By K.W. Bounds
Why do I even bother writing? Threatening to torpedo my work in progress, this thought surfaced leaving a wake in its path, as I scrambled to stay afloat in a sea of self-doubt and frustration. The compulsion to write God-honoring words never left, but my confidence in producing such waned. You’ve been there. It’s a universal struggle for all writers. We question our sanity as we fight to move the blinking cursor across the page. The words trickle. We try to force them out of hiding, but they retreat in the recesses of our minds. Our inner critic hurls devastating accusations at our fragile egos. Why am I writing this story? I am wasting my time. No one will ever read this post. Does this story even matter? It’s difficult not to flee the battlefield when these mental artillery shells are whistling past us, but we must hold our ground. How can we continue in moments like these? If we all face writer-lows, remembering the impact of our craft and the reason we write will keep us from going AWOL.
Remember the Impact of Your Craft
When my inspiration evaporates, I turn to a favorite quote. Martin Luther wrote, “If you want to change the world, then pick up your pen and write.” We do not know Luther for writing fiction, but he knew the weight of words. The printing press proliferated Luther’s words – along with words of others – across Europe. He witnessed the impact of his words. Not bound to a geographic location Luther’s words traveled great distances setting hearts and minds ablaze of Europeans he would never meet. His words still speak to us today! Luther realized words possess the power to shape minds, hearts, and actions. Have you considered their influence?
To prove my point, let’s play a game. Here goes… red apple… black dog… calico cat? Did you see them? Did you imagine a red apple, a black dog, and a calico cat? This exercise shows why I love to write. Writers can place images, ideas, and concepts in the minds of readers with their words. This capability is the power of our craft.
Recall the Reason
Being created in the image of God, God gives the gift of imagination to everyone. However, sin distorts this powerful ability. Sin darkens our hearts and we cannot see the Creator and creation as it is (see Romans 1-3). As Christian writers, our calling is to use words that ignite the imaginations of our readers, inviting them, to see the world as God intended.
Eugene Peterson, in his book Under the Unpredictable Plant, writes, “For Christians, whose largest investment is in the invisible, the imagination is indispensable, for it is only by means of imagination that we can see reality whole, in context.” (Peterson, 169). Christian authors act as literary apologists harnessing the power of a redeemed imagination in the stories they write. C. S. Lewis testifies of his imagination baptism while reading George MacDonald’s Phantases. MacDonald, a Christian, gave Lewis the mental imagery to connect with the reasonable claims of Christianity.
So, why should you bother with writing? First, remember your words have the potential to impact the world around you. Therefore, choose every word with prayer while crafting your sentences and stories. Second, remember you’re called to aid people in envisioning God’s will on earth. Through well-crafted stories we connect people with God’s story of redemption. I hope this article helped you realize the importance of your readers connecting with God through your writing. Go write your story! They’re waiting.As Christian writers, our calling is to use words that ignite the imaginations of our readers, inviting them, to see the world as God intended. @kwboundswrites #ACFWBlogs #amwriting #pubtip Click To Tweet
K.W. Bounds serves as the pastor of West Green Baptist Church and teaches at Citizens Christian Academy in Southeast Georgia. You can follow his writing at www.kwbounds.com and on Facebook and Twitter at @kwboundswrites. He, and his wife Amber, have two children.