Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Writer’s Skill/Craft (04/22/10)
TITLE: Don't Throw Out the Pen!
By K.D. Manes
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The FaithWriter’s Challenge piece not only packed a powerful message, but flowed with harmonic rhythm.
I can rhyme. I’ll just follow the same pattern.
After praying about the subject matter, I outlined the main points the Lord laid on my heart. In my mind’s eye, the story and message flowed beautifully. Feeling like my kids when anticipating a bike excursion, I cruised into rhyming and meter mode with enthusiasm.
I couldn’t wait to share my new creation with my husband. It didn’t take long, however, for the truth to emerge. My poetic prose and meter fell by the wayside. (To my husband’s credit, he politely kept his mouth shut until I finished and asked for his honest opinion.)
The rhyme disconnected my message like staccato notes played out of sync in an opera. And, the meter clanked like an old beater truck.
Lord, have I really heard you correctly? Am I forcing this writing dream? I blew that one! And I’m out of time!
He didn’t let me off the hook so easily.
Don’t throw out the pen!
Gazing out at our barren garden, He impressed the similarity of the Gardener’s seasons and the Writer’s.
C – CULTIVATE…The gardener cultivates the soil to prepare for healthy plants. Likewise, the Christian writer needs to allow God to cultivate her heart’s soil. Submitting to Him through prayer, Bible reading, fellowship, and His pruning/discipline methods will result in vibrant lives and words that reflect our Savior (Col. 2:7; Phil. 2:15-16).
R - Read...The master gardener spends much time studying plants. What kinds of plants thrive in various conditions? What are the water requirements? Do they like sun, shade, or both? How much? Similarly, the writer develops skill by investing time in studying her genre of books, articles, classes, and websites (FaithWriters).
A - ATTEND & AMEND…The gardener must not only observe weather, harmful weeds, pests and disease; she must also be disciplined in protective action to keep her plants thriving. The Christian writer should also attend to God’s direction and action plans. Heeding constructive criticism and determining not to throw out the pen when perceived failures and setbacks arise will grow her skills like Sunflowers. Persistence in revisions until satisfied with the outcome, even if she misses the Writer’s Challenge deadline, will further her writing skills.
F - FAITH …The gardener presses on - spading, seeding, watering, hoeing, and fertilizing - because she knows healthy vegetables/fruit, and thriving blooms will most likely result. Similarly, the Christian writer must believe her hard work is not in vain (Luke 8:15). As she holds out the hope of God’s reconciling message, she must take up her shield of faith; realizing the God who creates and calls, will also empower. His Word will not return void (Isaiah 55:10-11).
T - Time... The wise gardener makes the most of the seasons. She must discern the best times to sow seeds, transplant, water, fertilize, prune, etc. Impatience is not an option as plants need time to mature. Likewise, the Christian writer needs to understand her skill takes time to grow. God has ordained set seasons for his children’s lives (Ecc. 3:1). His timing, thoughts, and ways are not our ways (Ecc. 11:5; Is. 55:8). However, His timing and ways are always perfect.
Last, but not least, God showed me: If I bloom into a talented, skillful writer, but do not have love, my words will simply appear as scribbles from His vantage point (1 Cor. 13).
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