A better question would be:
Why do I write only when I have an audience?
I’ve never been a journal keeper. I tried starting an electronic journal recently, but didn’t keep up with it on a regular basis. Then I started this blog, and I find myself motivated to write and post. But then I discovered that rarely was anyone reading what I wrote and I wondered why I was bothering.
I happen across quotes by famous authors who claim that writing is like breathing for them. I haven’t written for years and I’m still breathing. However, some of my finest feelings of accomplishment have come due to researching and writing.
Years ago I read Max Lucado’s Cure for the Common Life. Through it, I realized that it wasn’t merely the researching and writing that led to those fine feelings of accomplishment, but those pinnacle moments (Ha! Epiphany moment. See: Mountain, Valley, Ravine) were due to having successfully engaged someone in the ideas and arguments I presented. I wrote many literary critique essays while earning my English Literature B.A. degree. A few successfully engaged the professor in the argument I was making; I had successfully engaged the professor beyond merely grading a paper to interacting with the actual ideas I wrote.
And a few of those papers taught me something during the writing of it. Such is happening at this moment while I write this post. Many papers, a few epiphany moments. I loved those papers that caused me to learn more about the work due to the act of research and writing. I suppose all of them taught me a little something. But a few, those glorious few, caused me to glean profound new insights into the works because I was writing about them.
Not every piece of writing will be the mountaintop experience. And, hopefully, not many will dump me into the ravine. I must learn to exist in the valley of writing. While writing during my university days, I had a guaranteed audience. Such is not the case while writing a blog. My best friends may not bother to open and read what I write. They may be justifiably too busy. And yet I have all these thoughts that run around in my head and it seems that God made me such that the best way to get them out and inspect them is to write about them.
And sometimes other people come along and interact with what I wrote. I love that interaction. I’m not longing for a huge adoring following. I long for a few people to interact with through the written word. Ah-ha! I need to go interact with others on their blogs, too. Stephanie, watch out; here I come!
My writing skills are rusty. My research habits are nearly non-existent. At least this blog motivates me to write something on a near daily basis. It’s a start. Writing this post causes me to remember that the moments of writing a piece that truly engages another will most likely be rare. I must learn to exist in the valley and nurture my writing by developing the habit of writing. Next, I need to resurrect my research habits so that I can continue on with my novel in progress: Hartfield.
So, here I am. Ellen exploring the world through the written word.