Thursday, October 4, 2012

Is Writing Christian Fiction Self-Serving?

Do you pour your energy into writing stories, but secretly wonder if it’s how God wants you to use your time? Do you crave that elusive first, or next, contract that will vindicate all the time and money you’ve invested?

This week I received an email from such a writer. She feels guilty that she’s putting so much energy into a “hobby that seems so self-serving”.

I disagreed. For me, writing Christian fiction has always been about ministering to people. Kept in balance, that’s neither a hobby or self-serving.

In many ways the writing journey parallels a foreign missionary’s training.

A missionary can spend years at Bible college and in language training, much like the years we spend learning the craft of writing.

Then they often have to spend time working other jobs while they raise support, while writers save up to attend a writing conference to meet with editors and agents.

Missionaries, who settle in a tribal village, may have to continue their language training for years, before they’re fluent enough to begin Bible teaching. I know I wrote many manuscripts before I grasped the essential elements of a good story.

Meanwhile these missionaries teach by example. The villagers pay close attention to how they respond to various situations.

Ever think about what you’re teaching those around you by how you respond to those rejection letters?

Along the way, these missionaries grow in their own faith. Learning the lessons they need to learn before they are ready to teach others.

Sound familiar in your own writing journey?

They often have to come to the end of themselves, too. Life in a primitive village is hard. Way too hard, when the fruit of their labor seems so far off. If it were up to them alone, they would have quit long ago. But they aren’t alone. God walks along side them, equipping them for each step.

He does the same for each one of us.

Moreover, seeing the fruit of missionaries who have stuck it out encourages newer ones to persevere. And that fruit may come in ways you don’t expect long before, or if ever, your words published.

Your Turn: If you knew your stories would only touch one other life, would you still write?

Award-winning author, Sandra Orchard hails from Ontario, Canada. She writes for Love Inspired Suspense and Revell Publishing (June 2013).

Critical Condition, described by Romantic Times Magazine as a “wonderful tribute to spouses struggling with a loved one’s illness," is the third book in her Undercover Cops series from LIS.


  1. Hi Sandra,
    I agree with all this. What's more, the number of people writers may get to touch through a single book may be far, far more than the missionary - limitless, in fact. Our words are sent out across the world and we may never hear the impact they make. There is no time limitation either. They may still be making the same impact 100 years from now, for all we know.
    As for your question at the end, I really don't enjoy pondering that one.

  2. My grandmother was a writer. She wrote stories for her grandchildren. I recently found a small box of her manuscripts with two of the stories I remember from my childhood and a series of essays she wrote From My Back Porch.

    She was the inspiration for As Grandma Says. Her wisdom and adages have touched lives beyond what she ever dreamed.

    As Paula says, she never knew the impact her stories would have or who they would touch. But God did and does.

    Our job is to be obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

    Right on, write on!

  3. Perfect analogy. Really enjoyed your post.

  4. Great perspective. I've often thought of my writing as my mission field--the one God has called me to, though 3 of my sisters served overseas.

  5. Loved this post. Writers usully write because they cannot do otherwise. We are blessed when God lets others read and be encouraged, challenged, inspired by our words.

  6. I'm so pleased to read your comments, that the analogy resonated with you. Judith, I love your Grandma's stories! What a great example.

  7. Thanks Sandra. I've often wondered about the time element. And yes, I would write if my story was intended only for one person. I may never know who that one is...until heaven. Sort of like the missiornaries...they always receive news of their labors there...but not always here.