Written Out Loud

5:52 AM

I think one of the greatest gift to man is words. Words brought life to man in a way that marked him as specially loved by God. Animals communicate, yes, but only in-the-image-of-God man uses words, words that connect him to his Creator, Who is the Word. And while I love to mess around with words just in the privacy of my pink notebook, I don’t consider that serious writing. Writing is communication. It’s meant to be shared. It’s meant to link us to God, link us to each other, bridging gaps of understanding. Words usher in life, and meaning, and thought. They are not an end in themselves; they are a means to an end, a very, very important end.

Which is why so many authors have a burning desire to be published. The fat Word document on a PC doesn’t seem altogether great unless it’s in the hands of somebody else. It’s absolutely thrilling—and terrifying—to drop control of the writing and let someone else take your words and thoughts and mingle them with her own, creating newer ideas, greater understanding, furtherance of truth. It’s like sharing a secret—you hate to do it, it’s embarrassing, but once it’s out in the open, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

That’s what words do.

(Why then were so many authors such infamous recluses who mismanaged relationships, refused to publish their works and didn’t give a fig of what became of their author-side? I haven’t the slightest idea. I hope the mark of a writing genius isn’t apathy. I’d be a very ordinary writer.)

But I’m beginning to understand—just a little bit, mind—how dangerous is the writer’s position. We’re going to give an account for every single word we say, not just the misspelled ones or the limp sentences, but everything, every little bit of it. The writer is a teacher—he’s communicating something. We can’t just write whatever we like and blame the readers if they fall for our heresy. We take square responsibility.

James said that not many of us should be teachers, because of this fact alone: they are responsible for what they say.

That terrifies me.

Especially because I’ve opined dogmatically on many subjects I later recanted. On some subjects I now believe the total opposite of what I once said, notwithstanding how eloquently I tried to put it. And I think it’s so important that writers be taught not just the proper expression of things, the turn of the words, the mechanics underpinning the whole deal, but the truth. They of all people ought to familiarize themselves with The Word, in His divine-human and written form. They ought to know how to think through issues instead of spouting out whatever comes to mind. They ought to educate themselves in the school of humility and learn to repent and beg forgiveness so that someone else doesn’t believe those mistakes they propounded.

This is why I am so passionate about writing, literature and even dry old, dear old grammar itself. So many people shrug off writing as either a thing you like or a thing you don’t, but I think it’s an absolutely imperative part of being human. Words define us. Words express us. Words unite and divide us. Most importantly, words impart truth. No person who calls himself human should ignore the opportunity to familiarize himself with the passing on of truth. Anyone with an opinion, if he honestly values that opinion, should never short himself on learning grammar, literature analysis and how to write well. Why? Because words matter. And words take on an entirely different meaning if they aren’t expressed in their fullest or are obscured by misplaced modifiers, dangling participles and bad logic. If you don’t care about your opinion, you shouldn’t say anything about it; if you cared about your opinion, you would do everything in your power to communicate it as perfectly as possible.

Whether a writer keeps a blog, writes a comment, sends a letter or types up an essay, he is not just finishing school assignments, socializing or merely “stating his opinion.” His words matter. And if we don’t wish to be responsible, we ought to say nothing.

Until then, we deal in a dangerous business.

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7 impressions

  1. I agree wholeheartedly.

    Good writing is good *thinking*--put on paper. Grammar, mechanics, and usage are a writer's tools to get that good thinking across to the reader in a sensible way. Much like a carpenter uses his hammer, nails, and level to build a sturdy bookcase, we use our tools to construct solid theses or stories (which might someday, we hope, fill said bookcase). = )

  2. Mmm, and this is what I'm learning, as you well know from my most recent post: You write whether or not you feel like it, enjoy it, or believe that you're good at it. If you don't enjoy writing, you need to learn how to.

    I'm beginning to realize that we've all been given the gift of words. How do we choose to use it? Maybe what those who "hate" writing really mean is that they simply aren't willing to grab hold of that gift. They blame their writing deficiencies on their personality. "Oh, I'm just not the writing type," they say. I think what needs to be drilled deep into our heads is that writing isn't for some, and contrary to what I've believed, it's not exclusively for those who excel at it...

    it's for everyone.

  3. p.s. thank you for your comment; it meant the world to me. : )

  4. Many of your posts hit me so hard because I feel like yelling, "YES! There's someone out there who believes like I do!"

    This one hit me for a different reason. I hadn't thought of this.

    I am what could be described as a writer by nature. I am strongly drawn to it and have been doing it so incessantly for so long that I feel (most of the time) fairly confident in it. Comfortable. But I never saw it as a ... a ... a duty. Neither did I fully realize the utter responsibility for every word.

    Both are things I needed and I thank you.

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  6. Good writing is never wrong. I think the responsibility is to express your opinion accurately, but that doesn't mean that your opinions cannot change. Different experiences and walking through life has a way of swinging our opinions around.

  7. Hi Bailey
    I didn't read THIS post, but I have enjoyed reading a few of your other posts.
    I absolutely love writing about purity, it's my greatest passion, I just wish I had more time.
    Either way, may God continue to grant you wisdom and discernment as you strive to serve Him.
    Blessings from Africa! :)


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