A Time to Write and a Time Not to Write

journalAs a blog writer there’s a temptation to quickly churn out posts, to keep content new and fresh in order to keep people returning to your site. In a time of rapid content consumption I made a promise to myself and to my readers that I would post religiously (no pun intended) every Monday and I’ve kept to that minimum for the last three years or so. The consequence of deadlines is that my posts vary in quality. Many come from the core of my being, where the Holy Spirit has touched. Some, however, come from throwing together ideas in order to reach the Monday deadline. Those latter posts are not fair to you, the reader. And as Vinita Hampton Wright says, there is a time to write and a time not to write.

Vinita is a writer and editor who works for Loyola Press. I had the privilege of meeting her at the recent Ignatian Spirituality Conference in St Louis, MO. Her workshop reminded me that spiritual writing falls into the same category as prayer. What helps one pray helps one write. Being pressured to keep to hard deadlines does not gently care for the Spirit that inspires spiritual posts.

And after having moved to California to teach high school theology I’ve had to face the reality that because of time and job pressures my contribution to God In All Things could not be as regular as it has been. So in the spirit of Vinita’s reminder of the source of spiritual writing I have decided to post only when the Spirit inspires me to. Ignatius always said to let the Spirit lead. And just as we can’t force “good” prayer, we can’t force good spiritual writing.

You will continue to see posts from our regular contributors and guest contributors, so continue visiting GodInAllThings.com. And you’ll still see posts (and audio meditations) from me, though less frequently. I’m also working on a book on Ignatian spirituality set to be released in 2016. So for the Feast Day of St Ignatius on July 31 there won’t be any special posts or marketing campaigns or hashtags; just an encouragement to you to be reflective in the Ignatian tradition. Reassess your prayer practice. Consider your own spiritual journaling. Make a retreat. Pray the Examen daily. Or pray with our Desires of the Heart series. Even consider getting a deck of Ponder Cards and making your life even more reflective.

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12 replies

  1. Hi Andy

    That all makes good sense and its good to know that you write only what the Spirit is willing to write through you. Keep up your wonderful work in the ways God chooses while you play his brutified music as a well tuned instrument.

    Thanks for all you’ve given and continue to give.

    Shalom,

    Nicole

  2. Like you Andy I have tried to publish a blog each Monday but as you say they do tend to vary in quality. However if I can help you in any way with guest blogs please let me know. Being retired I do have more time on my hands and God does seem to be calling me to write. In any case may God be with you in your new venture.

  3. Your awareness is another lesson that we, your readers, can learn from~ thank you. My prayers are with you during this challenging time.Blessing~ Kathy

  4. Andy, I am always moved by the depth of your honesty and vulnerability. That kind of “safe-making” wonderfully modeled makes it easier for the rest of us. Thank you

  5. LIke you, I put out a weekly devotional on WordPress called Tools For Christian Living. It started at the request of our men’s ministry director at my church and was originally distributed via an e-mail list, but eventually I felt compelled to reach out beyond the walls of my church. And like you, I discovered that trying to have a devotional ready every Wednesday (in my case) was challenging to do week in and week out. Sometimes you do have to step back and take a breather. I don’t beat myself up if I have to skip a week or two, whereas at the outset, I felt pressured to send something out. Quality over quantity.

  6. Dear Andy,  Thank you for sharing your faith journey and inspirational meditations. They have been a gift to me in my faith journey. I will miss you but realize you have to be true to yourself and thr Spirit moving in your life. Peace, Dottie

  7. I’m slightly confused – you write “so continue visiting GodInAllThings.com” – but it says the domain has expired and to come to this wordpress site instead.
    I do, however, fully understand your decision re regular posts. it’s why i also stopped posting regularly on my own blog some time ago.

  8. I’m sorry about the website issue. It seems like WordPress has a bug. My domain andyotto.com was removed from directing to the blog but godinallthings.com should have remained. I’ve reached out to WordPress for a fix.

  9. wordpress has a bug? – figures! 🙂 I suspect it’s to do with whatever your original registration was… incidentally, I’ve found most of your posts very valuable, and especially the audio downloads for Advent and Desires of the Heart and things like that. Thank you.

  10. Andy, your posts have truly changed my outlook on life for the better. As long as I know I will still hear from you now and then, I’ll be happy. You have returned a joy to my life that was lost. Blessings to you and your wife.

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