I’ve come face to face with a really surprising thing about writing. It’s hard.
When I used to read books that moved me to tears or shook me up or made me look at my life in a different way than I ever have before, I used to think that the authors just had IT. You know, capital IT, that secret sauce that made words magically flow from their minds and their souls.
When I first started blogging it kind of felt that way. It was new and exciting and I didn’t have an audience so who cares if it didn’t fit perfectly with what the world needed, it was what God gave me to put out there right in that moment. So I put it out there.
Sadly what I’ve noticed, is that the bigger my audience gets the more intimately I understand the impact that I’m having and the harder it becomes to write.
The words may still be there, the ideas are definitely still there, but getting them onto the paper or the screen has become more difficult than I ever thought it would be. So what’s changed, what’s different? I’m different.
After 8 years of blogging, two degrees, and countless academic papers, I’m finally coming face to face with the realization that I’m afraid of writing poorly.
I am afraid of failing this mission that God has put in front of me.
I don’t expect it to be perfect and I’m OK with that, however my greatest fear is writing something that sends someone the wrong direction. Sort of like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz when his arms swing around and he says “You can go that way” then immediately points in the opposite direction and says “Or you can go that way.” I’m afraid of speaking words that send people any direction except the one that leads them to Jesus. That’s what changed.
Writing is hard when you recognize the weights and the responsibilities of being a christian writer.
Putting the words on the page means that I’m trusting God can use them and will use them, and I think what’s lurking in the deepest darkest corners of fear in my mind is the doubt about whether or not they’re good enough. Writing is hard, when you love your audience. Writing is hard when your dream is to wake up everyday and pour into the people around you, because you recognize that it’s not about you.
Being a Jesus centered writer isn’t about telling my story in a way that edifies me.
It’s about telling my story in a way that allows you to see Jesus through the cracks in my armor. Through the potholes I’ve fallen into and the valleys that almost swallowed me whole. So yes writing is hard, but God bless it, it is right, it is needed, it is as much of food for the writer’s soul as it is for those who read it. But first those of us who write because God tells us to and allows us to, have to be empty before we can be fed. Pouring out the words on the page, wrestling with all of the drafts and discerning what God wants us to weave in between those moments that seem so imperfect and create such enormous vulnerability has to happen first.
So sisters write, dump it out.
Don’t filter it, pour the words out even if it means feeling naked in front of the entire world. Because only in that nakedness are we able to see that it’s God who clothes us, and it’s God who helps us recover, and it’s God who strengthens us so that we can continue to pour out on others. Write the words that scare you to death. Write the messy stories. You can always hire an editor later, don’t edit the first draft. Pour it out, pray over it, then let God say what happens next. Yes, writing is hard, but because God is in it writing is good, and it is worthy, and it is what you were created to do.
So write from the bottom of your soul and from the scariest moments.
Just write and let God do the rest.