Friday, April 10, 2015

What Does God Think of Your Writing?

by Allen Arnold
What Does God Think of Your Writing?

As writers, we often take our questions to industry experts, reviewers and readers. We want to know how they like our story, ways we can improve our manuscript, and how best to promote our novel.

But what is the most dangerous, daring question you’ve asked God recently about your writing?

After all, who better than the Creator of heaven and earth, sunshine and beaches, elephants and golden retrievers to bring the deepest questions about your creativity and calling?

I invite you to spend some time with God on the following questions.

1) God, what do you think of my writing?

2) You’ve given me the desire to write – so why does it often feel like this dream will never become a reality?

3) If I’m primarily writing for you God, would I be okay if you were the only one who ever read my novel? If not, why not?

4) God, do I mostly write alone – relying on my own skill and imagination – or with you? How can I more actively invite you into the process so we can create together?

5) What areas of my writing do I still approach as a “spiritual orphan” – like it is 100% up to me to make happen? How can I move from independence in my writing to full dependence on you?

6) Does my validation really come from you God – or from how others respond to my writing?

7) What is your definition of success for this calling you’ve given me?

Don’t rush through these questions. And remember – even though you are creative, the goal isn’t for you to create your own answers. It is just the opposite. Only write what God stirs in your soul. His answer may be a word, a sentence, or pages of insight. It may be playful or poetic or serious. Don’t try to filter or re-write his words. 

Whatever he says – capture it in a journal even if it doesn’t make immediate sense. A friend recently asked God to reveal what the next step in his writing career was and he heard the word “canoe”. He thought he was losing his mind. Later that day, God revealed exactly what the word meant. It brought tears of joy to his eyes. God may want to reveal more layers at a later time...through you asking him more questions, through a situation yet to happen, or from the help of others. Be expectant...and patient.

If you only hear silence, stay with it. Try again at another time or day. In John 10:27, he says my sheep hear my voice. He is your shepherd...and he still speaks. Count on it. And if you hear an answer that clearly isn’t from God (“I hate your writing”), realize the enemy has a voice too. Scripture says he is the father of lies and that we must resist him in order for him to flee. Part of growing in intimacy with God is that we become so familiar with the sound of God’s voice that the enemy loses his voice.

The primary reason God gave you the gift of creativity was so the two of you can create together. Because as you create together, you grow in awareness, love, trust and awe of your Creator. And when you create from that place, you will give birth to the kind of stories that have only been imagined in heaven.

Asking the right people the right questions is wise. But no one’s answer will ever come close to what God wants to share with you. Follow his words no matter what industry trends or experts tell you.

God welcomes our raw, emotive, burning questions because they lead to conversation, wrestling, revelation, and intimacy. Read through the Psalms again if you have any doubt.

So what does God think of your writing? Great question. Go ask him.

Allen Arnold loves the epic adventure God has set before him. From the mountains of Colorado, he leads Content & Resources for Ransomed Heart Ministries (led by John Eldredge). Before that, he spent 20 years in Christian Publishing - overseeing  the development of more than 500 novels as founder and Publisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction. He was awarded the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. But that doesn't really describe the man. Allen savors time with his family, craves the beach, drinks salsa by the glass, is hooked on the TV series "Once Upon a Time" and is passionate about helping storytellers tell better stories from an awakened heart. 

8 comments:

Amanda Dykes said...

Thank you for this invitation to examine our hearts with Him. Such good questions, such good reminders of the God who has purpose in each moment.

Marlene Banks said...

This was an on time post for me and I'm sure others. I really got the simplistic yet profoundly eye opening point. I thank God The Father for this gentle reminder through His obedient servant Allen Arnold. Know also that Novel Rocket is a very helpful venue for me.

Megan DiMaria said...

Great thoughts to ponder. Thanks, Allen!

Allen Arnold said...

Amanda, Marlene and Megan - I really appreciate your comments. May you experience a renewed sense of purpose in your calling and delight in his presence as you create stories, worlds, and words with God.

Robin Patchen said...

I'm still floating after God answered some questions for me at Mt. Hermon--thanks to your class. There are more great questions here to ponder. If only I could take another walk in the redwood forest to ask him. I guess my neighborhood will have to do. Thanks for this great post.

Allen Arnold said...

Hey Robin - I know what you mean, it's hard to beat the redwoods at Mount Hermon. But what was even better than the magnificent trees were the "thin places" (as C.S. Lewis calls it) that so many experienced at Mount Hermon. Those places where it feels like the gap between heaven and earth is extremely thin and God's voice is easer to hear. The good news is you don't need the redwoods for that. You can experience those "thin places" in your neighborhood or the local coffee shop or anywhere you enter into Creative Fellowship with God. I can't wait to hear where the writing adventure you're on with God takes you in the coming year!

Joy Avery Melville said...

Allen,
You've spoken to the heart of something that's been heavily on my own heart of late. Thank you for putting it into words, and for the encouragement.
As coordinator for ACFW Novel Track Writing Loop - I put out a Monday Morning Meditation each week. I chose a verse today - "The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl." Proverbs 25:11
I asked the Trackers if they pray before putting words to a doc file, asking God to give them what HE wants them to write - and I suggested they read that verse, inserting the word WRITE in place of SPOKEN.
One of the NTW members posted the link to this posting.
Thank you so much! I LOVE God's timing and affirmation.
Blessings,

Allen Arnold said...

Joy - what a great real-life example of how to approach the art of writing with God. Thanks for sharing this. And thanks for all you do to help Christian writers grow in their craft and in their dependance on God as they pursue the art of story.