Why do you want to write?
When I first started this blog, I viewed writing as a personal discipline. I wanted to serve people through writing, and I’d seen others encouraged by words I’d written. Other Christians purposefully worked writing into their ministries, setting the example for viewing writing as ministry. But I knew my voice was small, barely noticeable in a world filled with words. I wrote, then, not so much to change the world but to grow as a writer in the hopes of becoming more helpful to others.
In spite of such a beginning, a part of me still desired to be known. I imagined having books in bookstores, having articles shared more widely around the internet, being known by famous Christian writers. I imagine most writers dream at times of being read more widely than they currently are. But as most writers know, such dreams rarely become reality. With so many good writers in the world and with so little time to actually read in the midst of daily responsibilities, many aspiring writers can feel discouraged when their work doesn’t appear to be noticed. Furthermore, in a world where writers are told they need a strong platform in order to pursue traditional publishing, a lack of response to your blog can feel like a defeat.
I’m slowly learning something about writing, however. While I don’t average all that many views per post and while my book sales may never justify quitting my day jobs, I have an ever growing clarity regarding my reason for writing. I write not to make a name for myself but to point people to the only name worthy of praise. I write not to serve myself but to serve others. I write not simply for my own benefit but for the benefit of the kingdom of God. The most encouraging feedback comes not from higher clicks or from greater sales but from the individual stories of those who found the words meaningful. In two distinct cases, my writing found its way to people who were facing incredibly difficult seasons of life. As friends shared how the writing ministered to those two, I realized that my name and platform didn’t matter; serving these people mattered.
As you write, ask yourself what your reason is for writing. If you only seek fame or the approval of others, you may be overlooking the specific ways God can use your work. Don’t let readers become mere numbers on the screen. Instead, remember that these are human souls in need of encouragement, exhortation, instruction, and reminder. Of course, likes and comments and shares are encouraging. Continue to affirm others you read who are doing good work; a comment or a message can be more meaningful than you realize to a discouraged writer. But don’t ever forget that the purpose is to build up the body, “to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). Serve faithfully no matter your number of followers, finding contentment in Christ (Philippians 4:11-13). And may God be pleased to use your writing for his glory and for the good of his people.