The other day I ran into a problem with my book, but I couldn’t tell what it was. My character was sitting in a restaurant as he fiddled with a secret and waited for the rest of his party to show up. I liked the scene. It was interesting and I thought it was well written. But something just felt…off.
Finally it hit me. My character wouldn’t actually do what I was making him do. He wouldn’t just sit there waiting for everybody else—he was too uptight for that. I needed to go back and rewrite the scene so it better matched his personality.
That may seem like a little thing, but it took me hours to figure out what the issue was. All I knew was that something “felt” wrong.
All the Feels
Writing is a sensory activity. Sometimes when you look at what you just wrote, you’ll be able to sense that something isn’t quite right with it. You may know immediately what you need to do to fix it, or you may have to wait on God for a bit, asking what needs to change and waiting to see what He gives you.
Writing with God is an act of faith. Just as it is in “real life,” there will be times in your writing life when you’ll need to wait for understanding. There will also be times when you’ll need to start walking, even though you don’t know exactly where your steps are taking you. You may feel drawn to write something you normally don’t write about. Perhaps you discover something is on your heart, and you had no idea it was there.
Though your mind won’t always know what’s going on, your spirit will. God is leading you, and you can trust Him in this process.
What You Can Do
Here are a few things you can do to practice writing with God and being sensitive to His leading:
- Ask God what you should write about.
- Before you start writing, ask Him to come be with you. (Obviously, He is already with you, but there is something really special about inviting Him anyway.)
- Try writing something new—something you don’t normally write about.
- Choose a Scripture and ask God how it applies to you as a writer.
- Choose a Scripture and write about it. What does it mean? What could it mean? How does it apply to a specific topic? What is God saying to you through it? What could it mean for others?
- Stop worrying and just write.