Writing is hard work sometimes…
Like right now, for instance.
I’ve always felt called by God to write. That’s my part right now in this race that we call the Christian life. But I must admit that I’ve spent most of my life on the sidelines. Why?
Because I made too many excuses.
But lately, as I’ve been pondering these excuses, and as I’ve been reading advice from writers that I look up to, I’ve been learning something. Most excuses aren’t legitimate.
These are my 5 most commonly used ones, and why they are not, as the kids are saying , “legit:”
1. I don’t have time: Now, in my defense, I did spend the last year of my life working full time and going to school full time. But now that I’ve quit my job and am home for the summer, this excuse makes like a penguin and doesn’t fly. I’m pretty sure I’ve played Resident Evil for 15 consecutive hours on more than one occasion this month (remember the episode of Spaced where Simon Pegg plays Resident Evil 2 so much that he hallucinates that everyone he sees is a zombie? I can sort of relate). So, it’s not that I don’t have time. It’s that I waste time.
2. No creative ideas have come to me: I’m not sure why I take such a passive approach when it comes to writing. Sitting on my couch watching PBS and eating Combos, hoping that Creativity shows up on my doorstep isn’t going to help. For one thing, my doorbell is broken. But, seriously, if I want to fill my creative energy gauge, I should go out and do it. It’s not like creative energy costs $4 a gallon. I know exactly what inspires me- a Harry Potter novel, a Queen music video, a Beethoven symphony, a Serious Wednesday post at Stuff Christians Like…Inspiration is all around me. I just have to turn off Elmo’s World and go get it!
3. I can’t write too often. I’ll use up all my good ideas: It’s funny. I’ve never heard a pianist say, “I can’t practice too often. I might learn all the best sonatas.” I’ve never heard a baseball player say, “I can’t play too well. I might run out of home-runs to hit.” Why do I think that writing more is going to make me less creative?
4. It’s not going to make a difference: I wrote my first blog post in August of 2010. It got 2 views. But, one of those two original readers sent me a message telling me how much my post had helped her. I thought, “Every person is worth it. If I help just one person, that’s more than enough.” Now-a-days, my blog usually gets about 200 views a month. I get messages similar to that first message on a regular basis. You’d think I’d be happy. But then I look at these other blogs that get thousands of views a week and think, “Why am I even bothering?” Silly me. I answered my own question months ago: Because each person is worth it. If I help just one person, that’s more than enough.
5. I’m afraid: This one’s usually the killer. See, God could have asked me to blog about movies or video games or other, more impersonal topics. But he didn’t. He wants me to write because he wants me to be transparent. He wants me to get people to think differently. He wants me to be discerning. He wants me to give the gift of going second. Sometimes those things offend people. Sometimes those things kick my pride in the kidneys. Sometimes they make me feel vulnerable. Writing is scary. And it’s hard to crush the excuse of fear.
But writing is not a job for the faint of heart. We have to face, not only our own excuses as to why we should not write, but other people’s opinions on our writing ability. It takes courage.
And furthermore, following Christ is not a job for the faint of heart. Taking up a cross takes courage too. If I want to follow Christ with my writing, I need to put my excuses down and face my fears.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
I won’t be alone.