Yesterday, I received a comment from a young woman (23) who said she would "like to be an author someday, but I’m struggling with that desire." She wondered if it was God’s will for her, if it was not in His plan for her to write, mostly because ideas, plots and characters don’t come easy to her. Was that an indication that she shouldn’t try? I sent this young woman an email in reply, but also told her I would explore this more in my blog today.
"Do you (and authors you know) always seem to have a lot of inspired ideas?"
I wish. While there are thoughts and snippets popping into my head at any given time, I doubt most people would think of them as inspired. That’s because they aren’t complete. I don’t receive full-blown ideas or plots. They are little clues I follow on my way to completing a book. The more one writes, the more one recognizes those small glimpses and knows how to put them to use.
The "ease" of writing is no indication that
one is meant to be a writer. For most of us, it is hard work. Most
writers have to slave over every word, every character, to make a story
come together in a cohesive and readable way. That doesn’t indicate
they are outside of God’s will. I certainly believe I was "called" to
write, but I have had to work hard to improve my craft. Some parts of
the writing process come more easily to me than others, but overall,
the process is hard work.
Think of a farmer who has to labor
over his land and the planting, growing, and harvesting of his crops.
It is hard labor. No matter how many new machines that come along,
farming is still hard work. A farmer can’t tell in advance if there
will be too much or too little rain to nurture his crops or if there
will be a freak summer hail storm that will flatten them. He sweats and
he worries through each month of the growing season. Some years, crops
are better than others, but the bad years and the hard labor don’t mean
he is not meant to be a farmer.
My advice to this young woman
is, first, to pray and ask God if writing is what she is to do with her
life. When we seek Him, we will find Him. He will answer. And until He
tells her not to write, if He tells her not to write, then I
suggest she write every day. Write a letter/email. Write in a journal
or a blog. Write in an "idea notebook." Write a short story. Begin a
novel. Write. Writing may be for the individual or it may be for
publication. Not all people with the desire to write will be published.
Not all artists with the desire to paint will see their paintings
hanging in an art gallery either. It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t paint.
the Israelites were building the tabernacle in the wilderness, the
Bible says about the craftsmen (both men and women) who worked on it:
"The LORD has given them special skills as jewelers, designers,
weavers, and embroiderers in blue, purple, and scarlet yarn on fine
linen cloth. They excel in all the crafts needed for the work." (Exodus
I’m sure none of those craftsmen made
beautiful jewelry, for instance, when they were three or four years
old. They had to practice. They had to fail and try again. They had to
serve as an apprentice. They had to create some mediocre pieces. But
eventually, they honed their God-given skills and learned to excel in
the craft needed for the work that God called them to do at the
And so it is today.