Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Dipping the Quill Deeper: Writing to Live

by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson

American author and screenplay writer, Ray Bradbury, said, And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.

Years ago, I attended a mega church located north of Orlando. The number of attendees was such that the church held seven services each and every weekend beginning on Saturday evening at 5:00. 

My habit was to arrive at 4:30, sneak in the side door, and then sit in the semi-darkness of the auditorium while the praise and worship team warmed up for the night’s service. 

I have been jealous of those with a talent for song my whole life. I used to make deals with God: make me a singer and I’ll never ask you for anything else. Or: make me a singer and I’ll only sing for you. Either God knew I might possibly be lying or He just isn’t in the deal-making business. 

My belief was that when a person had a talent for singing (or drawing or any other talent), the gift came naturally. There was no work involved. No warm up. In the case of the singers, they opened their mouths and that came out. By sitting in the auditorium on Saturday evenings—empty of all but the team and myself and a few A/V folks—I learned the truth: they do not open their mouths and it comes out like that. They work at it. It is a gift, yes. But sometimes the singer hits a wrong note again and again until they hit it right. They have to learn how to draw in a breath. How to hold it. How to draw from out of their lungs … 

But the ability to sing is a gift, nonetheless.

So is writing. The ability to tell a story or to prove a point … with words. The ability to entertain children … with words. To open worlds otherwise never experienced by them.

Where would we all be without the hundred acre wood? Any of us? Or the world beyond the looking glass? Or the wardrobe …

"Life is a gift. Writing is a gift. 
Writing about life is a gift."

What we do when we put pen to paper or finger tips to keyboard is expose the core of who we are, we as the human race or we as individuals. 

A common thing that happens with new authors—especially those who write fiction—is that their first novels are something akin to autobiographies. Now, these are not always published; they are often written for cathartic reasons … and that is fine. Even still, they do exactly what Bradbury stated: they remind us that we are alive. They remind us that life is a gift, that life is a privilege … and that life is not a right.

Life is hard. Writing is hard. Writing about life is hard. But it releases something so deeply embedded inside of us, we may not initially know of its existence. Once we know it--once we recognize it--we can deal with it.

There has lived inside me a story that has spun its dance for over forty years. Whenever I thought about it, I pushed it to the back of my mind. The truth of it was not something I wanted to acknowledge. To acknowledge it meant having to wrestle with it and—I’ll be honest—I’m kinda tired. 

But I started nonetheless. I have to tell you, the results have been amazing. My heart has accepted past choices, freeing itself to love deeper and soar higher.I am alive, it now shouts with both joy and anticipation of what might come with the next thousand words.

Why do we write? Why do we work so hard at this giftGod has given us? Why do we scribble words on paper only to scratch them out and start over to write some more only to scratch them out as well? Why do we study writing? Why do we submit our work knowing there is even a remote possibility (or a great possibility) that the work will be rejected by some editor or agent or even our critique partner?

Because we are writers. And writers write to live.


Eva Marie Everson is the multiple award-winning and bestselling author of over 35 books, both fiction and nonfiction. She is the president of Word Weavers International and the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference and North Georgia Christian Writers Conference. Eva Marie and her husband make their home in Central Florida where they enjoy a lake view, their children, and grandchildren. They are owned by a very small dog.


  1. Wow, Eva Marie. Wow. You get at the foundation of being a writer. It is a gift, and a responsibility. Thanks for helping us see wee are not alone in this struggle. That is what this post and this blog does so well.

  2. You knocked my socks off with this one Ms. Eva Marie. We write about that which we know. You're right, some writing is very difficult for us to do, but I've learned that in the writing I find forgiveness, strength, and understanding. The amazing thing in writing about events in my life is I discover that God has taken away the pain. The memories are there, but the pain was surrendered in forgiveness. God's blessings ma'am.

  3. This post gives me much to ponder. Thank you! I’d love to hear more about how your heart “has accepted past choices.”

  4. Your the best Eva Marie. Great post.

  5. Thank you, Eva Marie, for the reminder that we have to work at our gift of writing, even though it's a gift. I'll remind myself of this next time (today) I sit down to write - when I begin the tedious job of research and then sit before a blank canvas and wonder what to write. Thank you for your timely message.

  6. Thank you, Eva Marie for your thoughts. Yes, like everything worthwhile, writing requires work, practical work, and a lot of bottom-in-chair time.

  7. Well, I thought I was current in my reading. I guess not. I came looking for inspiration for my next post, and voila! Here it is. Yes, life is a gift and a privilege and brings with it responsibilities. The gift of writing brings responsibilities as well.

  8. Thank you Eva. I love what you said, it is a gift. And so a gift we must not just open it and place it on a shelf, but continue to use it. And to use it for the glory of the One who gave it.

  9. God gave me an image recently of a gift being given to me – a physical gift. I always think of our gifts (talents, purposes) as for others, to bless them. But this image was Him handing me a gift, for me. To be shared, yes, but for me first. It made me feel like the one being blessed. Your words confirm this. How gracious He is!