Jennifer Spills the Beans About Writing [Episode 72]

Do you ever wonder if God is calling you to write?

If so, you’re not alone! I receive lots of emails and Facebook messages asking me about writing.

Do you have questions on becoming a writer? Jennifer spills the beans on all things writing. [Click to Tweet]

So, when a local 4:13er named Angela Kincade had writing-related questions, I told her I’d be happy to share with her.

Over chicken salad and some really good coffee, I spilled the beans on everything from understanding your call, to writing a book proposal, to reading dead authors, to why social media matters.

And, because I know many of you have the same questions as Angela or know someone who does, we recorded it all! I wanted to make sure I could share it with you too.

So, pull up a chair and listen in as Angela and I talk all things writing. And, even if you’re not a writer, you will get so much from this rich and interesting conversation!

Practical Thoughts and Tips on Writing

  • Understand that ministry is received, not achieved. Sometimes in our desire to be in ministry, we can seek opportunities first and then ask God to show up. But Matthew 6:33 says, “…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Real ministry is never anything you achieve. It is something you receive from God. You just do the next right thing and follow God through the doors He opens for you.

    So, instead of aspiring toward ministry goals, aspire toward wholehearted obedience to God. And, as you do, examine the areas God’s gifted you in and the desires He’s put in you, and go for those.

    Real ministry is never anything you achieve. It is something you receive from God. [Click to Tweet]

    When it comes to writing, this means you don’t seek a platform. You seek skills. You don’t seek an audience. You seek experience. You write. You go to conferences. You read books about writing.

    As Philippians 2:12-13 points to, you take steps of obedience and walk toward what you believe God has called you to do, trusting that He’s fueling and guiding every step. You do your part, knowing that God is going to honor what He’s called you to do.

  • Write a book proposal before you write a book. In most cases, you don’t write a non-fiction book and send the finished manuscript to a publisher. Instead, you map out the entire book first and write a book proposal. A publisher is much more willing to read a proposal and a sample chapter than a whole book.

    A proposal is basically an annotated outline of your book. To learn more about writing one, Michael Hyatt offers advice and practical tools to help first-time authors here at this link, or you can check out his guide to writing a book proposal.

  • Practice daily discipline and sacrifice. If God is calling you to write, it will become a priority for you—and there’s always time to do what you believe is important. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, or that it won’t take sacrifice or discipline. If you’re a morning person, you may have to sacrifice by getting up early so that you can write.

    You also have to schedule writing like clockwork. Even if you feel like you have an unsuccessful, unfruitful time of writing, you still sit there at that computer or with your pen and paper, and you write. You show up.

  • Read books by other writers. Even if you don’t love to read, you have to develop an appetite for reading, or you will never be the writer you want to be. One thing I recommend is to read books that are hard because it challenges your mind not to be lazy.

    If you’re not a reader and you aren’t sure what to start with, I read a lot of dead authors. C.S. Lewis is one of my favorites. Here’s a collection of his books I recommend.

  • Learn to use social media. Social media is the language of our culture, and, as a writer, you need to learn to speak it. The goal is to use the tool, but be humble and wise enough not to exploit the tool to bring too much self-indulgent, over-the-top attention to yourself. In other words, to live the Micah 6:8 life, which is “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” It always needs to be about the message and the Lord.

    Part of the way I manage this is by using social media as a platform through which I can minister. Ninety-percent of the time, I’m just sharing encouragement and prayers to women. And then, every once in a while, I’ll share an event I’m speaking at or a new book I have available.

  • Care for your audience more than your message. Just because you love a message and a truth, doesn’t mean everyone else will. If you listen to your audience—the tribe that God has called you to minister too—you begin to hear their heart and what matters to them.

    Some of the things your audience may be dealing with, the Lord may have given you victory over. You have moved on. But if they haven’t and the Lord is calling you to speak to them, then you need to write for them.

There you go, friend! I hope this was as helpful to you as it was to Angela.

And remember, whatever your calling is, you can do it because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

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