Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Writing as an Act of Service

Sometimes when I'm all safely ensconced in my writing chair having the time of my life with my characters, I'll suddenly have the thought,  Shouldn't I be doing something else? Shouldn't I be, you know, out there serving others? Well, maybe. I really do try to know and do God's will each day, and there are times when I have to sacrifice writing time for the sake of something more important. But I don't have to give up all my writing time, because in many ways writing is serving others.I mean, think about how you'd feel if your favorite author decided that writing was selfish and stopped. Yikes! I shudder to even think about it. Those authors that have brought me joy and made me think and created worlds and characters that I love have served me in doing so. Here's just one example. After I brought my preemie baby home from the hospital, I kind of had a postpartum nuclear meltdown. Basically, I was a basket case. One thing helped me through that time. I read the story, "Miracle" by Connie Willis. Every day. It made me feel happy to read it. I must have read it every day for two or three weeks, because it made me smile when I felt like crying all the time. She served me with that story. (I also got through with a ton of help from the incomparable Suzette, but that's another story.)

Do I serve others when I write? Yes, I do. Some things I've written are really obvious acts of service: girls camp skits, Boy Scout programs, puppet shows, Primary programs (lots of those), letters to the editor. I once wrote a short story especially for my Mom to read to the teenage girls at church. But if something that I've written has touched someone else in some way, then yes, it was an act of service. No need to feel guilty about doing that. Of course, in order for writing to become an act of service, you have to actually share it. So, get out there and share it!

19 comments:

Linz said...

I totally agree with you! Sharing your talents is absolutely serving the world around you! I know that reading always makes me happy, and you are right - I would be devestated if the authors stopped sharing their talents!

Great post!

Elana Johnson said...

What an inspiration you are, Angie! I can only hope to be like you someday soon!

Mary Campbell said...

Thanks Angie - I needed that.

Aubrie said...

I do think of writing as service, because I try to incorporate good morals and inspiration in my stories. I want my readers to walk away feeling happy and fulfilled.

Great topic!

Carolyn V. said...

I love this thought! Sometimes i wonder if I'm helping anyone with my writing. I like to think I am. Or at least hope to one day. =)

Yamile said...

thanks for sharing this. SO many people have touched my life by their words! And you did today when I read this.

Julie Dao said...

You are a rolemodel and an inspiration. Someday I hope to be able to share my writing with the world. As a child I was touched by the writing of so many others and I hope to instill that love of reading and writing in others.

mandi said...

I love this thought! That is a great way to look at it. So true.

lotusgirl said...

What a great reminder. I've done those girls' camp skits and those primary programs too. I'd love to be serving this way for a long time.

T. Anne said...

That's great. I always try and think of who I'm writing to and what kind of message I'm giving people. I always want to share about the Lord. Priority one. =)

Suzette Saxton said...

Awwww, it was my pleasure to help. And you are right about the service aspect. I think of my 7yo daughter reading one of your Christmas stories over and over and over...

Sharon Mayhew said...

Angie--Thanks fo stopping by my blog. You have a lovely post! I hope that someday soon my words will be helpful to others in some way.

Jackee said...

I see it as an act of service because I'm a lot nicer when I've had my couple of hours of writing a day. Otherwise, look out for mean mommy! LOL!

But I loved your perspective--I'll have to remember that next time I tell people I write instead of go to playgroup everyday. Because I usually tell them I write because I'm selfish with my time. I'll stop such comments out of my mouth from now on!

And have you decided to query or not to query? How goes it?

Kasie West said...

I really needed to hear that. And it's so true. I would be horrified if my favorite writer's decided to stop writing because they didn't feel they were serving enough.

Brenda Susan said...

Yes, I too believe that even the smallest writing can be a service or a ministry to others. Yours is not small though! You are touching many lives with your books & this wonderful blog!
I even know that my Face Book comments & encouragements to my students every day are service & ministry.
Thank you for your uplifting comment on my last post, it means a lot!

開心唷 said...

Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.............................................

Joanne said...

What a nice thought, that some way, somehow, something in our words will touch someone who might need it. It makes our work that much more important.

Clicked over from T.Anne's, enjoyed browsing here!

Angie said...

Thank you all for your sweet, kind comments. You guys always just make my day! :)

Kat Harris said...

Don't let anyone make you think you cannot serve God and others through writing!

I made that mistake once, and God literally clunked me on the head for it. Seriously.