Five years ago, I had published three books and was ready to throw in the towel as an author. At 30 years old, I felt like I had nothing left to say. So I made a promise to myself: I would keep writing articles and news commentary, but I would not pen another book until a message burned in my bones and begged me to write it down.

That message sparked when I moved from the Bible Belt to New York City and ran into an unexpected language barrier. Sure, I could still order a hot dog from a street cart vendor and relay directions to a taxi cab driver. I could still speak English as well as I always had. But I could no longer “speak God.”

This experience led me on a journey that included commissioning a national survey of more than 1,000 Americans, which revealed a quiet crisis that is affecting tens of millions. Despite widespread religiosity, the vast majority of Americans don’t feel comfortable having spiritual conversations and lack confidence in our most sacred words.

But as I soon discovered, hope is not lost. We can revive the vocabulary of faith.

In one month–after nearly five years–I will release another book: “Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words are Vanishing – and How We Can Revive Them.” I believe this is my best book because the topic is timely, the storytelling is vulnerable, and the prose is bursting with all the heart I could muster.

But let me be clear: This book only exists because of YOU.

Without my amazing readers, I would never have had the energy, platform, or carefully honed skills to write a book.

So for the next month, I want to give back to all of you who made this book possible by offering a behind-the-scenes sneak peek into the process that gave birth to my best book. And also, by giving away some of my favorite things!

On the first week, I want to share howLearning to Speak God from Scratch” was written.

Most people write exclusively on their computers. This makes sense. We live in the digital age, after all. But I’ve found that computer writing can really limit an author.

Writing on a laptop is fine and often necessary, but handwriting greatly enhances the writing process. 

Though it sounds antiquated, picking up a pen and piece of paper can revolutionize your prose. I’ve found that it slows my brain down, allowing my thoughts to develop as I’m putting them down on paper. And there is something cathartic and tactile about the whole experience. Not convinced? According to a recent article in The New York Times, neuroscientists and psychologists have observed that handwriting accelerates learning and enhances writers’ ability to generate ideas by activating a unique neural circuit.

And that brings us to this week’s giveaway. I’m giving my favorite pen, a Caran D’Ache 849 Metal Ballpoint, which I used to write a huge chunk of this book. I love the feel of the metal casing and the ink dries quickly, which leads to less hand-smearing for a left handed writer like me.

You can enter multiple times with a simple click of a button. Just use this form to enter now: Jonathan’s Favorite Things: Week 1

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Written by Jonathan