“This will be written for a generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord” (Psalm 102:18).
What qualifies me to teach writing is not that I’m all that great of a writer myself. But I love good writing, I work at learning to do it better, and I know some things on the subject worth passing along.
Consequently, I sometimes get invited to speak at writers’ conferences. As I did this past weekend in Tuscaloosa. (The Southern Christian Writers Conference, the child of Dr. David and Mrs. Joanne Sloane, has been around for nearly 30 years and each June, the first weekend, enrolls nearly 200 students. Meeting at Tuscaloosa’s First Baptist Church, the SCWC brings in editors and publishers and all sorts of successful writers to teach. Oh, and they also bring me in. Just goes to show, I suppose.)
The text from Psalm 102:18 is the Scripture that fuels their writings, the Sloanes say. After all, we’re told, more people of the future will read our stuff than will our contemporaries. In a sense, we’re writing history.
Writing a journal is like taking a 30-minute slice of your today and sending it ahead into the future. I’m big on journaling. Journals, we are told, are not so much for our children–who presumably are living the same life we are and have little curiosity about how we view today–as for our grandchildren and theirs. In time, my journal will be looked upon as something of a record of “the life of an ordinary Baptist preacher in the 1990s.” I’ll not be around to know it, but in doing those journals–I’m through with journal-keeping except on this blog, something that I wouldn’t exactly call journaling–it has often been with a view toward the future. There’s a strong witness for Christ throughout all 56 volumes.
Anyone can write; you don’t even have to know good English. However, if you want people to read what you’ve written, knowing how to make subjects and verbs agree and the difference in they’re, there, and their will come in handy. Most of us cannot long abide poor writing, so while we may read a few pages, we soon lay it aside because of the assault on our brains.
Therefore, however (I love to put those two words together!), you can get on with writing, without waiting on a certification in proper English usage or the muse to inspire you. Just do it.