On Being a Writer

“Is being a writer a desirable thing?”  That’s the question being pondered at the moment, and I’m thinking maybe it’s not. 

If you know me well, I can imagine that I might receive some startled expressions upon reading that…if even only from my family, there would be some.  How many times in the past week have I asked how to improve my writing?  How many times have I mentioned how good a writer so-and-so is? How many times have I been found at my computer writing something?  Quite a few, to say the least.  And if that’s not enough, how many times have I thought to myself about writing?  How many times have I read certain blog posts several times over just to try to learn something about writing?  How many times have I thought “that would make a perfect blog post” and proceeded to plan it all out?  Quite a few.

So you see, I like writing very much.  But the question still nags in my mind, is being a writer really the area I ought to devote a lot of time to?

I ask because I’ve been reading in the gospels a lot this year, and today I read Matthew 23.  This jumped out at me: “Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: ‘The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.’” (verses 1-3) 

The scribes and Pharisees talk well…very well.  Obey everything they so correctly say.  But realize that they only have correct speech.  When it comes to actions, they don’t live out their words.   Their fine words are in and of themselves are quite commendable, but their actions — or lack thereof — are not. 

It’s ever so easy to write and talk.  The world is filled with people who seem to have that talent mastered.  The real question, though, is not whether one writes well, whether or not one knows how to structure sentences just so in order to really keep your attention, and whether or not all their thoughts flow coherently and smoothly from one to the next.  As a writer, that all matters to me.  But the truth is, if I have the most splendidly written masterpiece and don’t live out my words there wasn’t much point.  Was there any point? 

To say the least, this has been a very convicting thought for me.  There’s more thoughts on this that I hope to share at some point.  For tonight though, writing must take a low priority, because I’ve got some more important things to spend time, thought, and feeling on.  In the meantime, I’d be interested to hear if you have any thoughts to share!

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5 thoughts on “On Being a Writer

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  1. I have to say, my first expression of reading that first line, my jaw fell open in shock. :)

    I understand where your coming from Amy, it is vitally important to practice what we preach, but I just want to say to you, dont let that stop you writing. It may mean cutting back, and not agonising hours over hours on one article to get it perfect, because God works with our weakness. I just mean that you need to shift your attention from your majestic eye-catchng phrases, and keep your eyes on Christs humbleness.

    Anyway, that was just a thought. I will be praying for you! :D

    Blessings,
    Meggie

  2. Writing is a most useful tool. The problem is that we take that tool and use it in a way it was not intended to be used. For instance, the men who spent their lives learning the original biblical languages in order to translate the Bibles into their native tongue used up nearly all of their lives on this one thing and yet the end result was the Glory of God. In the same way, before we begin writing anything, we ought to be able to answer the question, “Why am I doing this?” If God is not the end, it ought never to be written. Writing is a very effective way of communicating, but we should be sure that what we are communicating is worthy of our time. Time is something we do not have much of and therefore we ought to guard against the wasting of it on communicating idle and vain words.

  3. I just wrote about this in my journal a few days ago. Here’s kind of the answer I came up with for myself. Talk about convenience!

    I would say, keep writing! However, perhaps a change in focus is in order.

    What I mean is this: Our primary focus should be to please God: to walk before Him in humble, fearful obedience.

    From that flows the example aspect: letting your light shine before others so that they will see your works and give glory to God (Matt 5:16).

    And only then are we ready to share it with others through words. Just think about how much more impactful words are, when they come from someone who lives them!

    With that said, I’m doing my best to live what I just wrote here. (I wastn’t actually planning to share it to the public just yet. But since you asked . . .)

    Anyway, do you think that’s a biblical answer?

  4. I just thought of another way to say this that might be better:

    I have typically thought of writing a blog post as my way of “letting my light shine.”

    Instead, my light should be shining before I sit down to write. If there’s no light to write by, then I shouldn’t be writing.

    Hope that’s helpful,
    Laura

  5. Thank y’all for sharing your thoughts! It was great to read the comments; I liked how you each took a slightly different perspective on the post, and shared your thoughts accordingly.

    @ Meggie: Your first lines made me smile. I suppose I’d have the same expression if I heard you say that :D Thanks for what you shared in your comment!

    @ Joe Gurba: Great points in your comment. Asking “what’s my purpose in writing this?” is good. It’s kind of like the conversation we had about edifing speech. Just because I say something about God/the Word doesn’t mean it will be edifying if it isn’t done in love. Same way, I can write something ‘edifying’ all for the wrong reasons (i.e. wanting to improve my writing so others like it, etc.) That’s helpful to remember, as is keeping in view the shortness of time.

    @ Laura Anne: Thanks for the comment! I appreciate you sharing all that. Yes, it was very helpful. Same as what you said, I often thought of blog posts as a way of letting my light shine. But exactly! The light must be shining first. Really good thoughts, Laura!

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