Most writers have a thousand ideas running through their minds. Add to that pile reader expectations. Popular topics. Hot-button issues. Rave eras. Novels, novellas, short stories, articles, anthologies, blog posts. Oh yeah, there are tons of things for a writer to write.
I’m near the end of my first-to-be-published novel (Lord willing), so this question is hot on my brain: what to write next?
Like most authors, I have a nice little assembly of stories lined up, vying for my attention. At least five novellas and seven novels are “on the plate,” three of which are sequels to series that I’m working on publishing—all of them stories that I wish I could write next week.
My natural desire is pretty powerful in dictating what I should write next (A four-book medieval series about the rise and fall of a kingdom? Talk about enthralling!). My readers also have a strong vote in what should come soon (book three of the “Tales of Faith” series, anyone?). If one is traditionally published, their publishers are giving a solid call for their to-write list.
But are we forgetting something?
As Christian writers, to who does our duty first belong? Our pleasures? Our readers’ desires? Our publishers’ demands? What about the One Who created us and gave us words? That’s right: God Himself. In our journey as a writer, have we forgotten the purpose for why we write? The reason behind our words?
Hmm… maybe the in-between stage of writing is a good time for evaluation.
- Have I lost my focus in writing?
- Have enthralling storylines and to-die-for characters distracted me from my purpose in writing?
- Has my desire to portray a solid message become shrouded in the lure of fame and fortune?
- When was the last time I even thought about all of this?
As Christian writers, we have a higher authority than ourselves. A higher standard than what the world dictates. What does God want us to write next? Have we stopped to ask Him? Or are we going along our way, happily content in the world of fiction, plot-lines, villains, heroes, and heroines? Do we splatter a quick Gospel message in our story to make it pass the “Christian fiction” tagline?
Going through these questions honestly just might get me one step closer to my original question of what to write. It may also bring me face-to-face with my desires. In the end, it will lead me to make a choice—a very important choice. Because a story isn’t just a story. A story is either following God or not following Him. It can either have temporal fruit of popularity or eternal fruit of changed lives.
Do you think God cares about what you write next? You better believe it!
So…what are you going to write next?