by Sarah Tun
Christian writers need income, relationship, and a sense of fulfilment. I suspect all writers need these things, but for Christians, the fulfillment comes through building relationships that bring with them a sense of purpose and usefulness to the Kingdom of GOD, a need that all of us who have Jesus within us share.
Writing is an isolated profession
How many hours a day do we who write as professionals spend alone at our manuscripts? If we take ourselves seriously as writers, we spend our working hours in relative solitude. Sometimes we may, for a change of scenery, go to a cafe to write, or to a library to do research. But nowadays, almost everything can be researched, written, edited and even published from our homes.
Sometimes we may take a stroll to get the idea juices going, but if we’re contemplating our work, the stroll will be alone.
We humans are built for relationship. As followers of Jesus, we are only one part of the body (1 Corinthians 12) and need engagement with others to be spiritually complete.
Personal Fulfillment as a Christian Writer
We also need to fulfill our calling and purpose. Presumably a part of that Call is writing. But writing is not really enough for us, because it is natural that we want what we write to actually be read by others. That means we want our books and articles to have a profile, to be purchased, to be digested by other people. We write with a purpose, but while our purpose may be noble and our content might impact the world if only it were read, there is a practical element too, which is that we need our words to be purchased if we are going to earn a living from our Calling.
The Practicality of Income
The world in which we live is designed in such a way that all people need an income of some sort to survive. This includes the Body of Believers, this includes writers in the Body.
Book sales are not the only way to earn an income. We can have several income streams which spring from our skills as a writer. Trevor Newport, a brother in the LORD, has written a book of that title (not yet available on line, but soon).
I recently had a chat with a colleague who was feeling a bit low about her current lack of book sales. We’ve all been there! That’s why we need to bandy together, support one another in prayer and fellowship, and learn to share what we have with others, so the Body will be strengthened.
Success is using our Talents: being who we’re meant to be, doing the work we’re called to do
We who are called to write need a livelihood. Some of us may find it directly, through book sales. But most of us will not. So, whether book sales are high or we find other ways, GOD is ultimately in charge and will provide. Whether we supplement our income using our gifts to teach, coach or in some other way help others, let us not assume our income must come from book sales. We are writing to an audience of one, in a way, and He will direct our steps to fulfillment as we follow His assignments trusting His ways are the ways we must go.
Having a purpose that influences the world around us in a positive way is key to our well-being. So how do those of us who have been called to write make the most of our calling? It is through fellowship, building real relationships with fellow Christians as well as others, and using our expertise to help those who are seeking to grow as writers.
As for Our Audience
The message we write should and will be discovered by those who need to receive it. Of course it is frustrating if we are not able to “get the word out” about our books, stories, poetry and posts. But keeping things in perspective, the Bible is the most important book in the universe and many with access to it, who need it for life, don’t read it. There’s that old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.”
As frustrating as it may be for us who write not to be read, we can trust that the Master enjoys our words and that in itself is a blessing.