Writing is a solitary business. Whether using pen and ink, typewriters, or modern technical devices, writers have always needed time without interruptions to do their best work. But writers are communicators, and when we get together at critique groups, conferences, or even on the Internet, we understand each other in ways “normal” people can’t comprehend. Although we share one of the most important things in our lives, each of us is completely unique, and that’s a good thing.
There are many different kinds of writing and an amazing number of topics. Someone who writes textbooks or articles for scientific journals might not be good at writing fiction for children. And a news reporter might never write poetry.
Of course, we can each write in more than one genre, but our writing must be about things that actually interest us if we are to do it well. And even people who write in the same genres about the same or similar topics all have their own individual styles.
According to the Bible, a Christian might have any of a number of spiritual gifts. (See 1 Corinthians Ch.12 & Romans Ch.12) And our spiritual gifts also help to make our writing different from what other people write.
While I’m sure each of us would all like to make a lot of money selling what we write, and some of us actually do that, it is more important that our words make a difference for people who read them. I’ve been blessed to learn of a few times when things I wrote touched the lives of readers, but most of us will never know this side of Heaven all the ways our written words influenced people who read them.
Maybe someone read a how-to article that solved a critical problem or helped them get a new job. Perhaps a person who was about to give up on a marriage or drop out of school read a novel, book, or article that helped them keep going, and their problem was solved as a result. Someone else might have read an article or a chapter in a book that made them understand something they had been struggling with. A discouraged person may have been encouraged by a fiction story and gone on to make a difference to other people. Even short poems or song lyrics might help readers appreciate the beauty around them, and a joke can make somebody who needs a laugh, cheer up.
As with everything else about writing, no two of us have exactly the same influence.
Although I’ve never met anyone with this opinion, I’ve heard that some people think Christians shouldn’t read or write fiction because they consider fiction to be dishonest. Most people who read this post will agree that idea is ridiculous. It’s not as if writers tried to make readers think the fictional stories they wrote had actually happened. But a lot of writers stick to non-fiction and that’s part of what makes them unique. Other people only write fiction while still others do both.
I could go on and on about the various kinds of writing, and how, within every genre, the writing of each individual is completely different from any other person’s writing. However, the fact that everyone in this group is called and inspired to write, ties us together in a remarkable way. No matter what kind of writing we do, we all share the joy of using our written words to communicate what God has put on our hearts.
Writing is a divine calling and the ability to write well is both a gift from God and the result of some hard work by us. Sometimes we might get discouraged if our work doesn’t get published or sell well, but it would be wrong for any of us not to continue using the unique gift God has given us. So let’s all keep on writing and sharing whatever makes us unique with our readers, and with each other here at Inspire Christian Writers.