Back to Basics

by Kim Peterson


Morning Tea & JournalEvery January, I return to the basics. Not resolutions exactly, but I return to what anchors me.

Ideally, I maintain good writer-ly habits all year: I write in my journal daily. (Um, only did that one year.) I nurture my creativity regularly. (Well, it’s on my to-do list.) I edit and write with the dedication required to achieve renown. (Ha! I’m hardly a household name.) Finally, I exude the joy that keeps me steadily working and ministering through words. (Oh, brother.)

The only habit that truly sticks with me is prayer. Prayer about my writing. Prayer about everything. Because my piety and love provide a strong enough motivation for such stick-to-it-iveness? (No, I think they call it desperation.)

At this point, you either wonder why I edit and write … or you’re nodding and agreeing. I hope you see our shared humanity, our good intentions and our more realistic actions.

That’s why every January calls me back to basics — basics I need for crafting words.

Write Morning Pages – Almost a journal, but not quite, this daily writing date with a blank page provides a place to dump negativity and self-doubts in the morning. In the evening, I finish each entry with a list of five reasons for gratitude or objects of beauty God revealed that day.

Undergird Everything with Prayer – Writing, like everything else, benefits from prayer woven throughout the day. Stop for longer prayers between projects, seek inspiration between steps and whisper requests for guidance between words. End the day’s creative work with a heartfelt prayer of gratitude.

Nurture Creativity – Devote 15 minutes a day to reading books that encourage creativity, acceptance of our artsy natures and use of the gifts God gives each of us.

Forgive – Ask God to wipe out guilt about unfinished projects, to erase self-doubt about work that never measured up, and to forgive our failures in attitude and action. Seek reassurance when fear makes us dread touching the keyboard. Doing so allows us to …

Find Joy – Find joy in the idea. Find joy in the easy stages. Find joy in the hard work, the critiques, the rewrites, and the sweat of creating. His joy is our strength.

Do It All Again – Believe that the journey matters. Faithfulness matters. Pleasing God matters. Whether the work of the previous day flowed in effortless inspiration or whether it required endless, painstaking effort, rise up — day after day — and obey His directive to write …

As unto God – Offer what we have created to the Lord, to use as He wishes.

This blog post grew from the basics that anchor me, these daily habits that equip me to face the blank page. What basics help you obey God’s call to write?

Kim Peterson

Working as a freelancer for thirty-seven years, Kim has written for several Indiana newspapers and various periodicals, including AppleSeeds, Encounter, Evangel, Vista and devotional markets. Her work has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Rocking Chair Reader, and other anthologies. She loves writing for children.

One thought on “Back to Basics

  1. Kim, your post brought me a smile and encouragement. These are such wonderful reminders of where we should place our focus, and to Whom. I especially liked your idea of writing five things of gratitude at the end of each day.
    Every year, my plans include writing daily in a journal. At least you made it a whole year. My entries make it look like I only lived three or four days each month!

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