Robert Benson is the author of many books and is profiled as one of S&P's Living Spiritual Teachers. He writes and speaks on the life of prayer and contemplation, the practice of faith and spirituality, and the art and craft of writing. He is a graduate of and an adjunct faculty member for the Academy for Spiritual Formation, a program of the Upper Room.
Benson knows a lot about writing after 40 years and 20 books. Two of the major challenges are plunging into the fray by beginning and then staying the course day-by-day until it is completed. Two sturdy and reliable companions for the journey are solitude and not being afraid of being alone. With a wry sense of humor, Benson admits that most writers, at one time or another, cave in to feelings of inadequacy when they compare themselves to masters in the field. "Last week while reading Buechner, I realized that if I wanted to make a contribution to the literary world, I should do his laundry and mow his grass so he would have more time to write."
Rhythm is as important for the writer as it is for the spiritual practitioner. Writing 600 words a day, six days a week, for fifteen weeks results in a book of 170 to 190 pages. As the critic Doris Grumbach stated: "To be an adult is to learn how to parcel out at the appropriate time a part of oneself."
In a relaxed and convivial manner, Benson covers other matters relevant to the craft of writing: choosing an audience, taking seriously the fact that "hurry is not a proper posture for a writer," his rational for keeping two books going at one time, being encouraged by favorite writers, habits that keep a writer sharp, on sharing a work in progress, and on knowing when a work is done. Check out these tips by this skilled and disciplined wordsmith.