Writing is one of those professions that you do alone. I remember when I was in labor with my first son. I told the nurse I “couldn’t” have the baby. Her name was Wally and she had no bedside manner.
“If you can’t have this baby honey, no one else can have it for you!”
Rude? Yes. Truth? Yes.
And so, it is with writing, if we can’t do it, no one can do it for us. We sit alone before a page we are typing, or entering into our iPad, or writing long hand on an actual real notebook (some do) and we are apart from others as we create. Its hard work. Harder and less romantic than I would have ever realized until I sat down to write a book.
An old pastor comes to our church once a year, Gayle Erwin. Besides being a pastor and inspirational speaker, he is a writer. He wrote a best-selling book called “The Jesus Style.” He is a very funny man, can make hysterical faces and has real comedic timing. But what endears him to his audience is his humility, his ability to connect because he is not ashamed to tell you his story and how Jesus changed his story. He hooks you with laughter, and lets the Holy Spirit take over what he is teaching so when you leave, you are changed for having heard his message. He often shares his philosophy in life. One word, Others. He has it on a bumper sticker that he gives away when he comes to preach.
“Others” goes back to Jesus’s words in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus came to die for any and all who believe that his death takes away the sin of the world, and our sin, that we might by believing in Him and accepting his sacrifice for us, come into a living relationship with God the Father. Said much better of course in those familiar words of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.”
As writers we must confront the question of “Why” we write. I’m sure for Gayle Erwin that is summed up in “Others.” For me my “why” is I hope what I write, might in some way encourage or entertain. So, when my reader is done, they feel my story created a good moment in their life. My writing mentor New York Times best-selling author Jerry Jenkins says it simply, “Reader first.” And he said in two words what I railed on for fifty or so words. Jerry would say I should ferociously edit all those words down to bare bones to be more powerful. Hopefully he doesn’t read this blog and leave me a comment that says, “Sherry, your blog was too wordy!”
One day my then three-year-old son Sam gathered a bunch of tennis balls in a big circle on the floor. He had about twenty of them gathered closely together when he eased himself on top of them, laying quietly. Odd.
“Sam, what are you doing buddy?”
“I’m hatching Mom, I’m hatching!”
As writers, that is what we do. We hatch a story, an article, a blog. We want that writing to resonate with our readers, to find a home in them and be enjoyable. I want that in some way what I write would bless my reader. I don’t write for myself, I write for “others.”