Writing With Vision and Submission

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.

Colossians 3:23

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.





About Jennifer Slattery

Novelist and speaker Jennifer Slattery, also writing as Jen Pheobus, uses humor, grace, and truth to inspire God's children to live abundant, Christ-centered lives. She does content editing for Firefly, a southern fiction imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and is a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com; Internet Cafe Devotions; Faith, Friends and Chocolate; and manages the social media for Takin’ it to the Streets, a ministry that serves Omaha’s working poor and homeless. She’s placed in numerous writing contests and her work has appeared in numerous compilations, magazines, and e-zines.

Posted on December 2, 2011, in Author spotlight, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. This is just the post I needed today as I sort through my idea file for what I want to work on ofr 2012. Which ideas are mine and which are God’s is the perfect question to ask. I believe if I follow the ideas God has placed on my heart without thinking about how prosperous it might be, the money will come but more importantly, hearts will be touched. Thanks for sharing this. I really does clarify many things for me as I plan my writing for next year.

  2. Amen! What a great way to start the new year!

  3. This is a great post. It gives us a lot to chew on. A committed Christian writer definitely has more to consider than a non-Christian. Those considerations make our writing more difficult in some ways, but our rewards are much greater.

  4. Deborah Anderson

    I know exactly what these sisters are talking about.

    A few years ago, God gave me an idea for a book. It was in a genre I said I’d never write in. (Don’t never say never, folks.)

    Anyway, I took notes and all, but went back to work on what I wanted to do. And do you know what happened?

    I ended up slamming into a brick wall. I couldn’t write…period, unless it had to do with the book I said I’d never write.

    I recently finished the book God gave me to begin with. Now I’m working on the submission part, as referred to by these dear sisters.

    Thank you so much for posting this. These to ladies are truly an inspiration.

  5. Deborah Anderson

    Excuse me, I meant to say these two ladies. 🙂

  6. Thank you for reposting this. What an inspiration. I so want to write my books for God’s glory, but would be unable to do that without his input.

  7. Thank you for this article. To find that which is above and bring it paper. To vision His Presence with characters and storyline. These things drive me in writing as often as this week. What if…(fiction writer here),…, what if you could read Acts 2, then open a door into that world, feel the turbulence, the Power of His Spirit, see how people turn to Him by the thousands, and how He gives Boldness, and Healing, and etc. What if…, that same Spirit entered your writing? What would you do? What would your characters do?
    What if Ephesians six came to life around us, letting us see angels and darkness duking it out over us?
    What if the warnings for Israel in Isaiah 5 applies to us today?
    Woe then to my characters who heed not his way.
    What do you think? Are His Words in your writing? Terry

  8. Terry, those sound like great stories! You best get writing. 😉

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