In 2009, God showed me what love really means, how important the Truth really is, and how beautiful sacrifice can be--all through a book. He swept me away so thoroughly with Forest of Lies that I decided, then and there, that all I wanted to do was write for Him. I didn’t know what I was promising when I said this--it seems we humans rarely do.
When a writer writes, they’re used to writing either to please a human audience, or they’re writing for their own enjoyment. I generally wrote for my own enjoyment, though eventually I did want to be read. Writing for God is an entirely new thing.
The Soli Deo Gloria writer says: “I don’t care what everyone else thinks of it. I’m writing it for You.” Rarely does this SDG writer actually mean this. As humans, we naturally DO want to know what others think--and we want their approval. In my post Soli Deo Gloria, I described my journey after my promise, and the several months of anger and depression over my book. God did get me back on track: I eventually realized and accepted what His calling really meant.
Jesus didn’t promise publishing, screaming fans, movie deals, or even contest wins anymore than he promised his disciples that everyone would love them and pamper them. I’m not saying that there isn’t joy and fulfillment in writing for God--there is--or that because you write for God, you’re excluded from publishing. I have, however, come to the conclusion that if you really mean what you say, you have to not care if no fame or money comes out of your hard work. This is only possible by the grace of God, and you’re likely to slip backwards more than once. Take it from me. But it is necessary.
Secondly, “Christian Writer” can’t be your only identity. Just being a Christian--a little Christ--comes first in the label, and it must be nurtured above all else. I’ve been learning this lately. If I’m skipping Bible, prayer, or worship just to work on my novel, do you think it will really adhere to what God wants me to write about? If I skimp on my relationship WITH the God I’m SUPPOSED to be writing FOR...you can pretty much bet that I’ve gone back to writing for me. I may not know it, and I may claim otherwise, but that is most likely the root of the problem. You can’t teach others about God if you don’t know him yourself.
There is, however, a place where the two points in your life must meet--just as you can’t skimp on time with God, you can’t assume that He’s always going to fix plot holes and say in a loud, booming voice exactly what you have to write about. Prayer and hard work are just as important when writing a book as when living your life. Pray over that baby! Ask for his help, his guidance, and for it to glorify Him above all else.
As hard as I’ve proved this to be, let me assure you: it is worth it.
P.S. Yes, the trip to England was fantastic, and yes, I will be posting some things--mostly novel helps for my fellow 12-13th century writers, however, unless asked for otherwise!