May 21, 2008

Being A Christian Writer

I just finished listening to the key note talk from last years The Faithful Writer conference. I thought I’d share some thoughts that Tony Payne spoke on about being a Christian Writer.
(If you are interested in writing as a form of ministry, I really do encourage you to listen to the audio)

Christians have a different world view, a different reality to those around us which should be conveyed in our writing

Christians believe in the power of words. The world was made by words; words have the power through which to change people’s lives. God speaks to us through his word.

Thus Christians should place great importance in words as a form of ministry – especially writing which is a form of hyper speech.

Look at Colossians 3:17 “Whatever you do, whether by word or deed do it all for the glory of God.”

A piece of writing does not have to mention Christ, does not have to be an allegory or have a conversion in it to be a piece of Christian Writing. The fact it is written by a Christian means that it should be from a Christian world view, it allows non Christians (and Christians) to walk a while in a world created by Christians.

As Christian writers we need to soak ourselves in Gods word so that when we write we are able to more clearly communicate Christ in our writing. It would be great if all Christian writers (fiction and non fiction but especially non-fiction) could go to Bible collage but if it isn’t possible we have a responsibility to learn as much as we can by reading books and self study.

Writing is a great ministry, take seriously the responsibility to be drawing others to Christ. Be serious about knowing all you can.

Remember that the world we live in, while tainted by sin, was created by God. It is a real place with many wonderful things in it so worth writing about. Place your characters in a real world [not the airy fairy ‘everything is beautiful’ world that is the context for so much ‘Christian fiction’ and which I have been frustrated by myself when reading].

Know your craft. Writing takes practise, write a lot and learn to edit
Learning to use the right word, phrase takes wisdom, time, creativity – this is what makes it so exciting!
Learn to hear ‘your voice’ when writing.
Read your work out loud to make sure that it flows smoothly.
Read great writers. Learn to recognise great writing.

Know your readers. Write for them, not yourself. Write the truth in love, use your words to build up your readers and encourage them. Use your words sparingly, be precious with your words, don’t babble on, just write what is necessary. Write for the readers God has given us (e.g. write for the 10 people who will read your work, rather than the 300 you wish would read your work).

Remember that everything we write will be judged by God at the end of time. God gives the talent of writing to people; we have a responsibility to use that talent to serve Him.

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