Writing With Vision and Submission
Posted by Jen Slattery-Pheobus
I happened upon today’s post a few weeks back and loved it so much, I asked the authors of Writing Sisters Blog if I could repost it here. Not only do I love the message, but I love the fact that these ladies are sisters. Last May my sister, a social worker with extensive experience with troubled families and teens, joined the Christ to the World Contemporary Youth Writing Team. In fact, she recently completed her second Hear the Word Study and did a marvelous job. I know the Writing Sisters would agree, there’s something special about writing with a sibling.
Today Betsy Duffy and Laurie Myers, co-authors of numerous adorable children’s books, share what it means to…
Write With Vision and Submission:
A children’s book writer shared one of her fan letters with me. Printed with crayon on bright yellow construction paper it read: “Thank you for writing god books.” We chuckled at the truth in the error, god vs. good. But later it made me think:
What is different between a good book and a God book?
As I grow in my faith and as my writing efforts shift to Christian books I want to know the difference. How do I write as a follower of Jesus? What does Christ-centered writing look like?
How can we write with Godly vision?
Where there is no vision the people perish. Proverbs 29:18
Christ-centered writing begins with God’s idea instead of my idea, but how do I know the difference? In his book Visioneering, Andy Stanley presents two ways to know the distinction between good ideas and God ideas:
1. A God-ordained vision will eventually feel like a moral imperative.
Have you ever had the idea for a book that would not let you go? “As the burden in you grows, you will feel compelled to take action.” My ideas wane over time, God’s grow stronger.
2. A God-ordained vision will be in line with what God is doing in the world.
My ideas serve myself or advance my career. God’s ideas are part of a bigger plan. This is not always apparent at first. “Initially, you may not see a connection. If not, wait.”
My idea? Or God’s idea? Will I ever know for sure? Probably not, but I am encouraged that Jesus was big on restoring people’s vision.
Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.” Matthew 20:29
May my eyes be opened too.
How can we write with submission?
Whatever you do work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
Submission means to yield to the power or authority of another.
As a writer to submit means the moment of terror that I experience when I drop the envelope into the mail slot or hit send on my computer. Submission means judgment of my work. I love the story of E.B.White begging the mailman to return his just sent manuscript. I have felt the same desire to hold on one more day.
Can we write with the spirit of submission to God? What difference would it make to start with submission, instead ending with submission. If I can submit the work to God first then the fear of submitting to man disappears.
Catherine Marshall writes in Adventures in Prayer about this Godly submission during the writing of her first book, A Man Called Peter.
About midway in the manuscript, I received devastating criticism from one whose judgment I trusted. He told me bluntly, “You haven’t even begun to get inside the man Peter Marshall,” And he was right, that was the sting of it. The realization of my inadequacy as a writer was not only an intellectual one. It was also emotional; there were plenty of tears. But out of the crisis came a major realization.
In my helplessness, there was no alternative but to put the project into God’s hands. I prayed that A Man Called Peter be His book, and that the results be all His too. And they were.
The book was published and sold millions of copies all around the world. My best writing comes when I give up control of the results and begin to see my books as God’s books.
May I write today with Godly vision and submission.
Writing Sisters, Laurie Myers and Betsy Duffey, have been writing for children for over twenty years, publishing with Viking, Clarion, Simon & Schuster, Henry Holt and Harper Collins. They had published over thirty-five chapter books for children and have had books on master lists in over twenty states. Laurie and Betsy are now focused on writing Bible stories in fresh ways for the chapter book audience.