Writing for The One

The Question: Have I Seen the Hand of God Reaching Out to Touch Us Today?

When I started our morning New Testament class yesterday, I taught a lot of empty seats and one student—my daughter. Starting my website felt a lot like that. I had high hopes that since my writing would be available to the world, the world would find me. I’m still waiting.

For the first few months I stressed over my traffic statistics. I checked my stats whenever I sat down to my computer and whenever my writing came to a lull. (FYI, watching the stats does not increase traffic. I think it is like watching a pot of water boil.)

I sidetracked my goals toward more traffic, which would mean more people visiting my site and more people reading my writing. However, when my unique visitors were less than the number of people in my immediate family, I was depressed. When my unique visitors reached a double digit for the first time, I was elated.

These questions followed: Could I continue to give my best efforts at writing to a number of empty chairs? What was the end result I was seeking, anyway? Traffic? Visits? An audience?  More importantly, why should my moods swing up or down based on my traffic?

When Ryan at Oktober5, invited his writer wife to guest post, she went through a moment of panic and fear and then wrote a wonderful post called  No Matter What You Say.

There are days it feels like no one likes your writing. On those days it’s really hard to say your opinion is the only one that matters. But you’re the only one who can explain why you write when you don’t have to, why you keep coming back to it even when it’s hard and even when you can’t make it work. Do you write for others? Do you write for the next comment? Or do you write because you can’t let go? When I write for you, I flop. My words get jumbled up and come out backwards. When I write for me, even if the finished product isn’t as perfect as I hope it one day will be, at least I’m pleased.

Her thoughts caused me to reevaluate why I write, where I write and how often I write.

1st: I write to understand. Writing clarifies my thoughts and uncovers the wisdom of experience.

2nd: I write to create. The process to connect thoughts, words, and images is creation, and it fulfills me.

3rd: I write to share and influence. When our circles intersect with others, the depth of our insight should also expand.

When I focused solely on the third reason, it took most of my mental and emotional energy and made me feel like the first and second reasons for writing were not worth my time. However, success is not measured by how many seats are filled. I received a lone comment on a post this week that showed me that I am writing for individuals, not numbers, and we never know when our words make an impact.

At the end of my class yesterday, eight high school students filled the empty seats. Whether my audience fills in, over time, or not, when I write for The One, I succeed.

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2 Comments

  1. Sarah
    Nov 20, 2008

    I love your writing. I’m glad you keep at it. Like teaching, it may seem that there’s no one listening and the results may take a long time to get there, but it’s always worth it. Even if just for what you learn yourself.

  2. An Ordinary Mom
    Nov 23, 2008

    Thanks for sharing such wisdom. I have never thought of myself as a “writer,” but as I have blogged over the last two years I realize that I enjoy it. At times I even crave it. I don’t think I am all that brilliant when it comes to writing, but this post you just wrote gave me a lot to think about.

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