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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Ready to get back to work after the busy holidays? It's time to dust the off that keyboard, shake the garland loose from the old brain cells, and start creating fresh new ideas. Spectacular new plot twists. Wonderful new characters that sparkle with that something special that will make editors sit up and sigh with pleasure.

As most of you know, I’m on the Board of the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writer’s Conferences, so throughout the year, I receive updates from Marlene Bagnull, the director, on Conference matters. And in the fall, she will send me the “theme” for the coming year. Now, one of the things I love about Marlene is that she doesn’t just come up with a theme—she prays and prays and stays before the Lord until He tells her what the theme is to be. So, when she sends me that theme, I typically glance at it, say okay and that’s that. But this last fall, when she sent me the theme, I glanced at it and went to print it out and put it in the conference folder when it hit my spirit with all the force of a runaway 18-wheeler. “Not with words only, but also with power.” Talk about a fresh word for the new year.

If you’re anything like me, you can get so lost in the creation of a plot, the twists, the turns, the red herrings, the characters, the motivations, and the mechanics of the crime, that you can overlook something more important than any of those things. The power behind your words.

When I first started studying for the ministry, I was reminded that we can never minister to anyone out of our own “flesh,” because as scripture states, “the flesh will profit them nothing.” So it is with our writing. There are thousands of books published every year, but how many of them are changing lives? How many of those books are making the reader stop after finishing the book with a desire to pray? Or with a desire to get closer to the Lord? Or have a relationship with the Lord that one of our characters has?

There is a book I wrote once (no it isn’t published yet, but one of these days…) that I sent to a friend of mine to edit for me. I knew she was from a totally different denominational background and felt that if she could enjoy this book, it stood a good chance of crossing all denominational lines. She called me a few days later to “complain” to me about the book. It wasn’t that she wasn’t enjoying the book—she was. Her problem, she said, was that she couldn’t put the book down except to fall on her face and pray, asking the Lord for a closer relationship with Him and begging Him to do whatever it took for her to walk with Him the way one of my characters in the book did. She then refused to return the manuscript to me because she said there was so much depth in it, she could read it numerous times and get something fresh out of it each time she read it.

Now, wouldn’t we all love to put out stories that someone would read and pass on because they wanted to read it and re-read it and re-read it, so they’d tell their family and friends to go buy their own copy?We write for the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and we need to remember that without Him in and through our books—not with words only, but also with power—our books are nothing more than a nice little entertaining diversion for a couple of hours and then quickly forgotten. But if we can start every day asking Him to come in and saturate our words and our ideas with His Spirit, He will breathe a power into those words to touch our readers with something of Himself that we can never give them.

Wanda Dyson


Blogger Julie Dearyan said...

Great thoughts, Wanda. And so true. It is not in our own power. How come it is so easy to forget that? Loved your post.

3:53 PM  

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