writer

I so enjoyed my chat with Chris Dikes about writing – as most writers know, it’s a rare pleasure to talk with a sympathetic someone about our work. We talked a  bit about how I became a writer, discouragement, finding your voice, blogging, the difference between blogging and book writing, why I decided to write Jesus Feminist, my process as a writer, and the best (and worst) parts of writing among other things. Also: laughing (secret’s out: I laugh at myself all the time).

A bit about blogging:

One of the other things I really love about blogging is that it’s accessible. There’s no gatekeeper to it. When, in the history of the church, has someone like me ever had anything remotely resembling a voice that people can listen to? Never. It’s been a huge amplifier for voices that have been disdained or not listened to or just not noticed. Not just for women in the church but for a lot of people’s experiences in the church. And it has given us a platform and a voice that we never would’ve had. I feel very loyal to blogging and to the medium of blogging. Even the fact that it’s accessible and it’s free and anybody can get at it. It feels a bit subversive.

A bit about my biggest impediment to writing:

I think (it’s an impediment) when I’m trying to write for someone other than my own self. There have been times where I would think I need to have all the disclaimers and I need to make sure that I’m putting everything in place for every single critic who will read it and tear it apart and barbecue me. That’s just the quickest way to stifle what it is you want to say. You can’t be writing for people who fundamentally disagree with you because no matter what you say they will criticize it and then you end up not saying anything.

A bit about writer’s block:

Writer’s block – that place where I’m feeling stuck and where I feel I have nothing to say – it’s usually because I have nothing that I’m living and nothing I’m experiencing and nothing I’m taking in. You can’t really write out of an empty well. That’s usually a big signal to me that it’s time to stop beating my head against the stone wall.  So, for me, having a really rich well to pull from is a pretty big deal. For instance, I can’t write about church and community when I’m not making time for church and community in my life.

A bit about being a writer:

I feel like (writing) helps me notice my life.  I remember reading Luci Shaw talking about poets having this slender antenna that kind of combs the air, picking things up, and learning things. I feel like being a writer has conditioned me to go through life with that antenna always out, watching for things, seeing things, noticing things. Not because I’m looking to appropriate it for material, but because it fills me, because I notice now, and it’s part of how I see the world now. I love going through my life like that.

Read the full interview over at Writer Talk with Chris Dikes…..

 

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  • Wow! I absolutely love your writer’s block snippet.

    I am not always sure why my brain can’t just pop something out, anything really. I can get so entangled in my life, and going through the motions that I stop being a human being and start being a mom robot/cyborg thing.

    I forget that I too need the time to slow down, breathe and input a little here and there. Thanks!

    http://forthisisthetime.com/

  • Sarah- I love this post. As a lifelong writer, you had me at the title! I love your quote: “For me, having a really rich well to pull from is a pretty big deal.
    For instance, I can’t write about church and community when I’m not
    making time for church and community in my life.” And also, “I feel like (writing) helps me notice my life. I remember reading Luci Shaw. . .”_ I love Luci’s thoughts on the creative process, art, culture, faith- and that intersection. I know what you mean about the gatekeeper and the freedom of blogging. . . (as a journalist, I know this all too well). . .

    I write to process and share and muse on. I write because I have to write…thanks, Cornelia

  • tammy

    thank you for sharing your journey and your process for those of us who also love to write but find ourselves stuck in the mud more often than we wish. you encourage me specifically because i so often feel entirely inadequate and ill-equipped for this journey… but perhaps that only means i know the truth that it is not me, not my voice or my words, but He who speaks through me and allowing Him to use me for His will. thank you sarah!

  • Lovely post with great timing for me as I am reflecting much about my writing life and voice. I do want to add that writer Ralph Keyes in his wonderful book,The Courage to Write, theorizes that writing block is rooted in fear and that to dissolve the blocks we need to have courage to tackle those fears that keep us away from the page. For me, for instance, some of my blocks are based on fear of failure and fear of what does my voice matter anyway? This is one reason I need to be around other writers, for when my writing wanes is when I need inspiration and courage to Keep Writing Anyway No Matter What. Writers write….. so glad You Are Writing!!!!!

  • yeah, yeah, yeah! i did go and read the whole thing and it was great. i feel like i just took a crash course in writing and everything you’re saying is reinforcing everything i’m telling myself, everything my dear, wise friend is telling me as i start a new blog and a new book. yeah!

  • Ruth

    My 25 year old son writes poetry that I cannot imagine even beginning to create! Beautiful, deep, heart- rending, happy, bright, whimsical….on demand, or from the depths of his soul! Delightfully, he shares each creative burst with me, how wonderful to witness the process! ….sigh….. If I have his permission I will send you something privately. Our friend Terri knows this amazing young man. He can make you weep, laugh, sigh, see vistas in your mind, feel the warmth or cringe from the cold, gasp at strong unexpected emotions….just breath-taking,,,,what ?…me a biased reader, tes, but others who have heard his works, mostly at church, agree. Well done, our church family, for encouraging a shy young writer. 🙂

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  • Erica {let why lead}

    LOVED this interview. I felt so inspired, especially by the idea of filling your well when you can tell that you’re in a slump and writing for yourself (not for the critics). I want to better use my blog as a place of exploration, preparation—and worry a bit less about what my readers will think of the directions I try. Thank you, Sarah!

  • This: “I feel like being a writer has conditioned me to go through life with that antenna always out, watching for things, seeing things, noticing things. Not because I’m looking to appropriate it for material, but because it fills me, because I notice now, and it’s part of how I see the world now. I love going through my life like that.”

    Yes yes yes! Me, too. It’s such fun, and so sacred. Not to mention a privilege.

  • jenni ho-huan

    I can so feel all this! for me, the antennae has always been there: and i was named ‘distracted;, ‘restless;, ‘inefficient’, even ‘anti-estab’…well, then the writing came. and i am still scared to death now as i work on my third book and figure out how and avoid it for weeks…and dream of an agent-saviour who can calm my nerves and steer the whole drifting boat!

  • jamieivey

    “Writer’s block – that place where I’m feeling stuck and where I feel I have nothing to say – it’s usually because I have nothing that I’m living and nothing I’m experiencing and nothing I’m taking in. You can’t really write out of an empty well.” LOVE that. such encouragement for me tonight.

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