Wednesday, January 03, 2018

What it Means to be a Writer by Rose McCormick Brandon

I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you,” Paul said to his protégé, Timothy (2 Timothy 1:6). This is God’s message to me and other writers. Stir up the gift of writing. Use it to bless Him. Consider what it means to write.

Writing means coming to the task trustingly. If it’s true that God has called me to write, and I believe it is, then I have a duty to use the gift He’s given.

Trusting means I present my writing to the Father by faith not looking for positive feedback or needing it for courage. This has been a major thing in the past. I longed for words of encouragement. Precious little feedback came save a tidbit here or there. I’ve learned to need positive feedback less yet my heart sings when it comes. Perhaps I’ll always be on a learning curve in this regard. Maybe everyone is. But, I’m coming closer to my goal of presenting my gifts of writing to the Father, by submitting them, saving them for submission or adding them to my book in progress, then forgetting them and going on to craft the next gift.

Writing means coping with criticism. Once a friend from church read an article I wrote for a Christian magazine. I thought he might congratulate me, or at least say he appreciated it. Instead he said, “I guess they’ll publish anything.” Why Christians utter discouraging words like this is a mystery. Then there are those who read my articles and said, “I’m going to write too,” as if it’s the easiest thing on earth and anyone can do it.

This reminds me of the famous writer who was approached by a surgeon at a dinner party. He said, “When I retire I’m going to write a book.” The writer replied, “What a coincidence, when I retire I plan to take up surgery.” Writing is more difficult than it looks. Sometimes going to my desk, sitting in the chair and facing a blank document, or one that needs extensive editing, is a daunting task. When I settle in it comes easier and time passes unnoticed because I’m fulfilling my calling. There’s contentment in that. For this reason alone I consider myself extremely blessed with God’s favour.

On the subject of getting positive feedback from one’s church circle, some who read this will be members of stingy congregations who seldom compliment or encourage from the pew or the pulpit. Take heart. And keep writing. This isn’t an isolated problem. Some churches are inward, meaning they reserve praise for in-house operations. The lack of support from my church troubled me in the beginning, not only in writing but in other outreach ventures. I prayed much about this and God helped me to accept it and not to let it hinder me. And He’ll help you too.

Writing means having courage to face the consequences. Someone might not like what I write. Maybe they’ll say, “What is she talking about anyway?” Perhaps some will be offended by my views or disagree with my conclusions. Writers have opinions. When they stop having them there won’t be anything to write about. It’s good exercise for the little gray cells to form strong opinions. I like Ravi Zacharias’ watchword, Let my People Think. There’s room for more strong biblical thinkers in the Christian community, lots of room.

Facing consequences also means accepting rejection. Every writer who submits their work gets rejections. It’s the nature of the business. Rejections come for many reasons. Bad writing is only one possible reason. We should always seek to improve our craft and not become overly discouraged by rejections.

Writing means giving it everything I’ve got. This can be a problem. Laziness gets in the way. Other projects, like painting the kitchen or sewing new curtains get in the way. Kids schedules, work, worthy missions – so many obstructions. Writing time is easier to find now that my children are grown and work days are behind. In busier days I used lunch hours, coffee breaks, late nights and other smidgens of time to write. There’s always a way.

Interruptions slice the threads of twining thoughts. Freakish diatribes about politics and the ugly state of the world. Ranting. Television. These can create a cloud of doom that ruins glorious moments of thought and prevents the writer from giving it everything. 

In all of life's disappointments, struggles and interruptions we must be mindful to use the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has given, including the gift of writing.
Rose McCormick Brandon is author of One Good Word Makes all the Difference and Promises of Home - Stories of Canada's British Home Children. Her articles and devotionals are published in many Christian magazines and in collections of inspiring stories like Chicken Soup for the Soul. She writes two blogs: Promises of Home and Listening to my Hair Grow. 


Peter Black said...

Thank you, Rose, for providing these helpful insights into our spiritual calling as writers. The depth of your walk with the Lord and your experience in writing shows and blesses my heart. Also, the examples you give of comments that underwhelm rather than encourage, while serious, induced smiles for me. Hmm, I wonder if there's ever been a writer who hasn't received those kinds of comments at some time or other! ~~+~~

Rose McCormick Brandon said...

I'm sure most if not all writers have had underwhelming (I love that word) comments. I wrote this introspective piece some time ago and came across it recently. It was ignited by a devotional written by Elizabeth Elliot. I must search for it and read it again.

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