On Writing Daily, Devotionally

The key to writing is writing. Reading about writing isn’t writing. Thinking about writing isn’t writing. If you want to be a writer, write.

I’m not the first to make this argument. From William Zinsser to Steven Pressfield to Stephen King, you will hear that the act of doing is how you become a professional writer. No one can write for you, only you can do that.

After editing Faithlife Study Bible and Lexham Bible Dictionary, it was hard for me to even look at a screen. I had no desire to write. Every article was pain, perhaps even post-traumatic stress. When you have spent the last two years of your life working 70 to 80 hours per week writing and editing, it’s difficult to convince yourself to pick up a pen. There is no pleasure or fun left in the task. For the first time in my life, I experienced authentic “writer’s block.”

It was at that moment that all my training and all the gusto I could muster began to fail me. No opportunity seemed worth writing again. Thus, I did the only thing I knew how to do. I kept writing. But this time about my emotions. I insisted on pitching articles that had to do with how I was feeling. I wrote on my anxiety as a post-Publisher and now a CEO without a salary — as someone who chose to go full-time into the efforts of being a non-profit executive and missionary. I journaled about my anxiety, pain, and prayers. I asked God to help me find a way forward.

I also had the difficult task of not being able to face the Bible. After so long with the text, opening it felt like work. It didn’t feel like getting to know my God any longer. I asked God to help me overcome this occupational hazard.

Through prayer, I decided to write a daily devotional. It would be a way to bring dexterity in my fingers again. It would be a way to force myself back into the biblical text on a daily basis. It was also a big challenge.

I wrote a daily devotional once, with an awesome coauthor. But now, I was daily on my own. Some days, I didn’t hit the target. I failed to write or scrapped whatever came to mind. But other days, I wrote three or four devotionals at once — as God reignited my love for the Bible and the gift he gave me, the gift of writing.

And here we are, at the end of my 30-day devotional on 1 Thessalonians. It’s about how to be a missionary right where you’re at, because it seemed fitting and it happened to be what my church was talking about. (God moment, anyone?) And now I’m faced with the question: Will I take on another 30-day devotional that will probably take me 45 days to write and publish (like the last one)? Will I accept the small failures for the big success of empowering people to live for Jesus?

Answer: yes. Because I write. No one can write my story for me. Only I can do that. And I trust the Author of my life to inspire me.

P.S. You can subscribe to my free Daily Devotional here. We’re also adapting them for Instagram: follow @jesuseconomy.

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