Sunday, March 20, 2016

When Writing Turns Serious

by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father Colossians 3:17 NLT.

Stir up the gift within you, the voice whispered. I knew I had to stop messing around. It was time to get serious.
Each morning after I eat my breakfast of champions—chocolate pop tarts—I head to my office. With the exception of the weekends, my computer and I have a morning writing date and have had for the last seven years. While I wrote some before that time—mainly poetry, dramas, and sermons—I didn’t pursue writing with a serious bent. Periodically, I ask myself why I’m so resolute now when I wasn’t before. And why I spend hundreds of dollars to attend a writer’s conference when I don’t have to.

Four books later—with another one on the horizon, I think I know why. I’ve finally become serious about the gift God has given me. When my father died in 2009, I crossed a line of demarcation. Prior to then, my writing was sporadic. A poem every now and then submitted to a contest. Perhaps a sermon on a sermon website. Nothing time consuming. Nothing that required me to go the extra mile.

Why my father’s death caused me to cross the line I’m not sure. As far as I know, he didn’t publish anything. His writings were shared only with the college students he taught and congregations he preached to. But for me, God wanted more. Perhaps my attitude adjusted because I remembered what Dad had taught me: use the gifts God gives you—and writing was one. I had to get serious about doing it. But how? 

Pray over what you write.
1. Pray over what you write.
Each night, a part of my prayer includes, “God, lead me to what you want me to write and to the exact words you want me to use.” I’m na├»ve enough to believe God knows who will read my writings now and in the future. I also believe He knows what their needs are, and that He can tailor what I write so it matches what they need to hear. He’s a big God; why limit Him? With Him, all things are possible. Making a concerted effort to do this keeps me mindful of how important the words I pen are. I can’t afford to toss them on a piece of paper without letting God guide my thoughts.

2. Make time to share your writing.
If I never share what I write, nothing good will come of it. Establishing a social media platform and networking are essential. This requires time, but this too I have to manage. I choose a few social media platforms that I get the most results from and go with them. I work a full-time day job, so I have to handle my time well. Nor can I spend several hours a day sending query letters to publishers asking them to consider my devotions, articles, or even a book. But I can send one or two each week. God doesn’t normally send editors and publishers to us; we have to seek them out.

Remain humble as you write.
3. Remain humble as you write.
Remaining humble is a battle for most people. I tend to be proud of what I do well, but I have to constantly remind myself that my gift comes from God and must be used for His glory. Writing—or whatever I’m doing, is not about me. Using my gift is about glorifying God.

4. Be consistent as you write.
I write five days each week and post to my website six days each week. When people visit my website, they don’t want to see a five-month-old date. If content doesn’t change regularly and consistently, visits will slow or stop.

5. Consider your priorities as you write.
God first, family second, church third, and whatever else thereafter. Since I love writing so much, I could spend hours on end doing it. God often speaks to me through my wife to remind me that even using God’s gifts must be kept in proper perspective.

If God has given you the gift of writing, get serious about using it for His glory.

When #Writing Turns Serious - Martin Wiles, @LinesFromGod on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Martin Wiles is an author, minister, English teacher, and freelance editor currently residing in Greenwood, South Carolina. He and his wife Michelle are founders and editors of Love Lines from God ( Wiles has authored Grits & Grace & God, Morning By Morning, Morning Serenity, Grace Greater Than Sin, and is a contributing author in Penned from the Heart and Rise. He is a regular contributor to ChristianDevotions—where he also serves as a Web/Editorial assistant—and is a frequent columnist for the Dorchester County Eagle Record. Wiles is also the editor of the “Tips for Healthy Living” page for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolina.

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