Why do I write?
I've spent quite a lot of time, over the years, thinking about this question. The simple answer is, I feel called to write. I suppose I view writing as a form of ministry, even though my primary avenue is fiction. A few years ago I attended several one-on-one sessions with a marketing coach. One of the first things he had me do was fill out an extensive profile about myself - genre, target audience, marketing plan, future goals etc. It was an excellent exercise in learning to focus instead of using what he called the "spray and pray"method of marketing. Among the questions was, "Why do you write?" I came up with five reasons:
1. Entertain – I write to entertain and provide an escape for the reader. Although some may not find this to be the most noble reason, I believe entertainment has value - even spiritual value. Proverbs 17:22 - A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (NIV)
2. Encourage – Through my stories, I hope to encourage others in their Christian walk. I write primarily for a Christian audience, so the expectation is that most are already saved. However, people still need encouragement along the way and that's what I want to do. Philemon 1:7 - Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord's people. (NIV)
3. Enlighten – I like to bring a potentially difficult or controversial issue to each book I write. Examples include racism and prejudice, native spirituality and cults, pornography, substance abuse and addiction, and physical and sexual abuse. Every one of these topics is relevant in the church. My experience in ministry has taught me that Christians still struggle with each one of these issues, although not always openly. Galatians 6:2 - Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (ESV)
4. Expand the reader’s viewpoint. This is tied to number three, since my purpose is not always to offer a definitive answer. (Other than Jesus !) I try to stay away from a ‘hardline’ legalist viewpoint and focus instead on grace. I intentionally try to leave some loose ends and unanswered questions for the reader to ponder. 2 Corinthians 12:9 - But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (ESV)
5. Evangelism - not my primary focus since my assumption is that my target audience is already Christian. However, the gospel message is there, so someone could potentially come to Christ. Romans 1: 16 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (ESV)
The above list focuses on writing as a ministry, but I do have more selfish reasons as well. As an artist, writing is one avenue of self expression and fulfills that need for a creative outlet. As well, writing - specifically journalling - is a way to make sense of my world. It helps me to process my thoughts and feelings and I often use it as a form of prayer.
So there you have it! Do any of these 'reasons' resonate with you?
Tracy Krauss is InScribe's current Vice President and writes from her home in northern BC. Visit her website http://tracykrauss.com - fiction on the edge without crossing the line -