How Good Writing Becomes a Wonderful Book

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Every book was once a mere snippet of a notion with a pencil (or a computer keyboard) dangling off the end of it. The difference between an author and someone daydreaming out the window is that, finding the pencil or keyboard attached to a notion, the writer continues drawing, writing, pulling, prodding, and scratching at the notion until it becomes a book. But how does that book become wonderful? There lies the real mystery. No one really knows. . . but I have observed that Wonderful Books often emerge after the writer contacts a resonant event. Is it important that the event actually took place? Not so very. What Is Important is that the event (whether remembered or imagined) spontaneously emits for the writer the qualities of wonder and delight. The late poet Donald Justice wrote a brilliant biographical essay in which he recounts a childhood memory of a party where he encountered – wonder of wonders! – a plate of small sandwiches. The way he describes closing his hands around one of them would not be nearly so satisfying and evocative if he had not – as he did so well – first tell us that those little sandwiches were BLUE. Immediately we, his readers, join him at age 6 ( or 7, or . . . ). Our own sense of delight and amazement picks up his cue. One moment we’re reading along quietly minding our own beeswax when suddenly, with a secretive wink, our youthful spirit grabs a blue sandwich right off the page and we are jolted fully awake. For a moment we stand in awe, suffused with the light of creativity. We are inspired, and we didn’t even try.

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A Writing Exercise
Go to a favorite book – preferably fiction or poetry – and plunge into a passage, any passage. Read until something strikes you, and then PING! Let yourself be stricken!

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Enjoy and delight in feeling silly with amazement, or wonder, or . . . or . . . a desire to eat something blue that’s cut into the shape of a triangle. Allow this feeling to grow. At a certain point you will feel as if you can stand it no longer. This is not boredom – oh, no. Rather, it’s that sense of urgency all authors recognize as Time to Write. Go to the page, to the paper or the computer keyboard, and begin. Doing this again and again, with great love, with wild abandon, and with only the vaguest notion of How It’ll All Turn Out – that’s how the simplest book (or a life) becomes a wonder.

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Oops! Your exuberance is showing! Enjoy.

Ceci Miller is the author of Sacred Visitations: Gifts of Grace that Transform the Heart and Awaken the Soul, endorsed by Chicken Soul Author Marci Shimoff, Mars/Venus author John Gray, and bestselling author John Bradshaw. The book’s touching, often magical, stories guide readers beyond mere memoir into the profoundly personal world of their own sacred experiences. Ceci’s workshops teach the 5 Steps of Sacred Awareness. A student of meditation since 1976 Ceci’s heartfelt stories of spiritual experience and contemplation–shared in articles, books, and public talks–have inspired meditators and seekers throughout the world. She is the author of two children’s books and has co-authored and edited numerous books for adults. To hear Ceci read an excerpt from Sacred Visitations, or to hear her interviews with people about their spiritual experiences on the Sacred Visitations Podcast, go to

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