Josh Irby

Live from Sarajevo

Writing is a Gift

It’s 5:30 in the morning and my kids are still sleeping. Darkness covers the valley of Sarajevo as muezzins call out the predawn prayer from countless minarets. My eyes adjust to the lamp light and the smell of coffee awakens my senses. I open my computer and lay my fingers on the keys.

I write.

Photo Credit Xlibber (Creative Commons)

Photo Credit Xlibber (Creative Commons)

I never was a morning person. My freshman year in college I stayed up to watch the Late Show, then the Late Late Show, and sometimes even the reruns of Highlander that followed. Waking up before 10 was a chore.

Much of that changed with kids. I learned to survive on less sleep, to go to bed early, to rise when needed. However, I still slept as late as possible when allowed. To be honest, I couldn’t understand what possessed people to get up so early.

Then I started writing.

There is something magical about fingers flying across keyboard while the world sleeps. The quiet of the city matches the quiet of your mind. There is space. Space to breathe. Space to think. Space to experiment. Space to create. There is room to explore the inner workings of your heart and mind before the wild dogs of the day appear, snarling and starved. The morning hour is a secret room. Writing is the key.

“Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.”
—Sir Francis Bacon

I write because it helps me sort my thoughts.
I write because creating fills my soul.
I write because it sharpens me as a person.
I write because I cannot escape it.

I write because writing is a gift. It is a present I get to unwrap each morning before the sun comes up.

The gift of clarity.
The gift of expression.
The gift of giving.
The gift of fulfillment.
The gift of accomplishment.
The gift of words on a page.

Writing is a present anyone can open. All it takes is pen and paper or fingers and keys. And’s it’s a gift to be shared with the world.

What is your gift? What gets you out of the bed in the morning? Share in the comments.

Read some of my other posts on writing:
Early Morning with the Enemy
Whose Voice is in Your Head
Shut up, I’m Writing! (Guest post on
How to Silence Negative Voices and Write (Guest post on

 [This post was inspired by Jeff Goins recent post, Why I Write]

Open Letter Cover 2

If you liked this post, then consider joining the community here at JoshIrby[dot]com. Just for joining, I will give you my recent visual manifesto, An Open Letter for You from the Rest of the World, for FREE.

Plus, you will receive regular blog updates and exclusive newsletter content.

"I love Josh's writing. Big things to come from him." —Jeff Goins

About Josh

  • Josh – most excellent post and thoughts; Like you, I too cherish the quiet moments so as to reduce or remove the “noise” of the day. Your post encouraged me to do something (or allow the Lord to do something in me); find the peace that only solitude can bring so that air can come into the lungs, and the oxygen of the day can get to the places it needs to get…thx…Bruce

    • Josh

      Thanks Bruce.

  • Chris Malkemes

    Hi. Sweet brother. It morning here in Florida. You are probably sleeping. I have been going through my “load” of emails and found this. I must have saved it for just this moment. I wrote this the other day. It is called: Why I Write.

    The voice of God is distinct
    The voice of God is true
    It is perfect.
    God’s Word lays open bare
    A quiet heart
    A receptive mind
    A pad
    A pencil
    I speak – God speaks
    God speaks – I listen

    I write.

    The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. Isaiah 50:4

    • Joshua Irby

      Chris, thanks for sharing this awesome poem. Writing is definitely spiritual. God speaks.

      • Chris Malkemes

        Oh! so you woke up? Happy Day. Think about this. God speaks. Who listens? Those who lean in. He never pushes back.