There is no prescription for a writer. Each of us requires different tools and different spaces to write, and Love Letters to Writers acknowledges that. We are both invited and challenged on what it means to be a writer.
Love Letters to Writers launches on November 14, 2017! Don’t forget to grab your copy. The link is at the end of this interview.
What was the inspiration for Love Letters to Writers?
For the past two years, I’ve been writing weekly letters to a writing community I coordinate, and one of the members of that community, Amanda Eastep, suggested I turn them into a book because she found them encouraging and heartening. So I took her suggestion and ran with it.
Each letter was written because of a conversation, a personal experience, or an observation that was very vivid and crucial for me in that moment in time. Sometimes, they were prompted by questions from community members, sometimes by my own struggles. But each was written with writers I know and love in mind. My hope is that love and specific awareness will translate to a wide audience of writers.
Why do you think Love Letters to Writers is necessary?
So many of the writing books and blogs out there are about the rules for writing, about how to make money quick as a writer, about the “shoulds” or “should nots” of the writing life, and I find that kind of writing about writing to be very heavy, very restrictive, and very narrow. Not all of us write the same way. Not all of us need the same thing. Every writer is different, which makes our writing fresh and powerful, and so we need space to live within our own writing identities.
So this book is, I hope, a gentle counterweight against all those “shoulds.” I hope it gives people space to write the way they write, to take risks and write wild into the questions they have, to settle into the center of who they were created to be and write from there, no matter what the writing “experts” say.
How did writing Love Letters to Writers change or inform your perspective on your own faith journey?
Over and over again as I work with writers, I am reminded of the way God showers gentle, strong grace on me, not only in the form of forgiveness that helps me model that forgiveness for myself when I screw up or don’t perform as well as I’d like, but also in the way God gives me grand space to live fully into who God created me to be. This book affirmed that truth deep in my soul because as I wrote each letter, I tried my best to hold love for the writers on the other end as central. For me, that’s a work of effort many times, but it reminded me that God need exert no effort to love us – it is God’s nature. That gentle teaching breaks my heart into life every time I think of it.
What do you hope are the main takeaways for your readers?
Oh, I hope my readers – whether they feel comfortable calling themselves writers or not – feel affirmed in who they were created to be. I hope they find joy in their quirkiness, in their desire to create, in the call to art. I hope they are able to put aside guilt and the lie that art is selfish or useless and step boldly into the work of creation that God calls some of us to. I hope they are reminded that they are not alone and that most writers feels terrible about our work or ourselves at least sometimes. Most of all, though, I hope they are encouraged to write the words that are singing from their hearts.