My husband and I are partners in a Christian publishing company. It has been an eye-opening experience to work with people to see their dream become a reality.
Henry has given guidelines for submissions on our website but I am talking about getting from “I think I want to write about _____” or “I have an idea for a book” to when you have a manuscript to submit to publishers. How do you know if what you’ve written should be submitted?
I believe in inspiration. Writing is a form of art. Whether it is with paints, ink, musical notes, cloth, beads, clay, glass, or metal the “ideas” for what these “parts” become to make the “whole” comes, for me, from God. It is a spiritual experience that can manifest itself in the physical. Many have described the bringing from idea to completion like giving birth. It is. It is hard work and takes time, months even years. Many people are inspired but few listen to the inspiration and put forth the effort and take the time to make it happen.
I believe in revelation. The journey of producing the book or the song or the painting or statue comes with physical and spiritual sweat. It can also come with revelation. As the work flows outward the knowledge and wisdom that can be a part of that work becomes more clear. As a writer, I find it emotionally calming to write. The emotions, whether anger, joy, grief, flows into the text and what I am to learn from the words are cleansed from the “muddy” emotions so that I come to know the truths. The knowledge may be just for me. Gifts frequently are just for one person, aren’t they? The revelation may be for me and then to share. Gifts of food are usually to be shared.
If you have been given a story to write, you are blessed already! Like Jeremiah, the story can become a “fire in your bones” (Jeremiah 20:9) that you must write. But the question then is whether the story was a wonderful, extraordinary gift given just for you – or to bless others.
When my young son died, I began to write a book about grief. I thought I was writing it from my professional experience as a nurse and my personal experience in order to help others. I cannot put a quantity on the help that it was to me to walk through the wisdom and comfort that was given to me as I wrote those chapters. I knew that it was also to be shared with others when I received three phone calls over the next month from others who had also experienced a loss. They expressed their difficulty “putting one foot in front of the other”. God had given me a tool to help others take those first steps. It is so important that I take the time to listen for His voice. God will speak. He will make sure that I hear His instructions if I have open ears to hear (Revelation 2-3).
If you hear inside of you to write, do it. Whether with pen and paper or a laptop, let the inspired words flow into a revelation that can be both cathartic and healing. We need more encouragement in our world.