I am an author. This is usually not a curable condition. Like preaching, writing is a call I can’t shake. In my eighth grade school newspaper, I listed “journalist” as my future profession. Close enough. There’s a fire in my belly, a burden from the Lord, and I can’t get away from it. I can’t do anything else and see myself happy.
I write because ideas come packed in words, and ideas change the world. With words, God spoke the starry cosmos into existence. With words, he created the magic that is life. And with words, his story is kept alive in this crazy, morally broken cosmos diabolicus. Words in harmony with divine truth are packages for the power of God.
I write because one day I’ll be gone and my kids will still be here. My written words will remain as letters to them and their children’s children — a time-travelling message into the future from my heart to theirs.
I write because truth has set (and is setting) me free, and I want everyone to know the joy I have found in Christ. My books are my message and my message is my story. In a sense, everything I write and teach is autobiographical. It is God’s Word filtered through this needy man’s experience.
I write because the whole world needs Jesus Christ. Writing lets me join the everlasting choir singing throughout the world the song of God’s Good News.
I write because a good sentence is a thing of beauty. With the MGM lion, my banner could read, “Ars gratia artis” (Art for the sake of art). The art of words offers on earth a dim reflection of heaven’s beauties. Like cars on a freight train, sentences come together to carry the freight of big ideas of divine love to a lost and needy world.
I admit there’s another side to writing, perhaps not so exalted. But it must be said:
I write for money. Someone has calculated the typical payback about about $1 per hour, and that seems right. Unless God flips some heavenly switches my way, I’ll never get rich by it. I’ll soon receive a contract for my fourth book (hooray!), and together, between the four books, I can maybe buy a decent used car. But there it is: I get some money for writing, and I’m grateful.
I write for respect. Just the title, author, carries a weight of honor that I’ll admit is pretty motivational for me. With my first book, I obsessively tracked my Amazon ranking almost hourly, until I realized how little it means. Now, I’m much more relaxed about that stuff. A best seller status would be nice. Even so, to call myself a a published author is pretty cool — an undeserved blessing from God.
I write because I can. I look back on years of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew studies, and the torture of diagramming sentences… and now I am grateful for it all. I realize God was preparing me for a life of words — of grammar and syntax and vocabulary — and I have a stewardship of that gift. When I write, I get into a zone, like a runner’s second wind. It’s magical. Whatever investments God has poured into me, I pour back to him in humility and thanks and on the printed or digital page.
That’s why I write.
Why do you write?
My third book, Secrets to a Happy Life (Bethany House Publishers), comes out June 15. I’m so excited… and I hope and pray it’s a huge blessing to lots of readers. You can find out more here: http://www.secretstoahappylife.org