I am “new” to the writing world. Whatever that means. I have been writing, of course, since I was a kid and my notebooks from childhood and my wobbly teen years are piled up in a cupboard in my dining room of all places. Now, I have scribbled notes and ideas everywhere and I have a computer hard drive filled with too many words to count.
I don’t know why I write, nor do I have degrees lined up, or lots of past glamorous writing to my name, but somehow I am compelled to keep doing it.
I love words on paper, lined up in sentences that elicit a response of some kind. I love expression in any form and read voraciously and long to discuss ideas, thoughts, people, and events. This is what burns inside me.
Long ago, I started a blog about books I’d read just so I could find a book club of sorts around the internet with whom to share that love. When I travel I can only process what I see in new places through writing it down. I have a blog for that, too.
Every day I write in some way, in my journal, or on my computer, for one of my writing classes, or for the book I have been eeking away at for quite some time now. I write because I need to, it is therapeutic and comforting and fulfilling. I can’t stop.
But, there are lots of times that I come up empty. The words I want won’t come when I call them, they can’t be scolded into a perfect, beautiful sentence. Sometimes, I write this way and that and it feels wrong, so wrong.
And then, the doubt sets in. The what am I doing, why am I doing this, why am I trying to write and submit and pitch at all? These thoughts settle in heaps around my heart and brain.
I question my ability, I become afraid and remember how much I still have to learn about writing, how I missed that MFA or forgot to work on the high school newspaper all those years ago and instead became a literature major, oh woe is me! What was I thinking?
But, this is what I remember: it wasn’t me, my work, my experience or lack thereof that made me a writer, it was God who knew me so well when he was knitting me up and placed the urge to write in me long ago as he formed me.
When I feel especially intimidated and lost I remember that I trust in this God.
I have this stubborn belief that my doubt in myself pushes me to trust in God more. Knowing fully well that I can’t do this thing on my own forces me to rely on the One who can.
I don’t mean to imply that God will write for me in some word from the clouds funneling magic to me through a lightening bolt—although, that might be nice. What I mean is this, I believe that if I show up, sit down and pound away—I mean, do my part—that God promises to meet me there. It also means that I ask questions, seek wisdom, and recognize that there are places and people from whom I can learn.
My trust in God allows me to be humble enough to ask for help.
And in the midst of it all, my Father sustains me and gives me the reason to keep on trying to convey how I have been redeemed.
It is just one step at a time, a little bit by a little bit. I don’t need to rush to some dreamed of end (like a book contract or a piece in the New Yorker) because it is in the practice—the daily attempting and disciplining myself to keep at it—that I will learn and grow.
I also trust that whatever end He has in store is better for me than one I could have orchestrated.