Friday, February 19, 2016

Self Portrait

Amie the Writer

I've really hoped to post here every day. I might not, though, because I really need to finish my manuscript. But anyway I started this blog almost a month ago and so far I've posted every day since. Usually I've had a devotional-type thought. I probably won't do that all the time though.
Today I'd like to share a little about what it's like to be a writer. For me, anyway.
You probably know that we writers people-watch. We live in fear that someone will see our search history and think we're sociopaths because we Google weird stuff. You've surely noticed we're strange.
We're also really apprehensive about letting you read our work.
A writer friend asked me one evening, "Don't you feel a little like Voldemort? With pieces of your soul just floating around out there?"
Yes. That's just what if feels like.
Writing is vulnerable. In these posts I have allowed you glimpses into my mind. If you've read and paid attention you're aware of some of my weaknesses and heartaches. You know what I believe and what I don't. An enemy could use these things as weapons if they wanted to. I do not take that lightly. The alternative is to keep silent, but I've promised God not to hide the gift He's given me under a bushel (I'm not saying I've been blessed with something like Dickensian genius, but a gift is a gift and I don't want to squander it.)
It's humbling to share my words with you. You may not agree. You might find mistakes. You are completely free to judge me any way you choose and whether your conclusions are accurate or not, there's nothing I can do about it.
Sometimes I'm really scattered. My ideas don't always align in a pretty outline in my mind so that I can happily just fill in the blanks as I go. In fact I don't think that's ever happened. I have ideas I like, or thoughts I want to communicate, and I try to find a way to intelligibly weave them together. It's not always elegant and sometimes I tie myself up because I think of something else to add, but I've composed my thoughts into tight transitions and there's nowhere for the new idea to go.
It feels messy. I'm a child with scissors and paste, clumsily patting words into a satisfactory arrangement. At my touch, the phrases slide around in the gluey mess and it doesn't look the way I imagined it would. My hands come away sticky and paper flecked, the project jagged-edged and jumbled. I think about it later in the day, finding bits of colored paper still plastered to my fingers and I wonder about the completed work. I wonder if it's the kind you'll stick to your refrigerator with your favorite heart-shaped magnet or if you'll pitch it when I'm not looking. It's scary. Because every Popsicle-stick creation and every clumsy, glitter-covered work of art is a self-portrait.
  Jon Acuff says "Your art is not your identity. Your work is not who you are, it's a byproduct of knowing who you are." And he's right. But it's very, very hard not to take criticisms bone-deep personally. It's just the way it is for a writer.
I'm not asking you for partiality. You don't have to like my writing or anybody else's. Just the other day I read a tiny bit of a popular series. It was an author far more "successful" than I. I won't tell you which series was because, I'm sorry, I thought the writing was stinkySo I do understand. Really. Please don't think of today's post as a plea for sensitivity because it's not. It's just another glimpse. Not all writers have the same measure of talent or discipline. Writers write. I don't think all writers are good. I do think all writers are brave.


  1. Great post! I think the very last line is my favorite. That's a wall quote!

  2. Thank you! I suspected you would be able to relate.

  3. The wonderful diversity of writers is what makes reading universal. If every writer wrote the same way, with the same vision and the same inner voice driving them on then there would only be readers who connect with those words and nothing available for those who want something a little different. Two of the 5 Laws of Library Science are: "Every reader his/her book", and "Every book its reader". (― S.R. Ranganathan)