Choosing What to Write

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Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Proverbs 3:6 (MSG)

As writers, we constantly have ideas for stories and articles. Sometimes there are so many, it feels like our heads will explode. This is part of makes us unique in the Kingdom. Not better than others, but different. We see things from perspectives others don’t and we are compelled to write them down and share them.

Choosing which idea can sometimes be a dilemma. Some stories are burning in our hearts to be shared. Others are there, smoldering, wanting to be written. But we avoid them. Maybe they’re controversial.

Maybe they’re uncomfortable because they hit too close to home—issues in our own lives. Issues we aren’t quite ready to deal with. At least in writing. Although that may be exactly what we need to do perhaps by journaling or free writing until we get it all out on paper or screen.

Prayerfully writing through an issue can bring clarity and insights into how to deal with it. There are times we will write things that will never be published. And that’s OK. Those are the times when God is working in us and through us to resolve the issue while he guides us to a closer relationship with him.

Other times, we may be tempted to write a story as a way to get back at someone who has offended us. If you write fiction, like me, we can put the offending person in our story to embarrass them or to exact literary vengeance. Anne Lamott once said, “If my family didn’t want me to write about them, they should’ve behaved better.”

I’ve shared previously about a novel that, for lack of a better phrase, pushed my writing envelope into areas I shouldn’t have explored. In hindsight, I can see this. In the writing process, I couldn’t. I was enraptured by the characters and plot and followed them into places that weren’t healthy for me. It was only after I received feedback from my wife, a trusted beta reader, and a potential agent that I realized how wrong the story was for me. I repented and scrapped the novel (after more than a year of working on it). Part of this scrapping including deleting the story from every device I had used for writing it and then backing it up. I needed to purge my electronics as well as my spirit and mind.

Proverbs 3:6 comes into play when I get into these types of situations. I bring my dilemma to God and ask him to reveal what he wants me to write. And, quite often, I probably won’t like the answer at first because he’ll choose an uncomfortable idea or tell me to avoid certain areas. It may be something in my life that needs correction, an attitude or behavior that’s preventing me from being all he calls me to be.

When faced with having to choose what to write, I’ve learned it’s wise to stop and seek his direction.

Stand on Proverbs 3:6 and know he will guide us to write what he wants written.

How have you handled those times when you’ve faced a dilemma over what to write?


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