On Writing and Motivation…

by Travis Pickell

So I am realizing that I am a pretty terrible blogger. Well, perhaps terrible is a bit to harsh, so let me change it to “terribly inconsistent.” Whether I am overwhelmed with other things to do, or simply unmotivated and uninspired, sometimes I don’t give this thing enough attention. I suppose it is somewhat trite to write a blog post about the difficulties of blogging – but I figure I am allowed to do it once.

This weekend my father-in-law gave me a homemade bookmark that he keeps in his journal for motivation. The quote on the front is by Henri Nouwen, and I thought it was worth sharing. It makes me want to write more, if not on this blog, at least in a journal or letter to a friend.

“One of the arguments we often use for not writing is this: ‘I have nothing original to say. Whatever I might say, someone else has already said it, and better than I will ever be able to.’ This, however, is not a good argument for not writing. Each human person is unique and original, and nobody has lived what we have lived. Furthermore, what we have lived, we have lived not just for ourselves but for others as well.  Writing can be a very creative and invigorating way to make our lives available to ourselves and to others…. We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told, We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them.

On a related note, I recently came across the following cartoon that demonstrates another aspect of writing and motivation – I always need to be reminded that writing is a form of stewardship, taking the experiences and ideas that God gives to me and sharing for the benefit of others. The danger of writing during seminary is the temptation to write for a guild – a select group of people. And the downfall of this is not just irrelevance, but a failure of stewardship, a rejection of God’s call to love our neighbors as Christ loved the Church. Leave it to Calvin and Hobbes to tell it how it is.