April 04, 2018

Writing with Purpose by Susan Barclay

It's interesting that this month's theme focuses on the reason to write. It's something I've been thinking about lately. I mean, I know I've always enjoyed writing and had a natural gift for it, but other than that why do I write? There should be some purpose.

Even entertainment has merit. Writing that brings a smile to the reader's face or relieves him of his travails for a while is important. In more challenging times, reading to escape has been extremely beneficial to me personally, so I "get" that it can also help others.

Then there's the educational value of writing. When we read about other places, times and cultures, how people behave (or ought to), we are enriched by new understanding and gain useful tools for living. Both reading and writing have taught me many things, including how to better communicate.

Our writing can have spiritual benefits too. While we could simply journal our experiences, it's as we share our personal stories of what God is doing in our lives, how He is shaping, growing and transforming us, that others can be inspired. God is still at work, still active, still meeting people in personal ways. These stories help us know that we are not alone and bring much comfort on the faith life journey. I, for example, love reading conversion memoirs since they give me hope for unsaved family members and friends. God continues to bring people out of darkness into the light - praise His name!

Perhaps the first and best thing to do when I sit down to write is to ask, "What is the primary purpose of this piece? Is it to entertain, educate, inspire? What does God want me to do/write about?" And then listen, actually listen, before pressing the first key or putting pen to paper.

My reasons for writing may be varied, but ultimately should have three goals: one, to meet a perceived need, whether it's entertainment, education or inspiration; two, to flow from what God is laying on my heart; and three, to glorify Him. He, after all, is (or should be!) my everything.

Susan maintains a website and currently blogs infrequently at www.susan-barclay.blogspot.com


  1. I love the way you broke it down into three such important but different categories: entertain, educate, and inspire. I agree that 'entertaining' is a valid reason to write.

  2. Thank you Susan for this piece-exactly what I needed to hear. I've been pondering again some of my purposes for writing. I also appreciate the advice to listen ... I wrote Listen three times in my notebook. Sharing stories is paramount for encouraging others on the journey. This was write on for me today :)

    1. I'm so glad you found this helpful - thank you for letting me know, Jocelyn - and I hope we both continue to 'listen'!

  3. Thanks for this blog, Susan, in which you tell us succinctly what faith-based writing is all about. Many writers figure out what's going on in their own lives by journalling. As Christian writers, daily writing, i.e. journalling, can be a spiritual benefit for each of us. You point out that by sharing our insights and stories about how God is working in our lives, and in the world, we are offering our readers a spiritual benefit.

    While reading your thoughts about how we might write to entertain, educate and inspire, I had a flashback to when Phil Calloway was our keynote speaker for InScribe Fall Conference a few years ago. In his speaking and in his writing, Phil entertains, educates and inspires at the same time. May God help use the gifts he has given us to bring joy, wisdom, and blessing to our readers.

    1. Amen, Sharon. May God help us to use our writing gifts exactly as you describe!


Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.