Wednesday, 18 November 2015

How I wrangle with words by Joy Lenton

Confession time: hello, I'm Joy and I wrangle with words.

It's one of my favourite occupations, a regular, if not daily pursuit.

Sometimes they allow me to have my way.

Sometimes there's a degree of resistance involved.

A wrestling match of sorts as I aim to pin them to the page.

If I'm not writing out poetry or prose, I'm scribbling ideas down.

They might make their way into a blog post, future book or anthology.

On good days words slip through my fingers with liquid precision.

So when the poem below slid into my mind and slithered onto paper, I decided to share it as it came.

With a brief spell-check, yes, but otherwise left free of mangling and wrangling.

It's quite freeing sometimes to take our foot off the 'edit' pedal.

To become confident to let words fly free just as they are.

A liberating lesson I've been learning when following writing prompts.

It's also useful when writing commitments have grown, yet energy is low.

Received wisdom suggests that first drafts of anything are mostly rubbish, fit only as exercise, needing a lot of work to wrangle them into shape.

I don't think that's necessarily true for all writers at all times.

Sometimes my first thoughts (especially poetic ones) are the best thoughts. 

They require minimal editing, but I've grown to trust God's work in me, the way He fires and inspires my writing process.

Maybe we just need to trust more in the gifts we've been given?

Because being a word-wrangler-weaver is a marvellous thing.

Let's not let fear of failure or perceived pressure of perfection hold us back from creative expression.

Let's feel the fear and do it afraid, yes?

Pray, pause, ponder and put some words on a page...

Word Wrangling..
Sitting sentinel at my PC
I'm a keeper of words
a wrangler of sorts
Marshalling thoughts into neat little rows
of poetry or prose
Deciding on a whim what is sifted
out and what stays in
Giving credit to the edit
Even the inspired can make the fire
Providing fodder, it is turned away
for another reflective day
More often than not it comes easily
especially when penning poetry
When at haste for time, I tend to
automatically trace a rhyme

Although it's hard to ditch our darlings
when they appear to be so charming
We cling voraciously to
pretty phraseology
and mourn the loss
of what is really dross
In being desperate for a rhyme
we can forget to end when it is time
A cull may be called for
A showing of the door
This way, we say with gleeful abandon
pushing to the edge the hateful random
But care must be taken when we stop
and sieve, lest we drop those words
which are dying to live

God tends to work with what we have and how we're situated. He knows I have precious little energy and limited concentration, but I am open to His outpouring of inspiration.

What does the writing process look like to you?

Do you find it easy to go with the flow?

Joy is a grateful grace dweller who finds community among the weak and the broken, the edge-dwellers and truth-tellers.

She enjoys having fellowship with poets, writers, mystics and contemplatives as she seeks after God's heart.

You can find her raking for beauty out of ashes at and where she writes to encourage others on their journey of life and faith.

She would love to connect with you on her blogs, or on Twitter, Facebook or Google +


  1. I enjoyed this post,especially the poem, Joy.
    Sometimes I write poetry more quickly than prose. I may have been working on an idea subconsciously for a while beforehand. Sue

    1. Thanks, Sue. Yes, ideas do tend to marinade in our minds for a while, often subconsciously, before becoming words on a page. It's often surprising what can come forth with a little Holy Spirit nudge, isn't it? Happy writing! :) x

  2. Thanks, Joy. :-)

  3. Joy, I love the way you use words in different places to the usual ones :) It brings so much that you say and feel to vivid life for me and challenges me to think about life differently. E.g. word-wrangler-weaver. A lovely post. Thank you x

    1. Deborah, I love the way you weave words as well. :) It's marvellous to see the different ways God works in each and every one of us. And 'wrangling' may be a bit of poetic licence, but it seemed apt to describe the work involved as we aim to pen and pin words to a page. Thank you for your lovely supportive comment! Blessings on your words and work. Xx

  4. Joy, delightful word-wrangling as you named it. Congratulations on posting for ACW. You are a gifted writer.

    1. Thank you, Janis! I really appreciate your sweet encouragement. Bless you. :) x