I’ve been thinking some about rewards lately. Writing can often be a difficult process. It can grind your soul, cause you untold amounts of headaches, and keep you up late at night pondering a new idea. Some would ask if it is worth it. When all is said and done, and I leave this life – will it all have been worth it?
My answer would be a firm and resounding ‘yes!’
Writing IS worth its pains for many reasons.
In my mind, the first reason is expression. I have talked before about the need, the burning urge I sometimes get to write. To express myself. At its most basic core, it is a longing to create – a longing I can satisfy through a variety of means, from writing to quilting, from sketching to cooking. We are made, I believe, in the image of God. God is a – no, the – creator. So it does not seem so odd that He would create humans with the same innate need to create.
I believe that in making man, God desired to express himself. In the beginning we were sinless (forgive me, I don’t mean to preach, I am merely philosophizing – and yes, I did have to use the spell check to get that spelled correctly), and we were as a mirror for God to look in and see Himself. Of course Satan came along and shattered the mirror that was humanity…And now we are all glistening shards, each reflecting only the most minute image of God. But still we do reflect.
It comes down to the fact that we desire to create just as God desired to create. To express ourselves as He expressed Himself. To find pleasure in our work as He found pleasure in His own.
So yes, writing is worth its pains in the same way that God deemed humanity worth the pain of the sin they would commit. It is worth the pain for the reward which lies ahead – for the writer, that reward can vary from publication to simply the smile on a reader’s face. For God the reward, I would assume, is when we are finally all gathered together in Heaven and His bright shining mirror is finally reassembled.
The second reason I believe writing is worth its trials is somewhat closely related to expression. Writing is a wonderful way for people to get to know you. To understand who you are, how you think, and what makes you tick. Every writer, I believe, writes themselves into stories – whether in part or in whole. There are tiny fragments of their own being in each story – just as God put little pieces of Himself in us. When you read my stories, if you read closely enough and if you know me well enough, you will discover just who I am.
Now with that said, some people will automatically assume that I lead a tragic life, that I do not believe in God, etc, as my stories are often tragic and sometimes ignore the existence of God. But going back to my post about creative liberty, this is simply not true. Writing is a wonderful way to imagine a world that is different from our own. That does not mean we believe all the things we write – we just like to play around with the rules of life. I can point out the pieces of myself in just about any work I have written.
Take for instance, my short story entitled ‘The Bloodsucker’s Butler.” This is a story about a butler who knows his master is an evil vampire. This vampire has slain one woman every night for more than twenty years, and every night this dutiful butler has ushered the woman to the den – knowing full well her fate – and later buried her body at sunrise. If you read closely in the story, you will sense a great deal of self-loathing in this butler. He despises who he has become. He despises his weakness – his inability to stand up for what is right, to save the lives of these innocent people. He feels trapped, locked into this horrid nightmare where he can never find the strength to fight back.
This reflects much of what I have felt in my life. I have had bouts of intense self-hatred. I have despised myself, I have despised my weakness and my inability to do what I know is right. I have sat back, countless times, too afraid to stand up. Too afraid to follow what my heart tells me is true. I often feel trapped by my own weakness. My timidity. My fear.
So you see, if you had not known these things about me, you might have missed it. But my writing will remain, hopefully, long after I have passed. And my children, my grandchildren, and my great grandchildren will hopefully be able to read my works and see just a little glimpse of who I was.
In the end, there are many reasons for a writer to write. Reasons much more important than mere publication – although I assure you, publication is a thrill I do most desire. In the end, even if I never had the hope of publication, I would go on writing.
Because I must create.
Because I must express.
Thanks for reading,