Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wounded Writing

So you want to be a writer? Be careful what you wish for. The best writing often comes from wounded places. 
C.S Lewis said, "If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity." 
Was he really suggesting people shouldn't come to faith in Christ? No, he was pointing out that God would not act as a fairy godfather, but he would refine them if they gave themselves to him. If you want to be a writer, expect more of the same discomfort, because God will ask you to use your pen to minister grace through the experience of your own struggles.

I don't believe God is the author of pain, death, sorrow, heartache, fear, rejection, illness, or loss... Those things came from Satan when he introduced us to sin way back in Eden. 
Because we live in this fallen world, we experience them. I do believe God allows his children to experience them in a different way, a way that will glorify Him if we surrender our wills and let him use those things that come our way to build our personal "character arc".

So what does this have to do with being a writer? As writers we spend a lot of our time learning to "live" in our characters' skins. We feel for them and speak for them. How much better do we understand them if we have been through what they're going through or something like it. It's one thing to write about the death of a child. It's another to have experienced the bone-aching agony of losing a loved one, and then eventually writing those feelings into the hearts of characters. Writing about infidelity, abandonment, cancer, rebellion -- and their counterparts -- faithfulness, loyalty, recovery, humility -- are better understood if we have stood on one end and walked to the other of those things. God allows us to feel the deep, wrenching level of pain those things bring so that we can write with greater understanding and empathy for those who experience them. He brings us through them so that we can write truthfully about faith and hope. Even if we are writing about fictional lives, understanding agony at that gut level can help even "characters" bring a path of healing to someone who reads their story.

Writing is another way of acting out 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

I've been comforted through the expertise of other fiction writers. Have you? What must they have experienced to help me so connect to their words?

Another C.S. Lewis quote if you don't mind:
"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear." 

If God allows you to walk the path of grief, you understand what that feeling he describes -- a feeling you can show in your stories. You can imbue your writing with a truer understanding.

Grief, pain, and heartache have a magnetic power to suck us into very dark places which seem to hold no escape. Why let those experiences exist solely as painful memories? If we desire to write, we have an obligation to use the character arc of our lives to tell stories that resonate, that have the power to supply healing and grace to the glory of God.

Write on.

1 comment:

B. J. Robinson said...

So true. I have used the pain of losing my mother and youngest sister in my writing in the hopes of helping others deal with the loss of loved ones. Author BJ Robinson