Dear Writer, You are More than Your Words


By Katy Kauffman


Once upon a time, a novice writer joined a critique group, and faithfully brought her writing to each meeting for feedback. Month after month, she marked her work according to the group’s comments. The comments grew with every session until at last one particular writer friend, the first lady who said hello to her, noticed something.


“Alice, my dear,” the kind lady whispered before the session began, “are you now shorter than when you first joined us?”


Alice looked down at her hands and clothes. “Well,” she replied, “my clothes are a bit looser than a few months ago. I mean, my jeans kind of drag the floor when I walk. Oh! Am I shrinking?”


Mrs. White chuckled. “I’ve seen this syndrome before, Alice. It’s quite common. And curable.”


“Oh, good. I was already short.” Alice looked at her hands one more time. “I don’t really want to be any tinier. What’s happened to me?”


Mrs. White looked Alice in the eye and said, “You are more than your words, dear writer. With each passing month, the comments grow about your writing because you’re learning, but you yourself are shrinking. You may have I-Am-My-Writing Syndrome.”


Alice gasped. “What’s that?”


“Well, it’s easy for a writer to attach her self-worth to her writing. We all want to be good at what we do, and we can identify a little too closely with our words at times.” Mrs. White paused. “But changing our words doesn’t have to affect our self-worth. It’s okay to look at our words and make them better. Editing our work doesn’t need to be tied to our self-image. Editing is valuable for making our messages better for our readers. Do you understand that?”


Alice picked up the copies of her writing that she had placed on the table before her. “I am more than my words.”


Her fingers grew a little longer.


“And you are doing so well to come month after month and get feedback on your writing,” Mrs. White added.


Alice’s palms grew a little wider.


“I can edit my words and still be me.” Alice’s arms and legs snapped to their normal size.


“And I have friends who care about me.” Alice felt her torso pop and looked down to see her clothes fit just right again. She turned to look at Mrs. White. The kind lady’s smile said it all. “So who I am is not what’s being edited?”


“You got it,” Mrs. White replied. “You did that to yourself. But your identity is safe with God, and He’ll help you to know when your words are just right. It’s a process, Alice. One we all go through. However …” Mrs. White’s voice trailed off.


“However, what?” Alice braced herself.


Mrs. White put a hand over her own heart. “There may be two things that get edited in the writing process. Sometimes as we write, we find that God edits our minds and hearts, so we understand Him more and we become more like the best source of inspiration—His Son. But that kind of editing is a welcome transformation, don’t you think?”


“Oh, yes,” Alice agreed. “I can handle that kind of editing.”


And so the story can go for all Christian writers who are serious about their work. We are more than our words, and yet God can use words to strengthen us while our value stays safe with Him.


(Photo courtesy of Unsplash and Sven Brandsma.)

(Photo courtesy of and Stuart Miles.)


Writer, editing our work doesn't need to be tied to our self-image. It only makes our messages better for our readers. via @KatyKauffman28 (Click to tweet.) 


Katy Kauffman is an award-winning author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies. She loves connecting with writers and working alongside them in compilations, and she is faculty at several writers’ conferences.


In addition to online magazines, Katy’s writing can be found at, and three blogs on writing. Her Bible studies for women focus on winning life’s spiritual battles.


Katy loves to spend time with family and friends, draw landscapes in her sketchbook, and do yard work in the morning sun. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and through The Lighthouse Connection, a monthly writers’ newsletter. 



  1. I appreciate this very much.

  2. Wonderful post, Katy. A much needed reminder for us all.

  3. So good Katy! "I-Am-My-Writing Syndrome" is a bit like the flu however. In some seasons it seems to be far too easy to catch. I've been gripped by it far too often.

    1. I hope it doesn't find you again. :) Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts