Writers on Writing

WRITING AS AN ACT OF FAITH

These quotes were taken from Shouts and Whispers, Twenty-One Writers Speak About Their Writing and Their Faith, by Jennifer L. Holberg, associate professor of English at Calvin College.

“To write in faith is to try and reflect the way to be, in our day, followers of the Way.  Such writing leads to discipleship.” (Will Campbell)

“As a writer, I think it is my job to seek God in the common things: indeed, to believe that God is already in the common things ahead of and outside of me.  This happens in three ways: first of all, to see the glory in the world, to perceive it, to find it, sometimes to be stunned by the discovery of it when I hadn’t been looking well enough.  Second, having perceived it, to acknowledge it, to salute it, to be aware of it, to know it, to dance with it, to think about it, to engage with it – and having engaged with it, to give that glory back to God.  The third part involves writing – or maybe I should say praise. Ultimately it is my job to praise.” (Walter Wangerin, Jr.)

“Understand writing as worship, understanding that what I’m doing when I’m writing, at my best, is connecting at the level of my soul to the universe, to God, to everything else that is in the mind of God, including the souls of my characters and the souls of my readers – that is, for me, the basis for hope that my characters’ individual experiences can transcend their specific realities of race and gender and ethnicity and nationality  and religion to express universal  human truth. . . . I also believe that through fiction, through words, we can transcend the limits of our own individual existences and connect in profound ways, to each other, to the universe, to God.  That is what makes words holy.  That is how words are like God.  It’s what I hope and pray to do in my work.” (Elizabeth Dewberry)

“Writing with faith is a form of praying.” (Ron Hansen)

“I would say to any of you here who have some great dream still burning, some coal still burning in your heart about what you want to do or maybe even what God called you to do years ago and you’ve been too scared to do it, I want to encourage you to pray about it and step out on faith and take a chance to do it.  I cannot begin to tell you what a wonderful and consoling and marvelous thing it is.  . . . Do something that’s been on your heart for a long time.” (Jan Karon)

“If you were an artist or an aspiring artist, I would call you to a proper sadness in your creative work. Neither a rejection of sorrow which has produced some well-intentioned but horrible art, nor an idolatry of sorry which has produced some great art but may do more harm than good. . . . We should not only be able to speak or hear the truth about ourselves, but let us all preach to one another that God is good, joy is possible, the Holy Spirit does sanctify believers.  Let our art reflect the righteousness of Christ, while it demonstrates that the bread of life is ultimately more satisfying than the candy of cynicism.” (Betty Smartt Carter)

“[As I headed off] with my wife to study writing at grad school in Massachusetts, I decided to begin sending my stories out for publication.  I bought  a little plastic file box in order to keep my rejections – the ones I knew would be on their way – and to house as well my own filing system of what I had sent where.

But before I sent out my first story, I sat down at the small table we had in our apartment in Long Beach, California, and wrote out this verse, and then prayed it:   Proverbs 16:4: “Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”  . . . To this day I keep this scrap, written in my 21-year-old hand taped to the wall above my desk.

I now have in my box 596 rejections . . . But also to this day, before I begin writing, I commit, in prayer, my works to the Lord, so that my plans will be established.” (Bret Lott)

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One Response to Writers on Writing

  1. Cody Raak says:

    Bret Lott’s quote is powerful. I love it!

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