Sunday, April 14, 2024

What SHOULD a Writer Wear?

by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

“Don’t take this the wrong way because I don’t mean it ugly, but where do you get your clothes?”

The conversation occurred during one of our teachers’ monthly birthday breakfast celebrations. As I prepared my plate, a teacher from the elementary section asked the question. She seemed hesitant to ask, but I wasn’t offended. 

“My wife orders them from Amazon, but I’m not sure what company,” I replied. 

The clothes she referred to weren’t my pants, but my shirts. My shirts of choice are flowery, paisley shirts—the kind hippies wore in the 1960s and 1970s. And they match my personality since I am an old hippie. 

But the culture wasn’t why I wore them then or now. I had never cared very much what people thought about my attire. As a teen, the only brand names I selected were Levi™ pants and Converse™ tennis shoes. Other than that, I dressed in whatever I liked, whether anyone else wore it or not. 

Sometimes, others picked on me because of my clothes, glasses, or hairstyle. I didn’t care. I was pretty much a loner who needed little acceptance from my peers, so peer pressure didn’t pressure me much. 

I carried that attitude over into adulthood. Yes, I want to be liked and accepted, but it doesn’t send me into a tailspin when it doesn’t happen. I move on, one step at a time. And yes, I still wear unusual clothes for someone in my profession, as my peer noticed. 

My teacher peer and I concluded that my style is “Dr. Wiles’ style.” 

People misjudged Jesus’ appearance, too. When he told the religious leaders they were trying to kill him, they told him he was demon-possessed. On another occasion, they accused him of working for Satan when he cast out demons. 

That’s why Jesus said, Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly (John 7:24 NLT).

Outward appearance holds some importance. We want pleasant hygiene so others won’t avoid us and we won’t offend them. And some professions require particular attire—suit and tie, uniform, scrubs, steel-toed shoes. 

For writers, that includes writing. If we label ourselves a writer, we must write. But don’t fall into the guilt trap of thinking you must do it daily. Sometimes, life gets in the way, and at other times, our emotions do. But write we must. Regularly. And our stuff with our voice. We can’t copy someone else’s style because then our outward appearance becomes hypocritical—something Jesus sternly warns against. 

Nor do you have to write a book to be a writer. Many never do. Plenty of other opportunities avail themselves. And more people will read something else you write than they will your book—unless you are world-renowned. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with writing the book and the something else (article, blog post, church material, devotion, newspaper article). 

But back to what Jesus said. Our outward appearance does hold less importance than our inner appearance. This is true in the spiritual realm but also the writer's world. What’s in our hearts emerges in our actions . . . and words. Our inner part is where God looks. At our heart. Is it tender? Has it run to him for forgiveness? Does it long to serve him by loving others? Does it trust him for writing guidance?

Outer appearances can be tricky, causing us to judge others unfairly. First-time impressions often prove deceptive. As writers, we must ensure our outward appearance matches what’s on our inside. The why of our writing (inner appearance) is more important than the what of our writing (outer appearance). 

Let others see the real you in whatever you write. 


Martin Wiles is the founder of Love Lines from God (WWW.LOVELINESFROMGOD.COM) and serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and Directing Editor for VineWords. He has authored six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, DON'T JUST LIVE...REALLY LIVE, debuted in October of 2021. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, author, and pastor.

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