Several years ago I was part of a writing group. We were a small, ragtag bunch of varying ages ranging from teen to late 40s, and we were led by Mrs. Marzee, a longtime writer herself and one of the matriarchs of our church. Mrs. Marzee happens to be the paternal grandmother of my friend (and fellow blogger) Tamara, so writing prowess definitely runs in the family.
We met on a regular basis (I can’t recall if it was weekly or bi-weekly) to share what we’d been writing and to glean some wisdom from our mentor. And she was not shy about offering her opinion about our work (or life in general). Unlike many Southern ladies her age, Mrs. Marzee was not the quiet, reserved type. She was (and still is) known as bit of a spitfire, someone unafraid to speak their mind, which made for some very entertaining conversations.
One night she made the pronouncement that “Writers write.” By which she meant that if you really want to be a writer, you make the time to write. You devote time and energy to it. You aren’t lazy with it.
I recall at the time taking some offense to the implication that, if I wasn’t writing, I was being lazy and not truly desiring to write. Of course I wanted to write–all my life I’d dreamed of being an author. Didn’t she realize that I had a full-time job? Didn’t she see that I had my hands full with ministry obligations and social activities? I didn’t express my thoughts to her but internally I found myself getting a bit huffy over it.
I don’t remember how long I attended that small writers group or what caused us to eventually go our separate ways. But, years later, I can now better appreciate what Mrs. Marzee was telling us. I don’t think she was implying that I was truly being lazy (although maybe she was and, if so, she was probably right). I think the point she was making was that when we want something badly enough, we’ll sacrifice to get it. It may mean staying up late or getting up early to write. It may mean passing up opportunities to do something else.
In my case, it also means resisting the temptation to only write when I feel like I’ve got something really profound to say. I have a bad habit of weighing what I want to say against the likelihood that whoever’s reading it will think it’s an eye-opening nugget of truth or just a waste of time. I forget that I should be writing for myself (and God) and not trying to please any particular audience.
And so, I am going to make a concerted effort to do more writing. Some days I may have some really deeply spiritual or emotional things to say. And some days I may write about reality TV and fashion and college football and other mundane topics that are on my mind. But I’m going to try not to please you, but instead write what I feel led to write at the time.
Because I’m a writer. And I have it on good authority that writers write.