Writing Resource: Adorning the Dark

Writing Resources are sort of like book reviews, except that they’re about non-fiction books related to writing! And today’s Writing Resource Highlight is Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson.

publisher’s synopsis


Making something beautiful in a broken world can be harrowing work, and it can’t be done alone.
Over the last twenty years, Andrew Peterson has performed thousands of concerts, published four novels, released ten albums, taught college and seminary classes on writing, founded a nonprofit ministry for Christians in the arts, and executive-produced a film—all in a belief that God calls us to proclaim the gospel and the coming kingdom using whatever gifts are at our disposal.

He’s stumbled along the way, made mistake after mistake, and yet has continually encountered the grace of God through an encouraging family, a Christ-centered community of artists in the church, and the power of truth, beauty, and goodness in Scripture and the arts.

While there are many books about writing, none deal first-hand with the intersection of songwriting, storytelling, and vocation, along with nuts-and-bolts exploration of the great mystery of creativity. In Adorning the Dark, Andrew describes six principles for the writing life:
serving the work
serving the audience
and community
Through stories from his own journey, Andrew shows how these principles are not merely helpful for writers and artists, but for anyone interested in imitating way the Creator interacts with his creation.
This book is both a memoir of Andrew’s journey and a handbook for artists, written in the hope that his story will provide encouragement to others stumbling along in pursuit of a calling to adorn the dark with the light of Christ.

Reading Adorning the Dark feels a little bit like sitting down with Andrew Peterson for coffee and listening to him tell stories. Because that’s what Adorning the Dark is. It’s Peterson telling us stories from his life, and then bouncing off of those stories to talk about creativity, stewardship, being a Christian creative, the seasons of a creative’s life, and other things.

But Adorning the Dark isn’t boring or dull or preachy. Rather, it feels like someone coming alongside you to encourage you as you travel through the ups and downs of being a creative. And Peterson’s style of writing is casual, fun, and easy to read.

I feel like Adorning the Dark is one of those books that I’m going to want to read again multiple times. Because I think that different parts will speak to me differently at different times depending on where I am in my writing journey. Already, I want to flip back through the book and write down various quotes.

Andrew Peterson is both a songwriter and a novelist, so I was curious if Adorning the Dark was going to “talk” more to songwriters or novelists. But it is for both. Yes, Peterson talks about both, but he talks about it all in the sense of being a creative. The things he learned in his songwriting career are applicable to writers, and vise versa.

If you’re a Christian creative, check out Adorning the Dark

*I received an e-ARC of Adorning the Dark through Netgalley. All thoughts are entirely my own.*

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