When these 31 days of writing have ended I will do a follow-up post about what I’ve learned–and I have been learning. But I want to comment briefly today on the craft of writing, and a wall into which I continually strike. Maybe you’ve been here before, and can give words of advice.
My question is simply, does blogging matter? Does writing matter? With the millions of voices talking in this world, does one more only add clamor? Or does it carry value?
Sometimes I smart at the realization that we are like ants on a hill, all of us deeply intent on our own missions, yet our tasks each bearing striking resemblances to our neighbor’s. When I think this, I’ll think, well, that’s how we’re made, then. I write and you write and she writes just like he builds or she builds or they build and the point is not to be amongst the elite, but to live–and worship, and glorify the Creator through Whom we were made. And this living means creating in some capacity. So there’s no shame, right?
My husband can play a video game and enjoy it deeply, creating a character and writing into the story line as he goes along. Never mind that hundreds of millions of gamers around the world are doing the same, what a preposterous reason that would be to not hone the craft!
It would be every bit as preposterous, of course, as a homemaker taking a long look at the billions of other houses in the world, and deciding her own talents are ill spent. Why organize and decorate and beautify when so many others are doing the same? If she ceases, what joy will be missed, and what gifts will never be shared!
Perhaps our thing is running, or teaching, or farming, or dancing, or quilting, or coding or piddling with hard drives. Doing these things invigorate, and directly or indirectly cause us to come alive. If playing the guitar and making music enables one to feel God’s smile, wouldn’t stopping be a fool’s call?
But writing, like so many of the arts, demands an audience. I think we must be hard-wired that way, coming by the need to share quite honestly. God splays his handiwork across the sky every minute of the day and if we are wise, we take long minutes to soak it in and praise. Beauty is the food of the soul.
So what if one wants to write beauty? Or at the least, weave beautiful words. What if the way seems clogged and the path seem full, and the truth one wishes to say is already being said by a thousand other painters of paragraphs and sewers of sentences? Does it matter? Should she even add her voice?
And what if the writer, like a chef, longs to lay a feast for more than just her family and closest friends, and instead like Crassus would fill with tables the streets of Rome (though her intent, hopefully, would not match his own)? What if the writer wishes a banquet, is there shame in filling the platters and inviting the guests to come?
Is it okay to write for an audience, and to write boldly, and to seek frontiers all her own? Does adding one more voice to the chorus of voices bring life?
I ask because the wall says, “you are silly, don’t try.”