With my move to Texas, a lot has been thrown up in the air, and I’ve spent a lot of time frantically glancing at God and asking which things I’m supposed to catch and which I’m supposed to let fall out of my life, at least for now.
Of course, writing has been one of the things I’ve been wondering if it should stay or go, and I keep asking myself, “Why doesn’t the urge to write just die off? Why do I keep writing?”
I cannot remember a time before I wrote. Yes, there was obviously a time before I could read and write, but I don’t remember it.
While that instinct to write comes very naturally, the writing itself is hard. It’s hard to wrangle a plot when it often seems like I don’t have a single plotting bone in my body. It’s hard to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite until it comes out right. It’s hard to make the time and muster up the motivation when I’m not feeling inspired (which, by the way, is most of the time).
But I keep coming back to it. What brings me back to it?
I no longer find my identity in being a writer or storyteller—that was one of t things that used to compel me to write. I didn’t know who I was if I wasn’t a writer.
Now, I know that I’m Rosalie, a redeemed slave of God, a part of the bride of Christ. That is my identity, not writing.
With the death of my misplaced identity came a great sense of relief and freedom. It’s okay if I don’t write. It’s okay if I don’t tell stories. They don’t define me, don’t bring meaning to my life.
So what keeps me writing?
One of my dearest friends has entered a season of her life when she isn’t writing anymore, and it feels strange to me to be writing without her, like something’s missing.
But why do I still do it?
It took me a long time to understand that my writing honors God. As a child of a culture addicted to functionality, I fretted over whether my writing could actually serve a purpose—especially storytelling, my native tongue.
Slowly, painfully, I’ve learned that my writing—my blog, my stories, etc.—doesn’t need to serve a practical, functional purpose.
It can, but it doesn’t need to in order to be valuable or honoring to God. God is glorified in my simple enjoyment in creating, and God is also glorified in my dedication to keep creating when it is less than fun.
My writing doesn’t have to “do” anything else.
I look around at this earth, this planet we’re richly blessed to live on. It doesn’t need all these colors. It doesn’t need all these wondrous creatures. It doesn’t need all these scents or these sounds. It doesn’t need all this beauty, this beauty that doesn’t do anything, that just is.
But aren’t there better things I could do with my time? Why do I keep coming back to writing and art?
Last week I walked to the nearest coffee shop with a notebook tucked in my purse. I ordered a tasty coffee drink in the largest size and picked my spot. I breathed in a moment, whispering to God about an idea only two days old, and then I breathed out a story.
My mind was completely immersed in images and sensations, tangling with words and metaphors, forgetting fear, following the ebb and flow of the story. And I just wrote. And wrote. And wrote. And wrote. For hours. And as I wrote, confusion fled and healing for many things was finished as the ink dried on the pages. It was good. It was joyful.
Why did I spend hours in a coffee shop, drenched in words, writing a story?
I’ve gotten a lot of clarity about why I still write, hard as it is. There are many reasons, some solid and quantifiable, others more unmeasurable and more difficult to define (but no less real).
I keep writing because writing forces me to grow. It requires dedication. It requires consistency. It requires perseverance. It requires throwing off fear. It requires exploration and risk. It requires patience. It requires trying and failing.
What keeps me writing?
The thrill of creation, of building worlds from the ground up with sheer imagination. The discovery of new characters and personalities and journeys. The way that stories have impacted me, made me into who I am today much like friends. The awe and wonder that stories and storytelling calls out in my blood. The healing I’ve experienced through the act of telling stories. The knowledge that my creativity is a wonderful gift. The delight that my creativity is a special way I get to image Christ.
What keeps me writing?
Knowing I was designed for this—to write. Knowing I was designed to tell stories. Knowing it is a gift I’ve been given to help me make sense of life, to bring healing to completion, to have my imagination redeemed for good things, to enjoy God more, to grow in wonder, to endure and persevere, to see beauty ignite out of ashes.
I used to think that my writing was God’s gift to the world (yikes, I know). Now, I know that it is one of God’s gifts to me, for my personal good in so many ways, a gift I am privileged to sometimes share with the world.
I’m incredibly proud of my creativity, not because it came from me or I worked for it or anything like that, but because I get to use it.
There was a time when I would have been to afraid to write that previous sentence because I feared my own pride so much that I couldn’t have simple confidence and delight in the gifts I’ve been given. I would have been afraid of people thinking I’m conceited.
I’m not afraid of that anymore. At least not about this.
So I’ll say it again: I’m incredibly proud of my creativity and my writing. I’m proud because I am creative in the image Christ. I’m proud because I know that everyone is built to reflect of image of Christ in a unique way, and I’m privileged and honored and humbled and proud and delighted to reflect God in this way: writing and creativity.
I hope I do it with right confidence and boldness all the days of my life.
I don’t know what this post is supposed to be. Don’t ask me what the Roman numerals are doing besides providing dividers between threads of thought that for some reason belong in this post but couldn’t flow together naturally.
This is, I suppose, more of a journal entry than anything else, an expression of what’s been cycling through my mind and heart… but also a revel in this way God has built me, for my good and his glory.
Thanks for reading. I hope it made sense (yikes).
p.s. – I seriously hope this post makes sense.
p.p.s. – I’ve written posts about why I write before, but I’ve been ruminating over it a lot (again), and I figured it’s never the wrong time for existential musings.
p.p.p.s. – I have this niggling feeling like there’s a typo (or seven) hiding out in this post, but they are invisible to my eyes. So, sorry about that. ;)