Words Tangled Up in God

For me, faith, writing, and recovery are intrinsically connected. These three very different things are intertwined, tangled threads of a beautiful tapestry.

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I wrote my first stories as a young boy. Growing up an only child left me ample time to employ my imagination. Through the years, my writing benefited from excellent teachers and mentors, many of whom I did not realize were influencing my creative prose at the time. In those years, Marshall High had a stable of phenomenal teachers. Most of us, me especially, did not recognize how good they were at teaching us.

Attending Marshall High School, my writing profited from the solid teaching of Mrs. Douglas and Mrs. Muchmore. Although dramatically different in their style and approach, both were adept instructors molding my skills even before I fully recognized writing as my calling. A dear family friend recently remarked that she could see Mrs. Douglas’ DNA on the way I write, particularly in the manner that I craft sentences and in the very deliberate, intentional organization of my story. Mrs. Muchmore served as one of my earliest encouragers, lauding the words I put on paper.

My Great American Novel should already be complete by now. But, it isn’t. Life threw me some unanticipated curve balls. That really irks me because I pride myself on my ability to anticipate. However, life takes detours in between here and now. All is not lost, albeit that it is different. Over the years I have managed to write a batch of stories, poems and even a couple of plays. My publishing success has been limited. I chalk that up to being my own fault.

The past three years, as a member of our local writers group, the Writers Guild of Texas, and through creating content for this blog, I have been able to rekindle my craft. It has not be easy. At times, it has been really rough. Telling a story isn’t simply a matter of putting a bunch of words on paper. Writing is a craft. Writing is a calling.

Like me, my writing has changed. I’m not the same writer that I was a quarter century ago. I’m not the same person. What I cared about writing about then isn’t what I care to write about now. But I still have stories to tell. Getting to know Jesus has affected my writing. For me, writing has very much become a form of worship. It has even become a means of ministry.

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Similar to my journey of faith and recovery, my writing remains a work in progress. Words can change the world. I believe that God uses the stories we tell for the good of His kingdom. At least, I believe He can. I don’t write in a vacuum. God has a plan for my writing. Sometimes, I am fortunate that He lets me in on it. But as is true with ministry most of the time, I simply need to be obedient and remain faithful in this creative calling.

Recovery impacts my storytelling too. The stories I care about clean and sober are not the same that appealed to me when I wrote drunk and high. Thankfully, sobriety has permanently altered my perspective. For me, I write with a greater purpose.

Faith, writing, and recovery. These 3 things remain intricately linked.

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Photos courtesy of Pixabay.

Putting Words on Paper

You want to write but you don’t know what to write about. Your mind is racing with thoughts, ideas, and characters, yet you are having a hard time focusing on a subject long enough to put words together to form your first sentence. At times, it seems like everyone has already written everything there is to write about. Other times, it seems impossible to tell a story that hasn’t already been told.

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What do you do?

  1. Write what you know about.

Stephen King started out by writing stories about things that scared him. Mark Twain wrote about the Missouri he called home and the Mississippi River that held a spell over him. It’s no accident that John Le Carré or John Grisham started writing about the subjects that made them famously well-published authors. Le Carré worked for British Intelligence and Grisham was an attorney. Each of these authors wrote about what they knew.

You may not be able to write the latest crime thriller from the perspective of a police detective, but you can write a story involving characters that do things you have expertise or special insight about. There are people, places, and topics you know and that interest you. Write about them.

  1. Tell the story from your perspective.

The way you view people, places, and topics is uniquely yours. Your life has given you knowledge, experiences and ideas that although common to the rest of us, are particular to you. While themes involving love and fear have been written about by numerous authors, there are still vast stories waiting to be told. Besides, none of the stories that have been written, up to now, are your stories

  1. Let your imagination loose.

Give your imagination permission to run free. Set it loose. Writing involves letting go of your inhibitions and willingly exploring the themes you’re delving into and the characters you are creating. Don’t be afraid to turn your story upside down. It’s the twists that keep the pages turning.

Write on. You can do it. I believe in you.