I read an interview with James Lee Burke in Writer’s Digest that really helped to give words to how I feel about writing, or more accurately, how I want to feel about it going forward. He said:
If you don’t compromise [your gift], if you write each day as well as you can, and then submit your work and not worry about it and go on to the next piece, you suddenly find oddly enough that you’re no more interested in the applause than the silence. You don’t hear either one of them. You can never listen to the naysayers. If you do, you won’t survive. You never doubt yourself. If God gives a gift to someone, it’s for a reason. It’s to make the world a better place. And you never forget that lesson. (O’Conner 36)
You see I have always been a writer. My first “story” was a short story about Micky Mouse that I drew the pictures for and dictated to my mom. I’m pretty sure she still has it. From that point on, I haven’t stopped writing or creating stories. I even used to tell myself stories to help me to go to sleep when I was a child – stories about fairies and flowers. (I’ve always been infatuated with fantasy.)
When I was older, about 11 or 12 I think, I started keeping a prayer journal at the prompting of my mom and then a regular journal. Now my stack of journals is several feet thick. Then as a teen, I wrote poetry, some of which was published in a friend’s magazine called Redding Magazine. I wonder if there are any old copies still hanging around somewhere?
For me writing has always been a way to sort out my thoughts. I just can’t do it between my ears. If I can’t write for some reason, I start to go a little nuts and find there is too much going on in my head. Like one of my friends recently wrote, it helps me find my direction. Without it I’m lost.
I would love to say I write for you, the readers, but really if you didn’t exist, I would write anyway. I have always felt compelled to write. When I have asked God over the years what I need to do, I always hear, “WRITE!” So writing is me dancing before God for an audience of one. I sincerely hope you benefit from my dance. And my prayer is that in some way it prompts you to want to seek Him and draw close to Him in some way.
Some days I will dance well, and others I will fall on my face. But since He gave me this compulsion, this gift, and said “Use It!” I will do my best each day to offer it back to Him.
O’Conner, Lindsey. “James Lee Burke: The Art and Craft of Perseverance.” Writer’s Digest. 91.8. Nov/Dec 2011. 34-37.