‘Tis the season for writers’ conferences. Across the nation, those with a love for the written word will gather to hone their craft. Some will come with a desire only to develop their skill, others with aspirations of publication.
A couple years ago I was sitting in a classroom at the local conference when a woman walked in, eyes narrowed, hands on hips. “I’m just sizing up the competition, that’s all,” she explained in all seriousness.
I couldn’t decide whether her statement was more humorous or grieving. Writers were never meant to be competitors, especially in the Christian realm. We’re instead co-laborers, each contributing our unique voice for the building up of others. If anything, we’re to encourage one another in the use of our gift rather than viewing one another as a threat to our selfish advancement.
We’ve each been gifted with a unique history that enables us to speak a word in season to those within our sphere of influence. If one of our voices is silenced, we all suffer. Comparison and competition are destructive weapons against the good of the art.
Yes, I’m challenged by others who use their gifts with excellence. But I won’t let it silence me. Instead, it inspires me to use words more effectively and with greater wisdom and purpose.
Every voice speaking in defense of truth and justice, mercy and love is a needed voice. Writers are not enemies, but fellow soldiers. Competition is the enemy.