Writing has transformative power for both the writer and the reader. As a writer, there’s nothing I enjoy more than the process of putting my thoughts down on paper. When I give free range to my imagination, I’m often surprised where it leads. You see, I’m more of a “pantser” than a “plotter.” When a story pops into my head, I don’t immediately start outlining it on paper. I might jot down a few notes as ideas occur to me, but that’s it. I usually just meditate on it for some time before I actually begin to write.
However, when I sit down at my computer to commence writing, I often find that, unbeknownst to me, someone has erected some sharp detours on my mind map that cause me to take a more circuitous route to my final destination. I encounter a number of interesting sightseeing spots and other inspiring places that I hadn’t anticipated along the way. These provide me with a lot of material and different perspectives on the territory I’m covering. By the time I get to my journey’s end, I discover that it’s nowhere near where I thought it was in the first place. It’s times like these I truly feel that my writing is a calling because I’ve somehow been intuitively led to my final goal by the Holy Spirit.
Once I get involved in writing a piece, my words normally flow freely onto the page. I find myself totally “in the zone” and become completely absorbed in the process. I lose all awareness of the activity around me and the passage of time. That doesn’t just happen when I’m writing about a topic that’s lighthearted or joyful. It also occurs when I feel drawn to my computer to tap out a piece on a troublesome or traumatic topic.
This all circles back to the feeling that my writing is a calling. Why would I be motivated to tackle distressing topics other than out of a desire to minister to my readers? Why else would I hive off hunks of my heart and soul and cast them out there for the entire world to devour? That’s one of the risks I have to take if I truly feel that my writing is a calling to contribute something to the world that exists outside of my little writing room.
So it’s all tied in to how I view my relationship with my readers. As a writer, I want to connect with my readers. I want them to know that they are not alone out there. I hope to offer them a perspective on their joys and sorrows that they might not encounter elsewhere. As a Christian writer, I hope to shine a new light on whatever is happening in their lives by offering them a biblical frame of reference. Perhaps when they close that magazine or book on my story, they will come away with a different perception of their world. Maybe they’ll share my work with someone close to them who can benefit from my message. Being able to convey some Christian insights into the issues they are dealing with through my gift of writing gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and joy.
For me, writing is a labour of love. The longer I write, the greater my sense of being “tuned in” to the Holy Spirit. It gladdens my heart to be able to spread God’s Word through my words and know that this creative act has the power to transform someone’s life.