As a contributor to the new Hoosier Ink, rather than jumping into the nitty-gritty elements of creative writing, I’ve decided to take a step back and examine a basic question that all writers face: “Why?”
Or, more specifically, “Why do I write?” Perhaps that question seems simple, but the yearning to write can be one of those motivations that even the author doesn’t fully grasp.
Some tale-spinners weave fictional plots for the sheer satisfaction of captivating a reader and leading her, line by line, into an adventure that lasts far past bedtime.
Other authors are in the writing game for the money. And even though it’s no secret that most writers don’t strike it rich, it’s also no secret that some do. So, like gold miners hoping to find the mother lode, they sit at their computers and plug away.
For yet other authors, fame might be a lure. They’ve imagined how thrilling it would be see their byline on an article, a devotional, a short story, or possibly even the Holy Grail of Publishing—a complete series of novels. On the trail of that fame, they press on.
But before we totally lose the afterglow of the recent Christmas season, I suggest that we Christian writers at Hoosier Ink reconsider the magi one final time. They arrived bearing gifts for Christ. Their gold, frankincense, and myrrh were precious. Each wise man could have kept his gift for himself or to impress others. Instead, they humbly offered their treasures to the King of kings.
If you’re a successful author, then you have a gift too—the skill of word-smithing. You can hammer letters and words into a form that never existed before, into a creation that makes others sit up and take notice. This is your gift from our Creator. Rather than use that talent to pursue self-satisfaction, or riches, or acclaim, why not dedicate that gift to the Lord?
One of my own most crucial writing projects was for an audience of one—a young Christian woman who had fallen deeply into sin. Using every ounce of persuasion that I could express in a letter, I pleaded for this girl to open her eyes, to realize how far down the wrong road sin was leading her, and I begged her to repent and to get right with God again. Praise the Lord, she read, she pondered, and ultimately repented. Praise God for the power of the pen!
One published short story or a novel that sells “only” 5,000 copies can touch more hearts and minds that most pulpits do in a whole year. Why should a Christian author write? For me, the bottom line is simple: to glorify God and to point souls toward Him.