Art and Knowing · Touching Transcendence · Uncategorized

But Still I Write

I met a publisher at a conference and pitched her my book idea about how engaging in imagination and creativity strengthens our relationship with Jesus. She asked for a proposal. Her evaluation: “You’ve hit a felt need about the divine origins of creativity. But I don’t know how to sell it.”

I pitched an agent at another conference. He said, “I absolutely love your idea. But nobody will buy it.” I found out this agent was so impressed he used it as an example during his class—of a great idea that wouldn’t sell.

Another agent has expressed an interest, but no commitments. That’s how the “biz” works. You can spend years of your life writing, end up with a hard drive full of work, and that’s where it stays.

Window, Mount St. Benedict Monastery Chapel, Erie, PA
Window, Mount St. Benedict Monastery Chapel, Erie, PA

I’ve been working on this for a year and a half. I have good friends who write fiction and talk of writing thousands of words in a week. I have spent an afternoon on one page. I’m not only cranking out a philosophy and theology of the nature of artistic creation, I’m also on a personal journey to figure out how it works for me. If I can’t articulate that for myself, then I won’t be able to reach an audience.

I won’t say I haven’t gotten discouraged, because I have. But that nagging Voice says, “Write it. Write it.” If I go a while without facing that blank page, or the pages waiting for revision, I get restless. I have to write. Then I pace around the house, make another pot of coffee, check my e mail for the umpteenth time, all to avoid facing my fear. Maybe I am delusional. Who am I to think this is God? The professionals, whose judgment I trust, say (so far) it’s a non starter.

But still I write.

11 thoughts on “But Still I Write

  1. Nancy, you made me laugh. I would so love to share coffee and a fattening treat with all of you. Maybe this blog can help fill that need. It’s calorie free! 🙂

  2. So many marvelous comments!! Your blog, Lora, means so much to me–what you write as well as the people who comment. Wish we were all sitting around a table in a sunny kitchen, drinking coffee and tea, eating something fattening, and sharing our faith and our love of writing with each other. I have nothing wise and wonderful to add, except a hope that you write with a peaceful heart and let nothing discourage you from writing this book.

  3. I appreciate all of the encouragement! Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad to know that I am part of a great community of artists and fellow seekers of God.

  4. Reading just now Luci Shaw’s “Harvesting Fog” and going back and forth to her book, “Breath For the Bones” I applaud your interest in exploring how imagination and creativity strengthens our spiritual experience and our our relationship with Christ, in particular. Keep developing your thoughts and pitching your idea. I have long thought of the Holy Spirit as my Muse.
    Appreciate all you do to encourage poets and writers.

  5. Hi Lora, I remember discovering books about art, faith and creativity by Madeleine L’Engle, Luci Shaw, and then Anne Lamott, Julia Cameron and others. You would know the formal markets far better than me. It surely makes sense to me that using and developing our gifts would bring us closer to God, who gave these gifts to us. As I recall, in his introduction to Luci Shaw’s most recent book of poems, Eugene Peterson spoke of some of the issues you are exploring.

    “But still I write” is wonderful. I know I feel more whole when creative – and some days that’s rest and making a simple meal. Praying the Psalms. For me there’s a lot of silence now around a simple poem others find helpful. Decades of loving the same lakes and country roads.

    And I know during hard times, resting in God’s Love and Mystery has helped me greatly. And Time Of Singing, which you edit so well.

    All the best, Ellen

  6. If you write only a page a day, in a year you will have written 365 pages. That is a book. However, you might try — just TRY — opening yourself a little more. I’d like you to read my blog post, which features the rules of Sister Corita Kent’s Immaculate Heart College Art Department. In particular, she notes that you should not try to create and analyze at the same time, because they are different processes. They are. You may be analyzing while you write, perhaps even judging. Consider writing with less judgment and more freedom. Edit after the fact.

    Also remember, fiction is not the same as non-fiction. Please don’t compare yourself to other writers, especially of other genres. Your work is different. Your speed will be different. Your schedule will be different. It’s supposed to be.

  7. I have to write it if it’s published or not. Could be its purpose is to change me. I think there are bigger goals, but I can only focus on each step as it comes.

  8. Thanks be to God for your mind-set and behaviors re: continuing to write. Please continue. You are encouraging to many, including this writer. Are you writing it to sell it; is that the primary reason?
    No, not what I hear; I hear “I must write it.” That makes me pretty darn sure it is God.
    Jo Ann Hays

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