This is the fifth in a series of posts on various types of writers I think would be worthwhile giving our attention to. Those with military and missionary service in their backgrounds, young writers, and creative writers can each contribute to the conversation in the church as they each have perspectives different than what we see and hear around us today.
A persistent and humble writer might fit into these first four categories or be a fifth type. So, what does it mean to be a voice of humility?
For my purposes today, a humble writer has repeatedly tried and failed as a writer; and God picked them up off the floor, dusted them off, and gave them the courage and strength to continue forward in their work.
Publishing is a “failure” business. Things are tried and often fail. We learn from these failures and keep trying new things. Some of them succeed, but most do not.
A writer who hasn’t seen a measure of success in their writing likely hasn’t failed enough or hasn’t risked much out of fear of any kind of failure. If you write only one thing and it is rejected, write another thing, and another. Failure is the doorway to success. So, keep writing.
Writers humbled by publishing and who press forward, relying on God’s strength and not giving up, form the fabric of the Christian author community worldwide.
Persistent writers are important. Why? Because regardless of what they write, fiction or nonfiction, for adults or children …
Their work has been tested by fire. Rejection and critique are the refiner’s fire for the writer. Even successful self-published authors expose themselves to critique and editing, allowing someone else to speak into their work.
They have first-hand experience of how God “parents” his children. God is a good Father who desires his children to grow in grace and truth. Sometimes this happens through blessing them, but often it comes through allowing difficulty and failure. He works all things together for the good of his children, which is another form of blessing. This perspective is invaluable.
They hold tightly to the Word and loosely to their words. Successful writers know there are multiple ways to make a point. Humbled writers stay true to the truths of God’s Word but know there might be a better combination of words to get a point across than the ones they used in the first, second, or third drafts of their book.
They have a thankful heart. Thankfulness is the grout that smooths over the wounds and cracks in one’s heart. Those who have been writing for a while are thankful for the people who have helped them over the years. They realize it isn’t about them alone.
Persistent writers can come in all forms, even those mentioned in previous examples of important writers. But often they are simply those who have been unwavering in their commitment to writing, with God’s grace, of course.
Humble writers write differently. Readers can tell.
For the other posts in this series:
Why Military Writers Are Important
Why Missionary Writers Are Important
Why Young Writers Are Important
Why Creative Writers Are Important
It should come as no surprise
that I really dislike Zoom,
because I think that all should rise
when I enter and then leave a room,
that I hear scrape of pushed-back chairs,
see nods that each are really bows;
it’s not that I will put on airs,
but I’m truly certain this is how
I should be treated when I deign
to mingle with the folk at large,
and not be called on to explain
why I know that I’m in charge,
for that’s breach of humility,
which is hard enough, mate, when you’re me.
Oh, Andrew!! You crack me up! Terrific satire (and so true of our secret egos!!).
(BTW, our small group prayer leader prayed, so fervently for you Monday night when I shared with our group your prayer request. Just wanted you to know you’ve been brought before the throne of mercy with tremendous expectancy and earnestness.) 🙏🏻✝️💕
Karen, I really appreciate the prayers, from my heart.
For what it may be worth, I find that laughter really is the best medicine (Readers’ Digest was right!), and that keeping a light heart through vicious days is of enormous aid.
Not just to me; I make it a point to give Barb really odd nicknames, to make her laugh when otherwise she would weep.
Right now, my petite spouse is Shazaam! The Golden Elephant. Every morning I greet her with my arm doing an upraised trunk imitation, and a cry of Shazaam!
Thank you. I needed this today.
In those dark moments, and there are many, I wonder if my perseverance in writing will ever produce what God wants of me. But I seem to be driven to keep at it. Thank you for the reminder of how this business works.
Thanks for this, another piece of Dan’s wisdom.
Your post greatly blessed me, Mr. Balow. Thank you for writing it.
Years ago, a wise writing mentor of mine told me that learning to write a novel is more about getting to know God and oneself than it is about learning the craft. I have found her words to be true. They continue to carry me, encourage me, and delight me as I witness the Lord’s patience and faithfulness in shaping me into the image of Christ through the stories I write.
May He continue to bless you abundantly and use you for His glory!
Dan— so encouraging! Thanks for sharing it… thinking of failure or rejection as the refiner’s fire is such a beautiful thing, because as we see in the Old Testament, the Fourth Man is in the fire with us— and we emerge, with no singeing and the smell of smoke not even on us. This post is a keeper!
Thank you, Dan, for these humbling words. I love this- “They hold tightly to the Word and loosely to their words.”
I’m grateful you encouraged me to stick with it!
Thank you for this post. I felt very moved when I read that. Long ago we were missionaries in the Philippines. For many, many years I wrote, submitted, and failed. Although my Christian sci-fi books found a small traditional publisher, I’m learning with much effort to market myself. Mostly, though, I’m learning to love the readers so that I can present them with something that will convey God’s love and healing.
Kristen Joy Wilks
Yeah, this really spoke to me. As someone who has been plugging along for such a long time, writing manuscript after manuscript, this lifted my spirits. Thank you.
I am comparing and contrasting today’s blog, “They have first-hand experience of how God “parents his children,” with your September 7, 2022 “Food vs. Medicine Books.” Thank you.
“A humble writer has repeatedly tried and failed as a writer; and God picked them up off the floor, dusted them off, and gave them the courage and strength to continue forward in their work.”
And here, all this time, I thought I was just pig-headed! haha!
Seriously, though, I appreciate every word of this blog post. I’m encouraged to keep going! Thank you, Dan!
Thank you, Dan for this beautiful commentary. I believe God call us to tap into our creative gifts, but we must be open to critique and falling down, to chisel our muscles.
I love this article so much that I will save it as a reminder of the significance of grit.
Also, the metaphor about thankfulness couldn’t be more exquisite.
Thank you again!