Questioning the Call

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Are you called to write? How do you know? What are you doing to make that dream become a reality?

Recently, several writing friends received their score sheets for the Genesis writing contest through ACFW. Discouragement dealt a stinging blow to their egos and their dreams, causing some to question if they are truly called to write.

I’ve been there, so I know how they feel. However, if they truly want to write, they won’t let subjective scores determine the future of their dreams.

Writing is hard.

Currently I’m writing the second novel in my series, which has been a continuous struggle for almost a month. As a planner, I can’t write until I know who my characters are, what motivates them, and what keeps them from achieving their goals. Thanks to great writing pals, I’ve finally figured out the plot needed to start writing. Easy, right?

Not so much.

The words that have been swimming through my head like guppies in an aquarium have disappeared. Why did I think I could write? Did I mention this writing business is hard? Well, if writing was easy, there would be so many more published authors.

James 1 is a great chapter to encourage those who question the call and consider giving up their dreams of writing.

Verses 1-4 NIV state: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So how to we get through these writing challenges? Well, verses 5 & 6 provide the answers:

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

If you are questioning your call to write, ask yourself why. Is it because of low contest scores? Is it because of the growing stack of rejections from agents and editors? Is it because of your circumstances?

Let me ask you this–do you WANT to write? If the answer is yes, then ask God for help. If you don’t ask, you can’t expect to get anywhere. God can read minds, but he wants us to come to him with full assurance of faith that he will answer our prayers. That’s not to say you’re going to be on the NY Times bestseller list overnight. But if you desire to write, ask God to provide you with the opportunity. Also, keep in mind that God could tell you it’s not the right timing for your dream.

A couple of years ago, I worked full-time (50 hours a week) in my home-based business, attended college to achieve my degree for my business and tried to write while working, going to school, teaching Sunday school, and caring for my family. Challenging is an understatement. God directed me to give up writing for six months–do not open my manuscripts, do not worry about my characters. I don’t remember, but I don’t think I did much blogging either. It was a struggle, but I gave up writing for six months.

The rewards for my faith in Him and my obedience were so much greater. The 2009 Genesis contest opened for entries. I prayerfully considered entering, but wasn’t sure if the timing was right. I entered my manuscript at the last minute. About six weeks later, I received a phone call that my entry had finaled in the contemporary romance category. My first utterances were “thank you, Lord” because He deserved the credit. God promises to give us the desires of our heart if we put our trust in him.

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  1. Jody Hedlund

    Wonderful advice, Lisa. If we know we are called to write, and we're passionate about it, then we can turn to the Lord for strength to help us through the especially hard times.

    I had a long period of time (aoubt 6 or so years) where God took me off the writing path. I didn't want to give it up, told a friend that I absolutely never would. But God brought me to a place where I was willing to sacrifice it. And it was the best thing. In hindsight I can see how much I grew. So that when finally I felt the nudge to begin writing again, I was so ready! Long story. But all that to say, I can relate with what you went through.

  2. Kelly Freestone

    Great post!
    I've struggled recently with the 'am I good enough' stuff.
    I just let a friend of my be my beta reader for the weekend for the first few pages of my WIP.
    She picked right up on the character, and that really showed me that God is working through me!
    I'd been so afraid that people woudln't relate to my characters, but my friend, a writer herself, really picked up on them!
    That certainly reaffirmed God's guidance.
    Thanks for the advice 😀
    I'm glad God dind't lead me to stop, I'm finding such joy in it these days, even if I'd have had a bad critique, I know I'd strive to learn more…and BECASUE I got a good critique, I want to learn more as well!
    Congrats on your work

  3. Sherrinda

    Oh this is an excellent post! I'm so new on the journey, I'm constantly second-guessing myself and my ability to write. But I love it and to produce something that brings me so much joy (I love to read books!)well, it would just be heaven.