Almost 14 years ago, God called me to write. I was sitting in a hotel room in San Antonio visiting friends after walking through one of the deepest, darkest valleys of my life. I didn’t expect to hear God’s voice calling me to change directions. I wasn’t exactly “seeking” a life-call that morning. Yet sometimes, burning bushes appear when you’re herding sheep.
What I didn’t expect was that the writing journey would be one of the hardest, most rewarding things I’ve ever attempted. Yes, what I’ve attempted, not accomplished. I’m a do-er, one of those annoying, Choleric, Type-A, Dominant-driver personalities who has always questioned the “Life isn’t about the destination; it’s about the journey” maxim. If life isn’t about getting somewhere, then what’s the point, right? (I can hear all the Type-A’s shouting Amen)
I didn’t expect writing to be, well, hard. Literary agent Rachelle Gardner seems to agree. From a recent post on her blog, here are five pieces of advice for writers that you can use as a heart check. According to Rachelle, You may want to stop pursuing publication if:
- You’re only doing it for the money.
- You expect the publication journey to be anything other than the hardest job you’ve ever done.
- You have an aversion to hearing bad news (or afraid of failing).
- You believe selling one book to a publisher means you’re a shoo-in for selling more.(This is only true if your sales on that first book are through the roof.)
- You think anything else—anything—might make you as happy as writing does.
Writing isn’t easy. Creativity, and a message worth hearing, comes from a secret place. I can’t define it in a formula, or a math equation. Writing skills can be learned, and I can get better at the mechanics, structure and logic. However, writing for the Kingdom has to come up from a well that is deep, rich and soaked in the presence of God. Writing for the kingdom isn’t always about an easy, positive confession, name-it and claim-it message either. Jesus learned obedience from the things he suffered. (Heb 5:8) In one of the most quoted prophecies about Jesus’s life, The prophet Isaiah wrote, “It pleased the Lord (the Father) to crush him (Jesus) (Is 53:10 ). Finally, the New Testament echoes the idea again, that a loving Father chose to “make the captain of our salvation perfect through suffering.” (Heb 2:10)
Even classic poet Emily Dickenson and contemporary poet Robert Frost found their connection to our hearts from lives steeped in hardship. God’s truth plays out in those that are committed to him, and those who aren’t.
So Christian Writer, the next time you are tempted to give up, look up and drink in the love and life of your Savior and God. Reach into your failures head on, and let God redeem everything in your life for his glory.