Writing is like riding a roller coaster.
One day I feel so passionate about a topic, so full of words to share, so confident in the truths that the Lord desires to communicate through me…
And then the next day I feel empty of all thoughts, lackluster in my efforts to string the words together, insecure and insufficient for the task at hand.
Sometimes it feels like I’m talking into a void. Sometimes it feels like nobody is listening.
Lately this question of why do I write? has been circling my head.
I tell myself that all words will eventually pass away. Even if they are published – online, in an article, in a magazine, or even in a book – how long will it be before they are forgotten?
What’s the point?
Writing has always been a passion of mine – it’s been a way to cope with the noise of the world, a way to process my emotions, a way to more clearly hear what the Lord is saying to me, a way to share things that are true.
But writing is hard and frustrating. And sometimes it doesn’t feel important.
So again, why write?
Why write when tomorrow you will likely forget my words?
Why write when quite possibly no one will even read my words?
Why write when there are so many more qualified, more educated, more articulate writers out there?
I write because sometimes the words tumble out.
I write because sometimes I can’t NOT write.
I write the words I’ve always wanted to read. I write the words that reach to the parts of my own heart that are hurting, confused, doubting, and lonely.
I write because as I write, God’s truths seem to settle more deeply into my heart…and because as I put pen to paper I somehow feel closer to him, or at least more aware of his presence, more ready to listen to his words.
I write because words have a way of connecting people. In a way that other things can’t, words bring people together.
I write because I remember how the words of other writers have made me feel known, understood, and not alone. I write because I know how the writing of others has deeply affected me and because I want my words to do the same for someone else.
I write because while John Piper and Charles Spurgeon may be able to more clearly explain a Gospel truth to you, perhaps my perspective may speak to you more clearly, in a way that you can more easily relate to.
I write because I care deeply about the people who read – family, friends, coworkers, strangers. I write because I want these people to feel encouraged and challenged.
I write because I want to explain the hurt, the beauty, the grace, the darkness, the light, the truth in a way that makes sense, in a way that makes God’s truths settle more deeply in someone else’s heart.
Sometimes writing is painfully vulnerable – it requires being open with my shortcomings, fears, and doubts. Sometimes sharing is terrifying. Sometimes it is the very last thing I want to do.
But I write and I share because I truly believe that even if one post, one paragraph, one sentence can make you say “Ah, me too. I’m not alone” or “Oh, yes, now I see how much God loves me. Now I understand his grace” then I think that is enough.
I think primarily I write to remind people that they’re not alone. To make them feel known, cared for, and understood.
To remind people that God is good and that there is hope.
And if my words can do that for you, I consider my time spent well worth it.
If you’re a fellow writer, know that your words are worth hearing. Know that you may be able to say something that speaks to a place in another person that no one else could reach. Know that there is nothing more valuable than laying yourself down [your fears of sharing, your hesitancy to be vulnerable, your fear of what people will think] so that God may be glorified through you.
If your writing is to this end, then know that it is worth it.
- My friend, Jen Oshman, a wonderful writer herself, wrote this post on writing by faith that provides excellent insight into the idea of writing as stewardship.
- Another writer friend suggested to me this wonderful book on writing: Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life