The more writing practices you have, the better

Ample practices of engagement

I really love how prayer can happen in so many different ways. If traditional prayers with words offer no sense of connection, then maybe centering prayer in complete silence will go better. If I’m tired of dealing with words at all, I can choose to pray with images or to pray by drawing or by walking a labyrinth. If I can’t focus on my own, I can pray with others, informally or at a church service. If I’m feeling smothered, I can walk somewhere and breathe deeply, and that will be my prayer. The possibilities are endless. Any one form of prayer is simply a practice, and the more practices I have, the better.

The same is true of writing. Some days you need to write and write and not worry about how good it is – it’s a time simply to generate raw material. Some days are research days. Other days are editing days. Still other days are for experimenting with language or form. There are so many practices that help a person engage with creative writing that there’s always some way to do it. If one habit stops being effective, drop it and develop another. The more writing practices you have, the better.

Please remember, whether you’re engaged in art or spirituality, it’s creative work. And because it’s creative, you have many, many ways to go about it.

Collect books and DVDs that offer a variety of practices. Here’s a book that connects writing exercises with memory. Here’s a DVD that helps you pray by chanting the psalms. Use it all – try out whatever appeals to you. These are practices. There is not one right way to do creative work. By their very nature, art and prayer invite you – compel you – to open up your soul to possibility and variety.

from “The Art of Spiritual Writing” by Vinita Hampton Wright