Last week I found myself writing this reply to a comment about my blog:
“And that’s why I write…so ‘you’ and me know we’re not alone.”
That little bit of feedback sparked some more thoughts about why I write. So guess what? I started writing them down… because I wanted to …and well because it’s easier than getting up and out of the house and going for a run (like that was ever going to happen!)
Seriously, first and foremost I write because I want to. I could happily write for hours when the inspiration is there and I have the energy. The fact is I enjoy it. When it’s going well, it makes me feel alive. When it’s not going so well, it brings out my persistent streak!
The desire to be creative has always been there: an urge to create order from chaos, to design, to structure, to make sense of something and express what’s inside. An essay from English Lit A level , ‘The importance of belief in Silas Marner’, is about the only piece of schoolwork I still possess twenty years later. I really enjoyed the symbolism of the book and relished looking at how ‘belief’ impacted the different characters’ lives.
To me, writing is like completing a jigsaw puzzle. I look at different paragraphs and ideas and think about where each part would fit best. Sometimes it feels like it’s all in pieces and most times I have no idea what the completed picture will look like. I start with just a few sentences and thoughts that seem to fit together and before I know it, there are more words than the bloggers ideal 500 and I have to start taking some out! But even that process brings me joy. I came back to this draft at least six times over; tweaking, reordering and rephrasing. Sometimes the hardest part is deciding it is finished!
There’s another important reason to write: it helps me make sense of my life. It’s my way of organising my thoughts and seeing the connections in my experiences. I am relational. I like to hear and share stories. But I didn’t have the courage to start calling myself a writer until recently. As I’ve read a range of different blogs, I realise I have joined an online community and I’m not the only one out there thinking this stuff. I’ve realised I have a story to tell. It’s a bit of a crazy story sometimes (my life has been likened to a soap opera by my friends more than once!) but now I’m more convinced than ever that my story matters.
I want to take something real and relevant that’s happening right here, right now and discover the divine treasure hidden in it. I want to see goodness and love in a world where I am sometimes too busy or sad to notice it. I want to hear God’s voice whispering “I love you” in a song on the radio. I want to notice the value of isolated beauty when I see a lone snowdrop on a derelict building site. I want to help you and me see the pattern of love and grace that tracks through the seemingly ordinary moments of our days.
And as I look back, I realise that my writing is there to convince and remind me that redemption is more than possible and I am reassured that whatever unholy incidents occurred and whatever the ‘contamination’ or the pain that came from them, in the beginning and into the future I am held by hands bigger than my own.
(Last minute edit: And then there’s that annoying part of the process where the website and your lack of IT skills combine to form a post that either has huge spaces between paragraphs or no spaces at all! I went for the huge spaces!!)