Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Writer’s Skill/Craft (04/22/10)
TITLE: Writing for God
By Edmond Ng
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what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. (1 John 1:3-4 NAS)Some years ago, I had the privilege of studying Christian Journalism as one of the subject units for a course at a Bible seminary. The main text used for teaching the unit was the book by Kathryn Lindskoog, Creative Writing: For People Who Can’t Not Write. In this book, the author suggested a number of areas writers should pay attention to in order to reach out to their readers.
First, write creatively, because the world will never be starved for want of wonders.
Second, write simply and correctly, not necessarily with large vocabulary, but with untangled thinking to keep sentences from going awry.
Third, avoid pitfalls and pratfalls, as they can make the writer look foolish sidestepping into the booby traps of misspelling or overwriting.
Fourth, show instead of tell. Make familiar things new and make new things familiar.
Fifth, write something funny or at least interesting. Write things that please the ear, tease the brain or ease the heart.
Sixth, think up ideas that can make some earnings out of writing. Get published, paid and read.
Seventh, let the readers see and hear what is going on for themselves instead of interpreting and summarizing it for them.
Eighth, continue to strive to do better and stretch the limits, because with each new piece of writing, it usually gets more difficult than easier.
All the pointers mentioned so far are good advices for writers to put into practice. However, if our desire is to write for God and our target readers are Christians or pre-believers, then we will need to look into other pointers as well. Here are some pointers from me.
Ninth, get to the heart of the matter. In order for us to get to the readers’ hearts, we must write with a heart that cares enough to want to know what matters to them.
Tenth, write the truth (Ecclesiastes 12:10). Do not just write what ease the readers’ hearts or what they like to hear. Write what we have seen and heard that our readers may have fellowship with us and with God (1 John 1:3-4). If writing Christian fiction, our plot can include true to life examples, like our own experiences or those of other people we know.
Eleventh, seek inspiration from God and ask of Him what He would have us write. God knows what our target readers need more than we do.
Twelfth, use scriptural references to substantiate claims or teachings when writing devotionals or Christian non-fiction. Use Bible-based principles to exemplify the characters in the story when writing Christian fiction.
Apart from the pointers mentioned in this article, there are of course many other areas we need to consider as writers. This article merely touches the tip of the iceberg what’s involved in the writers’ craft. In the real world, writing skills are very much dependent on one’s own flair for writing, the degree of our creativity, the inspiration we received from God, and the talent He has given us.
When we write for God, therefore, let us consider where we stand in choosing what story to tell. Let us ask ourselves whether we should write to please our readers and increase our earnings, or write the truth to speak to the hearts and risk not receiving our deserving returns?
Look into our hearts and spirits Lord, that we may with the skill You bestow on us, write what reaches the hearts of man. Help us dear Lord not to seek for our own riches, to change what we write just to meet the whims of what our readers desire to hear. Inspire us Lord and let us know what You would have us write that we may touch some souls and lead some back to You.
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