The Wednesday Writer’s Pad

Welcome to the Wednesday Writer’s Pad where I’ll explore writing as a Christian and Christian writing.

Recently, I took over as the leader and facilitator of an online writing group-“The Christian Writers Circle” hosted on Scribophile. My new role has led me to re-ask a ton of questions as I examine writing as my ministry in our lost, fallen world.

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Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

What defines a Christian writer? It’s a question I’ve asked myself more than once. As a Christian, am I called to write according to specific paradigms? Am I called to write on certain subjects while avoiding others?

Certainly, there is more to being a Christian writer than meets the eye. It’s not simply a matter of being a believer and writing. Or is it?

Some questions to ponder…

  • What do you want to write? Is there a common thread in what you write about?
  • What’s your God-story?
  • Are you and expert on a particular subject that gives you special insight?
  • Who are you writing for?
  • Is there a target audience you are trying to reach through your writing?

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By the Grace of God

I started writing as a young boy. The stories I write today are different from the stories I wrote then. I’ve got a lifetime of experience shaping my perspective and worldview. This experience influences my writing. I’m sure the same is true of you.

A lot of Christian writing is extremely wholesome. The characters are pure, even though they grapple with challenges. Characters in Christian stories rely on their faith to see them through a crisis. That’s all good.

But what if that’s not your story? Maybe you took the long road home. I believe that shapes your writing voice. You didn’t come to faith at an early age and you didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but by God’s grace you’re redeemed now. And…you feel called to write. There’s a place for you. God gave you a creative gift to use for His purpose. Let God be God and trust that He will work through whatever you create to speak to those He has called to hear the message that He wants them to hear through what He has called you to do.

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Where the Rubber Meets the Road

You have to be a good storyteller. Your stories must have engaging plots, intriguing characters and solid writing. This is true regardless of whether you’re penning a secular novel, a Christian Christmas fable, or a non-fiction historical epic. Writing is hard work. Like anything we do, we should strive for excellence because excellence glorifies God. It honors the gift He gave us. Just as Abel gave God his best offering, we should strive to give God our best work through our writing. God delights in us. He is most satisfied when we delight in Him. Through our writing, we can express our satisfaction in how and when He has revealed Himself to us through the supernatural work He has performed in our lives.

As Christians, our faith informs our writing. It does not constrain it. Our characters can be wholesome. They can also be flawed. Both reflect the people we have encountered in our lives. At church, I am in awe of how well some people have lived. I also relate to those, who like me, haven’t always lived well.

We live in a world filled with harsh realities. Evil lurks at every bend. Death eventually calls us all home. Life is difficult. It’s not always pretty. This is not news. When we write about these things, we must attempt to shine a light of hope through the foggy mist so that others can see the hope that we have in Jesus. The hope we have in Jesus is news. As a matter of fact, it’s the best news ever.

Write on. I’ll be praying for you.

Words Tangled Up in God

For me, faith, writing, and recovery are intrinsically connected. These three very different things are intertwined, tangled threads of a beautiful tapestry.

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I wrote my first stories as a young boy. Growing up an only child left me ample time to employ my imagination. Through the years, my writing benefited from excellent teachers and mentors, many of whom I did not realize were influencing my creative prose at the time. In those years, Marshall High had a stable of phenomenal teachers. Most of us, me especially, did not recognize how good they were at teaching us.

Attending Marshall High School, my writing profited from the solid teaching of Mrs. Douglas and Mrs. Muchmore. Although dramatically different in their style and approach, both were adept instructors molding my skills even before I fully recognized writing as my calling. A dear family friend recently remarked that she could see Mrs. Douglas’ DNA on the way I write, particularly in the manner that I craft sentences and in the very deliberate, intentional organization of my story. Mrs. Muchmore served as one of my earliest encouragers, lauding the words I put on paper.

My Great American Novel should already be complete by now. But, it isn’t. Life threw me some unanticipated curve balls. That really irks me because I pride myself on my ability to anticipate. However, life takes detours in between here and now. All is not lost, albeit that it is different. Over the years I have managed to write a batch of stories, poems and even a couple of plays. My publishing success has been limited. I chalk that up to being my own fault.

The past three years, as a member of our local writers group, the Writers Guild of Texas, and through creating content for this blog, I have been able to rekindle my craft. It has not be easy. At times, it has been really rough. Telling a story isn’t simply a matter of putting a bunch of words on paper. Writing is a craft. Writing is a calling.

Like me, my writing has changed. I’m not the same writer that I was a quarter century ago. I’m not the same person. What I cared about writing about then isn’t what I care to write about now. But I still have stories to tell. Getting to know Jesus has affected my writing. For me, writing has very much become a form of worship. It has even become a means of ministry.

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Similar to my journey of faith and recovery, my writing remains a work in progress. Words can change the world. I believe that God uses the stories we tell for the good of His kingdom. At least, I believe He can. I don’t write in a vacuum. God has a plan for my writing. Sometimes, I am fortunate that He lets me in on it. But as is true with ministry most of the time, I simply need to be obedient and remain faithful in this creative calling.

Recovery impacts my storytelling too. The stories I care about clean and sober are not the same that appealed to me when I wrote drunk and high. Thankfully, sobriety has permanently altered my perspective. For me, I write with a greater purpose.

Faith, writing, and recovery. These 3 things remain intricately linked.

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Photos courtesy of Pixabay.