Why Do You Write?
And why are you reading this post?
Allow me to use my Super Scribe Powers to answer this one. You’re a writer. Or you want to be a writer.
Okay, so . . . why do you write? Alas, I can’t answer this one for you. Only you can.
When you get around a bunch of writers at a writing conference, guess what the first question usually is? What do you write? Not why. What. Then you get into the how you write it, and who might publish it, and where you’d like to have book signings.
But I submit that the most important question of them all is why you write. If you don’t get the why answered first, and answered well, don’t even bother with the rest of the questions. It won’t matter if you’re passionate enough, gifted enough, bold enough or crazy enough to head down this writing road if you get this wrong—especially if you’re called to write. So let’s figure out your why before you take another step. Or dot another “i” as it were.
This is the voice of one who got it wrong, because the original answers to my why were pathetic: “So I can become a famous, beloved Christian author!” “So I can make money!” “So I can quit my day job and have fun writing all day!” Oh man, face palm. Somewhere down the list was also, “So I can lead others to God.” And that’s where I ran into trouble. My why’s weren’t wise.
Had God called me to write? Yes. Had He gifted me to write? Yes, (but my pen was oh-so-immature.) Did God know that writing full time would become the desire of my heart? Yes. Did God want me to write? Yes. But as my first book, a devotional, bubbled up inside of me, making my fingers fly across the keyboard, God wasn’t looking at my manuscript—He was looking at my heart. “. . .man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) And He knew I wasn’t ready to write. My “why’s”, a.k.a. my motives weren’t pure—because they weren’t exclusively about Him.
So instead of the immediate success in realizing all of the fame and fortune that most assuredly would come with self-publishing my first book, the Enemy came in like a flood and my world fell apart. In fact, I had to put my writing on the shelf for two years while I went through God’s boot camp to become His scribe. “So, you want to be a writer, and you say you want to write for Me? Well guess what, little girl, if you’re going to write for Me, it’s got to be 100% about Me, and 0% about you.”
Pick anyone in Scripture that God called to do something great for Him. They either messed up before, during, after or all three in fulfilling their calling, so let’s get that out of the way first. But in addition, He had to get them completely emptied of themselves before they could be of any use to Him. He had to get their motives pure and joyfully surrendered to the point that they only had one answer to their why. And it was the same answer: to glorify God. That’s it.
God has a pretty tough boot camp regimen to get his people to that point, though. David had to run for his life for thirteen years after he’d been called to be a king. Peter had to recover from the agony of hearing his lying curses echoed by a rooster as he locked eyes with Jesus. Paul had to go blind and go on a retreat for three years, and then go back home for another eight years before he was ready. But once God’s refining work was done, oh, the joy and the power that came from their words! Once it became no longer about them, and because they were no longer drawing words from their own tiny selves, they achieved more than they ever dreamed possible. And they changed the world.
After God had emptied me of my pathetic ‘why’ answers and gotten me where He wanted me, then I was fit to be His scribe. And because I finally got it down to only one answer, He blew my mind by infusing my pen and opening doors for my writing to change the world.
Camp out with this one question: why do you write? Get real. Get honest. Get one on one with the
Author and perfector of our faith.
Why do I write now?
Soli Deo Gloria.