Thursday, June 14, 2012

Letter to a New Writer

Dear new writer,

I want to tell you six things to remember. They all have to do with writing, but more about yourself.

First, you are loved. You are loved whether you ever see your name in print, whether your novel or Christian Life book ever graces Walmart or Barnes and Noble. If you belong to Jesus, His love will never leave you. It doesn’t grow when you are published nor does it wane when you receive a rejection letter. You can always crawl onto his lap, like a child, knowing He accepts, approves of, and adores you.

Second, you’re writing is important. Please don’t make the mistake I’ve made by thinking if only a few people read it, my writing ministry doesn’t matter. Remember, you are writing for His glory, not your own. So if he calls you to write a blog that only six people read, He must have given you the perfect message for those six people. Don’t think about numbers, just write out of love for the Lord and a desire to help.

Third, have fun. Don’t get so bogged down by platform, marketing, and success that the joy of creating a gorgeous piece of prose falls away. Don’t let ambition steal from play. Writing a three-page synopsis, a one-sentence pitch, or a proposal can sometimes feel like trudging up a mountain, but do what mountain climbers do—keep the goal in mind. It will feel great when you finish. Plus, maybe you can grab the perspective to enjoy the journey. After all, even marketing is writing, and you love that, don’t you?

Fourth, don’t get discouraged if you’re not great at first. Nothing steals the fun more than this. You think your chapter glows with perfected glory, but then a more-experienced writer points out the head-hopping or weak verbs. Ugh. You have to go back and re-write. Find the joy in that. All writers have to re-write. There’s a  satisfaction to it. Embrace it.

Fifth, don’t lose sleep over writing. I know you want to get published. I know you’ve put your heart and soul into this, but writing isn’t everything. It’s a part of your life. It’s not your whole life. Rest. Enjoy your family and friends. Laugh…a lot! And you’ll be the kind of writer people are drawn to. A full-orbed person, attractive and layered—not just someone who writes.

Finally, don’t forget to pray. I can’t tell you the times I’ve thrown myself before the Lord and cried out in complete desperation. “I can’t do this! I don’t know how. Help me!” And that’s the best place to be. Bring all your writing—e-mails, proposals, character charts, chapters—before Him. He loves you (remember) and cares about your writing. He’ll help you along the way.

Remember these six things and you'll never fail, because even if you're not the mulit-published author you long to be, you'll know what really matters. 

God bless you, my writing friend,