Monday, June 06, 2011

The Christian Writer's Ten Commandments

While part of a discussion on a forum recently, it occurred to me that a Christian writer has a very different approach and outlook to writing then non-Christians. Our whole motive is different. Knowing that the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 are tenets by which we live, I sat down and put together a list of ten commandments that every Christian writer should live by when writing. In so doing, we can be sure that whatever we write will be pleasing to God and then others.

So, without further adieu, here they are. The Christian Writer's Ten Commandments:

1. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.(1 Corinthians 10:31)

If this isn't the ultimate motivation in our writing (and life), then we've just missed the boat entirely.

2. Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessolonians 5:17)

Think that's self-explanatory.

3. Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22b)

This is actually the hard part because what if God is saying, "Don't write" or, "I'm calling you to do something else. Drop this." Let it be the Lord that's compelling you to write. If the desire is there, it's strong, and God has made a way for you to do it, run with it.

4. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (Luke 14:28)

Do your research no matter which route you decide to go (legacy or self-publishing). Know what you're getting into and plan how you're going to get there. This is the is just wise. Write it out and stick it somewhere where you can look at it regularly. Like the old adage says, if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.

5. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5)

Lay these plans before the Lord and be willing to change them as He leads. Nothing is written in stone.

6. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. (Ecclesiates 9:10)

No half steppin folks. If you're going to do it, then do it well. Don't put out a low grade rag. Endeavor to put out a good, professional product and work it. As J Oswald Sanders says, Mediocrity is the result of never getting tired.

7. He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. (Proverbs 10:4)

Being lazy is one way to fail at reaching any kind of goals for your writing, monetary or otherwise (there's nothing wrong with making money with your writing. However, see commandments three and four). Work regularly and diligently writing. Saying you're waiting on the muse is another way of saying you're lazy. As the mantra says, writers write. So, as another mantra states, just do it.

8. Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established. (Proverbs 15:22)

Work with people you trust that give wise counsel about writing and the industry. Read blogs and join forums like this to glean as much information that you can. Ask questions. No one is above learning.

9. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

Learn to be discerning in what advice you take. If it runs counter to biblical principles and ethics, chuck it and move on. It all goes back to the first commandment.

10. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. (Ecclesiastes 4:10)

Be willing to help others with whatever knowledge and wisdom God has given you and even to go beyond that. Guest blog for others or tweet helpful links. Suggest books that have helped you. Give and it shall be given to you because you'll reap what you sow. So sow helpfulness.


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