Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Notes on Writing

Shirley in Ireland, earl's bedchamber.

Everything We Write

by Shirley Kiger Connolly

As I plunge ahead to come up with a sensible writing tip for the year 2009, the one thing that comes to my mind is what I might share with other Christian writers that would be significant to the reader. As a woman of faith, I try to coordinate everything I do or say with something God is trying to teach me.

I spend a great deal of my time writing, not only historical fiction, but also devotional books, articles for newsletters, Bible Studies that I use to teach to women, speeches to give at luncheons, and on occasion material needed to direct and share at large church group retreats. I have to keep one important thing in mind for them all, even before I begin placing pen to paper. When I coordinate everything I do with a lesson from God, it brings order to my life.

"Seasoned" Writing

Significant order and purpose is important when dealing with POVs, when concentrating on appropriate dialogue for those intriguing characters, when coming up with descriptive settings or planning plots. Even when writing nonfiction about an issue that would be
understandable, uplifting, and interesting to the reader, yet timely and worth reading. All of us as Christian writers need to remember the worth of considering that key point that makes our writing and witness worth any salt at all. How salty are you?

Is everything you write glorifying God?

Raise your hand if you agree with me the greatest writer in the world was Jesus Christ, bar none. He knew how to wonderfully describe the greatest of settings, pen the most awe-inspiring parables, come up with the finest descriptive dialogue, and teach the greatest living truths.

All apply to our lives today, as much as when He wrote them. What the Lord said pertains to all women of faith, as writers, as speakers, as visionaries. And if we consider His words from the moment we sit down in front of our computers until the end of the day when we shut down our machines, our writing will only improve. His message or tip to us? You are the salt of the earth… the light of the world. Matthew 5:13.

To Christian writers particularly, the Lord is talking about the influence we have on our readers. With every statement, every declared expression, and every utterance our characters express; we become influencers with our writing. What is essential is NOT to lose that saltiness about which the Lord speaks—that potency. It can easily happen if we do not add enough salt to our written words.

Salt has a healing effect but can also rub people the wrong way. For the worldly reader, it should. On the other hand, your salty words and mine should leave the Christian reader with a feeling of comfort and satisfaction. Either way, we have done our job.

Illuminated Writing

The Lord also refers to our being lights by how we express our spiritual exuberance. Do our books, articles, devotions, or speeches sparkle with life? Can we look at our written
drafts and say our words are alive enough to inspire, or will they fall flat—lifeless on the reader?

God’s vivacious light shining through us through our writing also gives direction. It wil
l lead others on the right path, cleverly and subtly. Our written words should reveal that vitality in our own life as we share it with others. Something like a candle that stays well lit. Have you ever considered yourself as a candle?

As lights of the world, you and I should also write with spiritual individuality and uniqueness because of our determination to do so. Have you ever noted how a well-lit candle does not need the approval or recognition of the other candles to keep it burning? It can stand alone with grace. Even after a bad review or rejection by any editor. Even if that writer has never published in the one place she most desires.

No light of the world will allow disappointment to stop her from plugging away at the computer if she believes she is meant to write and works hard at her craft.

Spiritually Significant Writing

The final part of that tip from the Lord speaks to our spiritual significance as writers. A candle of the Lord shines with significance…even if it is broken or malformed.
Even broken candles have wicks, which will keep the candle flame burning, and always upward. It is that outside source within the candle that gives the wick its light in the first place. Broken or malformed, we as Christian writers shine too, regardless of the condition we are in, as long as our wick stays part of our purpose for shining. No writer should ever consider herself a failure, if she is sharing salt and shining as a light by her witness. Lights will only grow dim in the absence of spiritual influence, vivacity, individuality and significance. Or when a Christian writer quits honing her craft and begins to draw more attention to herself over God.

What again is that important tip for us as writers? To stay as the salt of the earth, as lights of world, to write and share only that which in the end will glorify God.

How vivid is your light?

Shirley has published several books and lives on the Southern coast of Oregon with her husband, Tom. A fiction and nonfiction writer, and teacher to women, Shirley also spends time with her animals, incorporating their experiences with how the Lord teaches people about life. She and her husband have served in the ministry since 1980. Shirley’s life passion is working with women and helping them grow in their faith. You can visit Shirley Kiger Connolly anytime at her website at http://apenforyourthoughts.blogspot.com/ or http://shirleykoinonia.tripod.com/.

Note: Shirley's book, I See God in the Simple Things, is scheduled for release in February. Shirley will be back with us next month to talk about that book - and other things. Don't miss it!


Anonymous said...

This hit home for me thanks.
Madi Rostrum
Crescent City

Delia Latham said...

Thanks for stopping by, Madi! I'm glad Shirley's tips helped. She's a wise lady! :)