For the Sake of Something Beautiful
- May 29, 2018
- Meg Rodriguez
Lately, it seems that I have developed a love-hate relationship with writing.
The world inside my head is teeming with ideas—handfuls for stories and articles, and several for longer works as well. In my mind, the ideas are brilliant, and beautiful. This is where the love of writing enters in—the endless world of possibility, the deep meaning that I could portray to reflect God’s world, if I could just put these ideas on paper as wonderfully as they appear in my head.
However, the ideas never quite seem to make it there how I plan. Most of the time, when I sit down at my computer to work, hopeful and buzzing with the anticipation of seeing thoughts and themes come to life, I freeze. My fingers won’t move. Sometimes, I am stalled by the sheer impossibility of putting my grand ideas into words that will do them even a little bit of justice. Other times, the ideas simply don’t come out. Hence, the hate of writing.
As I’ve grown older, I have never quite been able to dissociate myself from the writer identity. In college, this meant experimenting with poetry until I felt like I had worn out every poetic thought I would ever have. More recently, I have wandered back into fiction and nonfiction writing, and I have also been trying to put my first novel in motion.
However, the more that the word began to spread about my new ambitions, the more my motivation for writing became skewed. With the very small amount of attention that I received from friends in light of these recent goals, I realized that I had adopted an entirely external motivation for my writing. The great feeling of accomplishment at having created something of value, the excitement of passing it among my friends, the praise I could receive for the hard work. These are all empty, external sources of motivation for my work, and I’ve come to realize that it’s something of which we are often all guilty. In these times, it’s no wonder that our creative work can leave us feeling fruitless in our efforts and unable to rekindle the love for it that we once had.
As I chatted recently with an old friend, we were discussing the topic of writing and how I can’t seem to get these new ideas out of my head and onto paper. Our conversation wandered into the realm of creative work in general, and what the work of our hands actually means. During that conversation, my friend said something about her own desires for her writing that was exactly the reminder I needed to hear:
“I want to keep working at it, for the sake of making something beautiful.”
Since that conversation, I have been turning this thought over and over in my head. It had been a while since I heard such a perfect explanation for why I have always, for years, felt so intimately drawn to the craft of writing, and why artistic and creative expression in general is a vital part of this world. I was speechless on the other end of the phone when she said this, because finally, it all made sense—all of the hours that I spent just mulling over the ideas in my head, that I spent lost in thought over getting the words and images just right, that I spent writing and rewriting paragraphs an unreasonable number of times. Finally, I had been reminded of the source of motivation that had turned me into a writer so many years ago.
It was for the sake of making something beautiful.
I am not a writer because I have the most thrilling, riveting stories to tell. I am not a writer because I dream of being a bestselling author someday. I am not a writer because I am seeking praise or acknowledgment.
Rather, I write to reflect the beauty of our Creator and of this world. I write for the sake of unearthing what is redemptive here, even in brokenness. I write to make injustice known, to give a voice back to the voiceless, and to remind us that sometimes there is more to things than what we think we see. Creative endeavors are so important in this created world for these very reasons.
We don’t have to be making a name for ourselves in whatever craft we call our own. All that we have to do is create—to write, to make music, to invent—and to see this purpose in it: we create for the sake of making something beautiful in this broken world, to reflect the beauty of its Creator. And that is enough.