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What makes writing worthwhile to you?


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57 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

You're a fine writer, Z.  Believe me.

I appreciate that, I really do. This site is the only real place I get feedback of any kind. Good, bad, or otherwise. Input from those I respect helps me know that my efforts aren't in vain and helps to keep me on the correct path. 


I didn't intend to detract from your query, my apologies. But to know that somebody I don't know, got something out of it and was helped somehow because God directed/allowed me to write to them, would mean something to me for sure.


Now back to the query. 

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5 hours ago, Emily Waldorf said:

I don't know. I just do it because I want to, and ask if it's worthwhile later--or not at all.



But I guess, to add on to that, what makes my efforts worthwhile to me is that I'm writing about a relationship.  Yes, between two fictional characters, but the kind of relationship that exists in real life, and deserves more literary attention.  Namely, the father-daughter bond.

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I started writing my book a little over a month ago and it has been the most relaxing thing I have done in a long time. I write software all day and coming home tired. I write for an hour on my book and I am exhilarated. I have ideas running around in my head all the time to get them focused on a story and then to get them out is amazing.


Maybe this is just the new writer thing and it will fade over time, but I am loving it for now.

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Successfully capturing / honing the vision in my head. 

There's a lot that goes into that. Do I put in the time reading? Do I have the proper tools? Am I immersing myself in writing communities where I can both feed and be fed? Am I being faithful with the skills and talents I've been given? Am I going for the higher prize rather than being content with lower-hanging fruit? Am I given my writing the proper balance in my life? (When I'm tempted to begin some new hobby, Linda asks 'what are you willing to give up to do the thing?' It's a great question. It's the question.)

If I have everything in proper balance, am reading, am using the best tools for regular production, am part of good writing communities where I can both learn and be a mentor, if I'm making the best use of my writing time... that's when writing feels worthwhile.

And of course, there's also that magic moment when I've done everything right and words pop out on the screen which amuse people or make them think (or both!). That makes it all worthwhile, as well.

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My first dozen years writing, it was mostly fantasy. Since then it has been mostly Christian nonfiction. I enjoy both.


Much of the imagery of my early novels was drawn from the Bible or Christian literature like Inferno or Pilgrim's Progress. For example, statues along one street were based on words and phrases from Psalm 119. The counseling center was based on the House of Mourning from Ecclesiastes. What I love about the writing was how the stories helped me meditate and focus on those Christian ideas in a creative way, putting aside literalism and feeling my way toward understanding intstead of just analyzing.


In my recent explorations of Job, Ecclesiastes, and the Psalms for my nonfiction books on the wisdom literature of the Bible, something surprising has happened. I am finding much deeper meaning in those parts of the Bible than I ever saw before and much of it springs from the novels that I wrote. For example, I had the hero in one novel find salvation by meditating on Psalm 119 and then realizing that it defined a road in his world that led via 22 stages to the place of spiritual transformation. In analyzing Psalm 119 recently, I discovered that it in fact defines a 22-stage journey that ends with the discovery of the shepherd. Psalm 119 will lead you to salvation if you can read it aright:



I have strayed like a lost sheep.
    Seek your servant,
    for I have not forgotten your commands. (Psalm 119:176)


My recent analysis uncovered several prophecies in Psalm 119 that point to the coming of Christ; I never would have thought to look there if not for my fantasy writing.


A critical event that enables another hero to prevail is being struck by God's lightning seven times. Later on, when he marches agains the gates of Hell, mysterious words that he does not even know explode from his mouth - the voice of the seven thunders from Revelation - and the armies of Hell are defeated by the blast.


When John hears the voice of the seven thunders in Revelation but is told not to write down their words - that is for me the most mysterious verse in the whole Bible. People have one of two postures - in pride, they try to guess what the seven thunders said (and make a fool of themself), or in humility they can admit that God has decided not to tell us and say we should not pry.


I had a third idea. God does nothing without a reason. If the Lord does not want us to know what the seven thunders said, yet still wants us to know that they exist, why is that? I searched the Word and found that the seven thunders have spoken before: in Exodus, seven Psalms, Job, and elsewhere in Revelation. Each of the four books had metaphors that connected them to the others, and there is a coherent message that springs from it. I would not have thought to make the effort to search for insight into that mystery if I had not soaked myself in the mystery of the seven thunders over a decade ago.


That is why I love to write. It provides a means of embracing the truth in unusual ways, letting it sink into your heart and soul, and sprout up years later with new insight. This process related to the wisdom books has taken thirty-five years for me. It is not for people in a hurry. It is amazing when the results begin to appear.





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