Sunday, December 04, 2011

Becoming a Successful Christian Writer By Kathi Macias

Our guest blogger for our Sunday devotional is award-winning novelist, Kathi Macias. Be sure to check out her books and website. I know you'll be blessed, :)Marcia

Becoming a Successful Christian Writer
By Kathi Macias

We talk about being “Christian writers,” but what does that mean? What distinguishes us from other writers? And what qualifies us as “successful”?

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to write—and I did, getting my first taste of success in elementary school when my story was turned into a play for the PTA. I went on to work on the school newspaper and won several awards in the annual writing contest in high school. Then, at the age of 26, I received Jesus as my Savior. Since I was now a Christian as well as a writer, did that make me a “Christian writer”?

Technically, I suppose so, but realistically…I had a long way to go.
I took several writing and editing classes and eventually landed a job at a newspaper and then a Christian publishing house, and also started doing freelance editing and writing. Did that mean I was finally a Christian writer? And how did I define “successful”?

Then, in the mid-1980’s when AIDS was becoming a household word, I sensed God wanted me to write a book about it. The problem was, I didn’t want to do so. I wrestled and argued awhile, but when I finally gave up and agreed, the storyline fell into place. All I needed was someone who knew about AIDS to serve as a resource.

One night, as I read the newspaper, I noticed a letter to the editor from an angry young man named Mark, who had AIDS and was blaming everyone on the planet except himself for his condition.

I frowned. Surely God didn’t expect me to work with someone like that! Grudgingly I looked up his name in the phonebook, hoping I wouldn’t find it. But there it was, standing out as if it were highlighted in chartreuse, so I called. When he answered and I told him why I was calling, he agreed to help. “I’ll do it for one reason—because I want to make sure you get it right.”

And so we began what was a very rocky relationship. He read everything I wrote, though he didn’t agree with much of it and told me so in no uncertain terms. Yet, at some point we crossed the line from controversial colleagues to friends.

By the time I finished the last chapter, Mark had moved back home with his mother and was failing fast. After reading the final pages of the manuscript, he called and asked, “Do you really believe all that Jesus stuff you wrote about in the book?” When I assured him I did, he said, “Then you have five minutes to convince me why I shouldn’t kill myself right now.”

It took longer than five minutes, but by the time we hung up, Mark had prayed to receive Jesus. Two weeks later, he went home to be with Him.

The story that Mark and I wrote was never published, at least not in its original form. But did God have a purpose in my writing it as I did and when I did? Absolutely. Not only do I now have a dear friend named Mark waiting for me in heaven, but I also know for certain that I am a successful Christian writer, thanks to what came out of a story I wrote that was never published.

God had to strip away a lot of “me” to make that happen, but it was necessary if I ever hoped to wear the title of “Christian writer” with integrity and humility. It is also the requirement we must meet to be considered “successful”—maybe not so much by our fans or colleagues, but by the One who called and equipped us for His purposes.

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored more than 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association), as well as Novel of the Year (Red Ink) from Golden Scrolls and Carol Award Finalist (Red Ink as well). Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al.

Her newest book, A Christmas Journey Home has been receiving rave reviews. It would make a wonderful Christmas gift.

Deliver Me From Evil - a stirring book on a difficult issue. Again, reviews have been over the top.

Visit Kathi's website at


keiki hendrix said...

Absolutely adore this post. Kathi, thank you for sharing this. A good reminder why we write and that the road He takes us on is not always our first choice.

Renee said...

Beautiful! May God bless all Christian writers with this kind of success--even if they don't learn of it until heaven. Blessings, Kathi!

Dina Sleiman said...

Thanks, Kathi. That story really blessed me.

Sharon A. Lavy said...

This story made me cry.

Cozy in Texas said...

What a lovely story. I'm glad Mark was given the chance to accept Christ and die in peace.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Truly moving story, and I'm so glad you stuck to the truth, which made him long to understand it. So glad he has peace at last!

Kathi Macias said...

Thank you all for your lovely and supportive comments. I love this group of excellent writers with hearts for God!

Carl P said...

Very good article Kathi. Actually, I knew you were a successful Christian writer the moment I saw the glasses, the smile and that flowing silver hair!

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

What a wonderful testimony! I know what you mean about arguing with God when a story line comes up that is unfamiliar in a personal way. That happened with The Visionary.

I also know how wonderful it is to know your writing touched someone on a deeper level than you ever thought it would.

As for being 'successful' - as beauty is in the eyes of the is success. I've always felt my writing was not about the money, but the message, but like I told the Lord one day "I don't know the message is getting out if there are no sales" and I count each sale as a soul for God!

Great post Kathi!

Elaine Stock said...

Such beautiful words and encouragement. Thank you, Kathi.

Jeanne Doyon said...

I have chills!! Thanks for your words, Kathi. Whatever God calls us to do, He equips us to do. I will look forward to meeting Mark!


Davalyn Spencer said...

A beautiful story, Kathi. We may never know all those who are blessed as we pass God's love letter on to them. And as much as I was touched by God's ultimate purpose to your writing that "unpublished" story, I was also reminded of my own writer's roots: a story written in the sixth grade that was performed as a play by my classmates. Funny, until you mentioned your similar origins, I had forgotten all about it.

Tracy Krauss said...

This is such a touching story and it certainly puts 'success' into perspective.

Shelley Hitz said...

Wow...gave me chills to think of how God orchestrated it all and used you in such a powerful but unexpecting way! Thanks for the encouragement as well as a fellow Christian author!

Beth Reinke said...

Beautiful story, Kathi. It's wonderful how God leads us where He wants us to go, to prepare us for the next step in His work.

Jodi Janz said...

Thank you for sharing your moving and inspirational story. God defines success so much differently than we do. I will use this story to remind myself to keep my perspectives aligned with His. It isn't about Amazon sales or big contracts - it is about touching one reader with God's love and mercy and possibly changing their view of eternity. That is exactly what you did, Kathi!

Yvonne Pat Wright said...

Thanks for writing this as it reinforces what I believe is the reason Christ desired that I write my book. Just the thought that one lost soul found their way to the Lord after reading my book will be reward and success enough to justify the hours and hours spent writing it and now marketing it as well as the thousands of £££££s I have spent in getting published with little sign of recovering any of it. The joy for me will be a simple testimony "Jesus changed my life and I now belong to Him". Praising and thanking God in advance for this.

Carol McClain said...

Thanks for sharing. And if anyone is reading my comment on this blog--Deliver Me From Evil is phenomenal.

And it's funny your first book was on AIDS. A dear friend died from it, and the news story I read about him has inspired another book. However, I have to get the first one done.

Edna said...

Love your book Kathi and I just finished reading A Christmas Journey Home, it was great. May God bless you in all you do.

Gina Holmes said...

Wow, thanks for sharing that. May we all have that kind of success.

Pat Rowland said...

Kathi, this was a beautiful story. You told it like the master writer you are. Thank you for the reminder that our gifts aren't about us, but about God and how He wants them used.

Cass Wessel said...

Well said, Kathi. You spoke about this at the WSXX Conference last spring, but this time, I had a lump in my throat and a catch in my heart as I read. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, Cass

Sarah Elisabeth said...

I was trying to read this as I ate lunch. Not a good idea, nearly choked on tears. Wow, what a story.