Doing It for the One
by Nancy Mehl
Usually writers start out with a clear direction. We know what we want to write, and we know what kind of readers we want to reach. Unfortunately, once we sell a book, things can change. Suddenly we’re faced with editors who have their own ideas and reviewers whose words can sometimes shake our confidence. Many authors wind up confused, no longer knowing why they’re writing or who they’re writing for.
My advice is two-fold. First of all, put each book in God’s hands and dedicate it to Him. I’ve found that if you do this, and mean it, you’ll get ideas and inspiration that can only come from Him.
Secondly, make your audience small. I mean, really small. Reduce it down to one person.
I once had a friend who ran a mission for homeless men. So many of his clients seemed doomed to failure, and there didn’t appear to be many success stories that resulted from his endeavors. One day, during a conversation, I asked him, “Out of one hundred men, how many have you actually helped? How many lives have actually changed for the better?”
He thought seriously for a moment. Then he answered, “Maybe one.”
I was flabbergasted. “How do you do this every day? What keeps you from giving up?”
He smiled and said, “I do it for the one.”
Writing is a gift. For many Christian writers, it becomes something more. It becomes a ministry. But how do we effectively reach out through our books and touch people for Him? We know that if we try to stuff our stories with too many spiritual insights, we can actually end up diluting the message we want to convey. Readers will call our work “too preachy.”
After remembering my friend’s inspirational statement, I made a change. Now, I “do it for the one.” In other words, before I start a novel, I ask God to show me the person he wants to reach. Is it someone who didn’t have a father growing up and has a hard time trusting Father God? Or is it someone being abused, who needs to know there is a way out? Who is the person God wants to touch through this book? Doing this helps me to keep my focus and makes my main theme much clearer.
For me, “doing it for the one,” is the way I can use my writing to really “do it for the One.”
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Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Norman and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored fourteen books and is currently at work on a new series for Bethany House Publishing. The first book in her Road to Kingdom series, “Inescapable,” came out in July of 2012. The second book, “Unbreakable”released in February of 2013.
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