Intentional Influence through Writing
by Peggy Kuethe
Words are transformative.
Recall Genesis 1 when God spoke the universe into existence, and Genesis 3:15 when He spoke the promise of a Redeemer. Recall John 2:1-11, when Jesus spoke the water into wine and 1 Peter 1:3 where He gives us new life in Him. God’s words have immeasurable transformative power.
Language is an intentional gift from God. He also intends for us to use words to communicate with Him and with others. It is the foundation of our relationships.
You are fashioned in the image of a creative God. He gives you words and language, a mind and a heart and a voice. Along with that comes the desire to connect with others, to establish community, to form social bonds. Perhaps, as you do, you feel compelled to share a message, to communicate from your Spirit-inspired point of view. Sometimes a few words via Twitter or Facebook just aren’t enough. You want more space to express your thoughts, to tell your story. You want … to write a blog or a book or a Bible study!
Our words cannot do such miraculous things as transforming one thing into another thing or to give life where there is none. But they have transformative, intentional power. One of the most exciting ways you can influence others is through the written word made public. Thanks to technological advances and the Internet, publishing has never been easier. If you want to publish, you can.
Perhaps you’ve heard that eight out of ten people say they want to (or “should”) write a book. It sounds so simple. Write it. Publish it. Check that off your bucket list.
On the surface, it really is that simple. Scratch that surface though, and things begin to get a little complicated. Writing can be tedious. Publishing can be difficult. And selling—that’s a real challenge.
Eight out of ten say they want to publish, but how many do it? If just one person gets it done, why not let it be you? After all, the Holy Spirit may be nudging you. Your best friend is encouraging you. The members of your Bible study group are asking you. But where do you begin?
First, you write.
- Every writer discovers a process and a work style that, well, “works.” An hour first thing every morning. One day a month sequestered with the computer. Midnight the day before a deadline. Something in the middle is more likely. Find what suits you and stick with it.
- Decide what to write and who you are writing to.
- Edit. Revise. Repeat. (A few writers get it perfect the first time. Most don’t.) (Don’t even ask me how many false starts I made while writing this short article!)
Second, you publish.
- Make an informed decision between traditional publishing and self-publishing.
- Market, promote, and sell. The work you do after you write, regardless which publishing route you choose, is key to getting your message out there, to making it public. (See the second bullet point above.)
I’m writing this on a Monday. Yesterday, one of our communion hymns was “Take My Life, and Let It Be.” The third stanza brought to mind all of you: “Take my voice, and let me sing / Always, only, for my King; / Take my lips, and let them be / Filled with messages from Thee.”
As Christian writers, we have the responsibility—and the joy—of filling our messages with the hope, peace, mercy, comfort, and truth that are Christ’s own Gospel. Let us serve Him with our talents and our words!
Peggy Kuethe is the Senior Editor of Women’s Resources and Children’s Books at Concordia Publishing House. Peggy has worked in the publishing industry since high school (if you count the yearbook and student newspaper, that is). In the years since, she has worked as a newspaper reporter, periodicals editor and writer, marketing copywriter, and book editor.