Rachel Allord writes from central Wisconsin. A pastor’s wife and adoption advocate, Rachel speaks for women’s conferences and adoption groups and teaches writing classes via her town’s university. You can find Rachel on her website, Twitter, and Facebook.
If we’re not careful, we writers can be an egocentric bunch. We love our work, love to coddle and relish and fuss over our words, and if someone fails to appreciate our literary flair we tend to get the tiniest bit defensive.
Published or pre-published, rejections, unfavorable book reviews, and criticism are hard pills for a writer to swallow. Yet for as unwelcome as they these ego jabs are, they produce humility and help us become better writers and, hopefully, better people. Because it’s that twentieth rejection letter or caustic review that prompts us to wrestle with a crucial question: why am I doing this? why am I writing?
Naturally, writing starts with us. (I have to get this story out of me!) But in time, hopefully, our motivation becomes others—to please, entertain, enlighten, or serve others. Our audience. Yet ultimately, for those who are striving to follow Christ, all of our reasons for writing—feeding our inner artist and impacting an audience—should hinge on our desire to write for God’s glory. To show Him off. To put Him in the spotlight.
Writing for God’s glory. It sounds a bit lofty, doesn’t it? But often we complicate matters and conveniently shut our ears to any possibility that doesn’t neatly align with our agenda—like the fact that seeing our name on the cover of a book isn’t a promise from God but “I will not share my glory with another” is.
Here’s the truth, if we can handle it: writing for God’s glory may not match the visions in our ever-imaginative mind. It may mean that our readership is small—much smaller than we’d hoped. Writing for God’s glory might mean that we’ll “only” be writing for church. Or for our local newspaper. Or writing letters to kids in third world countries. Or inmates behind bars.
Writing for God’s glory means we are open to whatever he has for us. It means working hard, no doubt, honing our craft, heeding the advice of those we’ve come to respect in the industry, but holding all of that loosely—so loosely that if God so chooses to pluck that passion from our heart and replace it with another one, we’d be okay with that.
Easy words to type out; harder words to live out.
I know. I’ve been there.
After over a decade of writing and rewriting and rejections and praying and conference-going, the day I sent my full novel proposal of Mother of My Son to my now publisher was one of the darkest days ever in my personal life. As my finger hovered over my keyboard, poised to launch my baby, a daunting and startling truth hit me: getting my story published, the story I loved so much, hardly mattered. Not in the moment.
My once burning desire to be a published novelist was now a mere flicker. You’ve been there at some point I’m sure; you know how quickly unexpected troubles shift everything into proper perspective, how sorrow can cultivate humility.
And humility is a glorious thing. Or to be more precise, humility, ironically, is the forerunner to glory. We are after all, no matter how many words we can churn out in a day, no matter how many accolades we’ve received or haven’t received, no matter how many books we’ve published or dreamed of publishing, ordinary jars of clay. Ordinary, crude even, vessels made to showcase a fragment of God’s glory.
Right now we’re smack dab in the middle of crazy Christmas season, that fleeting time of year when we repeatedly sing out and prolong the word gloria. As we sing, as we live, as we click away on our keyboards—dare we ask?
Who’s getting the glory?
College student Amber Swansen gives birth alone. In desperation, she abandons the newborn, buries her secret, and attempts to get on with her life. No matter how far she runs, she can't escape the guilt. Years later and still haunted by her past, Amber meets Beth Dilinger. Friendship blossoms between the two women, but Beth's son is a constant, painful reminder to Amber of the child she abandoned.
When heartache hits, causing Amber to grapple with the answers to life's deeper questions, Beth stands by her side. Yet just when peace seems to be within Amber's grasp, the truth of her past and the parentage of Beth's son comes to light and threatens to shatter not only their worlds, but the life of the teenager they both love.