The Best Writing is Born from Anguish


Recently, I was spellbound by David Wilkerson, a well-known fire and brimstone evangelist whose message stirred my emotion, knowing he could easily bring most to their feet or their knees. Clips of his sermons are posted on You Tube. You can search for him there.

“True passion comes from anguish,” he said. His words flew into me like a fiery arrow, illuminating my past. Wilkerson’s message centered around anguish and how today’s church is void of it. He’s a big believer in, Cryin‘ Holy unto the Lord. He professes the church has gone soft, that we’re basically a bunch of babies who want to be soothed and coddled. That we no longer tarry for hours before the Lord, prostrate at the altar. That God wants to see our anguish over the state of the world and our Godless nation. Wilkerson has that pastor voice. You know what I mean? He’s learned how to wail when he speaks, allowing us to hear his heart as it breaks for the sins of mankind. And if you’ve grown up as a fundamentalist, it moves you. Even if you’ve never sat in a tent revival, I think it would move you.

Whether or not you agree with Wilkerson’s message, you have to agree that true passion is definitely born from anguish. As a writer, I believe the heartaches and hardships we experience give us plenty to talk about.

And plenty to write about …

But, let’s be clear. It’s not about anguish over a fender-bender. It’s not about a bad grade on a test. Or losing your wallet. Or a fight with your spouse.

Anguish, suffering, agony, grief, sorrow and angst … comes from a break in your spirit. A temporary disconnection with yourself and the world around you. The loss of anything dear to you creates real, gut-wrenching anguish. The kind you feel down to the soles of your feet. Buckets of tears. Nobody wants to experience it. Nobody wants to go through something like that, and I hope and pray you never do.

But if you do, what you do with that anguish, how you channel it, will determine your future in many ways. And if you’re a writer, it can propel you into another level. I’ve read books where I know, without a doubt, the writer has suffered at one point in his/her life. You can feel it in the way they put the story together. Raising the stakes isn’t so hard, because they’ve lived it.

Not a pleasant topic to blog about, but I think it needs to be said. Personally, I hope I never see another drop of anguish as long as I live. I’ve had my share. David Wilkerson can wail as long as he wants about anguish, but I never want to experience it again. Ever. It’s not a pleasant place.

However, I want you to remember if you’ve closed the door on your anguish, the memories of it … you may want to revisit that dark place again. Especially if you’re a writer. Your writing changes. Something inside you clicks and literary takes on a whole new meaning.

My passion was truly born from the sorrow, grief, and the anguish of my life. Now, I can truly say, the joy of the Lord is my strength. A scripture phrase that has almost become a cliché in Christian circles, has power and new meaning in me. At some point the tears have to stop. The river of sorrow has to trickle to nothingness. We have to move out of that place and use what we’ve learned to write the story of our life. It’s not something we want to think about, anguish, but be thankful for it. It’s made you who you are.

And despite the fire and brimstone, that’s a good thing.

One thought on “The Best Writing is Born from Anguish

  1. Nancee Marchinowski says:

    Beautifully stated, Pam. As you know, I’m in anguish right now after the passing of my brother, and I heard it from a cousin, not my sister-in-law. They live in Reston, VA, but were in Michigan for some time before he died, just an hour and a half from Grand Rapids. With no contact from his family I had to hear it from a cousin. I’m really struggling with this grief, anger and questions that remain unanswered. My sister-in-law didn’t even have the decency to return my phone call. Yes, it’s anguish, and I’ve been through my share too. I’m a country girl, like you, and grew up out in the country, barefoot, riding horses bareback, and playing marbles with my dear older brother who taught me so much.

    God bless you, dear friend!

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