This post will be somewhat very personal. This is about why I am a writer. It is also about something I learned about myself and my writing this past Sunday during church services. Actually, this is something I have been learning for a little while, but it finally hit home after leaving services Sunday night.
I write because it is a way to get some baggage off my shoulders. When I write, I can take huge loads of emotional baggage, and wrap them up nice and neatly (maybe not always so neatly) inside a blanket of fictional prose. Doing this allows me to let go of some things without anyone reading what I have written knowing what is real for me and what is made up. Writing is actually pretty safe. No one really can be offended by what you say even if they do notice a resemblance to themselves because the story is fiction.
I also write because I hope with the words I put to the page I can help someone else. I hope someone will read what I have to say and be able to relate. At the least I hope to give someone the reassurance that someone else has an idea how they feel. What I really hope for, though, is that I can give something uplifting; I hope another person can see an escape from their emotional baggage in what I put to paper. I know it is possible. I have read books in my life that did this very thing, and that is my goal.
Now to switch gears a little…
This Sunday we were studying from Ephesians 4. In verses 22-24, you read of putting off the old man and taking on the new. We are supposed to be new people when we come to Christ. This is a daily choice of putting aside the old and taking on the new.
I have read these words many times since I have become a Christian, but last night I realized something. This is what I am trying to do with my writing; what I have been doing unconsciously since I began to put pen to paper. Each time things from my past bubble up, I write about them in some way. I have been worried sometimes that in doing this I am wallowing in my past. I have worried that by allowing the time I give to these thoughts in turning them into a story, I am holding on to them. Last night I realized the opposite is the truth.
When I wrap my past up in fiction, I do two things for myself. The first thing I do is get the poison of these things out of my system. By putting these things on paper I let go of them. I am actually taking the power away from my past by releasing my personal hold on these things that try to plague me. The second thing I do is I shroud these thoughts in fiction, therefore making them seem less real. Doing this allows the hurt to have less impact. When something is not real it cannot hurt us as much.
It was a great feeling to realize that I have found my outlet for the old man. I now have a renewed desire to write the words that well up in me. And I can still hold out hope that my words can help someone else release their hold on their emotional baggage. I can write with the goal of letting go of my bitterness and helping someone else let go of theirs. Maybe I can have a greater purpose than myself in the world.