Slowing Down the Writer’s Heart


For the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.
1 Chronicles 28:9

I know many of you reading this are on your way to ACFW in Dallas, which starts tomorrow. Go get ’em!

Maybe you’re in the airport waiting for your flight — or maybe you’ve set up your laptop on the desk in your hotel room, ready to tap out last-minute changes to your novel synopsis. We’re all rooting for you — and praying God will let your voice be heard.

Whatever you have going on today, whether you’re flying off to a conference or staying home to work, love, and play, God has called you as a writer to move beyond the hectic busy-ness of life to slow down … and listen to His voice.

Since my children have started back in school, I’ve been running non-stop. Five schedules to keep up with — homework, permission slips, field trips, sports activities, lunchboxes, and shoes that fit! When I’m home, my timer is on, reminding me I only have a certain amount of time to do what needs to be done. Go here, go there, do this, do that.

Last week, I had a five-minute breather, and I clicked over to one of my favorite blogs, Ann Voskamp’s Holy Experience. Ann never fails to remind me of God’s holy presence in my life. When I read her post, Repent. Rethink. Grow a Third Ear, I was amazed.

In it, she writes, “The Japanese symbol for busy is a slash through the heart. I am that: busy. Thus, (is it true?) heartless.” I pondered Ann’s thoughts all the rest of the day. As I prepared meals and washed dishes. As I sorted and folded clothes. As I picked up children from school.

I could see vividly the Japanese character in my mind: pronounced isogashii. I remember learning this kanji during my studies in Japan. The left part of the character is the symbol for heart, pronounced kokoro by itself. To the right is the symbol for death. So you put these parts together and you have a dead heart.

My Japanese kanji dictionary further defines the character for death (pronounced bo) as “to lose, to perish, to be non-existent, to flee.” If we’ve become too busy, then we’ve lost our hearts altogether.

As writers, whether we’re penning great novels or waxing eloquent non-fiction prose, we can’t lose our hearts and expect to come up with any great thoughts that will inspire our readers.

Do you need to slow down today to give life to your heart? I hope you’ll find a quiet moment, a solitary place, a pause … to focus on the One who is the source of the life that beats through you.

Oh Lord, we’re so busy. We’ve got all these dreams — and they’re from you, aren’t they? We fill up our schedules rushing, rushing, trying to get it all done. Yet you only speak to us when we’re still enough to listen. Help us to slow down today so we can hear you. Let not our hearts be dead. Give us life, Lord, and help us to pen words that come from you. Amen.


  1. That’s great that you’ve got a new plan for writing. Congratulations! I agree — it’s a challenge to keep moving with the work God has called us to do without being TOO busy, one I constantly struggle with.

  2. Thanks for the image of the slash through the heart. That’s so true.

    We do need to be still to hear God. But not too still.

    I had fallen into a slump that felt permanent. Then I tried something new, something that keeps me very busy, and though I’m not on track yet, I’m back to writing and hope that God will show me how to serve Him.

    Thank you for this thoughtful post. I need to be careful that this very energizing busy-ness doesn’t take me down the wrong path.

  3. This was wonderful to read, Ann. Thank you so much.

  4. Thanks, Ann. We’re definitely spurring one another on.

    Praying for you!

  5. “Do you need to slow down today to give life to your heart? I hope you’ll find a quiet moment, a solitary place, a pause … to focus on the One who is the source of the life that beats through you.”

    I do. He beats through your words, Heather.

    Now, to find a quiet place, and let Him revive…. (And when I am there? Yes, I will thank Him for you, and your needful nudge.)

    My gratitude, Heather…
    All’s grace,

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