Ready, set . . . hold on there! It’s exciting to have a thought about what to write, even to have a dream for your message to reach others for their benefit. But, there’s more than desire required to write an effective article, blog post, or book . Even more important than what you write is why you write it.
Initially, an idea for a project can get you off the starting line, but an idea alone will not carry you to the finish line. Without preparation, determination, and an open-minded attitude of self discovery, you may find yourself losing your momentum and stagnating, possibly even giving up.
Therefore, consider taking some time at the outset to gain clarity in these areas before, or soon after, you get an idea for a project. You can return to these building blocks to establish the foundation of future projects. This will be time well spent.
Write from Promise
First, write down the promises God has given you as a writer. Revisit these promises often. Writing is difficult. It requires time consuming, isolating effort. You will have plenty of experience second-guessing yourself, searching for just the right words, even scratching a piece of writing entirely and starting over.
Stay focused on His promises to you. He will be faithful to His promises. This will help you to be faithful to your writing.
Write from Purpose
Second, prepare to write. Position yourself to have something to say. Every writer should be an avid reader. Follow your interests and desires into the experiences and insights of other authors by reading their work.
It can be difficult to read as much as you would like, especially when you are already having difficulty finding time to write. Therefore, be disciplined with your schedule and prioritize both your writing, and your reading, time. One way to do this is to always have a book and some sort of note pad with you. Whenever you have some down time—waiting for an appointment or any unexpected delay—make the most of it by reading or writing.
Write with Permission
Next, ask yourself: What is my unique perspective on this topic? There is nothing new under the sun. Someone has already written on the topic you would like to write about. Yet, no one can write about this topic from the specific perspective that only you can offer. Therefore, seek clarity on what this perspective might be.
Before you start any project, think of the call to action you want to present to your reader. This is not supposed to be a hypey sales pitch. Rather, it should always be a message wrapped in love and encouragement. Speak the truth in love, admonish in love; encourage others to grow in ways that helped you to love better.
Most importantly, ask the Lord if you have permission to write this. As an author, your reader will see you as a person who has authority and expertise in your subject matter. Be sure you are using this authority wisely and graciously to help others. Don’t ever seek to manipulate your reader—either consciously or unconsciously.
Write with Prayer
Finally, take your idea to the Lord in prayer. Let your idea simmer. Ponder your topic. Approach it from different angles to discover if you are missing key points that would bring greater clarity to your reader.
Put the writing project at the forefront of your thinking. Your subconscious thoughts can be a great help to you at this stage. Keep a notepad with you to jot down insights you gain at random times. Be aware of receiving an answer from the Lord in unexpected ways.
Pray into the lives of your readers. Pray for guidance, for the Holy Spirit to give you just the right words to express your meaning.
Think about a piece of writing that has affected you deeply. Take some time to think about why the you responded to the writing the way you did. Then, try this exercise.
1) Make a list of at least 20 books that have impacted you in a way that helps define your life message.
2) Write a summary statement next to each entry identifying specifically what each book contributed to the way you approach your writing.
3) Write the name of the author in a third column.
4) Research the author’s history. Determine what aspect of the author’s history made the greatest contribution to the understanding that has influenced you the most.
5) Reflect on your own life history. Pray for the Lord to guide you in discovering more fully the group of people who will be most greatly impacted by the specific influences of your own life history.
The results of this exercise will become the building blocks of your foundation for writing. This will become your unique writing voice. Keep these influences in mind whenever you sit down to write. Then, you can be assured that whatever you write will come from your heart, not just from your head. And, your words will impact your readers.
Okay, it’s time to start writing. Go!
Please leave a comment describing what has helped you build a solid foundation for your writing.