Some of the people who are kind enough to read my posts are gifted writers. You know who you are. From time to time, readers ask me questions about writing or why I write. It’s a good question. It’s even a fair question since I’ve been blessed to write a number of books and continue to do so. I thought I’d make an attempt to share why I choose to write instead of say, juggling sharp knives above my head. Oh, the juggling would perhaps be easier, and the options for improvement somewhat daunting, but writing gives me more than enough of the thrill of juggling pointed objects. George Orwell once wrote, “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
Well, I don’t know about what drives other writers, but I can agree that it is an exhausting, sometimes horrible, but mostly rewarding business. Unlike knife juggling, the options for spinning tales are endless. There are countless ways to shake up your readers or inspire their thoughts. There are endless stories that need to be told in ways that only you as a writer can tell them. No one else has your unique voice. No one else can do what you can do no matter how well they juggle their subject matter. That’s why I write. I believe that it’s what I am meant to do, a calling, if you will. It’s the place where I can be me every time I sit down at my keyboard. It’s the place where I can express myself in ways that no one else can and the place where I can bring ideas and perceptions and life lessons into focus. It’s where the One who called me can help me embrace a moment and share His Spirit. It’s the place where the juggling ceases and the endless possibilities begin. I write because it’s who I am and nothing else I do can bring quite that kind of satisfaction.
The writing life is a juggling act. You have to balance your dreams with reality, your time with opportunity, and your limited resources with unlimited hopes. You have to want to do it because it isn’t easy. You have to be comfortable with a lot of solitary pursuit of your dreams, trusting in your direction and believing you’re on the right path. You have to be sure of your tools, always polishing your writing instruments through research and editing. You have to be sharp and alert for the pitfalls you often create yourself. You have to keep a lot of balls in the air at the same time to make everything come out well. So writing requires a unique gift, a sense of wonder, a willingness to try,try again, and a desire to perfect your craft with every blank screen that beckons for words. Whether you’re keeping the balls in the air, the sharp knives above your head, or the spinning plates from falling to the floor, if you’re a writer, then you’re juggling. You’re juggling your skill, your perceptions of the world, and your readers and at any moment in time, one or all of them can come crashing to the floor. Do you stop then? No!
Neil Gaiman gives us one reason to keep juggling. He says, “Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you are, and there will always be smarter writers than you are. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that…but you are the only you.” Now there’s the answer. You are God’s unique design. You are the only one that can clearly share your heart and mind. Now get out in the kitchen (and no, don’t get some sharp knives), but get some good coffee and get back to your blank page. You’ve got work to do!