Since early childhood, three things have been true for me: First, I wanted to be a writer. Second, everyone around me thought I ought to be a writer. Third, I have resisted and struggled against those first two truths for many years.
Do I have the talent? I believe I do — or at least, I have the ability to put words together in ways that communicate, tell a story, evoke thought and emotion in others.
Do I have the creativity? Sure. Just check out the myriad ways I can scare myself with what I imagine!
Do I enjoy it? Certainly — once I get started.
So why is it that when I reconnected with some high-school classmates a few years ago, one of them told me she had been watching for my name on the best-seller lists ever since high school, and wondered why she had never found me there?
I wrote professionally for years. My career in the legal field involved much writing of fact summaries, opinions, analyses, letters, and the like. And I often told myself that (a) the work satisfied my craving to write OR (b) the work stymied my creativity and thus stifled my talent as a “real” writer.
Almost every New Year’s Day saw me making a resolution to write my book that year, or to journal regularly, or to write fiction in general terms, or even to write some sort of personal-development book that rattled around in my brain. And every following New Year’s Eve, it had not happened.
I would get off to a great start. And then it would hit me, after a few days or weeks, after some pretty darned good pages: It started to feel a lot like hard work, and shortly after that, it was back to not writing.
Some of the thoughts that accompanied this annual quitting:
- What is there new to say that hasn’t already been said by someone more talented and qualified than me?
- What makes me think anyone wants to hear my stories?
- What qualifies me to put my ideas and fictions out there?
- It’ll never go anywhere.
Writing is probably the most self-conscious and perhaps self-indulgent process known to humankind. Will this be the year that I overcome my self-consciousness and feed my self-indulgence — finally?
As years have passed and I have grown, and continue to grow, in faith, I have begun to sense a growing call to share my faith through the strokes of my pen, so to speak — or through the keystrokes of my laptop, if you prefer a more literal reference. As God has called me and led me to a deeper experience of Him and a closer relationship with Him, I often find myself drawn to a phrase in the prayers of the Mass or to a sentence in the day’s scripture readings, or I experience some new insight in prayer, and it doesn’t feel complete until I’ve captured it by writing it down and/or writing about it. I not only need to write and want to write, I have to write.
Once I realized that and began to pursue a deeper commitment to this kind of writing, another strange phenomenon occurred and threatened to derail me. I began to worry that writing would be such a source of pride and self-seeking and self-glorification that it would be sinful to pursue it further. It took me a trip through St. Therese of Lisieux’ autobiography, Story of a Soul, and a discussion of the book with a new friend in discipleship, to disabuse me of this notion, and from there it has been a relatively short hop to resurrecting this blog space as the place to share my work.
Yes, this writing is deeply personal, and all the same doubts and fears lurk in the back of my mind that have always lurked there. But faith compels me. My relationship with the God Who loved me into being, the Lord Who redeemed me and Who feeds me with His body and blood, the Spirit who sanctifies me — this relationship demands to be shared. The sharing is not about me. The sharing is about being a channel whereby God can pour even more of His grace into the world. If He chooses to use me in this way, and if my words resonate with another soul in a way that deepens his or her relationship with God, then thanks be to God. What I do here, what I write here, is for God’s glory.