A few years ago, I wrote about how it’s difficult for me to be real and open in my writing. Not much has changed since that post. It’s still hard for me to be transparent in my writing, and I know that affects the sincerity of the writing. When I write without openness and sincerity, my words feel wooden and my characters are as interesting as cardboard.
A couple of days ago in church, however, I was again reminded of the importance of being open. During Bible study, my pastor shared how a friend witnessed to others by first admitting to his own personal struggles. He did this to show people that he wasn’t one of (as another friend put it) “those Christians”, the misconception of a prideful believer who thinks he/she is above everyone else.
I personally like this approach much more than any witnessing “technique” I was exposed to as a teen, because so often, I feel like the misconception is reality–at least to those we are witnessing to. It also reminded me of another sermon in which my pastor said that he believes in order to gain the right to witness to people, we should first be their friend.
As a writer, I’ve long believed that I’m in a unique position to be a witness for my faith. While I don’t think that every story I write requires or would even be good with a “message”, I know that if I can gain readers’ trust by writing good stories, they might be willing to try a story with more of my faith in evidence, knowing that I won’t act stuck-up, or like I have all the answers.
But I can’t do this without being open. Without showing readers that I am not perfect, by writing stories that might not be all pretty and neatly wrapped up in a shiny bow at the end. By raising questions. By just being myself on the page. This is something I’m fairly passionate about, even though it scares the crap out of me. It takes quite a bit of faith myself for me to take this sort of step in my writing.
Is there something about your own writing that scares you?