Friday, October 9, 2009

How can you know you're called to write?

How can you know God’s calling you to be a writer? It's a question all of us have asked ourselves. If you knew you were called, then you'd stick through the tough times a lot easier, right? You'd press on and pursue your dreams knowing you were on the right track.

I remember as a teen I begged God to show me what I was supposed to do with my life. I prayed and yearned to know. Right then. But if I had looked closely, I would’ve seen He was already leading and guiding me through my childhood dreams. I loved to read as a kid. One of my favorite activities was visiting the library, and I’d come home with bags full of books. I loved writing little stories about animals. My sister and I started a newspaper/magazine we peddled around the neighborhood for fifty cents.

When I was fifteen I started writing a story about two sisters. I had no idea that story would eventually become my first published novel, Thicker than Blood. Those first pages were horrible, but I kept at it because it was something I couldn’t not do. That’s another way to recognize a God-given dream. Does it burn within you? I asked Jerry B. Jenkins once how beginning writers could know they were called to write, and he said if you can’t not write you may be called to write.

God puts desires and dreams in our hearts at an early age to guide us into our calling. And why wouldn’t He? Doesn’t it make sense He’d plant ideas in our hearts as children? As Psalms 139 says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” It’s only as we get older that those dreams begin to fade due to the distractions and pressures of life. Take time and look back. Remember what you dreamed about as a kid. Maybe you’ll discover God’s been calling you for longer than you think. Often God will give us natural inclinations as children that coincide with our calling as adults. Have you always had a fascination with stories, books or writing? Chances are God’s put that in your heart.

Which isn't to say you always have to know what you're supposed to do as a kid. I certainly didn't. And I still have doubts. But it's not really even about skill. My early writings were nothing to shake a stick at. And even now my rough drafts can come out a mess most times. The point is, you can always develop skills, but you can’t fabricate a calling.

Know today that God can call you to be a writer as much as he can call a preacher to preach. Words are powerful. Think about this---God could’ve imparted his Word to us in many ways. He could’ve branded it on our minds or invented CDs sooner. But what did He choose? He wrote His words down in a book. How many lives have been changed by that one Book alone?


  1. This was a great post! I have been pondering this very question. I have loved to read since I can remember. Books are my absolute passion. I love to write. I am working on a novel now but keep wondering and asking God if its His will for me to write. Thanks so much for this post. My question I believe is answered from God through YOU! Thanks again!

  2. Great thoughts to consider. Thanks for sharing! I'm struggling with this myself, but I don't write fiction (I do love to read it, though!). I'm getting the opportunities I've been pursuing, but now I'm getting panicky wondering if I can really deliver! Oops, hope none of the people I'm writing for see this!!!
    ~Bethany L. (the Write Editor on Twitter)

  3. Exceptional post C.J. Really brilliant!!

    I used to read like it was water and I was crawling through the desert. My earliest remembrance of 'writing' was dragging the big portable (insert laugh here) typewriter to the backyard and painstakingly reproducing every single word, period and space in a book that I loved dearly.

    Since then I've taken a lot of harassment for wanting to be a writer. I was told all through my teenage years that wanting to write was an insane life choice. People don't 'make it' as writers.

    I, like you mentioned here, can't not write. I write all the time. I'm constantly in process on a story or a script and when I'm not, everyone around me knows that. I'm miserable.

    I've been blessed beyond measure to have people recognize the talent God gave me and pay me for that work. I know that's God's hand in my career and I don't take it lightly.

    When I was looking at career choices (as much of a choice as it was or wasn't) the path wasn't as wonderfully illuminated for me as what you're doing now. Thanks for helping to light the way for others who are asking these questions. It's great! I wish I'd had you 20 years ago! :)

  4. I love you girls, seriously!!! This week has had great posts and have been hitting the nail on the head of right what I am wondering in my own life!!! CJ, wow, you quoted the exact chapter I've been memorizing in Psalms this week :)

  5. CJ - thanks for this post. This totally rang true with me, and this is what I keep coming back to when I'm facing writer's block, lack of support from those around me, and lack of time to write. Yet God still calls me to it, and I must obey the call!

  6. Glad He picked writing for you! I'm excited about your debut novel!

  7. You all are terrific! So glad the post encouraged. :)

  8. Oh, man! I loved, loved, loved this post! It was right on the money and I so needed to hear it!

    I really believe I've been called to write. Whenever I think about my future, the only way I get happy thinking about it is thinking about writing. All I want to do is write! I have to write. I get really antsy when I go even a day without writing.

    And reading your blog post just reinforced what I've been feeling. So thank you!

  9. Hi C.J.,
    Saw this on Twitter - it's my first visit to Scribble Chicks and I'm excited to find you! I have a group called Word Chicks. Funny!

    I agree with you that God definitely calls us to be writers. He has certainly called me, and I confess that I sometimes wonder if He is sure about all this! LOL
    In fact, I just wrote a post about chasing after our dreams that fits right along with this.

    Well said. Thank you!

  10. This is one of those things I need to be reminded of every once in a while. I can't tell you how happy I was to read your blog. I am aiming most of my work at the non-Christian market and this past week has been frustrating and weighing on me. I needed to remember that God is the one who qualifies me to do what He has called me to do.

  11. CJ, I find you in so many different places on the web... this one is new to me. I will definitely be returning, to see what you young (at my age practically everyone is young)ladies will teach me next!

    Like most of those leaving comments, I too have enjoyed reading throughout my life.

    I sometimes ponder how I might have been different without my mobility handicap -- would I have read so much?

    When I began blogging last summer, it was due to an urgency I felt, to share more of myself (thoughts, feelings and experiences) with those I will leave behind when my time here is over.

    As I read your post, I began to consider that my life had been spared up 'til now so that I could write, communicate, to my many extended family members. And, also share how I overcame adversity with people who have never heard of me before.

    Thanks CJ!