I spent May enjoying a writing class with Heather Holleman, professor of composition and advanced writing at Penn State and author of Seated with Christ.
I ignored the first few invitations to join the Compel Book Club because May looked super busy with end of the school year stuff, plus a son graduated from college. Still the invitations kept coming. I read the email more closely and felt a nudge.
Voicing my concerns to my husband only elicited this response: take it; God will work it out.
And of course, He did, and I loved the time with this group. I think when we find like-minded people to connect with, our heart fills with joy.
The book Seated with Christ: Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison became a new favorite nonfiction book of mine. Holleman expounds on Ephesians 2:6, which says, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” For an entire book, she talks to us about being seated. She discusses areas many grapple with: appearance, affluence, and achievement. She poses questions to help us grow, and she shares stories of what being seated looks like.
Her writing drew me, and I felt understood by a friend. If the class had only been about discussing the book, it would have been great. So yes, I recommend you get yourself a copy of this book. But the class wasn’t just about the book though we discussed what she taught in the book. The class was about writing.
Enlightening writing class
Some folks don’t get excited about how to use verbs or about how different uses of punctuation can strengthen a sentence, but I do. When my pastor starts dissecting a sentence or digging deep into the definition of a word, I lean in a bit closer. He’s speaking my language. When my Sunday school teacher discusses line by line passages of Scripture going into great detail about setting, pronouns, verbs, conjunctions, etymology, I pay attention. Writing classes, conferences, and the like spell f-u-n to me.
In this class, I loved discussing verbs because vivid verbs improve our writing. Talking with other writers or just being in their company excited me. I thrived in those educational moments. I want to apply everything I learned.
Education ought to leave students wanting more. This class did just that.
The way my husband feels about golf is how I feel about books and words in general.
Learning excites me
Holleman’s teaching style hooked me from the very first video. Of course, her amazing book taught me so much as well. Even all these weeks later, I thrill at the learning and want to go back to refresh my memory. We covered assessing the whys in our writing; using vivid verbs; developing our written voice using punctuation, varying sentence lengths, and isolating sentences and other tips; and using pace and tension while telling our stories.
Judy Dunagan from Moody Publishers also shared a piece about surrendering our dreams to God and a proposal checklist. Holleman shared her own amazing story to publication. I felt encouraged and happy.
Timing perfect for writing class
Do you think the timing of taking this class at the beginning of my transition into a new phase in my life a coincidence? Yeah, I don’t think so either. The invitation had to be extended more than once, but I got it.
When we concluded our homeschool in May, we included a few painting classes and a field trip to an art museum because my daughter’s heart finds joy in creating through that medium.
What learning opportunities or creative outlets excite you?
For more information about Heather Holleman or to enjoy her podcasts, visit http://heatherholleman.com/podcasts/. I listen to her podcasts on Spotify. Check out her other books also.