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Beth Ann Ziarnik

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God's Call to Write

[Recognizing the Call] [Answering the Call] [Protecting the Call]

Is God calling you to write? Great! Welcome to the privilege, delight . . . and responsibility.

But first: How can you be sure God is calling you to write?

To help you find the answer, here are eight basic signposts on . . .

Recognizing God's Call

____ desire: You've read something and thought, "I'd like to do that! I'd like to be a writer." For me, those thoughts first came when I was a child reading those fascinating fairy tale books. During my teen years, my longing turned to writing romantic suspense.

___ idea:
You're passionate about something and want others to catch the fire too. My passion is to spread God's truth about love---the basis for Love With Shoes On, my monthly devotional column published by Together In Faith for ten years. This love is also important in my novels where hero and heroine struggle in their growing relationship with God and one another.

____ need: In your suffering, you searched for an article or book to help you through but couldn't find what you needed. A writer friend lost her husband in a tragic accident. When she couldn't find a book that addressed the depth of need when sudden death occurs in a family, she felt driven to provide it.

___ The Word: A Bible verse grips your heart, directing you to write. For my friend, Marlene Bagnull, that verse is, "Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell others" (Habbakkuk 2:2, The Living Bible). For you, it may be something else.

___ prayer:
In prayer, you sense God's urging to take up writing for him. Ask God. If you are willing to hear whatever his answer may be, he will find a way to make it clear to you. For me, it was the strong sense that part of God's plan for my life was to write for publication.

____ counsel: A trusted friend or professional encourages you to develop your writing talent. Some say that a teacher or professional writer told them they had a God-given talent to write. For me, a close friend felt so certain I was to write that she was willing to buy my first book on writing for Christian publication.

___ footprints in your life: As you look back on your life, you see experiences that indicate you're meant to be a writer. I recall the summer before eighth grade when my best friend and I met daily in her family's screen porch to work on our novels. During high school and college, I wrote for the school newspapers. After college, I taught high school journalism and served as advisor for the school newspaper. At home, I wrote stories that brought me to tears. Then came God's call.

___ God's provision: It seems no matter what you need as a writer, God provides. For me, it seemed whatever the need---writing supplies, the means to attend my first writers' conference, a writer's magazine geared for the Christian marketplace, a local Christian writers club and critique group---I scarcely expressed it, and God found a way to provide. Never mind that I had little money and no network of contacts. He made it happen.

Well, there you have it. Have you identified the signposts in your life? Does it seem God is calling you to write?

If so, it's time to consider . . .

Answering God's Call

Yes, you do have a choice. But let's assume that you've said "yes." What's involved?

___ You pray about your call. Ask God to show you his vision for your writing. Most often, it will touch on what you already feel passionate about. Of course, his vision may also include a few things that hadn't yet occurred to you. At any rate, you'll want to take notes so you don't forget any part of his vision for you.

___ You set up your work area, a place where you will write and can also keep your equipment and supplies. Living room, bedroom, home office, closet, your kitchen table are all possibilities. Find a place that works for you, and begin gathering your writing equipment and supplies.

___ You study and apply the skills of writing and marketing manuscripts. You will find helpful information in books on writing and in writer magazines like The Christian Communicator. Don't just read about writing. Practice!

___ You read the kinds of books and articles you want to write, especially the periodicals and books of the publishing companies that you plan to send your manuscripts to. Consistent reading is also a good way to discover who is publishing what you want to write, exactly what they are looking for, and who their reading audience is. By the way, you will also want to ask for and study their author's guidelines.

___ You become an active member of a local and/or on-line Christian writers' and critique groups. These are great sources of encouragement and help as you journey toward becoming a publishing writer. Here you can bless other writers and be blessed as you help one another.

___ You consider taking local or correspondence writing classes where a personal writer-teacher is assigned to you. (See my "Favorite Links" page for ideas.)

___ You plan to attend at least one writer's conference or seminar each year. Here you meet others who share your passion for writing. You attend writing workshops taught by professionals and are free to ask questions. You also meet editors from the publishing houses and magazines you want to write for. Your writers' club and Sally Stuart's Christian Writers' Market Guide can help you select the right conference or seminar for you.

CONGRATULATIONS! YOU'VE SAID "YES" TO GOD and BEGUN YOUR GREAT ADVENTURE!

Is that it? Is that all you have to do? Actually, no.

You need to understand that God's enemy will challenge your call to write. He will try to derail it. But, praise God who already has a plan for your victory!

Which brings us to your third step . . .

Protecting God's Call

To protect God's call, you need to remain in focus. Refuse his enemy's attempts to side-track you.

___ Write for God's glory. Focus on honoring him, not on any success you might achieve or any money you might receive.

___ Be faithful to your God-given writing vision. Before beginning a writing project, ask yourself, "Does this project fit within the writing vision the Lord has given me?" If it does, go ahead with it. If it doesn't, discard it.

___ Soak your writing in prayer. Pray before, during, and after you write. Ask for his wisdom and anointing before you begin. Seek his help as you write. When you finish, thank him for enabling you to accomplish all that you managed to do. Remember that without him, you can do nothing of lasting value.

__ Seek God's guidance and obey it. You will find God's guidance as you sincerely ask him for it. He will find a way to confirm in your heart what direction he wants you to take in your writing and your writing projects. Once you know what he wants you to do, obey him. Write that piece. Contact that editor. Send that manuscript. Go to that writers conference or seminar.

___ Persevere---keep writing and submitting your manuscripts. Make a commitment to write and submit manuscripts on a regular basis. Do your utmost to keep that commitment.

___ Recruit a support prayer team. Find two or three pray-ers who believe in your God-given writing ministry and are willing to pray for you as you write. Keep them up-dated on your project's prayer needs and progress.

___ Trust God with your writing progress. He knows how quickly you will learn the ins and outs of writing and submitting manuscripts, where you best fit into his plan, when it's time for you to break into print or move to the next level of your writing ministry. Be content with his time frame. As long as you don't quit, it will come to pass.

Is God calling you to write? Then, I encourage you not only to answer his call with passionate obedience, but to protect it by faithfully writing for his honor and glory.

Copyright 2005 Beth Ann Ziarnik

 

Copyright 2015 Beth Ann Ziarnik

 


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