Friday, January 4, 2013

Writing as a Calling, Offering, or Encouragement: Finding your niche in 2013

Writing can be a calling, an offering, or an encouragement,
but if there is no joy in it you may find yourself wondering what the point is.

I read a blog post recently by Book Agent Terry Burns titled “Is writing a calling, an offering, or something else?” In it, Terry posited that a calling is a specific project that is confirmed to the writer in more ways than one. An offering is a gift, something the writer wants to do out of a labor of love but not one that has necessarily been placed before her as a specific task to complete.

Then there’s the third category — one that’s equally important, but perhaps not as specific as a Calling or Offering. Terry referred to this sort of project as an Encouragement.

In this case, Terry writes, “It is possible for God to make it clear that He wants us to use our writing skills for Him, but does not give us a specific book to write. He leaves that up to us.”

This can be incredibly freeing for a writer, or it can make writing even more challenging. It all depends on how we choose to look at it. For many of us, we can’t imagine a life in which we didn’t write, but there are many days we sit in front of the computer and wonder just what words we should commit to the page. It’s not uncommon to question at some point if being a writer is even what we’re supposed to be doing with our lives.

“Where do I fit in?”

This is a question I found myself asking multiple times during the past year. I always pictured myself as a middle grade writer. The fantasy I’ve poured so much time and love into remains an incredible passion of mine but it has yet to catch the heart of the publishing industry despite an editor showing some interest in it last spring. I keep telling myself I’m going to let it go, but I just can’t bring myself to do that yet.

For years I thought that book was my calling, my purpose for being a writer. What if perhaps it was an offering instead? One that taught me invaluable lessons and has done much to hone my skills as a writer.

And then there is The Writer’s Wellspring, which I created to learn how to blog and at the same time to encourage my fellow writers. I’ll admit I’ve often wondered if I’ve utilized it in the manner I’m supposed to. There have been so many times I’ve lost track of my original goal and have gone off in different tangents. During the month of December I strongly debated discontinuing posting here, but have since decided otherwise. I just started another blog called Jots and Thoughts, which I can use for more personal topics, thus allowing this blog to be what it was intended to be, a place for writers to find fresh inspiration.

What will your writing look like in 2013?

The lesson I took away from Terry’s article is that it’s okay to write for the sake of writing. Not everything is meant to inspire millions of readers around the globe. Sometimes it’s enough just to encourage a single soul. Even if that soul is your own.

Writing is a gift. Whether you’re following a calling this year, presenting an offering, or simply just releasing your thoughts into the void, writing should also be a joy. It’s too hard a craft to continue on with if it isn’t.

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