My friend, Kristina, taught me that words are like water. Like a well that goes unused for too long, neglecting to use your words can dry them up. Often the way to get yourself out of writer’s block is to just write—anything—to unclog and let the words flow again. Her words two years ago at the Allume conference have effectively cured me from experiencing writer’s block. I know if I can’t seem to find the words for one topic, I move to another—writing about nothing and anything—until the flow begins again.
Another thing I’ve found that affects my ability to write is not reading enough. To use the water analogy again, a well will dry up if there is no rain. Other’s words rejuvenate my own, that’s why when I am writing a book, I am intentional about reading as much if not more than usual. I read widely, and in every minute I can find. I keep books near every seat (including the toilet, of course) and snack on words throughout the day. (It takes me a long time to read through a non-fiction book, but I’ve realized I prefer it that way—it gives me a chance to let the book change me.) Other’s words are like the rain, replenishing all the words I churn out in my writing sessions.
While writing my last book I begged and borrowed and shopped my own bookshelf for the following titles:
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I’ve been a huge fan of Joel Salatin since my early teens when my family met him and used his pastured poultry model to begin our own farming venture. I love Joel’s humor and his vocabulary is astonishing. Also, his passion for his topic is obvious—his voice is both confident and comfortable. Besides resonating with his topic and being entertained by his writing voice, his writing inspires me to find the best words to tell my story and write from a place of passion. A blogging friend brought me a signed copy of this book a few years ago after meeting him at a conference—I appreciate it for so many reasons, and recommend it to anyone who gets excited about the ‘why’ behind eating local and living sustainably.
I was blessed to get my hands on an advanced reader copy of Kate Batestelli’s upcoming book, The God Dare. I will be free to say more about this book when it actually comes out, but I will tell you that if you’ve got something on your plate that feels slightly impossible (like balancing my role as mother with the call to write) this book will encourage you!
This was actually part of the kid’s homeschool curriculum this spring, but as we read the story of George’s daring to trust God for provision, I was glad I got to be a student, too. This book will require you to stand face-to-face with the fears you have (especially if they’re relate to finances) and realize how aware and powerful God is in those situations. When writing a book, there is always that nagging fear that it ‘won’t sell’. Reading the story of George Mueller allowed me to let go of that fear while I wrote, and just obey the call God has put on my heart, without fear for provision.
Being raised fairly fundamentally, my first 20 years of instruction in the faith was a lot of do’s and don’ts and principles and application, and rather weak on theology, which left me feeling intimidated by the subject. Thankfully, I have friends who encourage me that it’s not as scary as it sounds to ‘study theology’ and even loan me books on it. Now I am learning the incredible depth to my faith—instead of being afraid of all I don’t understand, I’m refreshed and thrilled by depths I can dive into and never fear hitting bottom. I’ve been splashing around in a kiddie pool, and now I’m cavorting in the deep end. If theology has ever intimidated you, the easy style and gentle humor in this book will delight and refresh you. Understanding who God is and why He sent His Son takes a whole lot of pressure of this approval—oriented girl, which has a rather freeing effect on my writing voice.
Where has this book been all my life?! Although it’s only August, I can almost guarantee this will be my top book this year. Never have I read a book that so clearly outlines the negative patterns we fall into in relationships, or so practically shows us how to move beyond dysfunction to healthy communication. I thought I was a good communicator because I talk a lot. Ha. I have a lot to learn! But since applying just what I’ve been able to grasp in my first read through, Jeremy and I are communicating better and experiencing more unity than ever in our almost nine years of marriage. Such a blessing since working on a book together requires a lot of communication!
If you wonder why there’s no fiction here, it’s because I don’t read fiction much when I’m working on a big project. The one book I’m dipping into when I have the odd space of time in which I feel free to indulge is actually a work by a fellow blogger and writer, Jessiqua Whitman, called Memoir of Love. If you like epic, futuristic tales with more than a passing nod to deeper faith themes, you should check out her work.
What have you been reading lately? I’m ready for some new titles—what have you enjoyed so far this year? And what helps keep your word well from running dry?