I recently attended a workshop at the Festival of Words in Moose Jaw. The workshop was facilitated by Cassie Stocks who is a Saskatchewan fiction writer and the author of Dance, Gladys, Dance. The workshop was called P.I.P.P., Passion, Intention, Practicality and Perseverance. God has been talking to me lately about the first and last words so my curiosity was ignited.
My son Owen came along so we tied this into one of our summer adventures after his friend cancelled. I said I would only stay for the first half and he was a good sport saying he would hang out in the library (thankfully he loves words and books as much as I do). Unbeknownst to me through our miscommunication he wandered the streets of M.J. for a time, but that is a story for another day.
Probably one of my greatest take aways from this workshop was that Cassie talked about how we think that as writers we all have to be the capital W writer. You know the one that sits down and spews out a best-selling novel in one sitting. Although this may have happened before, Cassie has discovered that is not all the norm. All writers start at the same place and we don’t have to be the capital W ones to make our writing valid or important.
I walked away believing deeply in me for probably the first time that I am a writer!!! Oh I have talked about wanting to be one and taking courses and workshops with that as my heart desire, but never really believing or trusting this is my path. God validated those thoughts in my spirit and I felt another piece of my identity click into place.
During the Perseverance section, (I had convinced Owen to hang in until the end and Cassie had invited him in) she asked, What do I love about writing? Why should I keep writing? We had a few minutes to write our answers and this is how I responded, ” Writing is a practical way of putting my thoughts together. I love the results of sitting down and having ideas come together to form a story. (It is so much easier for me to write something than to speak it on the spot) I love being able to inspire others and to give different perspectives on things. I should keep writing so that God can use my words to affect hearts. I should keep writing because it is an integral part of who I am. I give myself permission to be the writer that God made me to be. I should keep writing to finish what has been started. I can give voice to others’ emotional life through my writing (or so I’ve been told).
Sometimes ‘shoulding’ on ourselves has a negative connotation but I feel in this instance that writing is my tool to tell God’s stories and help others’ to see his heart. I have been blessed with a season to stay at home and pursue this further and I hope not to waste it. This verse came to mind, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for human masters.’ Colossians 3:23 I want to be as fully persuaded as Abraham was of who God is and to be able to share that. Abraham was told he would be the Father of all nations through a child when he was almost 100 years old. This tells of his response, “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:20,21
Lord, help me to be fully persuaded of who you are and this path you have me on. Help me to humbly remember that it is not about me and I just need to be obedient to the things that you download to me to share with others!
These are the coles notes for each section of the workshop: (Thank you Cassie Stocks for your wisdom)
Passion – is what drives the need to write. This will keep us going through the long haul. Find ways to keep it going for your project and rekindle it if it is lost.
Intention – clarify the purpose of your work and remember your ideas are worth the work that needs to go into them. Ask, what is your intention for the piece and for the reader.
Practicality – is the craft of writing, the hammer and nails of the fabulous castles we all want to build. It completes the work after imagination gives ideas. List areas of strength and areas to improve and do these.
Perseverance – is what keeps writers going after five rejections in a row. Besides the questions about why I love writing, here we must also ask what stops me from writing and to explore that.
So if you are a writer, what stops you from writing? Why? What can you do to persevere through that? If your passion is not writing, what is it? What stops you from doing that? Take some time and explore these questions with God, you may be surprised at what comes out 🙂