by Lynn H. Blackburn
I just finished re-reading A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman. I’ve dog-eared and highlighted half of the book. The last lines brought me to tears. Again.
A Million Little Ways isn’t a book on the craft. It isn’t even specifically a book for writers. It is, as the subtitle says, a book that seeks to help you “uncover the art you were made to live.” I have recommended this book to friends whose art varies from baking to decorating and from music to mothering. But if you have even the slightest inkling that your art is writing, you are going to see yourself in every chapter. Maybe on every page.
In Part 1: Who is the Artist? Emily Freeman lays out a beautiful argument for why every person created in the image of God is both art and artist, poem and poet. And what writer doesn’t want to see themselves as a poem?
In Part 2: Uncover the Art You Were Born to Make, there are five steps to help us discover what type of artist we are and what might be holding us back. As a writer, I found myself nodding along with the chapters that focus on discovering how you’re wired. After all, I’m all in favor of anything that confirms my desire and passion for writing.
But then I hit the parts about what might be holding us back. That’s when my nodding slowed and my highlighter went into overdrive.
If you’ve ever struggled with facing the criticism that comes with writing then Chapter 6 - See is worth the cost of the book. Although, I should warn you, if you’re looking for a self-help type chapter, this isn’t it. This is a soul-searching chapter, with passages that like this one from page 93: “Even after all the growing up I’ve done, I want to please man more than I want to trust God. The bottom line is, I’m a glory hog. I don’t want to reflect the image of God, I want to embody it. And that is why I fear the critics.” Or this one from page 96: “It isn’t the critics fault I’m desperate for worth and security and approval and permission.”
There’s so much more in Part 2. Great thoughts on why our art matters and why it’s vital that we release it into the world in order to draw others to God. I’d tell you all about it, but this review is already way too long!
Part 3: Release the Art You Were Made to Live encourages us to start releasing our art into the world right now, in the stage of life we are in, and gives some practical advice on how to make that happen. There’s also a great section on how to handle it when we are all ready to go, but find ourselves in a prolonged stage of waiting.
The book ends with a beautiful manifesto, a call to be fully alive, to glorify God through our art—whatever that art may be. The words are vibrating in my spirit, calling me to a place I long to be as a writer, mother, friend, and most importantly, as an image bearer of the Creator.
So what do you think of the idea that your art is important? Does that terrify you? Thrill you? Do you agree?
Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Have you uncovered the art you were meant to live? @LynnHBlackburn shares a book for you on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)
Did you know that as a writer, you're an artist? @LynnHBlackburn reviews a book for you on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)
Lynn Huggins Blackburn has been telling herself stories since she was five and finally started writing them down. She blogs about faith, family, and her writing journey on her blog Out of the Boat. Lynn is a member of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and the Word Weavers, Greenville. She lives in South Carolina where she hangs out with three lively children, one fabulous man, and a cast of imaginary characters who find their way onto the pages of her still unpublished novels. She drinks a lot of coffee.