By Sharlene MacLaren
“Hey, God, why am I doing this?”
Tell the truth now. Haven’t you asked this very question? Writing is hard work, and it’s no sin to expect some recompense. Right? After all, we spend months crafting our novels; first, researching; second, plotting; third, drafting outlines and constructing storyboards; and, fourth, drawing up character sketches, always striving to create the perfect personalities to carry out our storylines. Moreover, we do all this before we even write the first sentence of chapter one! We miss sleep during this process because we lie in our beds staring at the ceiling, our brains unwilling to transition into snooze mode because they are too busy fashioning “the” plot that even the finest author has never dreamt. At last, we launch into the actual writing phase, and we devote countless days, weeks, and months to this wonderful new work in progress. We have the highest hopes and the clearest vision of where this novel will take us, what heights it will reach, and the vast number of readers it will affect. We even (dare I say it?) daydream about the astonishing royalties this book will reap. Umm, do you see where I’m going with this? The fact is we do all of the above, but often the dreams we have for our projects don’t come to fruition in the way we envision. In these times, it is tempting, even easy, to allow discouragement to fester. Stay focused, my dear writing friends–particularly if you’re passionate about writing.
What is passion? The dictionary defines it as a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for something. As a Christian, I explain it as something God plants within our souls after entrusting us with a specific gift or talent. If you are passionate about writing, then you have a gift. All good gifts come from God, and when He gives His children a gift, He expects them to share it.
Several months ago, I went through an especially low period in my writing career. My most recent royalty statement had shown a definite decline in sales, and with that decline came an ebb in my mood and a general lack of enthusiasm and motivation for writing. God, why am I doing this? Is it worth the bother? Am I making a difference? Did I misinterpret what I thought was Your call on my life? All these questions, and more, hounded me.
About that same time, I received an email from a college sophomore who told me she had been reading my books, and one book in particular whispered into her spirit and prompted her to get her life with God back on track. Since that time, she told me, she had re-engaged in campus ministry, gone back to reading her Bible and praying daily, returned to church, and had started putting Jesus first in her life.
I read that email through tears, realizing anew that, yes, God had called me to write. Further, He reminded me my writing wasn’t about the money or the numbers; it was about the individual souls. Had I been the only person on earth, Jesus would still have died for me. Well, had this college sophomore been the only one to ever tell me how my writing had changed the direction of her life, I should still have written the book. Do you get it? God doesn’t call us to make money; He calls us to make disciples.
If you are setting out to obey God’s call, then you are making a difference in someone’s life. Believe it! Even if you haven’t published a single work, your obedience to persevere stands out to God, and He will honor you for your faithfulness.
Stay the course, writing partners. God has remarkable plans in store for you!
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
Sharlene MacLaren launched her writing career after 31 years of teaching. She is awaiting the release of her 17th novel. She resides in Spring Lake, Michigan with her loving husband, beautiful collie, and spoiled cat. She has two married daughters and five adorable grandchildren.