Remembering Why I Write

Sometimes I wonder why I write. Is anybody listening? Do people care what I have to say?

Do you have those questions? Do you ever think,

“Why do I write? Does anybody out there even care?”

Let’s face it: being a writer is hard work. It’s not easy and it’s often filled with loneliness and besetting doubts. But when we write for God’s glory and to impact people, this difficult calling becomes life-giving.

Why?

Because we are called to speak into the chaos of this world, to let our words pierce through the darkness all around and make a difference. But how do we do this?

I’d like to suggest three main ways:

1. Learn from Creation.

In the book of Genesis, the first act God did was create. In fact, the Bible says that in the beginning the world was formless, dark and empty (Genesis 1:2). So what did God do? He moved into this darkness, into the void.

This word for darkness is the word for confusion or chaos.

Think of it as a heavy London fog, like in Dickens’ Christmas Carol, when he writes, “the fog and darkness thickened so.” And it was in this darkness – this chaos – God hovered over and spoke into.

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Gen. 1:3).

As writers, we are called to speak into the chaos, into the darkness of the world, believing God will use our words to bring light. We are called to tell His story, the story of God’s creative and redemptive purpose.

Larry Crabb says, “Man, like God, was meant to speak into the darkness and to become a
storyteller.”

2. Remember, you are a part of the Story.

Following God’s creation of the world, He created man in His own image. Which means, He created man to create, to speak into chaos, and to bring beauty.

Right after God created Adam, he told him to work in the Garden of Eden and “take care of it” (Gen. 2:15). He then gave Adam the assignment of naming all the animals (Gen. 2:19-20).

Similarly, God placed in every person the ability to create, to have a voice, to make a difference, and to do something beyond themselves.

When I get discouraged about my writing, I remind myself that God gave me a voice. He has wired me a certain way, giving me a unique personality with different experiences. I am part of a bigger Story. His Story.

You are the only “you” there is. And God gave you the ability to speak and to create – to help make sense of the world and to offer hope to people longing for words of life.

3. Don’t get caught up in yourself.

Writing can be an isolated calling. And with that, it’s easy to forget why we write.

My wife reminded me of this the other night. I was lamenting about my fear and what-ifs – what if nobody buys my book or what if I don’t sell many copies? She said,

“Dave, is it about you and selling lots of books, or is about the Lord and what He’s called you to do?”

I was humbled. She was right. My perspective must not be on selling a lot of books – although there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a profit – but on glorifying the God who gave me this ability and called me to it.

It’s easy to get lost in the art of writing, forgetting why we do what we do. But when we surrender our writing to God and ask Him to use it to bring life and beauty, our words get caught up in the larger Story, in His story of redemption.

Question: In what way does your writing speak into the chaos and darkness of the world? Click here to leave a comment.

* Image credit: Tintin44 – Sylvain Masson (Creative Commons)

  • http://messymiddle.com/ Amy Young

    Thanks Dave … these are the kind of reminders that never get old :)

    • Dave Arnold

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing, Amy.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

       So true

  • http://aparchedsoul.com/ Grayson Pope (A Parched Soul)

    Great th0ughts Dave.

    I try to always check myself when my writing becomes more about me than God. Remembering your 3 steps helps. Remembering I’m part of the Story often helps me the most. It reminds me I have something important to say that might help others join that Story.

    • Dave Arnold

      Thanks for the comment, Grayson. Yes, it’s so easy for me to get caught up in myself when I write rather than in God. Thankfully we have His grace and He uses us in spite of all our shortcomings. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.CharlesSpecht.com/ Charles Specht

    Great article, Dave. It is important to look back and remember why we started in the first place. That is always a good exercise.

    • Dave Arnold

      Thanks, Charles. I agree: it’s always good to remind ourselves why we do what we do. Thanks for allowing me to share.

  • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

    This is a wonderful post and reminder Dave.   For me, this summarizes everything  “We are called to tell His story, the story of God’s creative and redemptive purpose”. Having that revelation makes all the difference. Thanks for sharing.

    • Dave Arnold

      Thanks, Ngina. It’s pretty amazing to think we are part of God’s larger Story. I need to remind myself of that often. Thanks for stoping by!

  • http://richlangton.com/ Rich Langton

    This is a great post Dave!

    I started my own blog in order do be light in the dark world of the internet. There’s a lot of good out there, but certainly too, there’s too much chaos as well. By writing Godly content that points people to life the Jesus way I hope to bring light to the darkness.

    Thanks for the reminder to stay on mission – have a great day.

    • Dave Arnold

      Thanks, Rich, for sharing. Yes, the key is, as you said, to write Godly content – content that points people to Christ and helps them make sense of the chaos. Blessings on you.

  • http://taunetnelel.blogspot.com/ JepB

    Dave, I  am so uplifted by the words you have shared here. Very good reflections on why we write. I was reminded of this quote by your post, “It’s not over until all your stories (every narrative) becomes HIStory!”

    My writing fills people with hope and encouragement to live in purpose to God’s glory.