Hey, Visionaries! Today I'm reposting an article I wrote last year for Sky's the Limit Press; if you've never heard of Sky's the Limit, it's a little indie press run by my friend Grace A. Johnson who, in my book, has won the award for best multi-tasker ever! Lol...seriously you would never guess she has so much going on.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post and can glean something useful from it!
If you’re like me, you want your writing to be God-centered and focused but worry that you might come off as preachy or sounding superior. You want to write about God and His greatness and love, but you don’t know how to do it without coming across as inaccurate or seeming unfounded. Either you write too much, trying to explain something you’re not sure everyone will understand, or you start writing a sermon instead of a chapter.
I know. I’ve been there. As a pastor’s kid, honestly, the sermon side of things comes easy for me. Incorporating Godly truths into my writing and yet not coming across as superior or overbearing is really hard for me. I don’t care if someone thinks I’m preachy, but if they think I am looking down on them or being a hypocrite, that’s not helping anyone.
So, I’ve gathered three tips to help make this easier for all of us!
1: Don’t Write as if You Have All the Answers
You might have all the answers for the particular topic you are presenting, but don’t write like you do. Humble yourself and write it in a way that shows humility and not superiority.
C.S. Lewis was one of the most influential theological writers, and that is because he wrote humbly, as a friend, and not as an authority. Write your answer but write it humbly; let your answer be soft and convincing.
Writing what you don’t know is a great way to keep from being preachy as well…answering questions that you yourself have through your story is always very convincing. I do this a lot because I’m by no means a theology genius. I don’t have all the answers; I have lots of questions, and answering those questions through my characters has helped me grow and explore topics I normally wouldn’t on my own.
2: Use Scripture to back you
By backing an argument with Scripture, you are presenting a better picture. You are giving God’s word instead of just your own. Sure, that might slide you into being preachy, but not if you only use the verses necessary for the backing. If it’s one verse from the Psalm you are wanting, quote the verse, not the whole Psalm.
Also, don’t assume that everyone will know what verse you are talking about and only use the verse reference like John 3:16, which is pretty much the only verse everyone is familiar with. Instead, write the whole thing out and be consistent with the Bible translation you are using. If you quote NKJV, continue to use that version unless you state otherwise.
3: Pray without ceasing
Prayer is our most powerful tool. Pray that God would give you the wisdom and the needed words. That He would guide your hands as you write and help you reach people's hearts. That He would help you to write humbly and for His glory and not your own.
Pray God into every chapter, scene, and word. God needs to be the center focus. Because if you are writing for Him, doesn’t it make sense that you would invite Him to be part of the process? I find that when I pray before I write, I write better! And not only better, it also comes easier. He gives me the words to say and the wisdom to write them in an understanding and humble way.
Invite God into every part of your writing journey. I did, and He led me to read the book of Matthew, which happens to have a ton of forgiveness verses that happen to be just what my character needs. He’s shown me Scriptures, given me humility, and helped me write scenes that I honestly wonder where they came from.
The key to writing a God-centered book is to have God at the center of the writing process. Because how can something be centered on God if God is not at the center? Striking out on your own is not going to work…
Write for God, with God, every day!
I hope this was helpful somehow, even if it was just a reminder for you! I know prayer always helps me, and also remembering that I am not the authority on any topic. I still have lots to learn about every part of life, even writing.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments! I'd love to hear from you!