as many as through the written word. I love your website and get great inspiration from your musings–and I confess I even read your film reviews if only to try to understand why films so grip you!

    Every blessing
    Brendan (Dublin, Ireland)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brendan,
      Thank you so much for your thoughts and kind words! I started out with a great love for literature and the written word–which makes reading the Word of God even more accessible and meaningful, I think. Yes, there are so many layers to poetry and novels. I think that immersion in story is key in all of the forms that I love–and perhaps that is why I love film so much: it is a sensory experience in story (spoken word, music, visuals, sound effects). But you are right, too: film (and TV) is shallow in the sense that we cannot know others’ thoughts and sometimes, feelings, but have to imagine them. It is a flatter portrayal of character. Which is why I will always love novels and written stories.

      I am intrigued by your thoughts about Jesus not being “captured” on film.

      I’m so glad you enjoy the blog–and I look forward to having more fruitful conversations here.

      God bless you, Brendan!

      Like

  3. Sister Marie, you have a way of reaching writers like me at just the right time. I think you must be well connected to the Holy Spirit!

    Like

    • Dear Nancy,
      I’m so glad the post was helpful. As you know, my posts come more from a need for God’s grace and a deeper connection with the Holy Spirit, rather than from a place of strength. As a writer, I am finding it more and more helpful to pray to the Holy Spirit!

      May you be gentle with yourself in your writing life!

      Many blessings on you and your writing!

      Like

  4. Oh, Sister! I can so relate to the guilt of writing and esp. not writing. I have taken a break, too, and am slowly getting back to it. It’s refreshing to hear someone else feeling the same way that I do and knowing that the Lord loves us through all of it. Thank you for this blog post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Julie,
      Thank you for your comments… It is so good for me, too, to know that others share similar experiences with writing. And yes, the greatest hope and strength in this weird yet sacred journey of writing is the Lord’s love at the center of it all…in me and in all those who read, comment, and share this journey with me.

      God bless!

      Like

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