Monday, January 23, 2012

Why Do We Write? - Ann Tatlock

As I write this, my heart is broken. Two days ago, I felt it crack and splinter into a hundred hurting pieces.

You see, there was a little boy named Sam. I met him when he was seven years old, just after we moved into a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. His mother became a very dear friend of mine. His little sister became my daughter’s friend. The kids would come over to our house to play. I’d take them to the pool, the park, the lake, all the while savoring that unique joy of watching children have fun. After we moved to North Carolina, they came to visit us here. The last time we saw them was when we visited Minnesota in the summer of 2010. The years had gone by and the children had grown into teenagers.

Thursday of last week, Sam went missing. On Friday morning, he was found in a field of snow, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He left a note, but no reason. He was 17 years old.

When his mother called me, we wept together for more than an hour. For as long as I live, I will never forget her anguished cry, “Where is God in all this, Ann? Where is God?”

Why do you write? Why do I write? Is it so that we might experience what the world calls success? Is it for recognition? Awards? Money? Is it so we have a means whereby we can measure our own self-worth?

There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to succeed. There is nothing wrong with wanting remuneration for the work we do. Nor is there anything wrong with longing for the satisfaction of seeing our words in print. But it is not these that are at the core of our calling. Not if we are Christian writers. Not if we have been called by God.

We live our lives within and daily move through a world of hurt. We’re knee-deep in suffering and surrounded by voices crying out, “Where is God?”

We write to tell them that He is here with us. We cannot always tell them what He’s doing because we very often don’t know. But we do know Him. We know His love. We know His mercy. We are sure of His goodness, even when our hearts are crushed.

As writers, we are one small part of God’s voice answering the cries, telling men and women to hold fast because there’s hope. This world doesn’t include the entire story because the ending isn’t found here. The ending lies somewhere else. And in that final place, the broken will be mended, the senseless will make sense, and we’ll know that God is with us and always has been because we ourselves will be with Him.

If you believe this, make it the reason you write. When you go to your desk, your laptop, your computer today, let it be with the purpose of telling the world about our blessed hope.

**Ann Tatlock is a Christy Award winning author and serves as faculty at Blue Ridge Mountians Christian Writers Conference. Ann has taught special writing classes at Taylor University. Visit her at