What Writing Means for Me Today

In third grade, I wrote about wanting to be a writer some day, and illustrated my two paragraphs with a hand-drawn picture of my parents’ old manual typewriter.

Today my husband says to me, “You’re living your dream.”

That’s true in many ways, although there’s a lot about writing today that’s different from what I imagined.

Like the computer keyboard that’s replaced the manual typewriter. The explosion of social media. The way a book takes on a life of its own and makes its way into the world.

How writing isn’t just writing, but researching, interviewing, collaborating, and yes even promoting. How writing can be both lonely and a door to community, a fresh start and a long road, how it means risk and courage, both being mindful and forgetting about everything.

Through all the changes, I still love writing, I still feel as if I’m living the dream, and today this is what writing means for me:

Fantastic News #1: An Invitation

Thanks to the House of James Bookstore and Coffeeshop in Abbotsford, I’m glad to invite you to join me for a book event on Thursday evening, October 12 at 7pm.

Stories of Life features my two newest books: Sharing Faith Stories, which is a six-session Bible study for personal or group use, and Everbloom: Stories of Deeply Rooted and Transformed Lives, which is an anthology of women’s writing that includes my story on “Finding My Activist Voice.”

What the two books have in common is that they’re both about stories of life, stories of faith. How can we share our stories in healthy and healing ways? What happens when our story is difficult?

I hope we can encourage one another while enjoying something delicious from the coffeeshop and supporting the House of James which is such a wonderful part of our community. Thank you to Lando, Colin, and all the House of James staff, and to Lauryssa for creating the poster. If you’re in Abbotsford or up for a drive, I’d love to see you there!

Fantastic News #2: A Pause for Sacred Pauses

While I’m celebrating the publication of my two latest books, my earlier Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal continues to surprise me.

Now if I were more promotion-minded, I would offer regular updates each year on the anniversary of the book’s release, but once again February came and went without even a nod to Sacred Pauses. I’ll try to do something special for February next year, but in the mean time, today I’m pausing to share some news of how Sacred Pauses has been contributing to:

Thank you, Gordon, for your creativity and card

  • Mennonite Partners in China who used the book as a resource for their Professional Improvement Conference earlier this year. I never imagined that Sacred Pauses would be used by mission workers meeting in Laos!
  • Lancaster Mennonite High School in Pennsylvania for teaching juniors and seniors, where the book is also a text for an Advanced Placement class in Spiritual Formation (dual enrollment with Eastern Mennonite University).
  • And lest anyone think that Sacred Pauses is mainly for Mennonite readers, it’s being used as a resource for senior seminar classes in a nondenominational college, and finding readers in many places and from many walks of life. One reader in Houston, Texas even sent me a special series of cards that have been a wonderful surprise in my mailbox!

Fantastic News #3: A New Project

For those of you who follow me on When You Work for the Church, you already know that I’m excited to be working on a new book project!

I would have announced it here earlier, but because the new book idea grew out of an article I wrote on church employment, it only seemed right to share it over there first. This was the article that started it all: Is Self-Care Part of Your Paid Employment, and Should It Be?  And this is how the article led to a book contract: How Do You Handle Self-Care?

Of course, self-care isn’t only for those working for the church or in paid employment. It touches all of us, and raises many questions. How is self-care different from being selfish or self-indulgent? What does self-care mean in light of caring for community, in light of Jesus’ call to his followers to deny themselves?

I won’t say more here, since I want to save it for the book, but God willing and thanks to Herald Press, the new book is planned for release in fall 2018!

 

Writing/Reflection Prompt: All this and more is what writing means for me today. What does writing mean for you?

 

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Categories: Writing

8 replies

  1. Congratulations, April, on fulfilling your dream! Blogging is helping me to organize my thoughts and hopefully it will amount to something. An acquaintance of mine, Anne Brough, just wrote a novel based on the story of her grandparents’ life. It is called “The Prussian Captain” and it is a page turner! I can’t put it down. She is one year younger than I am, so it gives me hope that it’s never too late to try a new thing!

    • Yes, Elfrieda, “it’s never too late to try a new thing!” It’s inspiring to hear of Anne Brough’s novel and to see that you continue to blog. And your blogging is already amounting to something as I see readers resonating with your words, being encouraged by your experiences, and responding with their own reflections. Dream on!

  2. It was great to finally “meet” you by Skype. You have a lot on your plate but I’m thankful your congregation is giving you a sacred pause to pursue writing on behalf of the larger church. That’s what I call great self-care. 🙂 Best wishes as you plow in!

    • Thanks so much, Melodie – it was great to Skype with you and the rest of the team! I’m looking forward to devoting some concentrated time to the book manuscript. Right now it’s squeezed into the margins of my day, morning and/or night, and it will be a relief finally to let it expand and take shape. Thanks for your support!

  3. Funny you should ask, because I was chewing on that very question this morning on my way back from dropping off a son. Returning to a gloriously empty house to read, write, study for some of this morning, I was asking God what it all meant, where it was taking me, and what I’m supposed to be doing and feeling about it all. I don’t have a settled answer yet, but I sensed in the silence the words “wait” and “keep working.”

    • How wonderful, Michele, that your time to read, write,and study included listening for God’s voice. I find that writing requires both waiting and working, and the two are intimately connected. In the waiting, when it seems as if nothing is happening, God is at work, and ideas are percolating. And in the working, there is a sense of waiting to see how a piece will unfold. Thank you for sharing, and may God bless your writing, waiting, and working.

  4. April, writing for me is basically a way to pour out my life through my fingers (typing or writing). Isn’t it exciting when God uses the message He gave us to share with the world?
    Cheers to you and praise to God for opening the way for your little books. Big books 🙂

    • I love that image of pouring out your life through your fingertips! I often think of my personal journaling that way, although much of it wouldn’t make sense to anyone else. My blogging and book writing are considerably more coherent. My Bible study book that was recently published definitely qualifies as a little book since it’s not even 50 pages–really more of a booklet, but Lord willing, I still hope it will have some impact. Thanks for your good wishes.

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