Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guiding Principles for the Christian Writer

And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2 (ESV)

When I first began writing, I didn’t have a clear vision of how to become published. I worked hard to hone my skills, and like most beginning writers, through trial and error, I learned what worked and what didn’t.

I’ve written for both secular and Christian publications, but my desire has always been to be an inspirational writer. Skill alone is not enough to be successful in this realm.

Several principles guide my work as a Christian writer. For brevity’s sake, I’ll discuss the three major ones.

1)      At the heart of every Christian writer’s career must be God Himself.
My spiritual gift is encouragement (Romans 12:8). Before I began writing, my reach didn’t extend beyond my friends and acquaintances. I’d yet to find the broader outlet for encouraging others God had intended.

Then God opened doors for me to share His message in ways I’d never dreamed. My audience is as big as He deems, on any given day, whether on Twitter, Facebook, blogging, or magazines in which my articles appear.

I never lose sight that my work represents Christ to fellow believers, as well as to the lost. Therefore, His message is at the center of everything I do.

Being a Christian writer is fulfilling but not without trials, which leads me to my next point.

2)      Attacks will come to thwart your God-given mission.
And yet, on a Christian writer’s worst days, often their best writing emerges. When I click “send” to submit an article or “publish post” to give you my latest blog musings, sometimes I think—This is my best, but it’s not good enough.

Then a remarkable thing happens. The article is accepted. The blog posting gets tremendous response. People are encouraged.

Why?

Because God’s message is getting through, despite the enemy’s attack on me.

Other Christian writers have shared similar struggles. On days when it feels like the well is dry, the words won’t cooperate on the computer screen, revisions must be made, and defeat is clawing at door, somehow we pull it out.

Why?

Because it’s God’s message.

Recently, a well-known Christian writer told me she struggled to finish her latest book by the deadline. She wrestled with the manuscript, rewrote, got on her knees, read Scripture, and still, as a seasoned writer, limped to the finish line. The book debuted at #18 on the CBA bestseller’s list and shot up from there.

At the heart of every Christian writer is God—but don’t forget someone’s working against you. Stay on your knees and in your Bible, because if you’re going to write for God, you’d better suit up!  

3)      Be willing to walk through walls.
“No matter what my situation, I have the assurance that if Jesus walked through walls, I can, too. Besides, I have to follow Him. I have nowhere else to turn. And neither do you.” Joni Eareckson Tada

When I read Joni’s words, I thought, Yes! That’s what God asks Christian writers to do. The world puts up walls, the enemy puts up walls, friends and family may inadvertently put up walls. With God’s guidance, we must walk through them to write His message.

Are you a Christian writer? I want to encourage you to follow His plan for your journey to publication. I can assure you it’s not an easy path, but it is a fulfilling one, if you keep God at the center. Put on your armor and walk through those walls!

Now, tell me what your most difficult hurdle in writing has been. If you have a suggestion for future blog subjects or have a question, please comment on that, as well.

31 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, Laura. When I got my first rewrite, I was convinced I was unable to write two cohesive words together and I shouldn't even be thinking of writing! My group of prayers/friends,(some of whom are professional writers I met at my 1st writer's conference) quickly reassured me that re-writes are GOOD-it means they are interested in what you have to say! This changed my perspective quite a bit, although I still stuggle at times. Good post-thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. I remember feeling that way with my first edit, until I realized they weren't rejecting what I wrote. They just wanted it rewritten. Hang in there! It's an interesting journey.

      Delete
  2. Be willing to walk through walls . . . I like that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed that. I loved Joni's quote when I read it and thought it fit what I was trying to convey. She's an amazing woman!

      Delete
  3. Such an encouraging post!

    It's always shocking to me that the blog posts that I have to almost pour out of myself, and then doubt them all the way to publish, get the most amazing responses and encouraging comments.

    Hallee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Hallee. I've discovered it's a common agony amongst writers. God is good and always delivers, despite my shortcomings!

      Delete
  4. Terrific post! I am going to retweet it and post it on my FB writer's page. This was also very encouraging to me today!

    Kristi Holl
    Writer's First Aid blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Kristi! I appreciate your kind comments, the retweet, and FB post. I'm glad you stopped by and were encouraged! I look forward to hearing from you again in the future. God bless your writing.

      Delete
  5. Laura, were you at Boot Camp 2012? If so, we were there together. Sorry we missed each other. Great post today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Glenda. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I was at bootcamp. I thought I recognized your name and face. I tried to go through the roster when I got home, but it has taken me a while to connect names and faces and try to catch up with the other attendees. Maybe we'll see each other next year. I'm glad we've gotten acquainted online!

