Here is what I have seen: The best writing comes from an open heart. True, the craftsmanship must be there. But it is meant to serve transparency; it can never replace it, and without that honesty, that searching out of one's emotions and convictions, of one's deep personhood, writing is mechanical, contrived, bloodless, even death-dealing. But how does one write from the heart? By writing, period. Writing, if persisted in, over time opens the heart, a crack here, an inch there, now two inches, now a foot, until the door swings wide open—if not constantly, at least more and more frequently. Writing helps the heart find its way and discover its voice. And then, in turn, the heart becomes the way of writing.
I'm sitting here in my couch, editing some Bible study notes on my laptop, when I hear something go "whump!" I glance left toward the patio and see that a squirrel has jumped up onto the screen door and attached himself like Velcro. "Okay, pal," I think, "now that you've gained that position, what do you intend to do with it?" From what I can see, it doesn't offer any advantage over the patio, which is strewn with scrumptious sunflower seeds. But a squirrel will explore; squirrels are as curious as cats. So after taking a minute to contemplate his next move, this little bugger starts working his way up the screen till he's reached the top. This accomplishes nothing of any value for him, but it does put him in a particularly vulnerable situation which, for me, offers the potential for some brief amusement. I get up and tear open the glass sliding door right in front of him. Did you know that squirrels are equipped with a powerful inner spring? It is triggered by the startle factor; the more sudden the surprise, the mightier the jolt from the spring and the greater the distance it will launch the squirrel. I'd give this one about ten feet. At my old apartment, I had a squirrel catapult. Here I don't think I need one. I have a screen door.