Sunday, March 12, 2023

The Right Spiritual Documents for the Writer

Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

Neither my wife nor I had ever been on a cruise. My wife had always wanted to take one. Me? Not so much. You see, water and I have a love-hate relationship. I don’t mind it when it comes to washing my hands or taking a shower, but beyond that, I’m not interested in such things as swimming or boating. At nine, I almost drowned in a friend’s swimming pool. And had it not been for another friend, I would have.

But back to the cruise. Since COVID, cruises—along with almost everything else—have changed. Like flying, security is tight, and one must have the right documents. Unfortunately, our passports had expired several years before. So, we chose the Real ID and birth certificate route to avoid paying the passport expense again. Although a little easier and quicker, this route entailed taking the correct documents to the local Department of Motor Vehicles and paying $25 each for what looked like a regular driver’s license but carried more privileges. 

Then came the day of the cruise, and we hoped we had everything we needed. My wife researched the information and talked with those who had cruised before. When we arrived, we made our way to the designated station—after passing through security, of course—and presented our documents. Thankfully, they sufficed. 

Next, the attendant issued our boarding passes, which, from then on, became the proper documents. We could put the others away. 

Just as we need the right documents for a cruise, we need the right documents for our spiritual journey. Paul mentions two: grace and faith (belief). God extends the first, and we do the second.

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God” (Ephesians 2:8 NLT).

My wife nor I could have worked to get on the ship. We simply had to obey the rules made by others and bring the proper documents. 

Like it or not, the same holds in our writing life. Success in our writing world—however we define it—does not happen automatically. 

Writers need a few essential documents. 

1. Correct Connections

I never cared much for brown-nosers in the work world—those who tried to get ahead by hanging around with the right people—but they had one thing right: we need connections. Writing is, at the same time, a solo act and a social act. We write in isolation, but our writing will not go far without help from others—critique partners, writing groups, editors, friends, supporters, God. Joining a writing group or attending at least one writing conference each year is a good place to begin. 

2. Accepting Attitude

We waste our time by making connections if we’re not open to suggestions. “Every editor needs an editor” is a common saying among editors, but every writer also needs an editor—professional or otherwise, depending on what we are doing with our work—and we need other writers. Thinking our writing is perfect will lead us to many dead ends in the writing world and publishing industry. 

3. Cultivated Craft

In addition to teaching English five days weekly, I am a freelance editor and writer. But I don’t know everything—and I’m smart enough to admit it. I subscribe to websites that offer insights on writing and editing, and I read books about the writing and editing craft. No one reaches perfection in writing or editing, regardless of how long they have done it, especially when the writing, editing, and publishing worlds change constantly. We all need to find ways to cultivate our craft. 

So, wherever you are in your writing journey, don’t sell yourself short. Make sure you have the right documents for your write. 


Martin Wiles is the founder of Love Lines from God (WWW.LOVELINESFROMGOD.COM) and serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and Directing Editor for VineWords. He has authored six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, DON'T JUST LIVE...REALLY LIVE, debuted in October of 2021. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, author, and 

Featured Image: Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

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