A few days ago, I realized one of the coolest things—I’ve been saying I want to write a book for ten years now. Ten years. I don’t know what was going on in my six-year-old mind, but I vividly remember announcing “I want to write a book one day,” and ended up dictating a ten page story to my mom and stapling it together. (dubbed “The Hotel That Burned Down”—it was rather tragic, actually xD)
I haven’t been saying that constantly since I was six, of course. I wanted to be a zoologist, a dancer, a show jumper, an ice skater, and a million other things, but something in me kept saying all that time “I want to write a book.”
I’ve done that, I guess. I’ve “written a book.” I’ve written over a dozen first drafts and second drafts and even printed out nine of them. Especially in this past year of blogging, I’ve written more than ever before and learned a billion things about writing. I’ve fallen in love with it all over again. It’s my art, it’s my craft, it’s my way of communicating, my way of thinking, it’s my way of expressing and relaxing and working and breathing all at once. But it is only in this past month that I’ve realized what it truly is.
I don’t mean it’s a talent. I mean that the ability to put words on paper and create things out of them, to have the creativity and time to do that is a gift.
I’ve gotten stuck and succeeded in areas of my writing too many times to count. It’s always up and down, up and down, and no matter how prepared I think I am, I never am. No matter how much I think I’ve “got it,” I really haven’t, and when I think I don’t have it, I really do. I can’t predict it. I can’t predict the days when my fingers are on fire with my passion or the days when writing two sentences takes ten minutes. I can grind out words and force myself to make up ideas and make them work, but I can’t force them to turn out well and truly have any power in them. It’s worthless. I’m not in control.
I used to be scared of that (still kinda am). I was frustrated that my words never worked when I wanted them to work. It was hit or miss and I couldn’t find a method to make it always a hit. I felt so helpless.
Why isn’t this working, God? I would ask. I’ve worked hard to learn this craft, am still working hard, but nothing seems to ever work. Why? Why can’t I do anything about this?
It would have been wonderful had I just heard God’s voice right then with an answer. But God works in beautiful ways, and it wasn’t until later that I rediscovered one of my all-time favorite quotes:
“I am a pencil in the hand of God.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta.
A pencil. Pick one up right now. Pretty small. Insignificant. When you write with it, the pencil is literally doing nothing but complying to your direction, though it might need sharpening from time to time and probably writes a tad bit differently than another pencil.
Now a pencil in the hand of God…that would be the same. A helpless, submissive pencil in the hand of an Almighty God, under His direction and command.
Isn’t that what we are as writers? We are literally His pencils, literally writing for Him. He is in control. Isn’t that beautiful?
Truly, that is the gift of writing. He is the key of our inspiration—He is our inspiration. We await His command, His direction to put our own pencils to paper so that He might use us. And it is not up to us how fast or slow or powerful the words come; it is up to Him. It is for us to obey with love to the best of our abilities, and for Him to do the rest.
I’ve always wondered “what if my words aren’t enough?” But can they ever not be enough if I write as well as I can with a firm trust in my Lord to infuse what He wishes into them? And even if that be a little or not at all, if it is His will, have I not accomplished my duty as a pencil in His hand?
And if I were to publish a novel that I think no one reads, who am I to judge that when the Lord could be using it in a way I am not aware of? Do I need to see the success of my work if He merely tells me to plant the seed and move on? That He will tend it and see that it is used how He wishes? Are we not just servants of Him, our joy in doing His command, not in accomplishing our success? For who can take away that joy, that gift that comes in serving our Master through the words He gives us?
That is the ideal, of course; it is not easy. But for the first time in a several years of writing I feel at peace to write the ideas He blesses me with and be thankful for them, keep moving forward steadily, and trust that when the time comes, He will guide me toward the means of sending my little scribblings out into the world to do Him glory.
(P.S. I apologize for spamming your feeds earlier this week. I finally fixed my RSS and Bloglovin’ problems, so that shouldn’t be happening again 🙂 )
That was a bit more of a journal-y post than I expected 😛 How long have you been writing? What is writing to you? Let’s talk all that deep stuff, friends <3