Bad Writing is Good for the Soul


As a writer, I’ve had my share of rejection. If you’ve ever been a human being, you know the feeling. You work for a goal, but your best isn’t good enough. For me most rejections come in the form of nonverbal snubs. I send a piece out, time passes, and I never hear back. Other times I get constructive criticism. One editor suggested I not begin a scene passively; start with action.

The Latin term for this technique is “in medias res,” or “in the middle of thing.” The Greeks used it, and they wrote some of the greatest literature known to man, so who am I to argue, right? According to, well, everyone this is sound advice. Books, blogs, and speakers promote action verbs like they’re daily vegetables. They’ll make you strong like bull. Just replace the weak linking verbs—usually those slothy “be”-words that only show a state of being—with exciting action verbs. Start with a bang!

The problem is when I apply this philosophy to life, no matter where I am at any given time, I’m in the middle of the story. So if I’m always busy, always trying to avoid rejection by attending more conferences, reading more books, writing more, pushing, pushing, pushing the action verb…

I end up depleted.

All the doing wears me out. It drains me and leaves little time to be refilled. And who hasn’t been there?

Lucky for me, God’s written a different script for my life, one more focused on the being than the doing. He tells me, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
What a relief to know that at times God calls us to just “be.” It’s liberating. It frees me to

Be still in His presence.

Be glad He is near.

Be alive in the moment.

Be open to His voice.

Mostly it frees me from anxiety and fear and the burden of doing it all on my own. He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Just knowing that “The Word” has the final say on how I verb my life gives me peace. He takes me as I am. And there’s nothing better than to “is” like the great “I am.”