Step Twelve- Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we will carry this message to other writers and practice these principles in all our affairs.
What are the principles we learned as we traveled through the twelve steps to being a spiritual writer? In step one, we learned honesty. We became honest with ourselves and others by admitting that we long and dream of worldly success and all the trappings that come with it. It is sometimes hard to be honest with others, but it is often harder to be honest with ourselves.
In step two, we learned hope. We became hopeful that God truly cared about us and our writing and that we were not alone. Even in our loneliest hours while we were struggling with rejection or writer’s block we had hope in the knowledge that He is with us.
In step three, we learned faith. We made the most important decision in our writing life by turning our writing and our writing career over to God. We came to depend on His guidance and plan for the gift He has given us – turning to Him each day and with every decision.
In step four, we learned courage. We had the courage to look at ourselves and admit our defects, both in our work and in our writing career. We had the courage to examine our underlining motives and desires. We admitted with bravery the truth about ourselves and our past actions.
In step five, we learned integrity. We had the integrity to be our true selves. We no longer had to pretend to be holy and perfect. We learned to be who God created us to be, both to ourselves and others.
In step six, we learned willingness. We became willing to let go of the sin patterns in our writing life. We became willing to turn our career and our work over to the guidance of God each morning.
In step seven, we learned humility. We let go of our need to be important, known and famous in our writing career. We came to understand that only God could change us. We now know that we haven’t got the ability to change ourselves by sheer will power. We need to turn all of ourselves, including our work and career, over to Him, trusting Him each day.
In step eight, we learned self-discipline. By looking at our past and making reparations to the other writers we may have harmed, we became less likely to harm others in word or deed.
In step nine, we learned love. We have learned to accept other writers, publishers and all those we have contact with in our career as they are. Not trying to change them into what we want them to be. We love them for who God made them to be. We accept them.
In step ten, we learned perseverance. We have learned that once we are aware of what God wants us to write and are inspired to do so, we work. We work at doing His Will and don’t worry about what the world says. Our success lies in doing His work and carrying His message. We also persevere in practicing the principles of being the kind of person and writer that we should be in relation to others.
In step eleven, we learned spiritual awareness. We became practiced in daily prayer and Scriptural meditation. We learned to never write until we prayed. We learned to listen to Him. We applied this principle to our relations in our family and to others in the writing world, always aware that He will guide us if we turn to Him daily.
Now, in step twelve, we learn service. It is not all about us! It is not all about our writing and our career! What can we do to help other writers? Do we do anything to help the Catholic Writer’s Guild? Do we offer our skills to our parish? Do we reach out to new writers? Have we ever made a phone call to encourage another writer? Have we let go of our need to control and manipulate others, allowing God to work through us to reach His other children in need?
In step twelve we come to know that we not only carry the message of peace and love to other writers. We are the message. We have become the message by the way we turn it all over to God and allow Him to guide us each day into doing His Will.
It is a new way of writing. It is a new way of life. I call it the Magnificent Obsession. That is not original to me. A minister once wrote a book, a romance about this way of life. For us it means that our own writing and our career’s success is no longer the obsession that guides us. It is this. Each morning we pray for guidance, turning our work and our day over to God. When we find ourselves obsessing or tempted to jealousy or depression over rejection or isolation from others, we change our past way of coping. We reach out to help those other writers and publishers both in word or deed.
Each night take the time to ask God what wrongs you did that day. It is a day by day practice and we grow deeper in our relationships daily. Then, I like to ask God who I can help the next day. I ask Him what I can do for the person or fellow writer He has shown me. Then I ask how I can do that anonymously. Sometimes I can’t but most of the time I can. It becomes an obsession! How can I make sure that the glory of this good goes only to God and not myself? It can be as simple as recommending the other writer’s work to a friend or posting their book or a book review online. It can be recommending their work to a publisher or calling with publishing news or encouragement that will help them. If you let God guide you, you will find a life of joy. This is a new way of life that spills over to the rest of your life. I go to sleep excited – planning how to follow God’s Will, smiling about how I can do it without the person knowing who did such a wonder.
This is the last post of “The Twelve Steps to Being a Spiritual Writer.” I hope that this series has been of benefit to you. I trust you will try to practice the principles of this new life. I have not done this alone. I want to thank God for the inspiration. I also want to thank Kathryn Cunningham for her guidance and editing. Her support and kindness has been greatly appreciated. I also want to thank Teresa Frailey for her editing and hard work. I will be taking a break from writing for the CWG blog. I have two unfinished novels and a new children’s series to work on. Thank you, my faithful readers, for your encouragement and input. Keep praying, writing and publishing!
Karen Kelly Boyce is a mother of two and grandmother of two who lives on a farm in N.J. with her retired husband. She and her husband love to camp and take ‘road trips’ around the country. She has published four novels and three children’s books. Her website is www.karenkellyboyce.com