So, you feel a call to write?
Though I never dreamed I would write books, when I felt God call me to put ink on a page, I said yes.
I went to the library and read all the books on writing for publication I could find. For a year and a half, I wrote magazine articles and sent out query letters. Over and over, I was rejected.
And yet I continued. Because I knew it was God’s idea and not my own.
Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference – where I’ll be teaching a couple of workshops as well as doing some manuscript critiques. (See information at end.)
But in a sense, the most important advice I could give can be found in the tips below. For navigating the call to write requires more than honing our skill and finding a publisher.
I believe it requires a surrendered heart.
Nine Tips for Writing From the Heart
1. Hold your gift loosely. You see, writing – like any kind of art – can turn into an obsession. The call to any kind of ministry is fancy food for the flesh. Without realizing it, “God’s dreams” can easily turn into “man’s schemes” if we don’t constantly check our motivation and heart attitude.
2. Be obedient. If God is calling you to write or if you simply have ideas that won’t rest until you put them on paper, write. Then rewrite until it is the best it can be. Then submit. And when you are rejected, submit again. And again. And again.
3. Don’t try to “make it happen.” Just be faithful and do the work. Invest in learning the craft of writing. Read a book. Take a class. Attend a writer’s conference. Don’t look for someone to provide a shortcut for you or your book. Take the first step and then the next. Let God open doors and then walk through them.
4. Concentrate on your walk with God. The most important advice I ever received was this: “Your job is to deepen the message. Let God broaden the ministry.” Our effectiveness for God’s kingdom is determined largely by our character and our maturity in Christ. Trust God to know the time to unleash you and your opportunities on the world.
5. Don’t become fixated on one project. The first thing you write may not be the first thing that is published. I’m fairly certain Celebrate! will never be published – it’s not even on my hard drive anymore. It’s housed on a floppy disc that my computer can’t even read! Its destiny was not a book store. It was simply a vehicle God used to get me on my way and a tool He used to open doors for other projects.
6. Don’t fall in love with your words. None of us, no matter how godly we are, transcribe holy writ. We simply spill ideas and thoughts – yes, even God thoughts – on paper. Then, with a lot of hard work and discipline, we shape and hone those words until they sing. And sometimes, as sad as it is, the most melodic words end up on the cutting floor. Don’t be afraid of that.
7. Be patient. Publishing goes in cycles. That means that publishers’ interests change frequently. Ironically, the publisher who first declined my children’s book was the house that eventually published my Attitude Adjusters series (now out of print.) Remember, God knows the times and the seasons He has purposed for us and our writing.
8. Learn from rejection. Be teachable. Ask for input from well-read friends, but don’t get all bristly when they give it. Take a step back from your manuscript for a week or two, then ask God for fresh eyes to see what is needed and get back to work. Don’t be afraid to try a new approach.
9. Above all, commit your way to the Lord and then trust Him with it. Lay down your dreams and ask Him to give you a willingness to persevere, to grow and stretch and change. Allow God to get His hands on you in transformational ways. As you learn to die to self so that Christ might live in you, that obedient abandonment will birth truth the world needs to hear.
Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference
If you’d like to invest in your writing career, this is the conference I recommend most. Okay, so it’s pretty much the only conference I’ve attended because I love it so much!
It takes place each year over Palm Sunday weekend amid the beautiful redwoods of Mount Hermon, California. From Friday to Tuesday, your days are filled with learning – major tracks in the morning and workshops in the afternoon. But my favorite part is the evening and Palm Sunday services. Jesus shows up in a special way!
I’m looking forward to fellowship with other authors, as well as attending a morning track. But most of all, I’m looking forward to spending time with Jesus.
It may be too late to attend this year, but pray about going next year. Learn more about the conference at: Writers.MountHermon.org
I’d love to hear from you…Do you feel a call to write? Which one of the tips do you need most today?