While most of us cannot rattle off the Merriam-Webster definition of authenticity, we all know it when we see it... and when we don't. Perhaps you've seen two coworkers publicly interacting in a friendly manner, yet you know that privately they disdain each other. Their friendly conversation is inauthentic. On the contrary, you might have heard your pastor preaching with an abnormal passion on the subject of heaven, just after burying his father. His message is imbued with authenticy.
As writers, authenticity must be among our top priorities. Yet, how is this achieved? Today we are allowing pastor, theologian and bestselling author John Piper to explain in this excerpt of his recent article Great Reality Inspires Great Writing. And it is oh so good.
“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you.” - Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
Whether you grew up with a book always in tow or you only recently fell in love with reading, we can all agree that books are an important part of learning, dreaming, and doing. Why is it, then, that picking up a book can be so difficult? How many times have you claimed to be an avid reader, but when someone asks what you’re currently in the middle of, you blush and say, “Oh I haven’t had much time for it recently, what with work and...” Yet that night you watch the seconds count down till the next episode begins or scroll down your newsfeed for the hundredth time. Perhaps we shy away from a book and reach for the remote - or phone or computer - due to the emotional commitment that is required when reading something.
Whatever it is, it’s time to take back the reins and commit to reading. Commit to the books on your shelf waiting to be dusted off. Commit to the titles you’ve yet to discover. Commit to the authors you consider yourself to be a fan of, but have only read half of one of their books. Commit to your claim to be a lifelong reader.
Lysa Terkeurst is one of Christian writing’s biggest names. Her newest book It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, is having a profound impact because of its brutal honesty and transparency. Lysa wrote this book in the midst of her husband’s infidelity and her cancer diagnosis.In a recent blog post, Lysa Terkeurst answered the question of “How do I build a platform?”
We don’t have to tell you that the digital world we live in doesn’t lend itself well to reading books. Especially good books. You know those. The type that you have to chew on slowly. That sometimes require a dictionary or even a concordance. The books that hold weight and substance. The books that make a lasting change in your life.
Instead, we consume tweets, Instagram quotes, 700-word blog posts (like this!), easy reading self-help books, and beguiling fiction that are offered to us in a limitless buffet.
Laura Miller of Slate describes the trend this way:
Books are the intellectual equivalent of slow food; you know it’s better for you and tastes better, too, but you’re too rushed and frantic to care as you white-knuckle it through an avalanche of push alerts.