Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Behind the Words on a Page

Would-be writers are told ‘write what you know. Write what you like to read the most!’
Great advice. As I reflected upon it however, I felt short-changed.

I know a lot of things to varying degrees. Life has given me some interesting experiences. When wrapped up in God’s grace and intervention there is some story telling merit to be found in them.

When I first began to write I had some hard lessons to learn! I liked to read westerns and war stories. Could I write them? No! I hadn’t experienced what I like to read. That was depressive.

Life took a dramatic turn when the Lord Jesus stepped on my toes and my heart opened to His presence. I loved His Word. Now, I’m far from being a scholar or theologian but I wanted to share my Lord and His teachings. But how? Not being a novelist and being ignorant of Point of View and unimaginative in dialogue there was no best seller poised on my fingertips. Various devotional books, such as ‘My Utmost for His Highest’ by Oswald Chambers arrested my attention. ‘I’ll write one of those’, I said to myself. Ha!

I had words and I had a pen. That’s a dangerous combination. However as I tried to bring construction out of chaos the finished work was lifeless. In the pleasure of God He had to take me from theory to knowing by experiencing what I would develop through words. Combined with experience, the Lord wove into my heart the missing ingredient called passion. Much to my frustration this took time. But it was essential if ever I was to have something worthwhile to say. Without passion any writing will not live, faith will remain a theory and love will be but an illusion.

I write what I know. It has taken years of being shaped, crushed, rebuilt, pruned and stored before finding expression in print. I’m not young anymore and how many words will flow only the Lord knows. Still, without His taking me through the school of life’s experience and teaching me from the wisdom of others how to write, my desire would have simply expired in the mire of incompetence.

Allow me to close with the following poem. I think it will clarify what I’m trying to say.

I Wanted to Write

I wanted to write
A poem on love
Burning with desire!
It was so calculated
With words evaluated
For rhythm and rhyme
Something amiss
Romance asleep
It was simply still life.

You came into my life!

I now had to write
My poem of love
For my heart burned
With a love unearned!
Words glowed on pages
Blazed through the ages!
Writing on fire
Romance alive
It was passionate life!

You are now in my life.

Raymond N. Hawkins 23/1/2012.

Ray is the author of ‘The Neurotic Rooster’ devotions from three short term mission trips to Africa. (Self published). Then through ‘Even Before Publishing’ he has had ‘Children – God’s Special Interest’ and ‘From Eden with Love’ (the Biblical teaching on Marriage) available in Christian bookshops and on ‘Kindle.’

Ray is married to Mary, a multi-published Inspirational Romance author.


  1. Interesting. The duration of the journey can certainly be frustrating; or, should I say, testing on one's faith.

    Methinks passion is indeed critical, no matter what the genre. But sometimes (especially during editing!), I find my passion wavering and a bit of pig-headed work ethic seems necessary. I wish it weren't so.

    I have a slight variation on 'Write what you like to read': 'Write what you would have liked to have read'. This suits idiosyncratic types :) who aren't well covered by the mainstream market.

  2. Thanks Ray for your interesting post. I loved what you said about being shaped, crushed, rebuilt and pruned since I too have felt that those are my biggest qualifications to write - having had many lessons in the Master's School of life.

    Your poem was beautiful!
    Thanks for sharing,

  3. Great blog Ray. I found it encouraging.

  4. Ray, great post! Passion and life experience, plus a lot of hard work, are essential components of our writing tool kit. Thanks for sharing your lovely poem :)

  5. Thanks Peter, Anusha, Jennifer and Narelle. Good to know what we write stimulates, refreshes or encourages. You have done that for me. I didn't realise it was Valentine's day when the poem was included. In another setting I've mentioned that all true love poems can be said to the Lord or from Him to us.

  6. Ray, thanks for your thoughts on passion and experience. I think most of our writing comes out of those two things. I find it hard to write something that I don't feel strongly about.
    Love you poem - again. Thanks for sharing. Jo xx

  7. Evening Jo.
    Without passion our words are mere sticks without a flame. I'm just sorry the Lord had to take me on the long route for giving me things to write about. Still it has been a most interesting route. Thanks for your comments.

  8. Your post says it all. Thanks for sharing it. The poem especially touched me. Blessings. :)

    1. G'day Amanda
      Isn't it good to know that what we write can touch people across time and space. I'm glad that something I wrote touched you.

  9. I really hope anything that I write isn't too off the mark. But I try to write what I know. That includes spiritual lessons I may write in my novels. Some are things I have gone through and some are what others have gone through.

    I know God has given the talent to me, I hope he can use my words to reach people for him


    1. Hi Melanie.
      Thanks for your insights. When we surrender our talents to the Lord He makes us His instrument to express His message through our genre to those who read our words. The Lord takes us through theory into knowing, then refines it to capture the heart of another. This is true even when we draw on the life encounters of others.


  10. Ray, they were beautiful words, and wonderfully uplifting. Thank you for brightening my day and reminding me why I seek the Lord to discover what He wants me to write, and when He wants me to write.