Wednesday, November 2, 2011

God is My Muse (From The Upper Room)

Today I'm sitting in as "Guest Blogger" at the Upper Room Books website. You can read the content here. Or, and I know they'd like to see you, click in the title link and visit their page. If you're a visitor here from The Upper Room, then please scroll down to read recent posts unique to this site.
Happy Wednesday! - DEREK


Working on a new book...
This week we welcome Derek Maul as guest blogger. Derek is a writer who maintains a blog, writes for online and print publication, and has published four books with Upper Room Books. His new book, 10 Life-Charged Words: Real Faith for Men, is in the works for Fall 2012 publication.

For many writers, the biggest challenge is getting started. What do I write about today? How do I get going? Do I have any sense of direction? Shouldn’t I just clean the kitchen instead?

For me, getting started is a fairly simple process. It’s a routine, yes, but it’s a routine that’s tied specifically to my ongoing commitment to a life of faith that is contemplative at its foundation. Writing, like my entire day, begins in prayer; it finds its muse in meditation, and then develops its voice in devotion. It’s a practice that applies to both sacred and secular projects.

Here’s my theory. Forgive me if this sounds overly spiritual; but, honestly, this is where I am. If we really believe that we are made in the image of God, and if the foundational characteristic of God is “Creator,” then we simply must maintain a deliberate connection to God if we want our creativity to kick in in any significant way.

I begin, believe it or not, with the day’s devotional reading from The Upper Room daily devotional guide. I take the featured scripture verse along with me on my morning walk (45 minutes with Scout, my wife Rebekah’s huge, galumphing, labradoodle), meditate on the scripture, and let God’s Word seep into my consciousness and lead me into prayer.

Then, when I sit down at the computer – I say goodbye to Rebekah and walk to my study, the same as commuting to a regular job – I post a daily blog entry that typically reflects on how God has been speaking to me, either in my devotional time or via what has happened in the previous 24 hours.

My blog ( is built around the theme of “The Life-Charged Life.” Posting is, essentially, a “warm-up” exercise; it’s how I get my writing engine humming and it also helps keep me focused on the imperative of life.  However, rather than a throw-away routine, a great deal of what appears in my morning post can often be developed later into more substantive writing that turns out to be anything but disposable.

Many people worry about choices in their lives, and wonder if they’re “following the will of God.” Writing is no different. However, if we live, love, work, play, serve… and write through the filter of an ongoing walk of faith, then that perspective will naturally guide our direction.

A good pile of books
Sometimes there’s a specific assignment from a newspaper or magazine, sometimes it’s the next chapter of a book, sometimes there’s just an emotion or an impression that you know you have to put into words. But—always—writing that emerges from a heart and mind that is in communion with God is going to be sharper, more insightful, and worthwhile.
Because God is my muse.

In love, and because of love – DEREK

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