“If you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman.” Jeremiah 15:9, NIV
Dear Christian Writer Friends,
We write because we want to make an impact. We yearn to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s easy to lose sight of this goal in the midst of trying to grow a platform, interest an agent, gain a publisher, and so on. If we’re not careful, we can become so consumed with those pursuits that we replace people with the process of reaching them.
I’ll be the first to confess that sometimes my mind swirls with strategies to fulfill my writing dreams rather than strategies to impact others for Christ through my writing. There’s a big difference between the two, and in case we think we’re always on the up-and-up in this area, God knows our hearts.
Please join me as I write under conviction about five ways to increase impact as a writer.
When we approach our writing with other people’s needs in minds, we stand a greater chance of reaching their hearts. Every reader chooses material based on an inner need, and God can use our words to impact them for His purposes. For instance, perhaps our devotional post about forgiveness or our novel that incorporates the theme of forgiveness resonates with a reader’s current experience. Whatever the topic, God is working all the time.
Reading also involves time, so it our job to write worthwhile words. To determine our readers’ needs, let’s evaluate responses to past blog and social media posts, asking ourselves:
What five topics generated the most feedback?
How can we creatively present those topics again?
What is something new God has taught us about those topics?
It’s also valuable to ask our readers what topics they desire to learn more about. We might possess knowledge about something we consider a no-brainer whereas another person might crave help in that area. We won’t know unless we ask.
Social media is all about appearance: looking great, sounding great, and doing what’s great. While that’s authentic for us sometimes, we need to open up about the times it’s not. Life includes the not-so-great, and occasionally we behave not-so-great. Let’s just be real.
Authenticity looks different for different people, so we shouldn’t seek to adopt someone else’s pattern. For example, some people thrive on presenting a completely natural appearance, but the thought of an ‘au naturel’ video stresses others out (like me, just sayin’). Or, some writers excel at sharing their innermost feelings while others practice caution in this area for worthy reasons. Additionally, some writers pen truth in an ultra-direct way that appeals to some but offends others. The point is, Be. You. God has gifted each of us uniquely to impact the audience He designs for us.
I’m unsure why this one is so difficult to practice. Perhaps we underestimate the impact prayer plays in reaching others, or maybe we’re so excited to share that we simply forget. I’ve been writing for almost 15 years, but sad to say, I usually fail to pray after I post on social media. I have, however, started praying after I share my Devotions for Women videos and blog posts, and I trust this is making a difference.
Writers are creatives, yet a lack of diligence often accompanies this blessing. Some writers excel in many areas, which causes them to jump from one activity to another. This practice doesn’t bode well for writers. Continuing to write through all of life’s adventures remains a must, and it requires diligence.
Instead of carrying out the ‘tyranny of the urgent,’ let’s look ahead with wisdom. Choose a writing routine that works best for you as well as your family … and stick to it. By planning a doable schedule, we’ll experience encouraging results. We’ll find we work more efficiently as well as produce reliable work. Focusing on our God-given projects and commitments will benefit us and our readers.
We cannot be all things to all readers. Let’s attend to the jobs God provides—whether blogging, article writing, online community sharing, and more—with diligence.
Take a Break
If I’m not intentional about taking a break, I could work and work and work. Sadly, those efforts to increase my impact as a writer can result in the opposite. Being a workaholic doesn’t/won’t benefit my writing, my family, my friends, or me. Yours either. So how can we ensure a proper balance?
Set a time limit for daily writing. I struggle with this since I’m a perfectionist. I want everything to be just right before I post or send in material. God is teaching me while it’s important to work with excellence, I also need to limit the time I spend on certain projects. This helps me stick to my work rather than wander off into distraction. It also prompts me to let go of “the perfect post.”
Schedule times with family and friends. We shouldn’t glue ourselves to our computers, trying to accomplish one more thing. Sometimes we must stop. Look around. And enjoy the people God has placed in our lives. Spending time with them refreshes us, which will enhance our writing when we return to it.
Allow time to dream. For instance, sitting on the beach produces some of my most creative moments. The invigorating breeze, crashing waves, and salty air cause me to relax … and dream. Walking, hiking, or appreciating nature also stirs my mind and fosters a freedom, a joy in planning. We should embrace those places in our lives that promote creativity, allowing ourselves to be inspired so we can inspire others.
Thanks for spending your valuable time reading this post. I pray it serves you and your writing career well. I’m endeavoring to improve in these five areas, too. We’re in this together!
Please let me know what topics you’d like me to cover in future Writers Clinic posts. I’ll be grateful and glad to accommodate you.