Category: Writing and the Spirit

Get Courageous

When I was in graduate school at the University of Iowa, I read in the college newspaper an interview with the director of the Playwrights’ Workshop. The reporter asked for his advice to would-be playwrights. His response was so outrageous,

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Get Humble

I have known lots of writers, some of whom I have watched grow from novices to masters. And I’ve observed that the masters and the ones I suspect are on their way to that level have in common their desire

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Pay Your Dues

After his victory over the tempter in the wilderness, Jesus returned in the “power of the spirit.” In other words, Christ had to face temptation before the full power of the spirit was available to him. Likewise, we may need

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Pursue Beauty

John Keats wrote: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all we know on earth and all we need to know.” Ranier Maria Rilke argues in “The First Elegy”: “For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we

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Get Free

Everybody wants to be free, right? We read that the truth will set us free. We’re told Christ came to free us, and that if he sets us free, we are free indeed. One of the liberties we in the

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Love Your Work

If we love our work, we will treat it with profound respect. Flannery O’Connor was one of the great originals. She could be honest, profound and outrageous all at once. So I value her opinion more than most people’s. In

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Love Your Characters

From Writing and the Spirit: I told my daughter Darcy I’d been convicted to take more seriously the injunction to love our enemies. “But suppose,” I said, “a neighbor comes roaring home daily at 3 a.m. in his ’55 Chevy

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Love Better

From Writing and the Spirit: In church, Olga said she believed that when people prayed for her, the prayers were effective because the people who prayed loved her. A light flashed in my dim brain and I saw that prayers

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Be Perfect II

Pointing to some children, Jesus said, “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Which implies we can’t be perfect unless we can be like children. Since we all have been children, we’re able to take real or imaginary

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Become Perfect

Somebody asked a master painter how to paint a perfect painting. He answered, “To paint a perfect painting, first become perfect, then paint.” So, I translated, to write a perfect story, become perfect then write. I labored over this advice,

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