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The Writer's Dream

Copyright 2004 Beth Ann Ziarnik

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
~ Proverbs 16:3, NIV.


When the dream began, I was twelve years old and a new Christian. My best friend and I met inside her family's screen porch every day that summer to write our great American novels in spiral notebooks. The summer ended, and we put our novels away.

I returned to the dream as a junior—this time writing news stories for our high school paper. I enjoyed it so much that I later wrote for my college newspaper.

I married, had a child, and was teaching high school when the dream gripped me again. I typed and wept my way though the love story I was writing about Helen of Troy, but I didn't know where to go with my manuscript.

The dream persisted. Now a stay-at-home mom with two children, I wrote nearly every day. This time a romantic suspense novel inspired by my favorite author, Phyllis A. Whitney. However, when I renewed my love relationship with God, I suspected that my novel may not be entirely pleasing to him. I chucked the whole thing in the garbage.

A year later, my friend Betty urged me to buy Sherwood E. Wirt's book, Getting Into Print to help me learn how to write for Christian publication. My dream sprang to life again!

I threw myself into learning how to write, studying the markets, and submitting short manuscripts. I subscribed to The Christian Writer (now The Christian Communicator) and started Word & Pen Christian Writers Club. I also began attending a Christian writers conference each year. A few of my manuscripts appeared in local magazines and newspapers, but the next level --- publication-for-pay --- remained out of my reach.

Though trapped in this dark tunnel, I still believed God had called me to write. I registered for the 1988 Green Lake Christian Writers Conference and signed up for its continuing class on fiction writing. Yet the first night of the conference, I knew in my heart that I was to switch to the class on devotional writing. Happily, that strong urge proved to be God's leading. John Barbour, our instructor and the then editor of The Quiet Hour, taught us how to write for his quarterly publication. Before the end of the week, he bought my devotional entitled "True Bread." The next year, he took me on as a regular writer for The Quiet Hour.

God had confirmed my call to write for him. He also drew my interest to an intriguing verse from the Bible that helped me to understand what had happened at Green Lake.

Proverbs 16:3 tells us, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." Digging into its original language, I was amazed to find clear instruction and a promise of success for writers.

The Action Plan

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance explains that "commit to the Lord" means "spread out before the Lord." To discover what a writer should "spread out," I looked up "whatever" in Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

Twelve interesting items came to light. As his writers, God would have us spread out before him our:

  1. actions - good or bad (thanking God for his blessings and confessing our sins or failures.)
  2. properties - not only our necessary writing equipment, books and supplies, but our unique qualities and traits as children of God and as writers called by God.
  3. activities - such as prayer, the study and practice of writing, any writing-related appointments, the organizations we belong to; also the writers' workshops, seminars and conferences we attend, writing courses we take.
  4. intentions - our writing goals, what we plan to accomplish this year, five years from now and beyond
  5. advices - our proposed courses of action to reach each of our writing goals
  6. contrivances - our action plans for bringing about a desired end, like learning and practicing a new writing skill, getting a manuscript published or breaking into a new market
  7. plans - our manuscript outlines and marketing strategies
  8. machines - the literary devices we use for dramatic or poetic effect within our manuscripts
  9. textures - the elements of our prose (like plot, theme, characters, word choice, etc.)
  10. plots - story lines for our true narrative or fiction pieces
  11. products - query letters, proposals, manuscripts, books, speeches, Web sites and blogs
  12. transactions - any actions involving two parties (proposal or manuscript submissions, contracts for writing projects, book promotions and speaking engagements)

As we writers spread these out before the Lord, seek his guidance and follow his plans with a heart of obedience, he promises that our plans will succeed . . . because by then, our plans have now become his plans.

Promised Success

Now I was curious about his promise of success. Again using Strong's and Webster's, I explored that part of the verse and was pleased to find seven ways we writers could expect. Our writing will be:

  • prepared - made ready beforehand in written form for some purpose or activity.
    (At the nudge of God, I recently polished and resubmitted an old, unpublished manuscript.)
  • applied - put to use
    (The manuscript I couldn't place long ago was snapped up and scheduled for publication.)
  • appointed - officially fixed or set
    (We find our God-given niche in writing.)
  • established - made stable, grow and multiply in a favorable position and gain recognition or acceptance
    (In God's timing our writing matures and becomes publishable.)
  • set up - provide a means to begin or establish a business (Our writing may become a part-time or full-time job.)
  • rendered sure - become firmly established
    (If we keep at it, we will become well-published servants of God.)
  • rendered proper - become excellent
    (We will eventually reach the level of skill that we long to achieve.)
  • rendered prosperous - become marked by success, enjoying vigorous and healthy growth
    (God will enlarge our writing opportunities far beyond the original dream.)

    All this God promises, when we allow his plan for our writing to become our dream. But first and always we spread out before him all that we:

  • are
  • possess
  • hope to be
  • hope to do.

If we truly commit our all to him, he will faithfully do what he has promised.

Prayer: Lord God, may our hearts be open to your plans now and in the days to come. May we faithfully commit to you whatever we do, knowing that in your good time we will see our writer's dreams come true. Amen

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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

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Copyright 2015 Beth Ann Ziarnik

 


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