Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout May I have dedicated to guest writers. Today’s guest post comes to you all the way from England! I was introduced to Jennie through her brother Peter, someone I knew through Twitter. As I read her post, I was amazed at how similar we are. Perhaps you will see yourself here as well, as you think about the passions God has given you.
“I wish Christians who say they want to write would just write,” my neighbour at last week’s dinner party berated me.
Yes, I had foolishly admitted that I want to write.
In my defence, I do commit words to page almost constantly these days. When I’m not composing e-mails or business letters at work, I’m making notes for the next essay in my Masters’ degree. When I’m not doing that, I’m commenting on my friends’ Facebook statuses, writing movie reviews on my church website or reposting articles I’ve seen around on other websites.
When I can find the time, I also blog.
So it’s not that I’m not practising the art of forming coherent sentences, or tasting the fear of committing my thoughts to print and sending them unprotected into the world. I’m just not writing what I want to write, what I think matters.
I can scribble out brilliant treatises on how wrong it is that chartreuse should be a shade of blue (that rich, fruity, vibrant word can only possibly describe a shade of pink, surely – the pink of overblown roses and sunsets over the sea and the taste of warm raspberries. If onomatopoeia is the term for words which sound like what they are – squish, thud etc – what is the term for words that sound just completely opposite to what they describe?), or compose business letters from the formal to the chatty to the forbidding. When it comes to writing creative pieces which will touch hearts and challenge minds, though, I’m stuck.
What’s holding me back?
Time, of course, is a big one. Once I’ve finished my Masters’ degree, I want my evenings back, but if I want to write, I’m going to have to sacrifice at least a couple a week (and preferably a little time each day) to writing. Do I care enough to be willing to do that?
Content is the second one. How do I narrow all I want to say into one topic at a time? How do I frame it in a compelling story peopled with believable, sympathetic characters who an audience will actually care about? Am I making time to listen to God and allow him to direct my thoughts and my fingers?
The third, and possibly most significant, barrier is intimidation. I am surrounded by words. My bed is piled high with books I’m in various stages of reading – Bibles, study guides, biographies, novels, philosophy text books, note books, puzzle books. There’s even a couple of maps and, for some reason, a cookery book at the moment (I’m not sure how much cooking I was planning to do in bed, when I brought that one through!). Then there are letters, postcards, prayer letters and bank statements.
Thousands and thousands of words surround me every day. Some of them were written 6,000 years ago, others were committed to print for the first time in the last week. Some of them are engaging and inspiring, others dry and dispiriting.
How can I compete with all this? What can I add? Who would ever want to read it?
Then the words echo in my head again: just write.
If this is what God has put on my heart the best – the only possible – response is to just do it. I have to trust that he has given me this passion for a reason and will use it for his purposes in his time.
That will take patience and action, but I’m going to keep practising.
Watch this space…
What has God put on your heart to do?
What’s holding you back from just doing it?
What is the opposite of onomatopoeia?
Jennie Pollock is a ‘proper’ English administrator with ideas and dreams WAY above her station! She lives in the very heart of London, works at a think tank, and is studying for an MA in Philosophical Studies. She loves London above almost anything else. Yes, even more than books. Books about London are pretty much heaven on earth. For years she has longed to use her words to glorify God and shine His light into the dark places. She’s thrilled and awestruck that it’s finally started to happen.