Spirit Matters: Writing as a way of being

Jerrilyn Zavada

This week, as my hubby paid for our creative haul at Hobby Lobby, I received an intriguing proposal on my smartphone.

In checking my inbox, I noticed I had received an email from Literary Hub.

I get daily and weekly updates from them about what is transpiring in the literary world. The emails begin with “Lit Hub Daily” or “Lit Hub Weekly” in the subject line.

This email was different.

The subject line read “The Craft of Writing goes back to School.”

Ooh, now you’ve got my attention.

The word “writing” is a beacon of light to me.

I suppose it is something like when your kid calls out “Mom” at the store, and all mothers stop and turn in the direction the voice is coming from.

That instinct is ingrained in mothers by virtue of their role and I’m guessing because of hard-earned lessons in the past.

But you know that voice, and you recognize it instantly.

And you drop everything you are doing to find out what your child wants.

So, when I say I geek out at the word “writing,” I mean it is ingrained in the compass of my soul, and each time I see or hear it, the ears of my heart perk up and I have to see why it is calling to me now.

When I opened the email, I was treated to a buffet of links to essays about writing fiction, nonfiction, poetry and the writing life in general.

Of course, the checkout line at Hobby Lobby was not the optimal time to deep dive into the links, but I noticed “The Craft of Writing” is an actual weekly newsletter LitHub sends out on Wednesdays.

I have no idea how I missed it before, but as of Wednesday, I am now on that mailing list too.

This weekly offering you read here notwithstanding; I feel I have been on an extended period of dryness in my writing life.

To the point where I wonder to myself if everything I have written to this point has been a fluke, and any cosmic purpose associated with me putting my thoughts down has permanently ended.

(For those of you who are not acclimated to the writing life, this feeling is not uncommon. I think it is in the writer bylaws somewhere that you have to experience this inner sense of existential desolation periodically if you want to ‘be a writer.’)

Even simply trying to get myself into the mode of writing freestyle for 10 or 15 minutes each morning when I wake up is a monumental task.

That being said, this inner urge to write, to make sense of life by fitfully tapping my keyboard or scribbling in my journal, is a spiritual practice.

When I am faithful to the practice, writing is nothing short of embodied prayer, regardless of whether the topic is of a “spiritual” nature or not.

It is part of who I am.

It is what makes Jerrilyn, Jerrilyn.

And it is the clearest and most direct way for me to connect with the Divine spark in my heart.

I know this because despite all the times I have experienced a ‘dark night of the writer’s soul,’ the words always flow back into my life, through my being, and into the world.

When the time is right.

SPIRIT MATTERS is a weekly column that examines experiences common to the human spirit. Contact Jerrilyn Zavada Novak at jzblue33@yahoo.com to share how you engage your spirit in your life and community.

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