The Red Pen of Death

“I am participating in the Writing Contest: Writers Crushing Doubt. Hosted by Positive Writer.” — See more at:

Everyone has an area in life where they shine, for me, it has been writing. I have been writing poetry since childhood and in Jr. High, I wrote a poem for a friend that won her accolades from our teacher — my head started getting big.

Kudos for writing followed me throughout high school and into college. In college, I was told by an instructor that I was the only one in the class who deserved an A — my head was swelling pretty good by this time.

One day a few years ago, I was taking a nap when I heard, “Peggy get up, you must save someone through your writings.”

I thought I was dreaming so I turned over to go back to sleep, then I heard the voice shout, “Peggy, get up you must save someone through your writings.”

I was awake and knew this voice because I had heard Him many times before. “I can’t write.”

Why did I tell God this? Was it because I wanted His stamp of approval and have Him tell me I am the best writer ever. I reached over to the Bible on my nightstand and opened it to Jeremiah 1. There it was in black and white the confirmation I needed from God Himself. My head was bursting.

A few years later I took some creative writing courses and had some of my writing critiqued by an established author. When I saw all the red marks my big head popped and spilled out in self-pity. I would never make it as a writer and this would be the end of my writing career. Not only did I question my ability, I questioned God.

Jeremiah 1:6–8 says,But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord.” (NIV)

Upon further reflection of this verse, I found my why. It is obedience to God. As a Christian, writing is not a way for me to gain fame and fortune, and it is not about me, nor my ability. Even if I weren’t a believer, selfishness is not good motivation that will carry you through the brutality of the writing process over and over again. It is about the reader. I want to save someone through my writings so I have to write and study writing.