Stories that Matter

Why Write?

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I belong to an awesome online community of brave writers.

We encourage, edify and pray for each other. And sometimes we ask hard questions.

Why write?

Why are we doing this thing? For what purpose? Because a lot of days, it drives us all a little nuts. Know what I mean? If you’re a writer, you do. Sometimes I write things down because I have to. Other times the words that appear on the screen come as a complete surprise. But they’re exactly what was needed at that point in time. So here’s my answer. And I hope it encourages you today.

Why?
Why write…
You know how when you had your first child…you held that baby in your arms and wondered where he or she would be five or ten years down the road. Of course this sweet moment probably occurred a week or so after giving birth, once your brain decided to re-enter your body…
But I believe every parent has dreams for their child. It’s an exciting journey, watching first steps, listening to first words, hanging that first kaleidoscope of color that means absolutely nothing up on the wall…
We can do kinder-gym, kinder-music, reading at the library, swimming lessons and a myriad of other extra curricular activities that we hope might spark some lifelong commitment…but in truth, we’re wasting our time.
Sure, it’s fun and helps our kids grow into well-rounded little human beings…but here’s the thing.
God knows.
God knows who they are and where they’re going and why and when and how…before we even have a clue they exist.
Us too.
Before we took our first breath, God knew.
And He said, you – INSERT NAME – you’re going to become a writer. You’re going to speak to people through words. You’re going to love it. And be awesome at it.
Okay, now I’m exaggerating a little cause really I have no idea what God said…but…do you get my drift?

I truly don’t believe anyone can just wake up one day and decide to be a writer. Or a musician. Or an artist. Or anything.
These soul-deep connective ways of expression are God given gifts.
Why do I believe that?
Because they’re hard. They cost. Writing the right words day in and day out is a struggle. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Sadly, a lot of people try who have no business on these waters. And people who don’t know any better trade with them.
But the true explorers, those who’ve been given the grant to go ahead and conquer new lands…we know. We know this thing comes at a cost. Sometimes the price is our time, sometimes, a lot of times, our emotions. Some days we pour so much of ourselves into this great adventure that the best we have to offer others at the end of the day is a half-hearted smile. Because the words won’t come. They’re spent.
But we keep on…we journey on because somehow we know that this is what we were meant to do. We’ve been given this ring…this talisman…and it’s precious. We love it and hate it. It’s wonderful and mysterious and dangerous. But we don’t want to give it up until we understand its meaning. And that could take a while. Years.

Maybe this is all for ourselves. Maybe we do it because we just can’t not. But deep down, I think we know. We write for a higher purpose. That’s why we do what we do. And if we’re really lucky, really listening, really in tune to God’s purposes for our lives, we will reap what we sow. We will encourage, enlighten and bless those around us who choose to invest in this great commitment we’ve made. And we need that support, that encouragement. Some days, honestly, we need validation.

But we don’t do it for them. We don’t do it for man’s praise or our glory.

We do it for Him. Because He’s called us to it. It is who we are. Who we were meant to be before we even were.

And we don’t need to understand it.
We just need to take the first step.
In faith.
Together.

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5 Comments

  1. Jenelle. M on May 8, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I am pumped right now!
    What a beautiful description of your passion for the craft, Cathy.
    One of my favorite parts,”These soul-deep connective ways of expression are God given gifts..” And the paragraph after was the icing on the motivational cake.
    This writing gig is a lonely road. I have seen this over and over. But with people like you who step up and be brave when others trip out, makes the journey much more bearable. For me at least 😉 And I thank you a million times over! .

    I appreciate that you answered the question with “we”. I know that you needed your breath of fresh air just as much as I did. I believe that others will be inspired just as I am.
    This post confirmed my faith in people. Ugh. Something that I struggle with. God is showing me, with people like you, that dear friends will step up and support, encourage, and call out (in love) when I am freaking out.

    Together. Yes. Sound like how it should be 🙂

    Lifting you up!

    Now, let’s get working.

  2. Cathy West on May 8, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    YES. 🙂 Hugs, my friend.

  3. Jenelle. M on May 9, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you again for showing up. You, me, and skype. It’s on!

  4. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on May 14, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Well-said, and I think the Border Collie on the coffee cup approves.

    I write because I hope I can give people encouragement, that even though life can be brutal, and even though we can’t see through the darkness in which we me find ourselves, that there is a purpose, and that there is a Love at the end of all things that will enfold us, and dry our tears.

    The ‘me’ aspect really isn’t important. I certainly don’t identify myself as an artist (or artiste…ugh), or an intellectual, or a Singular Individual Whose Every Thought Is Enthralling.

    It isn’t about me. It’s about service, and duty, and reaching out a hand to others.

    That’s it, I guess.

    (I came here from the Books and Such blog link.)

    • Cathy West on May 14, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Andrew! Glad you found me! I always enjoy your input on the Bookies blog.
      Your words are true. Words to remember and live by, especially when it gets discouraging.

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