writing prompts & squads
writing prompts & squads

writing prompts & squads

My friend Bianca is considering writing a book. And mindful of this solid advice—Writers write.—she has given herself writing prompts and set aside time to write. A daily practice like this is how my wife Sara started writing her book. Someone Sara followed on social media started a Lenten writing challenge a few years ago, and she took it on herself.

When Bianca told me about her daily writing prompts, she said she was still struggling to actually do it. 😅 And I know that Fish or cut bait can sometimes be the right advice. But in this case, I thought Direction not speed was better. So I told Bianca how awesome she was for taking these first new hard creative steps. Starting is the hardest part!

To which, she responded: “Writing always makes me be like wow I cannot believe pastors write something every week lol” And I laughed and texted back: “Haha. I cheat and don't actually write anything but notes on 3x5 cards”

But then again, now I write this. Weekly for Sundays. Extra hard maybe because of the sermon I am not writing but I am composing in my heart, mind, and spirit. Maybe I need some writing prompts!

Whenever we do something new and/or hard—and if it’s hard for you, it’s hard for you, and you don’t have to dismiss that by comparing yourself to someone else you think would be having an easier time (instead be inspired: If they can do it, so can I!)—we need help.

Bianca didn’t exactly ask for help, but she did recruit me as a witness and cheerleader. When we saw each other in person this summer, she told me about the book she felt she needed to write. And I said, “I want to read your book!” Just by saying it outloud to me and I’m sure others she gathered a squad to encourage her and to hold her to it, if in fact she discovers this is a book that needs writing. If Bianca can say it outloud, so can you. Even when your goal has nothing to do with writing. I can say it outloud too.

Filling this page with meaningful and useful words is hard! I need to know who is reading. It helps to hear what you’re hearing in what I write. And to hear what you’re curious about. “More of this and less of that!” is welcome. Maybe what I need is a squad—a way informal group of Zion people who maybe meet once in a while and keep in touch in between and we just wonder together about what I (we?) should be writing about. What does God want us as Zion to hear? Maybe this space here could or should be for reflecting weekly on a single theme over time—like “receive” the theme/invitation of 2023 or grief, loss, and loneliness or something else. Or not!? 🤷 Maybe just pray and let me know you’re praying that God gives me the words and replaces my big dumb hears with ones that can hear. Or maybe God will give you the words to give to me (or to write yourself! 😉). I have no monopolies on wisdom.

Any true wisdom (and truth and beauty, etc.) seems to come from collaboration and community. We are in an ongoing conversation, with each other and with God, like the ongoing conversation we find recorded in scripture. God adopted us into the great community of faithful people, living and dead, who’ve been conversing together with God since Eve and Adam. And adopted us into this small community within it called Zion.

We together, and you also, have a story to tell for God’s glory.

Thanks be to God.

Pastor Clark Olson-Smith