The Holy Call of Writing

Hands in prayer over keyboardMargaret Laurence was a Canadian author and co-founder of the Writers’ Trust of Canada. She once went to her doctor for a checkup and he said, “So you’re a writer. When I retire, I intend to become a writer myself.”

“Yes,” Margaret Laurence cheerfully replied, “and when I retire, I’m going to become a brain surgeon.”

To the average person, the doctor’s remarks seem perfectly reasonable—and the author’s retort seems completely off-the-wall. But you and I know what Margaret Laurence means. Contrary to popular belief, writing for publication isn’t just a hobby that anyone can take up after retiring from a “real” career. Writing is a serious craft, and to become a good writer takes years of intense study, practice, and sacrifice.

And for the Christian, writing is even more than a craft. It’s a holy calling. The impulse to write springs from a need to fulfill the purpose for which God made us. We write to make a difference in the world—and specifically to make a difference for Christ and His kingdom. If you are truly called to be a writer, nothing can keep you from that holy calling.

John 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” We are drawn to that Word—and we are driven to share the resurrected Word through our own humble, carefully-chosen words. We identify with C.S. Lewis, who observed, “Writing comes as a result of a very strong impulse, and when it does come, I for one must get it out.”

The apostle Paul tells us that there are many gifts and callings within the church of Jesus Christ. He writes, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:11-12). If you are called to write, you are somewhere on that spectrum. You may not be an apostle or a prophet, but perhaps you are called to teach through your writing. Perhaps you are called to be an evangelist through your writing—one who shares the evangélium, the Good News. God has gifted, equipped, and called you to help build up the body of Christ through your writing.

If you are gifted and called to write, you must write. And you must approach writing as holy calling. If you approach the craft of writing as a job or a career, you will be miserable. If writing is just a job to you, it will quickly become the worst job imaginable. But if you have the confidence and assurance that you have been called by God to write, then you can withstand all the rejection, the insecurity, the deadline pressure, and the sputtering cash flow that are commonplace in the writer’s life.

When writing is your calling, you are writing to please an audience of One. If an editor rejects your work, if a critic savages your work, if an Amazon.com reviewer gives you a one-star review, you can shrug it off. None of that matters. You’re not writing for them. You’re writing for your Master, and for the people He brings into your sphere of influence.

Your holy calling is a great shield against disappointment, anxiety, and self-doubt. When you know you’re called to write, it doesn’t matter if you never reach the New York Times bestseller list. It doesn’t matter what the critics say. It doesn’t matter whether you are traditionally published or if you go the indie route. All that matters is the purity of your words and ideas, and your obedience to the One who inspired them.

How do you know if you are called to write? Join us tomorrow as Jim explores 3 ways to know if you are called to write.

JimDenney-2013-small-72dpiJim Denney is a writer with more than 100 published books to his credit, including the Timebenders science-fantasy series. Book 1 Writing In Overdrive - mediumHe has just released an inspiring new Kindle ebook for writers, Writing in Overdrive: Write Faster, Write Freely, Write Brilliantly.  He has written books with supermodel Kim Alexis, Star Trek actress Grace Lee Whitney, and two Super Bowl champions, quarterback Bob Griese and “The Minister of Defense,” Reggie White. He has co-written many books with Pat Williams (co-founder of the Orlando Magic), including Leadership Excellence and The Difference You Make. Jim is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Follow Jim on Twitter at @WriterJimDenney, and follow his blog at http://unearthlyfiction.wordpress.com/.

 

Top 7 Reasons to Enter the Write to Inspire Writing Contests

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1. Five contest categories to suit your interests.

This year we’re hosting 5 contests as part of the Write to Inspire conference! The categories include: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Children’s, and our very popular One Sheet Pitching Contest. You may enter as many categories as you like!

2. Top Winners will receive great prizes!

Winners in all categories will receive free conference registration for next year’s conference. Fiction and Non-Fiction winners will receive valuable manuscript critiques. The top 20 Poetry winners will have their work published in a Poetry anthology published by Inspire Press. Children’s winners will have one-on-one consultations on their projects with author Christine Tangvald. Our One Sheet winners will pitch their projects to Jessica Kristie of Winter Goose Publishing/Hallway Publishing. We also have Amazon gift cards for runners-up in several categories. Be sure to check out our Contest Page for all the details.

3. Get feedback on your writing.

This can save you a lot of time and heartache as you’ll find out if your project is market-worthy and reader-ready. Better to find out in a fun, friendly way what your writing needs than to hear it in the form of a rejection by an agent or editor later. Doing well in a contest may also give you the confidence you need to take your writing to the next level.

4. Contests help hone your skills and practice tight writing.

As you polish your entry and re-work it until it is the best you can produce, you’ll improve your craft. You’ll want to write tight to meet contest rules—great practice for writing for publication.

5. Entering a contest challenges you to believe in yourself and your writing gift.

Submitting to a contest says, “I’m a writer.” For those of you who haven’t told yourself this yet, now’s the time!

