by Laurel Blount
I’ve heard that 97% of aspiring writers fail for one specific reason.
They don’t finish their books.
It’s a staggering statistic—but after talking with many hopeful writers, I believe it. Even after they’ve pitched the book at a conference and been invited to submit, even when they’ve had an encouraging ‘revise and resubmit’ from an editor, their half-finished books gather cyber dust on their computers.
That’s a shame because Christians should be telling plenty of stories—and telling them well. Stories help shape our thinking. Consider our television and movies—their storylines are always nudging our culture in one direction or another, aren’t they? Media is busy developing the world’s mindset—and for the most part, not in a good way. Certainly not in a God-honoring way. So if you’re a believer with a gift for storytelling, it’s time to wake up and grab yourself some coffee.
This lost world needs gifted wordsmiths to reintroduce concepts like honor, integrity, courage, selfless love, fidelity, and faith. Who are relentless in their pursuit of professional excellence, so that our jaded society will be enticed by the brilliant sparkle of their stories—and get a taste of truth.
This isn’t an overstatement. Jesus, after all, used stories to reach His listeners—tales of ordinary everyday people, like a woman who’d lost a coin and a man whose son turned out to be a terrible disappointment. We follow His example when we tell engaging tales that draw readers in, pointing them away from the floundering world, toward Him.
So, why are only three percent of us finishing the books God’s called us to write?
Well, because it’s hard! Writing’s tough work, it’s time-consuming, and it doesn’t pay particularly well. Rejections and criticisms hurt, and oftentimes the publishing industry seems unfair and capricious.
I suppose all that should clue us in about how important this is. If you want to know where the best corn is, look for the fields with the scarecrows. The enemy doesn’t usually bother spooking us away from something that doesn’t matter. The things that are difficult for us are so often the most important.
So, what do we do?
We pray. We ask God to show us what themes He wants us to develop, what stories He’d like us to write, what audience He wants us to engage. A writer’s calling is uniquely personal, so we should get our marching orders straight from Him.
We write. We set goals that work with our season of life, we show up, and we write our hearts out—even when we don’t feel like it. Currently, I’m under contract for seven books for Love Inspired/Harper Collins and Berkley/Penguin Random House. My deadlines are coming hard and fast, and I’ve learned I can write even when I don’t feel inspired. Oddly enough, later I can’t tell the difference between the pull-your-teeth writing and the words that flowed like honey.
Then we rewrite. Our work needs to shine, and that requires elbow grease!
We support each other. Christian writing isn’t a competitive sport. We’re all on the same team. When one of us succeeds, all of us succeed—because it was never really about us, anyway!
Our stories matter, folks. Even if God has designed your writing to touch only one lost, lonely heart, it matters. You never know—your words in His hands could be the beginning of a loaves-and-fishes kind of a miracle! So pour your coffee, open your laptop or your notebook, say a prayer, and buckle down. Find the faith to finish.
The world needs your story—find the faith to finish! -Laurel Blount #ACFWBlogs #writetip #critiques #ACFWCommunity
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Carol Award-winning author Laurel Blount writes inspirational romances full of grit and grace—with characters who’ll walk right off the page and into your heart. Her newest book Shelter in the Storm, first in the Johns Mill Amish series, releases on May 25. Connect with her at www.laurelblountbooks.com.