How do you approach your work each day? Do you sit down at the computer with a clear purpose, or do your thoughts and intentions wander? Writing with intent can mean that the author approaches the work with the goal of influencing the reader to embrace a particular idea. It might also mean that we sit down to spin a story enveloped in a particular state of mind. But here’s the definition I love best: writing with intent means that we write with an eagerness, with resolve and with an inclination of spirit and soul.
The Shorter Oxford Dictionary defines intent as “having the mind strenuously bent on something.” Which reminds me all over again of just how daunting a task it is to write a novel. Particularly one in which I am intent upon ensuring “take-away” for the reader without being preachy or didactic. As writers of inspirational fiction, we must not only tell a great story that engages our readers’ hearts and minds, but we must provide spiritual food for thought delivered like a breath upon a feather and not like a hammer upon stone. Taking a reader gently by the hand and saying, “Look, if the joy is out of your life because of deceit, or anger, or bitterness or mistrust, here’s a way to let go of that and find peace,” is a sacred trust and one that I don’t take lightly.
Here’s what novelist, essayist, critic and poetess Margaret Atwood says about writing with intent: “Having the mind strenuously bent upon something…certainly describes the feeling you need to have–or that I need to have—when writing these kinds of pieces. Inertia is my constant companion, procrastination my household pet. If I’m not eager and keen and resolved and strenuously bent, I find it very difficult to write at all.”
As you approach your work today, is your mind strenuously bent upon honoring Christ with your words? What does “writing with intent” mean to you?