I’m starting to get to know some of you through the comments here at LYWB, and I’m falling in love. I think we’re witnessing the next generation of Christian thinkers and world changers cutting their teeth—learning truth, developing compassion, and growing in devotion to the gospel. Which tells me something: People are going to need to hear your stories—maybe even in book form. That’s why, when I was recently asked this question on LifeLoveandGod.com, I immediately thought of sharing my thoughts with you too:
“Ever since reading your book ‘Crushed,’ I’ve realized that I have a similar passion for helping young girls going through middle school and high school grow confident as daughters of the King of kings. I would love to be a Christian writer and speaker. Do you have any advice for getting a career like yours started?”
So in honor of her question and all the budding LYWB writers out there, here are my top six suggestions for hopeful writers and speakers:
1. “Writers write.”
That was some of the best advice my writing prof, Dr. Jack Simons, gave us college dreamers. Whether you get paid for it or not, you need to write lots of words. Mostly because the first two-hundred-thousand-or-so stink. So you have to get those out of the way, whether in your journal or a blog or scribbled onto fast food napkins. The more you write, the better you’ll become.
2. Incidentally, speakers speak.
(I know—I’m brilliantly original.) Don’t worry about ten years from now. Just be willing to share God’s love and the good news in whatever platform He makes available to you—whether a youth group, club, big stage, or small platform.
3. Get used to detours.
And road blocks, and complete changes of plans for that matter. I might have an idea how I think things should go, but if I’ve surrendered my life to God, I have to be willing to let Him change my course, whether the destination is a spotlight or obscurity. In fact, I don’t know many Christian authors or speakers who set out to do it. Like Paula writes about in this post, more often getting published is a detour—a “plan B” that God makes “plan A.” Be available, and let God decide where He can best use you. He always knows best. You can trust Him with your life!
4. Love and serve the people in front of you.
God doesn’t give us personalized career paths in Scripture, but He does call us to love and serve the people around us. If you’re drawn to teens, share God’s love with the kids in your church’s youth group, or host a small group Bible study. Some of my favorite ministry moments happened with a group of eight girls in our tiny apartment living room! That one-on-one relationship you build with the people around you is kingdom work at its finest. Never let publishing a book become your marker of success (this is a great post about that).
5. “You worry about the depth of your ministry, and let God take care of the breadth.”
That’s a gem author Dannah Gresh shared with me, and God has been massaging that wisdom deeper and deeper into my heart. I love this video from Mike Donehey (lead singer of Tenth Avenue North) called Get Smaller. We have to fight the temptation to want a bigger stage, and instead spend our energy on making what we do matter for eternity.
6. Don’t romanticize the dream.
Getting to share with people through speaking and writing is awesome on so many levels, but doing those things as a career isn’t all puppy dogs and chocolate. While you’re dreaming, don’t forget to factor in reality. Traveling takes a toll. Most of us get paid about as much as a wannabe musician trying to make it in Nashville. Spiritual warfare ain’t no walk in the park either. Of course, if God calls you to it, the pros far outweigh the cons (most days. Just keepin’ it real.) As Jesus said, it’s wise to count the cost before you jump in (see Luke 14:26–30).
I’ll close by adding that I didn’t set out to make this my career. Nope. My dream was to be a travel writer for National Geographic. Go figure. But I made myself available to God, and in a slow, round-about way—starting with a small group of junior high girls and working as an editorial assistant at a Christian publishing company—He has opened doors to share my heart and His Word with girls around the world. My best advice is to give God the reins of your life and follow where He leads. It will be an adventure, I promise you that!
I want to know: Have you ever dreamed of being a writer or speaker? Or do you have another dream brewing in your heart?
PS: Revive Our Hearts is hosting an event to equip women of all ages to minister to other women in Indianapolis September 25–26. LYWB.com’s very own Erin Davis and Paula Hendricks will be speaking in breakouts about writing and speaking. We’d love to see you there!