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For the Writing Life

Here are a few books and a video I’ve enjoyed about the writing life.

Sealed Orders

by Agnes Sanford (Bridge-Logos Publishers, 2009)


The Healing Light

by Agnes Sanford (Ballantine Books, 1983)

To see how vitally important the exercise of her writing gift was to the life of Agnes Sanford was to understand that writing is a trust from God to be stewarded.

I also noticed how God gave Sanford another gift alongside her gift of writing—that of healing. Eventually the two gifts were entwined in her life, in such a way that her books about healing continue to strengthen the body of Christ decades after her death.

From these two books, I gleaned some serious inspiration about the connection of my writing life with the kingdom of God. In this blog entry, in a section called “A Writer, On Writing,” I recounted some of those insights.

The Mind of the Maker

by Dorothy L. Sayers (HarperCollins, 1987)

The way Sayers articulates the creative process really helped me. I understand it as a flow of ideas from Maker (God) to writer; then from writer to book; then from book to reader—in order to recreate in the mind of the reader the original idea of the Maker.

As I was first processing that concept, I hit some bumps, which I talk about in this blog post. However, Sayers’ concept helped me think about my roles as a writer—related to God, the idea, and the readers—in a way that immediately and enduringly strengthened my relationship to God and my responsibility to my calling.

The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind

by Bill Johnson (Destiny Image, 2005)

In Chapter 10, Dreaming with God, Johnson succinctly conveys some truth about our participation with God in the creative process that is really freeing and exciting. We aren’t puppets on strings, and Johnson talks about what we are instead, and how God and we can co-labor in the creative process.

The Remarkable Ordinary

by Frederick Buechner (Zondervan, 2017)

The way Buechner described the germination of his calling as a minister who writes books—different from a minister of a church, and different from an author—resonated deeply with me because of the genesis of my own callings to write books and to minister. The way he unfolded his calling, in both actual life and in the way he talked about it, made me think about how unique our individual callings are, a beautiful fact sometimes obscured by the way we label them.

Video: “Finding Your Calling 1” by Sarah Thiessen

(YouTube, uploaded by Splankna, 30 December 2015)

Thiessen’s opening prayer and her entire talk provide practical calibration for finding and aligning a life with God’s will. And given the importance of the words we share with others, I think that’s vitally important for a writer.

A Word About Spiritual Writing

I invite and encourage Christian writers to consider the ideas in Writing as Spiritual Weapon, a blog post in which I share the synthesis of a concept that is foundational to me, and the books that helped form the concept.

On a Lighter Note…

Writing Aloud

by J.D. Beresford (W. Collins Sons & Co. Ltd, 1928)

Dorothy L. Sayers mentions this book in The Mind of the Maker, and her comments made me so curious about it that I tracked down a copy and read it. I laughed out loud at many of the glimpses Beresford gave into his own writing life.

I wish that Beresford had had a different faith experience; he seems to have been sorely disappointed in that regard by  a 2 Timothy 3:5 sort of upbringing. But I am grateful to enjoy his wit and craft, and have read this book more than once for a reminder of both: what’s lost when faith is incomplete; and the tremendous joy of writing.

For Even More Book Recommendations from AmyLu Riley…