The Struggle of Every Young Writer
Let me paint a picture here that will likely bring butterflies to many of our stomachs.
Every Writer’s Dream!
Lets say you’ve had this idea that has been brewing in your mind for some weeks now. An important truth that you finally wanted to take to the keyboard. So you do. You sit down in your favorite writing spot. The day is free of distractions. Your mind is clear. And your inspiration soars.
The ideas fall into place and the words practically write themselves. You are deeply satisfied with the result. You make your edits and publish the post online. As that deep sense of worthiness and satisfaction simmers within, you go to bed. You fall asleep with anticipation and curiosity lingering in your mind. “What will they think? Will they see the same significance in this that I do?”
The next morning you wake up to the confusing noise of notifications on your phone and computer. “Yay I got some likes!” Through blurry eyes you try to make sense of the screen. You are stunned. It is teaming with notifications from every social media outlet. Dozens? No, hundreds. No wait, is that a thousand shares?
Your article has completely exploded. You’ve got emails and messages crowding the screen. Actually, theres a few emails from a few christian publishers. They want to talk about potentially turning this into a book idea. Podcasts. Organizations. All wanting follow up. All wanting more.
Every Writer’s Dream?
Would you take this opportunity if you could? There is a catch, however. Once you get on this train you can’t get off for months or maybe years. You have to keep up with weekly writing deadlines, interviews and new projects. Yes this brings a massive platform. But the platform comes with many demands. What do you say? Take the red pill and proceed, or take the blue pill and go back to your normal teenage life?
Though this situation won’t actually ever happen to most of us, it is the fantasy battle of every aspiring young writer. This was a great internal struggle for me, especially though the first few years of discovering my love for writing, as well as the challenges of the world of social media and platforms. It is the desire to be heard. It is the desire to keep up. It is the desire to be justified in our work by the voices of the world around us.
One of the basic principles of writing success is that you must write often and must write a lot. This is absolutely true. But for us young aspiring writers, we might be tempted to write about more than we actually know. We must fight the temptation to let our skills get ahead of our understanding. In our fast-paced world of instant communication, we must fight the temptation to get caught up in the process and forget that God takes all our words very, very seriously.
The Great and Terrible Significance of Words
To write is to place words and ideas into the minds of others. To write is to shape the way people see the world. To write is to direct the flowing affections of people’s hearts. And there is nothing more precious to God in the whole created world, than the human heart. This is why Jesus said that we will give an account for every careless word we speak (Matthew 12:36).
And you can bet that applies to every careless word we write.
James speaks of this issue in even more inflammatory terms. Our tongue is a fire. Our words either build up the world or destroy it (Jas. 3:1-12). Solomon chimes in here to tell us that it is the very nature of the fool to speak (or write) continually about things he doesn’t fully understand (Prov. 18:2). Have you ever considered the fearful possibility that your careless words can impact others’ spiritual lives? How lightly do you take this amazing and terrible stewardship?
The Call of Wisdom
A couple of years ago I heard an interview with Albert Mohler. One of the questions asked was, “How do you produce so much writing, teaching and content?” His response stuck with me to this day. He said that his work is the natural product of a life of constant learning and growing. Your give yourself to a life of growth, of understanding, of seeking truth. And then you see that all those little seeds that fall into the heart over the years start to take root and produce fruit.
This is the principle that Solomon continually pushes into the heart of his young disciple: seek wisdom, seek understanding (Prov. 15:14). This is the principle I have taken for myself. I love to write. I love to use words to drill God’s glorious truths deep into the hearts of the people around me. But this means that the only way I am going to avoid the sin of the fool, is if my personal thirst for truth always exceeds my passion to communicate it.
If you love words, if you love language, if you love to use the creative gifts God has given you to paint powerful pictures in the minds of others, there is one thing you must love more. You must love the truth itself. You must pursue Truth, both in the person of Jesus Christ and in the words the He has left written for us. You must commit your life to be a learner. You must seek wisdom and understanding at all costs. You must learn to write every word as if the Author of life himself reads everything you write. Because you can bet that he does.
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