It's like talking, but it's not. Sometimes it's more personal than that...other times it's as flat as an old pile rug with all the yarn plucked out. It's a communicative, open, free-flowing line of prose; it's a cold, dry, cryptic, closed off word - 'Beware!'
Writing is personal. It is individual - singular to each person - like their way of speaking, their voice, their mannerisms - yet often these mannerisms, this voice, is hidden.
We hide it through imitation of other writing. This imitation, of course, is all well and good if you are using it to expand as a writer. But so often imitation is used as a mask, a veil, to hide behind. That way, when others read your writing, it is not you who is up for scrutiny. It is someone else. And so you stay safe.
But writing is not safe. You cannot approach writing as if it were something safe. It will not be long before you realize how grievously wrong you are.
Your writing is a part of who you are, even if you are not the greatest writer. It is still your voice, your thoughts. And the thought of expressing them, on paper ... where they can't be taken back ... is scary.
This is what makes writing so different from speaking. Speaking is a sound, moving so fast on its vibrations in the air that is literally is here one fraction of a second and gone the next. Speech - generally speaking - does not last (unless it is written down) and is only heard by the few who hear it - not by generations to come.
But writing lasts forever. Just look at the writing of the ancients for proof of that. Over 2000 years later and we are still privy to their thoughts - long after their speech has faded away.
Would Homer have picked the Iliad to be his one epic to survive 2000 years?
Writing is solid, immovable, even more so today than it was 2000 years ago. (I highly doubt that this blog post is going anywhere anytime soon.) Once you writing something, it is hard to take it back - even the best erasers don't fully smudge out the marks left on the paper.
Besides that, when you write, your audience is not limited to just the people around you. Anyone can read it ... even people who you might wish would not have had that glimpse into your soul.
Sound scary yet?
But we cannot let that stop us! We must grab this bull by the horns, wrestle, and wrestle hard, even if our bright red capes get trampled in the process. Why? Because only we have our voice. And it's a thing too precious to be lost because of fear.
The same principle that applied 1978 years ago applies today:
"Be not afraid."
~ John 14:27