The Writing Book for Your Year

by Steve Laube

Vintage books and glasses

Note the title of this post did not say “book of the year” but “book for your year.” It is rare for me to recommend books on writing because there are so many good ones out there, but this one is an exception.

The spiritual foundation of the writer is critical to surviving and even thriving in the call as an artist.  Acceptable Words: Prayers for the Writer (published by Eerdmans) is a book each one of you should acquire and make a part of your reading plan.

Acceptable WordsThe book description includes:  “This book offers prayers that correspond with each stage of the writer’s work — from finding inspiration to penning the first words to ‘offering it to God’ at completion. Gary Schmidt and Elizabeth Stickney, experienced writers themselves, introduce each chapter of prayers with pithy pastoral reflections that will encourage writers in their craft.” Gary has twice won the Newberry Honor Award for his children’s books and is a professor of English at Calvin College. Elizabeth, Gary’s wife, wrote a wonderful blog called “Language and Prayer” where she introduces the book and explores the weaving of faith and writing.

Throughout the book I was inspired by material from writers such as Augustine, Dante Alighieri, William Barclay, Thomas Merton, Dwight L. Moody, Reinhold Niebuhr, C.S. Lewis, Soren Kierkegaard, Richard Baxter, and more. Ranging across the entire spectrum of the Faith. It is a book that should be examined slowly and without haste.

Make this the book of your year and let the words from great writers be a cool splash of water on your soul.

Below is a brief book trailer citing one example from the book.

19 Responses to The Writing Book for Your Year

  1. Avatar
    Diana Harkness January 7, 2013 at 5:35 am #

    Gary D. Schmidt is one of my favorite writers and speakers. Whatever he does is infused with grace. I’ll certainly put this on my list. Grace is missing in so many novels. However, I just read Michael Morris’ grace-filled novel (Man in the Blue Moon) and I can’t pause for another book before reading the rest of his published work.

    • Avatar
      Robin Patchen January 7, 2013 at 6:41 am #

      Man in the Blue Moon–another book on my TBR list. Thanks, Diana.

  2. Avatar
    Rene D. Aube January 7, 2013 at 6:17 am #

    Hi Steve! I so appreciate the informative and inspirational nature of the blogs of your agency. I have added this book to my want list as I endeavor to write to honor my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Have a blessed day!

  3. Avatar
    Ane Mulligan January 7, 2013 at 6:26 am #

    Thank you for the suggestion. I bought it and look forward to reading it. My word for this year is “abide” and this will be a nice addition to my abiding. 🙂

  4. Avatar
    Robin Patchen January 7, 2013 at 6:41 am #

    Thanks for the recommendation. I just ordered it from Amazon. Looking forward to diving in.

  5. Avatar
    Lisa January 7, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    I love this suggestion, thank you!

  6. Avatar
    Jeanne January 7, 2013 at 7:41 am #

    This sounds like a must-buy for me. Thanks so much for suggesting it. I pray before I write, but having focused prayers to pray will be very beneficial for this writer.

  7. Avatar
    Barbara Parentini January 7, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    I plan to share your article with my writers group this week. The message really resonated with me this morning, I’m looking forward to reading this book. Thank you!

  8. Avatar
    Susanne Dietze January 7, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    Thanks, Steve. I have been curious about a book like this to help guide my prayers, so I’m excited to have the recommendation.

  9. Avatar
    Lesley January 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Thanks for the recommendation. With so many writing books out there, I sometimes find myself unable to purchase any of them because I’m indecisive about which one is best. This one just might finally make it into my Amazon cart. 🙂

  10. Avatar
    Donna Pyle January 7, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    What a GREAT recommendation with perfect timing. Thanks so much!

  11. Avatar
    Ruth A. Douthitt January 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    Wow!! Excellent suggesting. Thank you!

  12. Avatar
    Amanda Dykes January 8, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    This looks wonderful~ It’s nice to see a “craft” book focusing on the spiritual foundation of it all. It’s too easy to get side-tracked as an author (or any career), caught up in the logistics and struggles that can waylay us from the true calling: obedience to His guiding, trust in His timing and purposes for our work. Anyhow, what a wonderful thing to see a book speaking to all that. Thank you!

  13. Avatar
    Jean Brunson January 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    Thank you for suggesting a book that will remind me to let God write through me instead of my trying to do it in my own strength.

  14. Avatar
    Jean Hall January 9, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    Sounds terrific. Thanks for sharing. I’m ordering one tonight.


  15. Avatar
    Rebecca DeMarino January 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    I’m just catching up with emails and such – thank you for telling us about Acceptable Words: Prayers for the Writer! I ordered it and I look forward to making it part of my reading and study. This is the third year I’ve chosen a word for the year and it is “communion”. I want to strive to be in communion with God throughout my day, and I know I will learn much from this book!

  16. Avatar
    Jessica Ferguson January 12, 2013 at 5:34 am #

    Thanks for telling us about Acceptable Words: Prayers for the Writer. Just ordered it and I’m sure it will become my writing book of 2013.

  17. Avatar
    J.D January 24, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    I hit a point where secular writing resources were hitting me left and right like dodge balls in third grade. So I cowered, covered my head and went to the sidelines for a time out. The next day I opened my email and this post was waiting for me with a heavenly smile. Cue the angelic chorus. I rejoiced, praised the Lord and bought the book. Last night (Jan 23rd) the dodge balls were polished and rip for leaving welts, but this morning when I came down for some necessary coffee, Acceptable Words was waiting for me (cue chorus) and I began reading immediately. Wow. The Lord’s timing is always perfect. He is never late! Phew.


  1. Eerdmans All Over: January 11, 2013 « EerdWord - January 11, 2013

    […] Gary Schmidt and Elizabeth Stickney’s Acceptable Words: Prayers for the Writer as “The Writing Book for Your Year” at the Steve Laube Agency […]

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