Good Writing Demands Tension

According to, “tension” is

  1. the act of stretching or straining.
  2. the state of being stretched or strained.
  3. mental or emotional strain; intense, suppressed suspense, anxiety, or excitement.
  4. a strained relationship between individuals, groups, nations, etc.

Good writing demands tension. Often, good writing demands all four definitions above. Let’s focus today on how good writing stretches the writer–creates tension as you stretch yourself.

If you’ve read the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, you know the bad guy creates seven pieces of himself and puts them into other objects. They are literally pieces of his soul. Harry must destroy all seven “horcruxes” to destroy Voldemort. There are seven books in the series, which got me wondering if Rowling may have been making the point that there are, figuratively, seven pieces of her soul living in her books.  She stretched herself during the writing processes, creating  these little pieces of herself, these books, that got into the hands of more than 45 million people (the most recent sells figures I could find for the series were from 2011).

Writing, good writing, feels like that–like cheap oakleys little pieces of your soul being set free. God puts a message on your heart and you are compelled to write it down. As you pray, research, type, edit, and finally publish, what you write becomes a little part of you. Some writers compare the process to giving birth. It’s all inside, then through a slightly painful but incredibly powerful process, it emerges and is independent from you.

It’s truly amazing, this creative process. This tension that stretches you in ways you didn’t think possible. You learn things about yourself you never knew. It’s good for you and it’s good for your audience to feel through your work.

How has your writing stretched you? What have you learned about yourself, others, or God during the creative process?

Good writing also demands:


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