July 5, 2014

Knowing what and when to write


Most writers wonder where or how to start when they first begin to write, but seasoned writers also have difficulty discerning which subject or story idea to focus on next. Assuming you have prayed for God’s guidance, just begin with whatever God brings to your mind. For example:

• Make a list of the Bible verses that speak to you often.

• Consider your Life Themes such as encouraging people or ministering healing to the church.

• Keep a diary, notebook, scrapbook, or journal.

• Practice journaling in a written conversation with God.

• List stories in your life that might make illustrative works of fiction.

• Start an "Idea Folder" on your favorite topics, interests, and places you would like to go.

• Jot down dreams, thoughts, and insights that come to you on awakening.

• Write down every idea God brings to mind for a story, article, or book.

If an idea or subject comes up again and again, prayerfully consider this as the start of a writing project, then let your imagination play. Have fun with the possibilities. Get comfy. Relax. Focus on a central topic or story idea, then let your thoughts flow. Write down everything that comes to mind without censoring yourself or eliminating any possibilities at this point. Later, you can cut or insert words as you revise.

Why wait? Writing and editing involve two separate tasks and actually use two different parts of the brain. By separating those aspects of your work into different time slots, you’ll avoid short-circuiting yourself!

Writing takes time. Revising takes time. So you might be wondering what you’ll do when you have no time to spare. Simple! Use snatches. A minute here or a half-hour there, waiting around for something, can offer writing moments you might not have realized were yours. For example, consider how “Tweeting” in 140 characters sounds inconsequential, but spending only a few minutes a day on Twitter for four years gave me 147 single-spaced, typewritten pages!

Although a well-written manuscript consists of more than tweets, notes, and fleeting thoughts, a little time at the beginning of a writing project can save you all sorts of time (and grief!) as you proceed. For example, almost every type of writing needs an underlying theme and purpose with an appropriate audience in mind. A favorite Bible verse can provide that theme, perhaps, with the purpose of helping to increase a reader’s faith in God, Christ, the church, love, forgiveness, or biblical principle such as this important word for Christian poets and writers:

“Wear steadfast love, kindness, and truth around your neck. Write them on your heart, and you will have a good reputation with God and with people too. Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on what you think you know. Remember God in everything you do, and the Lord will show you the way,” Proverbs 3:3-6

© 2014 Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. This above post is an excerpt from the Christian Writer's Guide e-book.

Christian Writer's Guide, Kindle e-book on Amazon