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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bird by Bird (aka Writing Update)

I have had the opportunity to write occasionally for Youthworker Journal since 2009 (here are my past articles). I consider it a privilege because I have read this magazine for years and found it to be an excellent resource: a place to "let down my hair" and admit my fears and shortcomings, and also a trustworthy resource to get the tools I needed to get the job done.

So I did a little jig when I opened my mailbox today and found the latest issue, with my name on the cover (make your eyes all squinchy and you can see it under the "Loving God" headline.) So it's not fame and fortune in the big city, but it's fun all the same.

Should you not happen to have a subscription to this magazine (ahem), here's the link to the article. I especially loved submitting this one because it's all about perhaps my greatest passion in ministry: small groups. For those of you who have worked with me, you will recognize the Small Group Covenant, based on Galatians 6:1-2, that I include in this article.

I have some other writing that has come out recently:

As I've mentioned before, writing doesn't really pay the bills, but my goodness I enjoy it. I've read several books on writing, but the one that probably has taught and inspired me the most is by Anne Lamott, and it's titled Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Anne is a little salty, so if you're uncomfortable with some not-used-in-the-Bible language now and again, you might want to skip it. But she has some really practical stuff there on writing. I will end with this quote from the book:
But I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try and warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. The thing you had to force yourself to do - the actual act of writing - turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward. 
I’ve managed to get some work done nearly every day of my adult life, without impressive financial success. Yet I would do it all over again in a hot second, mistakes and doldrums and breakdowns and all. Sometimes I could not tell you exactly why, esepcially when it feels pointless and pitiful, like Sisyphus with cash-flow problems. Other days, though, my writing is like a person to me - the person who, after all these years, still makes sense to me.


  1. Well done on the article. I love Bird by Bird - it stays close by my desk always.


  2. Way to go, Kelly. You really are one of the most readable writers I read. I'm glad more and more people get to read you!

    Bird by Bird in on my bedside table.

    I know, I know.