Designer Frank Chimero has a recommendation for artists: Create “text playlists,” akin to Spotify song lineups but for favorite snippets of writing—poems you want to revisit, bits of advice or wisdom you need to be regularly reminded of, stories you know will kickstart your creativity on days when you need inspiration, and so on. “It’s almost a pep talk in text form,” Chimero explains. “I visit it when I’m down, when I’m lazy, when I’m feeling the inertia take over.” This idea isn’t original to Chimero—older generations would have called their text playlists “commonplace books”—but that makes it all the more worth embracing. Revisiting memorable texts is a way of ensuring they’ll be formative in our lives. It’s a practice that allows them to do their work of shaping our patterns of thought and action.
Recently I’ve begun compiling a text playlist for pastoral ministry. I was ...1