It’s Friday. The day we write together for five shared and sacred minutes. The prompt this week is RELEASE. The details for how to participate are over here. And the post today? It’s why I think you need to keep writing no matter how many voices in your head and your life tell you that you’re not a “real” writer because your audience is invisibly small, or because you haven’t written a book or because you aren’t invited to speaking events or because no one reads you outside of your family. Read on below and then just. keep. writing.
Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers.
I tell no one any story but his own.”
~C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy (The Chronicles of Narnia).
But what if my story isn’t important? What if it’s small and stitched together with load after load of laundry or hours spent trapped in the commute to work or nights spent wiping the hot heads of sick kids.
What if my story is ordinary?
Worse yet, what if I spend the hour salvaged at the end of the day – the one after the dishwasher’s been loaded, after the kitchen counter’s been wiped down, after the last homework assignment’s been finished up and the last Lego thrown back into its tub – what if I spend that sacred hour on writing and no one shows up to read?
What are my words worth without a reader?
What am I worth if my story is uninteresting, unclick-worthy, unbloggable?
“I realized there was this other part of me, and it was a big part of me, that needed something outside myself to tell me who I was. And so [it] became obvious; I was very concerned with getting other people to say I was good or valuable or important because the thing that was supposed to make me feel this way was gone.” – Donald Miller, Searching for God Knows What.
Our DNA is desperate to be recognized. To be heard. To be valued. And while we might write all day in our heads, our fingers hesitate to type it out for fear no one else will recognize what it cost us, what it means to us.
So we hide our stories where no one can ignore them but ourselves.
Here’s the thing, though, your story doesn’t matter because of who reads it.
Your story doesn’t matter because of how many read it.
Your story doesn’t even matter just because you wrote it.
Your story matters because it’s part of another story; one much bigger and older than you. And any words you write will draw breath from that first story. Anything you post, anything you journal, anything you scrapbook or blog or scribble out on the back of a grocery store receipt while stopped at a traffic light – the words will climb up off the page and live.
Those words will take deep gulps of breath and exhale into the lives of anyone who comes into contact with them. And their most important reader will be you.
Because someone else is writing your story alongside you. Someone else cares about the words as much as you do. Someone else has fingers folded gently over yours as you guide pen and thoughts and life across the page.
Someone else is writing through you.
So you can just let it go – the need for someone else to tell you that your story is important. Because you are already stitched into the only story that matters; the story that starts in the dark, loamy dirt of a garden and ends in the hard won, bright, shining streets of a city on a hill.
Whether you tell it in Zulu or Russian, Afrikaans or English. Whether you press publish or only whisper it to yourself as you rock babies to sleep. Whether you write it on your laptop or longhand in your journal. Your story matters because of the Word that breathes through you:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made;
without him nothing was made that has been made.
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
~ John 1:1-4.
So, if you’ve only got one hour in the day to write, don’t spend it defeated. Spend it writing.
Because maybe you, more than anyone else, will be surprised by what you read, by the story that the Word is writing in you, through you, for you.
His story. As lived by you.
So, let’s write together now. Five minutes on the prompt release.
Photo by the generous Karen Beth.