Tag Archive | evangalism

Lessons Learned from Writing: Divine Fun

Now, why did I start this series of posts with this one? Because initially when I started writing in 2009 and understood nothing much about the craft, I had fun. So much fun! I believed God told me to write that November for National Novel Writing Months (nanowrimo.org). When I started I was fearless because I didn’t know any better. I had a blast finally writing the story I wanted to write: The Virtuous Viscount. I’d started years ago on paper and I think I scared myself. But God called and I obeyed.

I wrote a lot of words in 21 days – more than winning two NaNoWriMos. I was exhilerated and in my ignorance thought I’d written a wonderful tome. I cut my teeth as an author on that novel and still love the story.

So I had fun and thought that was it. I was a stay-at-home mom and lived in the country and served in Women’s Ministry at my church and didn’t have much interaction with those who didn’t share my faith in Jesus. I reached out during that month and connected with another stay-at-home mom in my community. We both crossed the finish line and I reached out again to suggest we get together. I gave her my real name, not the name on NaNo and she responded.

She was a friend from high school I’d been praying for, for over twenty years. Wow. Just wow. We connected in person along with others from back then and I heard many sad stories. Now my own story wasn’t that wonderful as I was in a difficult marriage, but I listened and loved. I was newer to Facebook in those days and invited my friend to connect with me there.

She remembered my strong faith in high school and even though I didn’t usually post spiritual stuff then, I was usually more silly, she told me it was as if God was poking her in the shoulder with every post I made. She understood my life was challenging. She was aware of my ministry work, and never once did I talk to her about Christ. She was well aware of the truth she’d turned her back on years ago. I was just being silly old me.

God led her back to Himself. She said later that she believes the only reason she was to write that November was to reconnect with me so God could get a hold of her. She joined a church, she led worship, she’s taken a theology class that I taught, and she made dramatic life changes. Life has been challenging for her in the process, but she’s stood firm.

I thought I was just having fun—but God had a bigger plan.

Her name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life long before my humble gothic regency ever saw the light of day in print.

So go ahead and have fun. Enjoy life. If God calls you to do something unusual because it might be fun? Do it! You may never know the heart you may touch just by being yourself in those moments.

“Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.” Saint Francis of Assisi.

What kind of fun might God be calling you to? Don’t dismiss it as frivlolous–He may have a bigger plan than you realize.

Why Are You Doing This Writing Thing?

I write because I’m compelled to, but more than that, I’m called to. My prayer is that my characters will somehow encourage others in their struggle with faith and living that out in the midst of the challenges of life.

I want my characters to in some way come to manifest characteristics of Christ as we are all to be sanctified, growing, continuing to be made holy in our walk with Him.

I hadn’t really connected that to the editing work I do until a week ago.

ID-10019416

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I received a submission for a novella, a romance that  was set in India. I started to read and mark up the manuscript. I do this for two reasons.

  1. If I choose to contract the story, I have a start on my editing process and
  2. If I reject it, I have tangible points of helpful criticism, that I can give to the author to help them grow in their craft.

I’m unusual in that every rejection I’ve given, thus far, I’ve received warm gratitude for. I hate writing those letters because I know what it feels like to get them myself. Apparently I do it well. Not quite the selling point on a resume though, is it?

This Indian romance was different. It was for a line of fiction that does not need to have an inspirational faith story to it. The only problem was, this one did have a faith story. It was steeped in Hindu culture and belief and it was so integral to the plot there was no way the story could be written without it.

The story moved me. The problems I found in the manuscript from an editing standpoint, were fixable. I would not have rejected the manuscript because of them although many other editors would have. I was brought to tears over the heroine’s struggle. I loved the author’s voice and the color in which she painted her homeland. I’ve never been to India and she was better than a travel brochure to create in my mind the beauty of her country.

Prism Book Group is primarily a Christian publishing house. This rejection was more than just due to mechanics–this was due to an author’s deeply held faith. The weight of this was torture. I couldn’t accept the story–but as a Christian I do not want to alienate the heart of a woman, an author, that God has placed in my path. I don’t believe this was an accident.

See, this is work we do, is more than business. It’s about the heart. About drawing people to know and love our Lord the way we do. And that goes far beyond the books we write, edit and publish.  Ultimately, it happens one-on-one. One heart at a time.

This woman’s heart didn’t know Jesus and here I was, His representative, having to reject her work because of her lack of faith in Christ and her belief in false gods. How do I do this thing?  The fact is–it was her very faith that was the foundation for my rejection!

Apparently I did it well. I quickly received an email response filled with gratitude for the things I pointed out that she could do to make her manuscript better. I was able to honestly compliment her on her writing voice. I pointed out the problem in as respectful a way as I could.  She agreed that these were items that could not be removed from the story.

She thanked me and told me she would hope to submit to me again, when she had a story without the Hindu faith woven in. I look forward to that because there is a relationship that develops between an author and editor and maybe, just maybe, God would open a door for her to know Jesus in the process.

So I am praying for her, because ultimately that is what it is all about. Seeing people come to know and love our Savior as we do.

What’s your motivation as you write or edit or do whatever you do in publishing? We’re not as isolated as we think and our words and actions, even off the page, can have eternal impact.  This past week I was reminded of that and it humbled me.