Friday, October 26, 2018

How to Guarantee Your Success as a Writer


By Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Never were truer words penned than these ancient words from the prophet Isaiah. And if you’re a writer with the call of God on your life, these words are especially true for you.

Case in point: A year ago I sensed God birthing an idea for a new devotional book. The concept grew, took shape, and swept me away like a swimmer in a rip tide. Although I know it’s proper procedure to write the proposal for a non-fiction book and then wait for a contract before writing the full manuscript, I just couldn’t help myself.

Ideas popped like bacon in a skillet. Every time I opened my Bible, God illuminated special verses and passages I couldn’t wait to write about. Even though I knew better, that I might be wasting my time because a publisher might never offer me a contract, I began to write.

And I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote. With joy, abandon, and discovery. My faith grew as I explored God’s word. My understanding increased. And my passion for my book never wavered. I knew God had given me the project, and I was determined to complete it.

One day, I was sure, it would be published.

Today, a year later, the manuscript is complete. I’ve written 66 uncommon devotions, one for every book of the Bible – even the one-chapter book of Obadiah. Imagine that.

Along the way, several publishers have expressed an interest in my project. One asked for a list of speaking engagements to bolster my less-than-rock-star platform. I had neglected this aspect of my ministry while I wrote the book, so I went to work, contacting groups and churches where I’ve spoken before to tell them about my latest presentations.

One of the groups extended a surprising invitation to share my “Three Keys to a Spirit-filled Christmas” program with their entire assembly. I say “surprising,” because this group is a secular organization. And the third key in my “Three Keys to a Spirit-filled Christmas” is – guess what? – an invitation to unlock your hearts to Christ. What an opportunity!

I don’t know if my devotional will ever be published, but God has already used it to open the door to share the gospel with 100 people, many who don’t know the Lord. 

Years ago, when God set me on the writing path, he called me to share my faith with those who don’t know him and encourage those who do. I assumed I’d do this through my books. 

What I didn’t realize is that a book doesn’t have to be published for God to use it. From the very first word, he uses our writing to grow us, teach us, refine us, and train us. Through the process of writing, we learn patience and perseverance. We grow in wisdom, skill, and maturity. Our faith and trust expand as we pursue the calling God has given us by not quitting when the initial excitement wears off.

And as we pray, seek God’s face, and press on, he uses our book (or blog, or article, or poem) to open ministry doors that wouldn’t open otherwise. 

Whether or not my book is published, I don’t regret spending the last year writing it. God has used the process in my life and the lives of others in more ways than I could ever have imagined. As long as I stay true to my calling, God will accomplish his purpose for my writing and grant me success. As Isaiah 55:8-9 says, I can’t begin to understand his ways, but I can trust his plan.

The longer I write, the more I realize that success may not come with a glossy cover and a Selah award. It may come instead when I hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 

I’ll take that success any day. How about you?

I invite you to join the conversation. How have you seen God use the writing processto grow you and others in your faith journey? What “successes” have you already enjoyed that have nothing to do with a contract or publishing credit? Leave a comment below and share your story.

TWEETABLES


Lori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and the author of two devotional books, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women and  Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. A blogger, writing instructor, and inspirational speaker, her goal is to help women connect with God in the craziness of life You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time. Connect with her on FacebookTwitter(@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

23 comments:

  1. It’s very informative and you are obviously very knowledgeable in this area. You have opened my eyes to varying views on this topic with interesting and solid content.
    4 solid reasons to hire a Professional Writer for Your Business

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  2. Thank you Lori. Your words are encouraging to those of us who wait for our manuscript to be published. Knowing "From the very first word, he uses our writing to grow us, teach us, refine us, and train us. Through the process of writing, we learn patience and perseverance. We grow in wisdom, skill, and maturity," were great reminders. I have often thought, too, that the words ministered in some way to the editor and if scripture was on the page or proposal, God's promises His word won't return to Him void.

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    1. Marilyn,
      I love the thought of impacting the editors and agents that read our words. They need inspiration, too. Prayers for you as you wait.

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  3. Thanks for this reminder. Our success as Christian writers is measured by God's standard and purposes, not man's.

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  4. Your story sounds a bit like mine. Since there's no guarantee I'll ever publish my YA novel, I decided I wanted to do something connected with writing that I knew would work. So I started hosting writing workshops at my local library. The programs have been so satisfying. Thank you for your insightful article!

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    1. It is so fun to share what we’ve learned along the way, JPC. VERY satisfying, and a great way to pay it forward.

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  5. Love love love this! I always feel awkward and uncomfortable when someone tells me they loved a blog post or one of my devotional books, because I know the truth. Unless God speaks to us, and gives us the words to write, we have nothing to say. I always feel that I am the first to benefit from my own writing as God grows me and teaches me. Anything else is just bonus. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. So true, Sheila. It’s most important to realize that anything good we accomplish is because God enables us. To him belongs all the glory.

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  6. When your new devotional book comes out, I'll be among the first to place an order Ms. Lori. As a Christian writer, I view my job as planting the seeds God gives me (I write the book); He gathers the harvest (the Holy Spirit moves the people He always intended our writing for). Way to step out in faith young lady! God's blessings.

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    1. Amen, Jim. Our responsibility is to obey his call to write and share. Then we pray and ask God to give the increase. After all, it was his idea in the first place :) thanks for your encouragement.

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  7. We have to be reminded, often, that we really write for an audience of ONE - God. Without him, we would be nothing. Thank you for this post!

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    1. Amen, Regina. Well said. Thanks for chiming in today.

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  8. God guide our steps but we still have to obey his call.
    Great post, Lori!

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    1. Amen, Ingmar. May he direct every step and bless every effort done for his glory. Blessing to you!

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  9. I learn something that benefits me with everything I write whether it gets published or not. Thanks for sharing, Lori!

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    1. Me too, Barbara, whether it’s something about God, others, or myself, I am always enlightened. What a blessing!

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  10. Lori, You are so right! I have been keeping a devotional journal for the past several years, while studying books of the Bible. I am the one who received the blessing...and growth. And then, someone asked me to help write a devotional book for children using international English, which could be shared all around the world. Though publication still is pending, I was blessed beyond measure at the insights God gave while delving into Bible stories for little ones (children). Isn't it amazing the doors God opens to accomplish His purposes?

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  11. Roberta, I am convinced that God wastes nothing in his economy, which is very comforting when we feel like we’re in a waiting place. God’s blessings on your project!

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  12. Thank you Lori, for the timely reminder. In a time when so many focus on the "sellability" of the final product and the numbers generated from our effort/book, the bottom line is pleasing our Lord. When He directs a book, a collection, a speech, a smile and words of blessing to a friend - our mission is to please, honor, and glorify Him.

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    1. Amen, Lisa. Well said and TRUE. I pray God's blessings on your writing.

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  13. Thank you, and praises be to God. I felt weird because I didn't care if my Reecie book ever made money. I'm not writing it for the money. I'm writing it because God put the circumstances together to make it happen. Thank you, because now I don't feel weird. And if it's in God's plan, then maybe it will still be in books for sale, at some point.

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  14. Thank you, and praises be to God. I felt weird because I didn't care if my Reecie book ever made money. I'm not writing it for the money. I'm writing it because God put the circumstances together to make it happen. Thank you, because now I don't feel weird. And if it's in God's plan, then maybe it will still be in books for sale, at some point.

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