Why I Write

Posted on

Before I started writing earlier this year, I considered my commitment to writing before putting pen to paper. I wanted to count the cost so I would not end up with a half-built house. I examined my motivations, my intended audience, my goals, and how I would handle potential growth. To let you, the reader, get to know me better, I would like to share with you why I write.

I write for myself. Way to start an article written for others, huh? But just like a pastor is no perfect practitioner of his preaching, I also need to hear and apply what I write (which is why I titled it “Applied Theology”). True to what Francis Bacon said, “[r]eading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man”, I tame the thoughts bouncing around my head by pinning them to a page, resulting in greater clarity about my beliefs. My encouragements and exhortations are as much for myself as for others. A second benefit is that, with an audience of one, I will never be disappointed if no one else reads what I write. Having profited from my own writing, I can trust God to take it where he wills, free from the bondage to increasing subscriber counts, growing platforms, or gaining fame.

In seeming contradiction to my first point, I write to benefit my local church and those close to me. I realize other people are actually reading my articles, and I want to serve them. One way to do that is to share my own struggles and victories and put them under the light of Scripture. They are not unique to me, and what helps me may also help them. Another way to serve those around me is to contribute my gifts and areas of expertise to the church through my writing. Either way, my focus is local. I write as a member of Desert Springs Church, in submission to my elders; accountable, not anonymous.

I write for the technical challenge. The list of nouns in my bio—Christian, husband, father, engineer—denotes the priorities in my life. Engineer is last, but still significant. My love for technology has permeated my life from childhood and spills over into my home life. In fact, my passion for geeking out on tech at home often complements my job and vice versa. I want my website to be simple, clean, fast, and maintenance free, because I want to write, not update software. These requirements exclude Wordpress, the #1 blogging platform in the world, and led me to using a static site generator. Setup was more complicated than Wordpress, but the result ticks all my boxes, and I have always enjoyed doing things differently.1 My technology choices have the side effect of enabling incredible growth in readership, which was one necessary consideration before I started, even though increasing page views is not my goal.

I do not like self promotion, so I do it sparingly. To get the word out, I share my articles via email and social media, which mostly reaches people I know personally, in line with my goal to minister locally. The only exception was telling Tim Challies, since I followed his articles on how to get started. My content is publicly and freely available, as are the posts promoting it on various social media platforms, leaving the door open to wider distribution if God wills.

It is encouraging and humbling to me that other people are reading my articles. I pray they are helpful and thought-provoking for you, and help you cherish God more and depend on yourself less. That is what I strive for myself, because in the end, it is all about him.

  1. In college I used an HP calculator primarily because everyone else was using Texas Instruments ones. That, and Reverse Polish Notation. And built-in Laplace transforms. ↩︎