the Call] [Answering the Call] [Protecting
God calling you to write? Great! Welcome to the privilege, delight
. . . and responsibility.
first: How can you be sure God is calling you to write?
help you find the answer, here are eight basic signposts on . .
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.
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.
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
___ 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.
there you have it. Have you identified the signposts in your life?
Does it seem God is calling you to write?
so, it's time to consider . . .
you do have a choice. But let's assume that you've said "yes."
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
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.
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.
SAID "YES" TO GOD and BEGUN YOUR GREAT ADVENTURE!
that it? Is that all you have to do? Actually, no.
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!
brings us to your third step . . .
Protecting God's Call
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.
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.
2005 Beth Ann Ziarnik
2015 Beth Ann Ziarnik