For Writers: Take Note

Below is a brief post written for Authenticity Book House and their Devotional for Writers series. Enjoy!

A couple months ago I walked through a dry spell. I dragged my feet like a crippled zombie.

I worked 40+ hours during the week and plus some on the weekends. I slapped on my makeup and exhausted myself over trying to put together a cute outfit. The only place I saw my friends was during an hour in church on Sunday mornings and a couple hours at home group.

Busyness leaves my writing life and spiritual life as fertile as cracked soil of the Atacama Desert. I run dry on inspiration when I get caught up in my to-do list. But when I slow down, drop after drop of inspiration waters my mind.

After February ended with all the conferences, projects, and work deadlines, I resolved to water my soul and created some time of sacred silence.

I turned off my TV to read and spend time in the Word. I signed up for art classes, refused to check my inbox on weekends, and planted the herbs I’ve been wanting to try.

I had lost sight of the value of rest and community. The introvert, perfectionist, task-oriented side of me didn’t realize how much the weariness impacted me as a writer and follower of Christ.

Throughout the Gospel of Luke, we find references of Christ walking away from the crowds to be alone in prayer. Christ took note of the people around him, listening not to just their words, but the condition of their hearts. He dove deep into the well of people’s lives.

Christ accomplished much in his three-year ministry, not because he focused on the task at hand, but because he focused on His Father and the people.

Take note of the world around you. Don’t passively walk through the crowds; soak in the people you meet. Get to know your waiter. Talk with your co-workers. Take out the headphones and rest in the outdoors. Turn off Netflix and open the fresh pages of a book.

As writers, how can we love ourselves and people well? Take note of the moments around us. Check out these three suggestions below.

  1. Schedule a time of silence. Turn off the computer and TV. Put the phone on “Do not disturb” mode. Use this time to read a book, soak in the words of the Bible, and kneel in prayer.
  2. Keep a notebook on you. Take note of what you see, what people say, how they inspire you, challenge you and make you think. Whether you go on a walk, drive to work, or grab some food on lunch break, notice the moments around you. What do you see?
  3. Ask questions. Get to know the people around you. What’s the story of your desk mate at work? How well have you gotten to know the parents of the kids your children go to school with? What’s your barista’s name?

As you take note of the world around you, you become present in the moment. This is a challenge to be intentional, to engage others, to take care of yourself.

This frees you to flourish, not just as a writer, but as a follower of Christ. Taking note of the people around you and the moments that pass by spills into your writing life, allowing inspiration and stories to bloom.