Dear Young Writer,
God has instilled within me a passion to write and a passion to learn about writing. My mind often feels like a sponge, seeking to grow saturated with words of wisdom from writers far more skilled than me.
Chances are likely you’re the same way.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to hear several proficient writers speak at a convention. My pages of notes give testimony to the fact that I absorbed a mass of information. It would be selfish to collect all of this remarkable advice and not share it with other budding writers.
Today, you get to read my notes. Or, at least, a portion of them. These priceless pieces of advice were gathered from published authors and writers, and I’ve taken each one and expounded it a bit.
Don’t Wait for Inspiration
Go after inspiration with a club, G.K. Chesterton once said. Waiting for writing inspiration to strike is like waiting for an airplane to arrive at a train station. Instead, run to the Master Crafter of words and unceasing Source of inspiration. Only God can give you the best words to write. Prayer should be the priority of a writer.
Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist
This might confuse, even anger some writers. “I honestly have no clue what to write!” you and I might argue. And that’s probably true. But if we’re truly committed to getting words onto the page, no matter how poorly they might seem, writer’s block won’t be an excuse. Look around. Do you see a man driving? A tree swaying? A clock ticking? Write about it.
Focus on Quality Over Quantity
A gripping verb or capturing adjective, planted precisely, is far better than muddled paragraphs of detailed description.
Learn One New Word Every Day
This is a valuable practice I know I need to adopt. I’ve found it helpful to jot down each word I come across (either in a book or speech). I now have a list of words I venture back to and look up in the dictionary. (Note: It’s important to understand that there is a difference between recognizing a word and knowing a word. If you can’t verbally explain the meaning, look it up!)
Humans Are Wired for Storytelling
There’s a reason Jesus didn’t simply tell his listeners to help those in need. Instead, he painted this picture for them in the form of story. He personified love and put flesh on his point by crafting the Good Samaritan character. Stories resonate with humans and often act like a magnet, tugging readers rapidly into your writing and into your message.
Write Out of Love and Service, not Fame or Self-Expression
I’ve saved this point for last because it has impacted me most. Writing is an act of service. And while self-expression and creativity matter, neither are to be central. First, we write out of love for God, to glorify his name. Second, we write to serve our readers. This means many things, just a few of which are the points mentioned above. Writing with clarity, conciseness, creativity, consistency, and authenticity are ways we can serve as writers and Christ-followers.
Young Writer, our words can shape the world, but only after we’ve handed the pen to God. Our passion to write comes from and belongs to him. That means it cannot be wasted on fruitless fantasies or selfish rants.
Life is short. Eternity is at hand. And our teen years were endowed for the utmost glory of God.
Let’s snatch up our pencils, flip up our laptops, grab up our journals, and let the words tumble.