"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." -Martin Luther

Saturday, July 08, 2006

To Write or Not to Write

This morning I was thinking about writing. I love to write stories, and I believe there is a place for writing creatively -- fiction included -- in God's Creation. However, I try my best not to be deluded about my skills. I may well be able to think up a story, however, there are several problems (in addition to the logistical ones) in publishing a book.

First, I'm not that amazing of an author. My style isn't anything to rave about. There are thousands of published authors who have better styles than mine, and innumerable people out there who would be better than me if they actually wrote. So...why would I write something if the books already out there are written better than mine are?
In response to my own question, there is much to be learned about writing by writing. I would hold that reading is more important to learning to write, but writing is still essential, and, as they say "practice makes perfect." My style has changed since I first started writing, and I am developing more tones I can write in. But what about publishing it? Why publish "inferior" work?

Well, there is more to writing than quality of style (see "Content Matters"). What one says makes or breaks a book. Certainly, a book can be ruined by atrocious style, but can only be made worthwhile by subject, content, judgements made, moral, or whatever else you care to call content. I hope my style does not ruin my content, and therefore, if I have worthwhile content, I may justify writing.

My second question arises from this last point. Do I have anything to say? Hmmm. This is a frightening question. I know that the truth of the Bible is very much worth saying. It applies to all of life, and so a book about nigh-on anything can be "worthwhile", or, in honest language "edifying and God-glorifying." (Please note I said "nigh-on").
But do I have a better view on truth, no, even a view that comes anywhere close to being as clear, than Bunyan, Lewis, Milton, and, literally, the thousands upon thousands of Christian authors who wrote before me? I live in a corrosive, fallen, falling country. We are slipping as a nation, and have been ever since we began. We are fallen down the page of Romans 2, getting closer and closer to the final, utter pitch-black bottom of the pit of sin and corruption. The church, the very pillar and butress of truth, is shattered into a hundred "opinions", pulverized into dust particles, each a "lone ranger Christian", tipping slowly over to the ground, lowering the truth to the mud. There is no truth. There is no God. There is no right. There is no wrong. The church is beginning to buy these lies, abhorrent to God and damning to the soul. I live in this world, in this country. How can I think to open my mouth to offer my fiction that shows truth, even to quote the Bible, when so many in better, more godly times, with better teaching and meeker hearts have offered their creativity?
Hmmm. I need to go think about it some more.

But I know this. To discount the truth, validity, clarity, and power of God's Truth as revealed in His Word, on account of my insufficience and surroundings, would be utter foolishness and pride. Those in the past did not understand better because everyone else did. They understood better because they had the Word of God, their churches, and the Holy Spirit working righteousness in them. These I have. So I won't burn my manuscripts quite yet. Sorry to get ya'lls hopes up.
And while I wait and think, I will pray for the church.


  1. Thank you Joben. I very much enjoyed this post.

  2. Very interesting. Remember, however, that God gave us creativity and the ability to write. Godly men inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible. Also, we are to be imitators of God, and He creatively made the entire world to glorify Himself. So as long as we're giving the glory to Him... Is this making sense?


A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.