Welcome to the world of Christian writers.
So what’s the difference between “Christian writers” and every other kind of writer? For starters, they’re forever dragging God into the biz. And usually hanging the blame on Him, too. Like the person who believes God’s “called” them to write (#5), but not provided the schedule to do so. Because of the kids, their job, their health — whatever — they just can’t follow through. They’re “waiting on God” for the "right timing" (another Christian cliché). Listen, if God’s really “called you to write,” He wants YOU to find the time to do so. He "called" Abraham but didn't do the walking for him. Maybe you should stop “waiting on God” and put one foot in front of the other. That’s just one example of the unique, sometimes screwy approach that Christian novelists bring to their craft.
Having frequented Christian writing circles for some time now, I’ve heard all the spiritualized slogans we believers like to regurgitate. Here’s my Top 5 clichés that Christian writers use.
5.) “God’s called me to write.” — Funny how God never “calls” Christians to be sales assistants, lay reviewers, work in circulation, be an advertising manager, or write obituaries for the local newspaper. You’d think that writing novels was the top of the Christian publishing holiness hierarchy.
4.) “It just wasn’t God’s will that I… (fill in the blank).” – “God’s will” is a favorite “out” for Christian writers. Most often, the saying is followed by things like “find an agent,” “sell a lot of books,” “finish the manuscript,” or “advertize aggressively.” Poor God. I wish He’d get His act together so your career can finally flourish.
3.) “Marketing is not my spiritual gift.” — Then you might reconsider #5. Unless God’s also “gifted” you with spare change to hire publicists and marketing strategists, it’s best to assume that if God wants you to write novels, He also wants you to find readers. Funny how hard work can make up for the absence of “spiritual gifts.”
2.) “I want to glorify God in my writing.” — Usually this is code for “clean,” alternative, G-rated fare containing redemptive resolutions, biblical references, salvation events, spiritual themes, or subliminal Bible messages imbedded in the story. The question I have is whether God is also “glorified” in a good, well-crafted story. If we can only “glorify God” by specifically writing about God, we reduce God-honoring lit to religious tracts.
1.) “I write for an audience of One.” — Sounds great. But unless He’s also giving you direct revelations, critiquing your novels, correcting your grammar, dialog, characterization, and plot elements, and buying your books, all this means is that you never have to answer to anyone but yourself.
So there you have it! A quintet of cop-outs. My advice to Christian writers: Maybe it’s time to stop over-spiritualizing the craft and just start digging in. Anyway, can you think of some other overused Christian Writer’s Cliches?
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Mike Duran is a monthly contributor to Novel Rocket, and is represented by the rockin' Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary. Mike's novels include The Telling, The Resurrection, an ebook novella, Winterland, and his newly released short story anthology Subterranea You can visit his website at www.mikeduran.com.