I haven’t blogged here in quite a while because I haven’t really felt inspired to write anything. Four years ago, it would have been impossible for me to fathom the experience of living without any inclination to write. Around that time, I had been writing for a few years about leaving Christian fundamentalism and the nontraditional spiritual paths that I’ve taken, and found it easy to post two or three times each week. It’s hard to say exactly why that changed, but I suspect that it had something to do with becoming busier after graduating seminary. I had also become more persnickety about what I considered blog-worthy. Because I had garnered a pretty significant readership, I didn’t want to disrespect them by clogging their social media feeds with uninteresting, un-meaningful content or clickbait.
In candor, I’ll further admit that I may have moved away from blogging because I’d started to evolve beyond the perspectives catalogued in my own blog archive, and worried that some of the things that I wanted to write — especially as they related to my more mystical sentiments concerning the Divine — might not resonate with my audience, which is heavily populated by skeptics and seekers. Whatever the cause, I acquired a mild challenge with conceiving written content in mid-2013, which morphed into a pretty serious, nearly full-blown case of writer’s block in 2014. I’ve opened my WordPress dashboard at least 20 times over the past three years, hoping to write something, only to find the act futile and disappointing.
I had pretty much thrown in the towel up until about a month ago when, in my despair over our country’s current political and social climate, I started to experience an urge towards, not my keyboard or iPad, but my leather-bound journal. I would scribble brief notes about what it meant to persevere in dark times, or how God empowers us, or the meaning of liberation, or the presence of the Spirit in tragedy. These tiny bursts of inspiration are both new and odd for me — they come while I’m washing dishes, or when I’m driving, or inside dreams in the middle of the night. Upon writing them down, these ideas stay with me, not merely for minutes or hours, but for days. While entertaining those thoughts, I often have an inner knowing that the ideas aren’t just flashes in my own consciousness; they are seeds that could grow into stories of healing if cultivated patiently.
Something new is happening for me creatively, and I want to chase after it. I have decided to start with one of the stories that has most arrested my heart and attention. It involves a young woman who has experienced tremendous loss in her life and has, as a result, become broken and destitute. Her situation leads to an unavoidable transition that tests her faith in the Divine, her sense of self and her understanding of her role in the world. I’m committed to incorporating elements of my own spiritual identity in this book, which means that there will be nontraditional spiritual practices (did I tell y’all that I love tarot and Christian esotericism?), direct encounters with the Divine, faith, doubt and tremendous self-discovery.
I’ll write this story during National Novel Writing Month, or #NaNoWriMo,which is a worldwide challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. if you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo, I strongly suggest that you check it out. You may be especially interested in watching YouTube videos recorded by people who have finished the challenge in years past. I like the videos so much that I may start a vlog of my own to chart my progress.
The month of October (or #Preptober) is spent preparing to write the novel by drafting outlines, developing character profiles, designing the book’s literary universe, polishing subplots, etc. I hope to bring it to all of you in some way after it’s finished.
If you’re interested in following along with my writing journey, please follow my blog, which will be about spirituality, writing and more. Wish me the best!