I realized something recently. For most of my life, I have thought of myself as a writer – specifically, as an author. This self-perception is a little odd in that I have never written a book. I have dreamed of books. I have started books. But I have never written a complete book.
I have written news articles, editorials, professional magazine articles about legal issues, presentations, and a chapter for a legal “how to” book. And, of course, I blog a little every now and then and even wrote a few short stories long ago. But I’ve never written a book of my own.
Why is that?
I think I have been afraid to chase that dream. I have been afraid that no one else would think I was as good a writer as I like to believe I am. I have been afraid that no one else would care. I have been afraid I would write about the wrong thing and waste my time. I have been afraid to devote the time because there are already so many demands on my time.
But the dream refuses to die. The feeling that I need to write never goes far from my thought. I feel moved to try to find a way to put ideas on a page. From time to time, friends encourage me to write. The longer I resist this drive, the less honest I feel with myself.
If I am a writer, then I should write. If I am not a writer, then I should change my self-perception. Either way, a new direction is required.
In terms of whether I should try to write, I look first to God’s call on my life. For lack of a better explanation, I believe God “wires” us each differently. Part of my wiring is this drive to communicate via writing. Even at work, I am happier to send an email than to walk down the hallway and discuss an idea. I am wired to communicate in writing. The God of the Bible is not a God of accidents. If I am wired this way by God, and if I have any gift (or talent) at all in the ability to write, then, surely, I should find ways to use that ability for His glory.
Next, I look to the feedback and guidance from those around me. I cannot tell you how many times through the years people have taken the time out of their days to encourage me to write. This is usually because they have read something I wrote, whether a short story, blog entry, article, poem, or devotional. The point, though, is not what they read, but how they reacted to it. They reacted by encouraging me to see writing as a gift that I needed to use.
I guess I’m reaching an age where I can begin to sense the speed at which life passes, and I don’t want to give up those dreams I’ve held back for so long. The question is how to proceed.
I’ll carve out a little time on a regular basis to work on sketching out ideas and then trying to write. I have several ideas, but it will likely take quite a while of stealing little bits of time to sort it out and then really follow through. Writing – good writing, anyway – is a difficult and intensive process. It takes careful planning and dedication.
In the end, I may be the only one who actually cares about anything I write. If so, that’s ok. The only real audience is God; anything I end up writing will be my feeble attempt to honor Him by using what I perceive as His gift. At the very least, I’ll be forced to learn and grow.
And, if I’m fortunate, perhaps whatever I write can be a blessing to someone else. To me, that’s one of the most amazing things about writing: that a person you never meet can see their hopes and dreams in your words or somehow have their lives changed because something you wrote kindled a spark in their souls.
It is with that hope that I finally commit to really getting around to writing that book. Or, if I’m fortunate, books.