      Delete
  6. it really inspires me to read encouraging words from Christian writers like you. Although I just write blog articles where I share my faith and my everyday life.

    English is not my mother language and sometimes it is very difficult to express what I really want to share. But, when I pray, God always help. You are right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Joy. I'm glad you were encouraged by my post. You're right. God helps us express what He wants us to share with others. Blessings in your writing journey. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

      Delete
  7. Laura, I so share your heart with this post and as a woman just starting with my Christian writing ministry (I too have been published in secular places), your points here are well-taken encouragement to my soul. Thank you for taking the time to write and to encourage! It's funny how sometimes you think "This post is great!" and it doesn't get very much play. Then other days, you dash it off thinking it isn't as good as it could be, and like you said, it gets a great deal of "air time." I'm always amazed. We need to submit each day to the Lord....and our keyboards, too!

    Blessings,
    Jeannette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I used to think I was the only one who struggled, until I started hearing from other writers. Submitting to God is the only way to live and write! God bless you in your writing. I hope you stop by again and keep me posted on your journey.

      Delete
  8. I am by no means a writer, and just started blogging, but already I get what you are saying. I write and rewrite and am not sure if anyone will even read what I write. But it's therapeutic to get the words out, and usually they are words that God puts on my heart to write, so I tell myself regardless if many or just one reads, I pray that, that one needs to hear what I had to say. And is encouraged.
    Love the quote by Joni Eareckson Tada.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that's it exactly! Even if what you write only touches one person, you're doing God's work. Also, regular blogging will improve your skills, so hang in there. It's given me a focused deadline and immediate feedback that I don't get with articles or book manuscripts...I love Joni! She's so inspiring. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  9. I'm new to the writing world. I've already felt a few of those stings, but I do know that if this book is meant to be published, it will be. Simple as that (ok, I tell myself that...) and if not, then I'll write another one and go from there. I'm so glad I found your blog through Shanda's site! A very enthusiastic new follower :) ~Kelly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kelly, for your kind comments. I'm so glad you are a follower now. I look forward to getting to know you better. Publishing is a tough business, but we have to persevere. God bless.

      Delete
  10. Laura,
    I am not a writer and only began writing a year and a half ago when I began blogging. Yet, I feel God has blessed me in so many ways. I admire many of you with the skills to get published and am taking advice from you and others to use my writings to glorify God.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Shanda. I'm amazed you started writing that recently. I've read your blog, and it's great. Whether you're writing for publication or to reach those through your blog, your work is the same. You're reaching people for Christ.

      Delete
  11. Laura,

    Thanks for the reminder that writing is not always easy, convenient, or painless. I'm so thankful we have the words of our Lord to encourage us: "Except a kernel of wheat fall to the ground and die, it cannot bear fruit." Blessings on you and your writing. May it bear much fruit. Visiting from BLN.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Thanks for stopping by, Lori.

      Delete
  12. Every bit of this was great advice, Laura. Thanks for sharing this on B&BB at Bible Love Notes. It was a good boost to me and I know it will bless everyone who reads it. Amen!
    I'm praying that your writing and your walk with the Lord will be especially blessed this week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gail. I appreciate the prayers. I love when someone says they're praying for me. I'll take all I can get!! God bless you while you're doing the Lord's work in Hungary! You're in my prayers.

      Delete
  13. Thank you for this post. I pray about what I blog and pray that even if I don't really know what I am doing, God will use it, the way He multiplied the bread and fish! Patsy from
    HeARTworks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. God multiplies our efforts for His kingdom. Keep praying and keep up the good work!

      Delete
  14. Thank you once again for linking an inspiring and helpful post to Scripture Sunday this week. I am so enjoying reading your posts Laura.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Thanks for your encouraging comment. Always look forward to hearing from you. God bless.

      Delete
  15. Great post! I rarely remember to think about the fact that, as Christian writers, Satan loves to make us feel we're not making a difference. We're not doing anything worthwhile. And yet, if we're obeying God, we are. Great reminder today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Heather. This subject has come up a lot lately, which is why I shared it again on Twitter. Satan loves to attack Christian writers and try to make us feel worthless. That's usually when God is working mightily through us. We just have to persevere. I'm so glad you stopped by and were encouraged. God bless you.

      Delete
  16. Hi Laura, I'm not a writer but I do blog and I found your post very encouraging. Knowing Christian writers are in prayer over their work is really nice to hear. I often pray over my posts as well.

    I'm visiting from Faith Filled Friday. :)

    ReplyDelete