Friday, October 8, 2010

Writing 101 for Christian Writers

Have you ever waited for something that you wanted very badly? Have you spent decades hoping and dreaming for something and then realized that it might happen? The dream might actually come true after all?

I have.

When I was twenty, I started writing. That was the year my father told me that he'd heard somewhere that each one of us has a bestseller inside of us, but most people never take the time to write it down & capture it on paper.

In that moment, I vowed that I would not be like everyone else. I would take the time to write down my ideas. I would write as many books as it took to get my bestseller written.

I wrote five or six books. I wrote and wrote and mailed manuscripts to publishers and waited and the rejections came and I tried again.

And then, I gave up.

It all seemed like such a waste of time and effort. So much for a B.A. and M.A. in English. If I wanted to use those degrees, it would be as a writing teacher - not as a writer. And so, I encouraged my students to become writers. I was convinced that I would never live that dream for myself.

For those of you who know my story, you know that I converted to the Catholic Church after my father became ill and passed away. During his illness, I began writing my thoughts in a journal. Eighteen months later, I picked up that journal and wondered.

It was all there, captured in the pages of spiral notebooks. My journey from Protestant preacher's kid to Roman Catholic neophyte.

And I put together a small article and sent it to the local diocesan paper. They published it. That was over five years ago.

Recently, I scanned the list of papers that have run my little conversion articles and once again, I wondered.

And I decided that I could try one more time. Maybe there was a book inside of me. Maybe the story just hadn't unfolded enough when I was in my 20s or 30s. Maybe the story I was meant to write wasn't fiction. Maybe it was my story.

I sent some sample chapters to a publisher recently. They took a look at them and invited me to send the entire manuscript. I did.

And now, I'm waiting. I'm waiting upon the Lord.

This time is different, though. This time, I have given it to the Lord. Yes, it is possible to offer up everything, even a dream.

Sometime in the next few weeks or months, the manuscript will be accepted or rejected. I will let you know what happens. But the giving has already occurred - and so has the acceptance. Every gift, every work, every effort and dream and hope can be laid at the feet of Jesus. Nothing is wasted in this Kingdom. He receives it all.

Not even the-manuscript-that-never-gets-published is wasted. Not even if its final resting place is the bottom of a cedar chest.

What is your gift? Have you been holding it close to your breast, afraid of rejection? Give it to the Lord Jesus Christ, for He renders all things good - even when the answer is no thanks from everyone else.

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