As a writer, I find that I live in a constant state of tension between my love of writing and my fear of it. The love part is easy to understand. When I write, I feel God’s pleasure. When I write, I know I’m answering His call on my life.
The fear part is a more complicated. While on the one hand I believe I’m gifted to write, that doesn’t mean it comes easily. Quite the opposite in fact. I’m slow. The process is painstaking. I gaze with awe (and no small amount of envy) at the output of prolific writers. I’m also an intuitive thinker, which means it’s difficult for me to lay my thoughts out in clear, logical order. (Which explains why I enjoy rewriting so much more than first drafts–gives me the chance to create order out of chaotic ramblings.)
All this means that on a daily basis, when I sit down to write, I have to conquer the lurking fear that today good writing won’t happen for me. That the precious, finite time I’ve spent at my keyboard will be, in the end, fruitless. That I’ll have nothing to show for my efforts.
Or will I?
This is where a broader perspective comes in handy. I often refer back to the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 15:58–Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. I am reminded that no time I spend writing is truly wasted. Even if I end up chucking everything I’ve written that day, it’s still forward progress. At the very least, it’s character-building as I learn patience, endurance, perseverance. It becomes, as Randall Wallace says, an act of faith–both for what is being created within me as well as on the page.
And he should know. Best known for his screenplays (Braveheart, Pearl Harbor, The Man in the Iron Mask), Wallace also writes a novels (Love and Honor, The Touch). An experienced writer, he, however you slice it. And I, for one, benefited from his reminder that whenever we write, we are setting ourselves up for a miracle.
What kind of miracle? One that seemingly comes out of nowhere, glorious light breaking suddenly over the horizon. In my experience, it’s often when I’m typing along, my prose fine but not fabulous, when all at once–lift off. Creativity sparks, words flow, ideas soar. And when I finally pause to draw breath, I look back at what I’ve written. Wow. Did I really write that?
“Believe in the miracle,” Wallace says. “Be open to it. You don’t know what’s going to happen, but you know for sure, if you don’t try, nothing’s going to happen.”
It’s this truth, in the end, that keeps me coming back to my keyboard, day after day. I’m willing to overcome my fear, to endure the ho-hum, as I await the miracle. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.
When have you experienced the miracle of writing? I’d love to hear from you today.