I have never participated in a writing challenge before, but this simple short-term challenge from Hope Writers seems the perfect opportunity.
Below are my responses, shared daily on Facebook (for the most part) during the challenge.
Jan 14: Word – Do I own the words or do I owe the words? I have a debt to pay to words. They materialize my thoughts, my emotions, unite me to others and help me find unity within myself. Jesus is the Word made flesh, who existed from the beginning, so when I participate in the beauty of words, I enter into life with God. I should not manipulate the words to suit my own needs, without reverence, but rather, humbly approach the vast array of words in existence to try to discover their greatness, their potential, their meaning, and their power to communicate my heart to another heart. In doing this, I draw closer to God, the Son, the Word made Flesh.
Jan 15: Morning – That elusive place of quiet, reflection, preparation as the sun rises, coffee is brewed, and as I open the curtains my mind gently expands to take in the beauty of the world and the possibilities of a new day. Then, I hear in the distance, a toddler’s call “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” The six-year-old screams at his little sister, “I’m not stinky!” I climb out of bed to face the world, not as I dream it to be, but as it really is. Where the possibilities for growth are not neatly packaged in a self-help cover, but in the daily grind, the chipped coffee cup, and the world of The Little Way.
Jan 16: Draft – The draft is the world of potential, like mornings, like words, where the possibilities are endless. You begin, no idea where it will go unless you have an outline. You sit down, pour out words unless your mind is fried and your heart burnt out. In a tidy fifteen minutes, you punch out into the computer typewriter inkwell words of genius and inspiration, unless you are distracted with a habit of internet scrolling, too many open tabs, and too many open mouths crying out for breakfast. It comes together beautifully. And when you finish, you know that this, this is ready for publication. But finding you cannot stand to read it enough to edit it the three or four times required to make it decent, you toss it out and begin anew the next day. Happy, happy first drafts!
Jan 17: Mood – The mood of a piece… I listened to Jars of Clay’s album, Much Afraid, as I wrote my most atmospheric piece of adolescent sentimentality at age 15, parsing through the relationships lacking in my life. A candle creates a mood, the right writing desk, the right ballpoint pen, the background music create the mood. The mood is the effect of the senses on the work output. The writer creates a mood to work. The piece itself only possesses mood when the author is ready to translate this sensory experience to the page. Writing without mood reduces your page to words and descriptions. Mood is where the writing comes alive, allowing your reader to connect on a sensory level with the authors who may be hundreds of miles or hundreds of years away. That is the power of mood.
Jan 18: Edit – Writing is the expression. Editing is the work. Like raising children, to edit is to labor to cultivate the raw material that comes from you into something you like, want to spend time with, and who you hope will make enough money to take care of you in your old age.