Today’s lesson is inspired by a spiritual teaching from Oglala Lakota holy man Black Elk, who taught that the greatest peace comes when we realize that we are one with the universe and that the center of the universe is everywhere, even within ourselves. We both are the Great Spirit and are part of it.

Hendricks takes this lesson on an interior, emotional place, but let’s turn it back to writing.

Do you consider yourself one with the writing community? With the world?

Take a moment and contemplate what that might mean for you.

Picture yourself as one part of a long storytelling tradition that began thousands of years ago before written language developed and extends into the present, when novels written by artificial intelligence are a near-term possibility. Trace your writing lineage along whatever branches you choose – writers in your genre, writers who look like you, writers who have a similar background. Imagine yourself as one part of this great whole and feel their work inside you as well.

If you want, take time to become one with the world. What do you have to say to the rest of us? What are you bringing forth? Are you able to speak to others like you who haven’t the chance? What can you tell us?

You are part of the world. You are one of many thousands of writers shaping fiction and sharing lessons. You belong here and you have something to say.