Wandering the savage garden…

Making it matter

Today’s writing prompt is to avoid adverbs. I think I can do that – but what I want to write about is a little darker.

I want my writing to matter. I don’t want my writing to be pretty, or fun to read – I want it to matter, with italics and everything.

There are a lot of challenges for that.

For one thing, finding a topic that matters isn’t trivial. In the grand scheme, the Sunday School answer of “Jesus” comes into play; the one thing that really matters, more than correct metaphysics or epistemology or theology or anything else, is whether the reader is saved or not; I can’t save the reader (duh) but what I can try to do is glorify the Name of God, and if I do that with consistency and honor, then maybe God can use that as a way to shine His light on the reader’s soul.

Truth: I edited that sentence to remove the adverbs.

That’s God’s to do, not mine. I can try, and the trying is what matters – but God has to do the work. (That’s a good thing: He’s a lot better at being Him than we are.)

Another barrier for making my writing matter is the removal of myself. One of the things that’s really been difficult for me in the five hundred words challenge is the use of “I” and “me.” I originally started this site as a site for exposition, not as a “Christian blog” and certainly not my blog.

I already have a blog, after all (and I maintain a number of other sites as well), so adding another stream of content to manage, without a distinct focus, is unwise.

But I needed a place to write from a Christian viewpoint (inappropriate for my other sites, including my personal blog) and given that Christ is pretty relevant to my daily life, a daily challenge for writing would have to incorporate Christian views. Otherwise the edict to avoid editing would have to be avoided (to remove Christian markers from the content) — and a lot of what I’ve written about uses Christianity pretty heavily (or so I would hope.)

But I still write as if I am writing, and my writing is hallmarked by the removal of me from a lot of content. I’m uncomfortable writing “I” and “me.” It causes a focus on me that I’m not comfortable with, and which isn’t relevant, and exposes my inner thoughts.

Not only are my inner thoughts mine and not yours, I think they’re likely to be confusing (and confused) – and might actually cause more harm than good, either to me, to my readers, or to those about whom I am writing.

Lastly, making my writing matter is difficult (I hope I don’t have a challenge ahead that mandates I avoid the use of gerunds) because when it comes down to it, I would rather communicate “real” things to the person to whom they’re addressed, and writing is indirect. Writing for a general audience is tough… and it descends to self-indulgent puffery.

Which is how I see a lot of my writing for the challenge.

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