The Curse And Gift of Being Called to Write

giftThere are days you totally get Jeremiah. He decides not to speak anymore, but the words burn like a fire shut up in his bones (Jeremiah 20:9). Even when you can’t write, the words burn inside, don’t they?

How often have you wished you were just normal? On those days where you’re trying to fit it all in: a full day of work, a kid’s basketball game, dinner and laundry, and somehow you’re supposed to find writing time too? There’s the agony of staring at a blank page and watching your book drop in Amazon rankings.

You’ve even decided to quit. Often. Finally, a friend or spouse tells you to stop tormenting yourself. “You’re a writer,” they say. “You know you’re not really going to quit writing. You always come back to it.”

So, if you can’t walk away from writing, isn’t it time to look at it from another perspective? “I suggest you learn to write not with blood and fear,” Jane Yolen writes, “but with joy. It’s a personal choice.”

And there is joy, lots of it.

First, you were chosen. Like Jeremiah, before you were in the womb, God chose you. Whether you started writing as soon as you could hold a pencil or didn’t begin writing until some life event pulled you to it later on, whether writing holds financial success for you or not, being a writer is a role you were personally designed for by your Creator. If that isn’t joy, I don’t know what is.

And then there’s what drew you to writing in the first place: the thrill of a coherent story coming together at last with characters who walk off the page; that zone, where reality falls away and you’re virtually swimming in your story world; and words become so sharp and real, you’d swear you could taste them.

You were the one blessed with heightened senses and the words to go with them. So while your walking partner says, “Oh, isn’t that pretty?” you see how the thick tree cover on the forest trail washes the sunlight green, and how the Spanish moss drapes from the tree limbs like ornaments. You have words to describe the warm breeze rippling across your face and how the coos of a mourning dove bring the summer evening alive.

You have the privilege of exploring and enfleshing ideas (ideas, by the way, you almost certainly would never have come to unless you’d spent day in and day out with your fingers on the keyboard). Writing brings the joy of discovering new worlds.

And when you’re done, and the book is published, you receive emails saying things like, “I read your book and was so moved by it, I turned back to page one and read it again.” Wow, you think, did I actually create something that could do that?

You did, because you were blessed. In spite of the tortuous days of staring at a blank page, and wondering how a person can be pulled in so many directions without being ripped apart, you were given a beautiful and multilayered gift by God when He called you to write. It’s a gift you love to give back to Him, and when you’re having a thorny writing day or month, you need to remind yourself of that.

10 Replies to “The Curse And Gift of Being Called to Write”

  1. This post is why writers need to be in a community.
    We are so strange. Aren’t we? Blessed and cursed, indeed. But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
    I spent the last half of last year working on a devotional proposal suggested by an editor at a conference. After I sent that off on January 2nd I stepped back into writing fiction again. It was such a joy to be with my imaginary friends in their world. Yeah, the fire is still in my bones to write.
    I feel like it’s my relationship with God taken to a whole new level.
    Thanks for this post, Rachel. You captured the essence of a writer beautifully.

  2. I loved this! thank you! My husband just asked me this morning,”Why do you torture yourself?” I answered, “Because I have something to share and I have to get it all down so someone, anyone, even if it’s only one, may benefit. Thank you for the reminder tha I was also called and choose. Hugs and Blessings.

  3. Oh, my, this post speaks to me in so many ways…
    I will soon write my 5000th blog post since 2002 (5 blogs, 2 still active).
    Only in the last couple of years have I truly begun to believe it’s possible to do more than just blog, despite a lack of an audience.

    I’ve guest posted, attended a pet blogger conference, read my work on a podcast, been paid to write for the first time, and just had a poem shared in an award-winning online newsletter.

    I’ve performed at open mics, and given a couple of presentations before the above.

    Friends have encouraged me that I’ve got more than enough good material to organize for books and e-books and I know they are right, and just need to learn how.

    My personal life has been stressful for the last 4 years, yet I still can’t stop writing; there has to be a reason, a promising new direction in my life waiting for me to take new steps toward it.

    Kiril Kundurazieff

    1. Kiril Kundurazieff, I read your blog detailing your church experience since childhood, leading up to your eloquent description of your baptism as an adult. Well done. I believe you are now writing from your heart. Don’t think just write. God says in his word “open your mouth wide and. I will fill it.” (Okay, God says that to a prophet, but all Gods word is for us who believe.).

  4. Reblogged this on Fiery Lost Soul and commented:
    Funny how when you make a decision to do something, affirmation of that decision arrives in one form or another.

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