Just a Little Presumptuous7:30 AM
Cecily Cardew: Dr. Chasuble is a most learned man. He has never written a single book, so you can imagine how much he knows.
Two years ago, a young woman rocked the literary world at the tender age of fourteen. She was bright, she was witty and she was talented - so much so that her first work dominated the New York Times bestsellers list for months. Her magnum opus continued on in a series that readers clamored after more than Harry Potter and Twilight put together. Not stopping at gaining the respect of every sentimentalist in Christian fiction, she garnered the attention and praise of the secular publishing world too. If C. S. Lewis had laid the groundwork for overtly Christian fiction becoming must-reads in a post-modern world, this girl traveled that road as far as possible.
Aspiring authors asked her opinions and tips. She dispensed writing secrets at will, firmly holding to the idea that good writing took both hard work and inborn talent. There was never a day where the news did not cover some facet of her life and writing - there was never an hour where an interviewer was not thrusting a microphone in her face.
You haven't heard of this girl? That's because she was me.
And I didn't get that far.
I laugh at my fourteen-year-old self now, so big-dreaming, so big-headed, sincerely believing that my writing would revolutionize the world in a way it needed to be revolutionized. Every spare second alone I would talk my reflection to death - the latest developments in the character department, the newest twist in the plot and mainly about the movie series coming out. ("I'm just really grateful to be a part of such a huge production....") I had that movie produced and crashing the box office - even the blooper reel was planned out.
Those were the days. But isn't that who we are? We who dream big and hold an opinion on something? Our first thought is to share it with the whole world, to philosophize on our genius, to write a "how to" post and answer the biggest questions regarding the topic.
This came to mind because I came across a blog where the girl, around that smashingly successful writer's age, was giving away writing tips quite confidently and dogmatically. It made me smile - not because she was wrong - but because she reminded me so much of myself. I'm all for putting bigger responsibilities on teens' shoulders - I sincerely wish her the best in her endeavors - I just now realize how presumptuous and ignorant I was at her age.
(Don't I sound like the sage old expert.)
I think that out of all God's children, I make Him laugh the most (and cry the hardest - but that's another story). The minute I'm quiet enough to let Him tell me the way my life's story ought to go, I'm immediately thinking of how to best start off the blog post. Before the lesson even sinks in, I'm instructing others in my newfound wisdom. I run off to hit the keyboard and I can feel Him catch ahold of my heart and say, "Wait a minute - you haven't seen anything yet."
This side of heaven, anybody who holds an opinion firmly and is able to communicate that opinion is fair game to dispense their wisdom. That's just human nature - we need people who can communicate and who claim to know something we don't. But I'm beginning to discover that what I thought I knew, I don't.
It's something we all have to learn, as writers (I wish a few liberal op-ed columnists would understand this, but I digress) - we really do wield words with a sharp edge. Words will do things. Words can mold people. And so we've got to learn to be still and quiet and not become puffed up in our knowledge. Communicators ought to be the most silent people of all. A paradox? Maybe. I think our listeners/readers would benefit from it though.
And we have to learn as the audience to tune out opinion and dig into truth - The Truth, specifically. We need to learn to run to Him first, instead of to our favorite blogger or speaker. We need to find acceptance in Him and Him alone.
We need to be quiet, sometimes, and just listen. To stop moving, so that our foot doesn't get inserted in our mouth. To stop being presumptuous, so that every word we say can be based on conviction and truth.
That's just a little writing tip I learned. And no, you don't have to interview yourself in the mirror to find out.