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Writers, Keep Writing

November 25, AD 2016 1 Comment

I saw a funny meme about writing, which said, “Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet”:

internet

Vanity of all vanities

Writing certainly seems like it takes a lot of self-discipline and effort. I type out all my articles and they never get written down so, being at the computer, the above quote is certainly true. It’s a temptation to click over to Facebook, look something up on Google, etc. Sometimes I wonder if all this writing I do as a hobby is worth it. There is so much already written down. There are so many blogs, there are so many books, there are so many websites with so many articles. What is all this effort for? For a few people to click, read and forget it a few minutes later? I’m never going to be a canonized saint (I assume)  or a famous writer to be reread throughout the ages (again, assuming), so it’s just a matter of time before my writings disappear into the enormous abyss of time and space.

“All things are wearisome, too wearisome for words. The eye is not satisfied by seeing nor has the ear enough of hearing. What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun! Even the thing of which we say, ‘See, this is new!’ has already existed in the ages that preceded us.” (Ecclesiastes 1: 8-10)

The power of a story

If you have ever read a story to a group of children like I used to do in my elementary teaching days, especially if it’s a rowdy group of children who don’t ever quiet down, you know the power of a story. All you have to do is open it up, tell it well and show some pictures, and it is as if you have cast a spell on the children. They watch you motionlessly, with their mouths gaping open.

This is especially apparent with small children, but there are many who argue that it also holds true for adults. In fact, God communicates to us using stories. Why would the Holy Spirit and the biblical authors write stories, parables, and narrative all throughout the Bible if God hadn’t inscribed this very fascination for stories within us?

A second Incarnation

I wrote a thesis paper on biblical poetry and it was fascinating to see how many things are written in the tradition of the Church about writing. The Incarnation of God’s Word onto paper is analogous to the Incarnation of Jesus Christ into flesh. That is something very important. Not only that, the way you write it (poetry/narrative, literary genres, etc.) is part of the very message, not just a vehicle of the message. Writing something in poetry is different than writing it in narrative. The way you say it is just as important.

God is pretty serious about writing.

Just do it

It’s tiresome, it may seem futile and it may have all been written before, but if you are doing it for the right reasons and if the Holy Spirit is working with you, it is all worth it. Isn’t all of our work here on Earth a bit tiresome?

“As to more than these, my son, beware. Of the making of many books there is no end, and in much study there is weariness for the flesh. The last word, when all is heard: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this concerns all humankind; because God will bring to judgment every work, with all its hidden qualities, whether good or bad.” (Ecclesiastes 12: 12-14)

I leave you with three poignant quotes about writing from Saint Faustina’s Diary. Writing for her was a divine call, in the midst of much temptation.

“As I write these words, I hear the cry of Satan: ‘She’s writing everything, she’s writing everything, and because of this we are losing so much! Do not write about the goodness of God; He is just!’ And howling with fury, he vanished.” (1338)

“Although I am feeling weak, and my nature is clamoring for rest, I feel the inspiration of grace telling me to take hold of myself and write, write for the comfort of souls, whom I love so much and with whom I will share all eternity. And I desire eternal life for them so ardently that that is why I use all my free moments, no matter how short, for writing in the way that Jesus wishes of me.” (1471)

“Secretary of My most profound mystery, know that yours is an exclusive intimacy with Me. Your task is to write down everything that I make known to you about My mercy, for the benefit those who by reading these things will be comforted in their souls and will have the courage to approach Me. I therefor want you to devote all your free moments to writing.” (1693)

About the Author:

Julie Machado is a 30-year-old wife, mother and Portuguese-American who grew up in California, but moved to Portugal for college and has been there ever since. She has a degree in Theology from the Catholic University of Lisbon and has special interest in Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. She blogs at Marta, Julie e Maria.

  • Liesl

    So true. I have told people before when they have lamented about not getting as many views as they thought they would, or struggling with writer’s block, that if what you write causes one person to change the way they think about something, or cause them to stop and reflect, or even brings them a little bit closer in their own relationship to God, then it is certainly worth it. Even if that one person it impacts is the writer himself!