The Word for Writers
A Common Goal
by Sherry Hoffcastle
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A Common Goal
Have you ever noticed how being a Christian feels an awful lot like being a writer? There is an uncanny amount of similarities between the two. From the way we need constant fellowship to keep moving forward, to the dreaded red ink, Christians and writers alike are striving to meet that end-all goal: to hear from our commander in charge, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. I’d like you to come and work for me.” Here are some examples of how Christianity and writing mirror each other. May we lift up, encourage and strengthen each other as we strive toward greatness in every area of our lives.
The goal of every serious writer is to get published. We work long hours perfecting our craft, making it the very best it can be. We know we’ll never be perfect but we sure strive for it. Christianity is the same way. We strive for perfection, though we know that in this world, it is very hard, if not impossible to attain. Yet we keep going because our goal at the end of this life is to hear, “Well done. I’d like you to come and live with me and serve me for all of eternity.” Just as an editor expects our best at all times, so it is with God. It is our responsibility both as writers and as Christians to give the world the very best that we have to give. In so doing, we not only grow but help others grow as well.
Every writer knows that if we don’t write, we won’t improve. If we have any hope of making money or getting exposure, we must continue writing despite all the discouragements. We get rejected more often than we succeed but we know that if we give up, we have failed. We must keep going at all costs. Being a Christian is no different. If we give up or go backwards we will not receive our reward and we will not grow. It is necessary to keep practicing if we expect results. No matter how painful, uncomfortable, intolerable, or unacceptable our circumstances may be, we must remember our goals. We are aiming for perfection and giving up is simply not an option. We must persevere.
“I am the true vine, and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
– John 15:1-8
Self -knowledge will only get us so far. We must be willing to stretch ourselves and do the appropriate research needed to write a good paper. For the Christian, it’s absolutely imperative for growth to read the Word of God and be willing to listen to wise instruction. Believing that we‘ve arrived and already know everything there is to know is dangerous and egotistical. We must be willing to learn from a variety of sources outside of ourselves, including those in authority or those spiritually or physically older.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
Constructive criticism is painful but necessary. We must take the good with the bad and accept it graciously. Life is not going to be sun-shiny, flowery, and full of warm fuzzies all the time. Occasionally we’re going to be corrected and we need to take these corrections as stepping- stones toward greatness. A wonderful thing about red-ink moments- painful as they are, they keep us humble and willing to learn and grow.
Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end, you will be wise.
For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man, but God who gives you His Holy Spirit.
–1 Thess 4:7-8
Without the help of others skilled in our field, our chances of success go way down. As writers and Christians alike, we need the fellowship of one another for encouragement, instruction, correction, and prayer. It is in gathering together that we grow and strengthen each other. It is in banding together for a common goal that goals are met and battles are victorious. We simply need each other.
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.
–1 John 1:7
The road of the Christian writer is often perilous, painful, and completely unpredictable. Not only do have the crazy day to- day life we live, we have struggles that pertain exclusively to those in our field. Nobody understands rejection better than we do. Nobody knows the heartache of creating something truly beautiful, only to have it desecrated with painfully cryptic comments that demand a re-write better us. We bear each other’s burdens with the grace of a finely trained athlete, carrying the load of our brothers and sisters and catching each other when we’re about to collapse in defeat. Writing for the Lord is challenging, exhausting, and completely, gloriously wonderful. We have a higher purpose than others. We strive to win souls for the kingdom of God. Let us continue to lift each other up, and never lose sight of why we do what we do. We write for the Lord as we live for Him. Let’s shine brighter than the angels themselves. Let’s dance our way toward heaven and thank Him for the amazing gift he’s given us. For it is truly, an amazing gift we’ve been given.
May God richly bless you and may you hear those precious words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come and work for me.”
In Christian love,
© Sherry Castelluccio
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Sherry, I enjoy reading this. I never thought of comparing Christian life to writer's life. Perfection is very difficult to attain both as a writer and as a Christian,and yet God uses my imperfections so I will depend more on Him. Keep on writing for His glory! Love in Christ, Gloria