6. Contests teach you to write to a deadline, which will help you manage your time when you’re writing under a contract.

It’s great practice for publishing deadlines. And speaking of deadlines…

7. We’ve just extended our contest deadlines to July 8.

This gives you a little more time to get your piece(s) entered.

Now that you know WHY to enter the 2013 Write to Inspire Contests, all you need to do is follow the instructions on our contest pages and get those entries in by July 8.

Which contest are you entering? What have you gained from previous contest experiences?

Elizabeth M. ThompsonElizabeth M. Thompson leads Inspire Christian Writers. When she’s not writing devotionals or planning the next Write to Inspire conference, she’s learning to write more transparently with her Inspire Fair Oaks/Rancho Cordova group. She enjoys connecting with other writers via FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

She has an active home which she shares with her fabulous husband Mike, three children, two dogs and a few errant dust bunnies.

Barbed Wire Butterflies and the Blend of Art Advocacy and Activism

JessicaKristieAuthorPhotoBW-790x1000Jessica Kristie of Winter Goose Publishing and Hallway Publishing will be our special guest at the 2013 Write to Inspire Conference. In addition to her work in publishing, Jessica is also an accomplished author with several books published so far. Her most recent book, Barbed Wire Butterflies is a beautiful blend of art advocacy and activism. The book gives readers a look inside the world of human trafficking while proceeds from the book are used in the battle to end it!

I know you can’t wait to meet her, so here’s an introduction by way of an interview and a review of Barbed Wire Butterflies.

 

What inspired you to write Barbed Wire Butterflies?

The topic of human trafficking was divinely placed for me. That part came first, then after some research God gave me the words. It was an outpouring that I believe is meant to open the conversation to begin taking a look at this difficult subject.

 

How do you find time to write when you are also an publisher for Winter Goose Publishing?

I admit it is difficult and my writing has suffered due to this very busy time with Winter Goose and Hallway Publishing. It is all a blessing and I make time for writing, but not as much as I would like. After the summer I hope to sit down and re-inspire my sense of writing, as that vent is so needed in my life.

 

Do you know if there are really any “sweat shops” such as this book entails?

Unfortunately, yes. Lots of them and all around the world. They are more prevalent internationally, such as in China and India, but there are plenty here in the U.S. as well. Often in the U.S. you will find slaves mixed with regular warehouse employees as opposed to the entire operation being only unwilling participants, or those paid at terrible wages and worked long hours.

 

What do you find is the hardest part or least favorite part of writing a novel? What is the easiest or the most fun?

The hardest part for me is keeping the story consistent and fun, but that is also the most exciting part. The challenge of pulling all the pieces together and looking at the finished product is a beautiful reward to the difficulties in the process.

 

What is the most challenging part of being in the publishing business?

The business is ever changing with constant technological advances and many alternative options for both writers and publishers. It can be difficult to meet everyone’s needs, including our own. We are dedicated to putting out the best books in content and aesthetics, and have successfully been rolling with the changing business.

 

Tell us about your next book.

I have finished a psychological thriller that I hope to have released next year. I’m excited to expand my writing skills as well as write in a genre I’ve always loved reading.

 

A Review of Barbed Wire Butterflies:9780988184589_p0_v1_s260x420

This story was compelling to me, maybe because the sickening problem of slavery has never ended. Even though we have laws against it, human trafficking continues.

Thirteen-year-old Elani Benjamin has been kidnapped by people looking for cheap labor. Hundreds of girls work in an ugly, concrete-walled building. They make clothing, electronic equipment, clean the place, and sleep in cells after their long days of work and little food. The guards could take their pick of the girls whenever they wanted. In other words, a living hell on earth.

Elani has no choice but to follow their orders, but exhaustion does not stop her from making friends with her three cell mates and one friendly janitor. They warn her not to make waves and above all not to make eye contact with the guards or the Captain. Especially not the Captain.

Horror stories circulate in whispers as the girls work and in their cells. Minor illnesses can become fatal. Small injuries must be avoided at all costs. Hurry to each assignment or else.

Hope is in short supply, but Elani must cling to the hope that one day she will be free, or she will lose her individuality and her soul the way so many around her have already done.

Barbed Wire Butterflies by Jessica Kristie is available from Amazon and Barnes and Nobel. Click on the name of your favorite store to link to the page where you can buy the book.

 

Join us for an #AuthorChat on Twitter with Jessica Kristie on Wednesday, July 3rd, 6-7:00pm PDT. Bring your questions and comments for a chance to win a copy of Barbed Wire Butterflies! Use hashtag #WritetoInspire

 

anne_baxter_t

Anne Baxter Campbell is a Christian, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.  She has two children’s picture books self-published: Everybody Needs a Name and Maybe Wins! She just signed a three-book contract with Helping Hands Press. Check out her blog A Pew Perspective.

Visit her website at www.annembaxter.com and get to know her on the social networks she participates in: FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn