Last month, I spent a couple glorious days with some women who I admire, who spur me on to more and better words, who cheer for me from within the same race they’re running.
We talked about throwing away our Moses lists (all the reasons we don’t measure up in our own minds to the task and calling of writer). We talked about the need to be brave if we really want to say what we really want to say. We talked about why it hurts our souls so much when people respond ungraciously to our words, and how it cuts even deeper when the harsh words come from people of faith.
So in listening to these strong, authentic women share their thoughts and stories and weaknesses and fears, it made me realize that there are only four reasons that I write, which means, there are only four audiences.
I write to bring glory to God. He decided long, long ago that I would be an introvert who would figure out her life with words on a page. It’s my duty to fulfill what he placed within me (a joyful duty, I should add). And it’s my obligation to do so with tenacity and determination, all the while adding to the beauty of creation.
I write to bring healing to myself. If I don’t know how I’m feeling about something, I just need to sit down at my laptop or with pencil and journal, and odds are, a half hour later, I’ll know. Knots will be untangled. Memories will rise to the surface. Answers and guidance will show themselves clear.
I write to bring encouragement to others who are writers. If I tell my story in a true and scary way, I might help another writer tell her story in her true and scary way. One sweet new friend even said to me something like, “If you can be brave enough to tell your story, so can I.” It’s a tall order to be a part of an earthly cloud of witnesses cheering on other writers, but it’s also a huge privilege that I don’t take lightly.
I write to bring comfort to others. If I’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s that there are more deeply hurting women in the world than I ever would’ve imagined who are in my shoes, who are walking the path I walked the past eighteen or so years. God tells us in I Corinthians that he will comfort us so that we can comfort others. He doesn’t comfort us just so we can be comforted, though he does do that. He wants us to take it one step further, turning around and passing on the comfort like a baton.
What this means is that I write for those who will appreciate the words, who need to hear the story. I do not write for those who are standing there, stone in hand, ready to tear me down, ready to disagree, ready to tell me that writing isn’t an actual profession, ready to tell me that my words are unnecessary. I write for those with ears to hear and eyes to see; I write for me, I write for them, I write for no one else.