Though I do feel “compelled” or “called” to write, much of what Jennifer Grant says in this blog post really resonates with me. In fact, so much so that I printed this out for my wife so she might get a little more insight into this writing life.
I would add to this list: Reason #4. The joy of collaborating with God. We were all created for good works (and work) which He prepared in advance for us to do. I find when I move forward into what He is calling me to do–in this case, writing–and push past fear and procrastination, I’ll often experience moments of joy as I listen to His voice and guidance, then try to translate it into written word. Not that everything I write comes directly from God’s mouth to the page. Certainly not. My imperfect humanity is fully involved in the process. But even in that, He is allowing me to collaborate with Him, and sometimes I am filled with joy in the process.
This post comes from Tim Fall’s blog Just One Train Wreck After Another.
[Today’s guest post is from Jennifer Grant, a wonderful writer and an outstanding encourager, who brings both to bear in this piece on writing. How can you not enjoy reading someone who can put the Rolling Stones, Star Trek and a dog named Shiloh all into one article? ]
Not Because I Must
Some writers talk about their chosen profession as though it’s better described as a compulsion:
“I write because I must,” they sigh.
My dog Shiloh seems to understand his habit of chasing squirrels in the same way; when he sees one nosing around the yard, he must try to catch it.
A Star Trek devotee might explain the need to attend a convention by saying he must (boldly) go.
Chided for drenched wet socks and shoes, children may defend their choice to jump in rain puddles by saying they “just had to.”
But the writer who “must” write is expressing something qualitatively different than the dog, the Trekkie, or the puddle-jumping child. In short, the “I must write” writer seems to be wearily obeying an internal directive and lacks the panting, the giggles, and the joy.
Writers, including myself, are arguably happier (or at least less uneasy) when we are regularly practicing our craft. Some of us – again, myself included – routinely confess that we can’t begin to understand something until we write about it.
But the idea that we must write? I don’t think it’s true. If we stopped, would the sun still rise? Would human hearts, including our own, continue to reoxygenate blood? Would Adam Levine continue to insist that he has the moves, like, well you-know?
(Um, yep. On all three counts.)
If It’s Not that I “Must,” Why Do I Keep Writing?
Here are three reasons I write, in order of most to least mundane:
1. I write because I can do it from home. (Or, “It fits with my other vocation: parenting.”)
2. I write because I like my colleagues. (Or, “Writers are soulful folks to know.”)
3. I write because it’s how I make sense of life. (Or, “I can only figure stuff out when I write about it.”)