an act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result
In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells a story of three men given various talents (sums of money) based on each one’s management ability and with an implied expectation of a profitable return on their master’s investment. Two of the three men, immediately invested their talents and doubled what they had been given by the time the master returned. The third steward, however, was afraid of failure so he buried his talent. The first two were commended. The last gentleman was condemned as a wicked, lazy servant. His one talent was taken from him and given to the one who earned the most.
Perhaps largely because of this parable, a talent of money morphed into our standard idea of talent: one’s natural ability or skill. The parable illustrates the need for investing one’s talent(s) to yield high dividends and rewards rather than selfishly or fearfully keeping it to oneself.
We all have things at which we are naturally gifted, as well as other things about which we are passionate without regard to ability or skill. I am not sure if writing is one of my God- given talents, but it is definitely something I desire to do well. For 2014, I set a goal of investing in a talent. And writing is it! I will no longer bury my desire to write well under a pile of fear.
I have been afraid to put myself out there. I have been afraid to invest time and energy in growing at this craft. I have allowed myself to think that talking about writing, reading about writing and thinking about writing are enough. Don’t get me wrong. I write. I have written more in the past three years since joining the ladies here at Writing Four Lives than I would have on my own. I joined the group for accountability, so that I could maintain my integrity as a teacher who pushes students outside of their comfort zone when it comes to writing. I need to be able to experience what the kids often do in order to help them through the challenges. However, I have not grown as much as I could or should because I have been afraid. I have not been invested. I have not taken many risks.
I often tell my students ‘all people are “writers”, but not all people write.’ What I mean in this: we all have stories to tell, lessons learned that need to be shared, ideas that could shift people’s paradigms, but the majority of us rarely ever write the words down. We think we will not do it as well as someone else. We wonder if anyone will care about what we have to say. We worry that the masters of the written word will rain down condemnation. I have been one of those people. I have hidden behind intention and writing “only for myself”.
Instead, I am joining the ranks of the courageous, those who put pen to paper, fingers to keys and live. Investment brings risk. Writing requires vulnerability and trust. Writing is thinking, feeling, being on paper for others to see. Writing is risky, but it's worth it. And as they say 'anything worth doing is worth doing well'.
So I have committed to my writing group to post here at least once every four weeks. I must have something to share at our monthly writing workshops. I will be taking a creative writing course at the University of Texas in the spring. Before the start of the new year, I made a promise to myself to write for at least 20 minutes every day and I have stuck with my commitment.
I am investing. Talent or passion, I am writing for life.