Quotable Friday, Vol. 21 (Wednesday Edition)

Alternately titled: Why I’m Not Cut Out to Be a Writer

“Here’s the bottom line: Someone who is more interested in themselves than they are the world at large probably won’t make it as a writer. You have to be insanely empathetic to be a writer. To be a writer you have to think everything is more interesting than you.

Would-be writers are forever wanting to share themselves with the world. Fair enough; that’s a big part of writing, for sure. But if, in being totally honest with yourself, you find that you are more interested in sharing yourself with the world than you are with, in essence, sharing the world with the world, then save yourself the trouble, and stop imagining you’re a writer. You’re not.”

–John Shore (from his blog Suddenly Christian)

I never heard of this guy or the books he’s written, but when I stumbled across his blog the other day I really ate up his series on “How to Make a Living Writing” because, what do you know, that’s what I want to do!  When I came across the words I quoted above, my heart sank.  Lately I have been realizing just how selfish I am (this happens every couple weeks).  I would like to fix this about myself for many reasons, and it was tough to swallow this guy’s words which essentially say that I’ve disqualified myself from writing success by being the miserable little selfish being I am.  I guess it’s kind of humorous to think of “fixing” my selfishness because it’s one of those basic human problems…some may even go so far as to call it “original sin.”  And in that case, I can’t actually fix it…I just have to accept God’s grace and let it transform me at a rate that won’t kill my mortal body.  (If I didn’t hate the term, “But I digress” I would use it here…) So anyway, Mr. Shore’s trying-too-hard-to-be-funny-in-that-frankly-my-dear-way advice about writing, along with some mild cases of writer’s block, have sent me into a melancholy hopelessness about my future as a writer.  (Is melancholy hopelessness redundant?  See?  I have no idea what I’m doing).

But.  Even if I’m not a writer, I do want God to help me with this selfishness thing.  And maybe as I learn to care more about others and their experiences than my own little life, He can use me to write again.

Hmm.  Maybe I’ll try writing an article about my personal experience with self-absorption.  Hee…irony, friends.  I love it.


2 thoughts on “Quotable Friday, Vol. 21 (Wednesday Edition)

Add yours

  1. Joy, that guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about! I hate him and plan on keying his car tomorrow, or maybe just kicking his ass in a parking lot. He’s selfish and full of himself with his writing, hello? It’s from his blog, isn’t that what a blog is? Telling people about the world as you see it? Well, you are selfish Joy Joy, so is everyone, but you are not only selfish, you are talented, and that’s what it takes to be a good writer!


  2. This is interesting, I love writing as well so this kinda hits home with me. Also most of my writings consist of myself in some way or another. But I think there is one presupposed thought that he takes out of the equation. He seems to presuppose that the self is somehow excluded from the world, and that, in writing about the self you are no longer writing about the world, but about some inner, dark, cold thing, that doesn’t really have any value or weight to it in the world. I might argue that as humans we are so closely alike in both imagination and love for beauty (part of the image of God) that when someone does write about themself, whether through ugliness or beauty, it can more closely be writing to the world outside us, then if we directly write to the world outside us. When we face ourselves honestly, and write what’s on our minds we are looking at the original object, as Lewis called “sneaking past the dragons of our self conscientiousness”, instead of thinking about our thinking and trying to write ‘out there’ we should simply think and let the writing begin from where it leads, its all to easy to write a good story, but its a whole other thing to see the story.


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