Confession: I am not a good writer.

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As 2019 came to a close, I did some of the usual end-of-the-year inventories, looking back at 2019, and at the last 10 years. During this review, it quickly became clear to me: I am not a good writer.

And, if you’re not doing this one thing, neither are you.

What is it we should be doing to be good writers, you may be wondering. It’s simple: writing.

The one thing that all good writers have in common is they write.
So, if you’re not writing, it doesn’t matter how gifted or talented you are, you are not a very good writer. In fact, I’d go as far as to say you are squandering your talent and your time.

I say this because it’s true.

I’ve as much as admitted it to myself as New Year’s Eve loomed large on my calendar and I looked back over what I’ve accomplished in the past 10 years where my writing is concerned.

The result: very little.

Oh, I’ve talked about writing. I’ve posted about writing. I’ve planned to write. I’ve thought about writing. I’ve read some of my writing and thought about revising it and yes, even publishing it.

But have I written? Not nearly enough. Not nearly as much as I’ve done all those other things around my writing.

But have I written? Not nearly enough. Not nearly as much as I’ve done all those other things around my writing.

Case in point: I have a 40-day Lenten devotional that I’m incredibly proud of creating. It’s unique in that it places the reader with Jesus on the dusty roads of Jerusalem. Based on Scripture passages, it invites the reader to contemplate with the teller (me) what those moments with Jesus might have been like.

It’s a pretty strong project. I have some serious interest from some folks in my publishing it. And I’ve had these things for almost five years. Five years.

That was a sobering reflection.

From there, I reviewed timelines and writing journals and my blogging site and the many, many unfinished stories, and the picture came into clear, laser-like focus. I don’t write nearly as much as I think I do.

In my opinion, because of that single factor, I am not a very good writer. I could be, but only if I choose to take action. You see, it’s not enough to be a writer, I want to be a good writer. I want to be a consistent writer. I want to be a published writer.

But, ultimately, more than any of these kinds of writers, I simply want to write. Not just because the act of writing makes me better at my craft, but because writing – writing words, creating stories, exploring ideas – breathe life into me like little else does.

All my talk and planning provides me nothing if it does not result in writing. Because here’s what’s true for me – by not writing, I’ve caused myself to wither. I’ve cut off the air I need to breathe to feel fully alive and fully myself.

Earlier, I said the one thing we should be doing to be good writers is simple (writing). But let’s go ahead and admit. It may be simple, but it’s not easy.

Writing is not easy.

But neither are any of the things that bring me life and joy – my marriage, parenting my girls, my relationship with God, and, yes, writing. The things that matter and I deem worthy, even important, require my time, my effort and my energy.

That said, I refuse to come to the end of another day, let alone another year or decade, to realize I’ve spent more time talking about rather than doing this one simple thing that will make me a good writer —

It’s time to write.

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