Welcome to this eighteen-week blog series on “How to Write a Book”! I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with you! At twenty years old, I’m a newly published author! I’ve had an amazing journey over seven years of turning my book concept into reality. My book is called “A Cry From Egypt” and it is set in Ancient Egypt during the time of the ten plagues. Jarah, my main character, is a twelve-year-old girl who is enslaved to the Egyptian nation. She watches as the ten plagues come upon the Egyptians but leave the Israelites alone. She is torn as she hears her mother’s opinions about the Egyptian gods and her father’s beliefs that Yahweh, the God of the Israelites, is on the one true God. Around her is terror, hardship, conflict, and broken hearts as her brother finds out that he can’t have the girl of his dreams. Adventure, excitement, love, and faith come together when Jarah, her brothers, and the rest of her family find themselves at the culmination of four hundred years of history.
I started writing at a young age and thoroughly enjoyed telling myself stories and making up stories ever since I can remember. My dad told me stories as we worked together and my mom read me entire series of books throughout the course of my homeschooling. My dad also wrote my own history and writing curriculum so I got to do a lot of creative writing, but also learned how to write essays and book reports. I started my book, “A Cry from Egypt,” when I was thirteen years old as a school project, and it was just published this past Spring. Three more books will complete the series, which I am calling, “The Promised Land Series.” They will hopefully be released in the next few years.
A lot of what I’ve learned as a writer has been by trial and error. I’ve learned a lot by simply having a God-given passion for writing, a desire to speak the truth, and a desire to research and learn. What I’ll be talking about in this series of blog posts is what I’ve learned through this whole experience. There may be things I miss, or things that work very differently for you than you do for me. As you become a writer and develop your own style some of this information might be completely irrelevant to you. But I hope that, at the very least, it will inspire you and encourage you to start your writing journey and to write for God’s glory, which is what we’ll be talking about today.
First of all, let’s talk about why writing is important. A lot of people today, particularly young children, don’t like writing and don’t see why they need to learn to write well. There are several reasons why I believe writing is incredibly, incredibly important.
- God values writing so much that He gave us His word in a book – the Bible. The written word is powerful, so powerful that that’s the medium God used to give His word to us. The written word of God is His letter – His story – to us! Through the Holy Spirit, God’s word is alive and active and teaches us how we should live. The story of God’s plan throughout history is amazing! If you are like me and have been raised in a Christian home, we often become desensitized to the power and awesomeness of Bible stories. Think of the book of “Esther.” That book is written so well and is such a wonderful story of God’s hand of provision and His amazing humor.
- Stories passed down through generations. I’m sure all of you have a family member or friend who is a great story-teller. Whether it’s sharing family traditions, old family stories or legacies, or talking to a friend about what you did this week, stories are a part of our everyday life. It’s the stuff books are made from.
- Remember… The word “remember” is mentioned 227 times in the Bible in regards to us remembering God’s goodness and remembering what He’s done for us. Remembering God’s works and passing them on is something that must be incredibly important to God since He talks about it so much!
- And lastly, every life is a story! I’ve heard it said that everyone could write at least one story – their own! No matter how boring you think your life is, people can still learn from what you’ve gone through as a child of God. Journaling or writing down important events in your life is incredibly important. One day you can pass on those stories and your legacy and how God has worked through your life to others.
But writing isn’t the only thing that God thinks is important. Whatever you do… Do everything for the glory of God! This includes your life, your work, your friendships, your goals, how you spend every minute, and yes, even how you write.
A lot of Christians want to have God in their lives, but only in some parts of their lives. They want Him with them at church, or on retreats, or when life is tough. But most of the time they shove God into a corner and leave Him out of the rest of their lives. But God wants to be involved in every single area that we love, too, because He loves us. And our ultimate goal of being on this earth is to bring glory and praise to God! Particularly in the realm of writing, Christian books are no long Christian. Or if they are, it’s a very watered down Christianity. Let me share an example.
When I was about 17 years old and starting to really focus on writing my book, I went with my mom to a Christian book store. I hurried to the youth section and started browsing and reading the backs if the books. I was shocked by what I read. Every single book I picked up had romance at it’s core, not God. There was one book series that had a fourteen-year-old girl as the main character. In three books she had gone through five boyfriends and was back to her first boyfriend – at the age of fourteen! God was only mentioned once or twice, and even then the girl was “confused and praying about which boy should be in her life.” When our sons and daughters are fourteen, shouldn’t the last thing we want them to be focusing on is finding the right boy or girl so that they can have a good time? Shouldn’t their focus be on God and growing ever more Christ-like and closer to Him?
Today, the situation is not any better. I was in Barnes and Noble just a few days ago and was shocked by just some of the covers on the books in the Christian section. Our society today has made Christianity worldly and self-focused. We must take back the medium of writing for God’s glory and write books and stories that ultimately bring glory to Him, not glory to man or man’s failures. Don’t settle for anything mediocre. Put God first in your writing, even above status or fame. God is not going to bless your writing if you are not bringing glory to His name. You may have earthly success, but it will be empty, meaningless, and won’t fill the void in your heart that only God and His plan for your life can fill for you. See the scripture references below:
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (emphasis mine)
1 Cor 10:31, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (emphasis mine)
1 John 2:15-16, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”
Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these thins will be added to you.”
Please, think and dwell on these verses and memorize them, like I’m trying to do. With God’s word in our minds and hearts and His power working through us, who knows what we can accomplish for His glory!
Next week I’ll be talking about how to get ideas. But for now, here’s the suggested homework for this week.
- I’m sure many of you have story ideas in your heads already. But this week, pray a lot and talk to God about your story. Ask Him to give you a main theme that will ultimately bring glory to Him but also add scripture into your book in a new way that will make it exciting and make it come to life for those who might read your stories.
- Once you have a main theme, start finding scripture verses in the Bible that talk about the main theme of your book. (Ex. For the theme of love, John 3:16. For a character learning to forgive someone, Matt 18:21-22.)
- Memorize the scripture references above.
- Start thinking of characters and a plot-line that will work with the main theme of your book!
If you’re having a hard time, don’t worry, one of the hardest parts of writing is getting an idea and putting the puzzle pieces together! I’ll share some tips with you next week that I hope will be encouraging to you. And I promise that once you get the idea, words will just start to flow our of your fingers. Happy writing!