Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Longevity Indeed - Laycock

"What do you want others to remember about you?"

That’s what Cyndy Salzmann asked on her blog this week and it got me thinking. Sometimes, especially at those moments when we think our writing isn’t going anywhere and we’re wasting our time, we can despair about being remembered at all. Most of us will never have the longevity as writers that people like C.S. Lewis or Shakespeare have enjoyed.

I want to be remembered as a writer but I know the lifespan of a book is dismally short. Even if I am fortunate enough to publish several books I know inevitably they will probably end up in a remainders bin somewhere, or tossed out of a church library because they are just too old to be of interest anymore. The chances of writing something that will last forever are few indeed.

But then I glanced at a thank you card my daughter gave me after her recent wedding. (Go here to read more about that). She’s a good writer when it comes to expressing her thoughts and feelings (I like to think she gets that from me :). The card expressed how much she has appreciated what my husband and I have given her – not in material things but in things like encouragement, trust and above all, love. Sometimes I wondered if we were passing on enough of all of those things to our children. It warms my heart and soul to know my daughter thinks we did.

Her bit of writing makes me agree with what Cyndy said about scrapbooking -
"A scrapbook is one way to chronicle these memories… but I also want to encourage you not to stop with cute photos and kitschy souvenirs. Take time to record the feelings, blessings, and lessons connected to these events."

I think that’s the key to good writing - good Christian writing - communicating the feelings, broadcasting the blessings and revealing the lessons learned about life along the way. As we do that, we bring glory to God, revealing who He is and what He has done in our lives. Whether I’m writing an article, a chapter in a book or a poem, these elements should be there. When they are, they touch the hearts of those who read them and have the potential to change lives.

And I think that’s the key to longevity as a writer - a changed life. How many times have you heard someone say, “When I read that it made a difference, made me think, gave me a new perspective.” Or, even better, “That book (article, poem …) changed my life.”

If one life is changed, our work will last for eternity. It’s not really important that our names are not remembered. We made a difference in a life. That is longevity indeed!

P.S. - I wrote this before reading Nancy's column below. Interesting how the Lord orchestrates these things, isn't it? :)

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