Monday, March 3, 2014

Why Write? Am I Missing Something?

Why Write? Am I Missing Something?
By Susan Lawrence

It’s one of the first questions I ask when either starting a project on my own or consulting with someone who is ready to dig into a project. The answers vary. Do one of these fit for you?

  • I want to preserve my stories for my family, especially future generations I might not get to meet.
  • There’s a gap in what’s available to people. No one is writing about ____________!
  • I love to be creative. I believe it’s a gift, and I want to share with others, hoping they get as much enjoyment when they read as I have when I write.
  • God placed a burden on my heart. I don’t think I will be able to fully rest until I get this written.
  • I speak to a lot of groups, and they always ask if I’ve written what I speak about. I feel as if I’m doing them a disservice by not being able to put a book in their hands.
  • I want to be remembered.
  • People have told me I really need to write.
  • I've always written, whether it has been journals, poetry, or stories. Putting it all together just seems like the next natural step.
God leads us in different ways. Your purpose for writing isn't wrong in and of itself. Just because somebody writes for a different reason doesn't make your motivation less or better than theirs. Writing isn't about comparison. Yes, it can certainly seem that way at times, because agents compare book proposals, and publishers compare prospective authors’ reach and books’ marketability. We can begin to compare ourselves to prolific writers who crank out exponentially more than we do. We compare our rankings on Amazon or the amount of language translations our books have. But those aren't God-driven comparisons, so we can set them aside. Of course, some publishing realities are important, but we cannot lose the “why” of our writing to the comparisons. We cannot sacrifice the why, because it leads us to an even more important question.

For whom do you write?

I’m not referring to your potential (or existing) readership. I’m talking about honoring God with your writing. He drives the why of your writing. He validates it. He guides it. If you’re writing to pass along your stories to future generations, even if only your family will see it, do it to honor God. If you’re writing to fill a gap among existing resources, do it to honor God. If you’re writing because it’s a gift or a burden, do it to honor God. It doesn't mean all content needs to be about God. It doesn't even mean that everything you write will fit into the “Christian” aisle at the bookstore. It’s not how you categorize your writing. It’s how you yield and offer it.

God isn't nearly as concerned about what you write as He is about the way you rely on Him through the process, start to finish. He wants to draw you closer to Him in absolutely everything you do, including writing—from research to plot design to brainstorming to character development to freeflow writing to organizing to time management to editing to proofing to design to publishing to marketing. He intends for every single detail to drive you closer in relationship with Him. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, about which He doesn't care.

So, the tough question becomes, “Are you honoring God with your writing?” If you’re procrastinating, rationalizing, lunging forward with abandon, or following every well-known expert’s advice, you might want to take a step back—into  God’s presence—and let Him reframe your priorities, perspective, and paragraphs.

"Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name." ~ Psalm 86:11 (NASB)

Susan Lawrence is a women’s ministry consultant who also partners with women with writing goals. She speaks around the country, has written multiple Bible studies and devotionals, and blogs daily. If you’d like to start a conversation with her about your writing goals or other ministry needs, connect with her on

*Graphic by Susan Lawrence

1 comment:

Colleen Jumper said...

Great exercise and reminder to focus our writing.