writing wisdom from Jen Wilkin

This post was first shared in Issue 3 of the writing advice column of my newsletter These Sacred Words.

I had the privilege of sitting in on a video call Jen Wilkin as she shared wisdom with a group of writers in GCD’s writing cohort. I work (on the side) as a staff editor for GCD and I love everything they are about (shameless plug: if you are looking to grow as a writer, let me know if you would want to be a part of their next writer’s cohort).

So today I’ll be sharing notes from the advice on “why write” that Jen shared with us!

Words matter to God.

Words are the medium that he chose to to communicate his story to the world. If words matter to God, then they should matter to us. Words have the power to create and to destroy. As believers, we must write as one who will give an account for every word we speak (and write). At the same time, there is grace when we don’t get it right. 

We must embrace this tension, writing with fear and trembling while leaning into the abundant grace of God.

All of writing is storytelling. Our words (written and spoken) tell stories. Stories of who we are. Stories of what we love. Stories of what we hope and dream for. One of the most powerful things Jen reminded us was that, as believers, “we have the best story to tell.” 

Writing is also teaching. When you write, you are trying to convince people of something. What are you using your words to convince people of? We are children of God, tasked with sharing the good news. We must boldly speak, harnessing our words not for personal glory, but for the glory of God. For the purpose of convincing people of the best story there is.

Writing can be exhausting. It can feel pointless and terrifying. But as a believer, if you write out of a love for God and for his glory, you will be able to write no matter how many people you reach, no matter the response to your words. 

There is a level of self-forgetfulness that must come from our writing as Christians. 

If you need affirmation from your writing, you’ll likely stop writing pretty fast. Your motive cannot be the metrics and the responses. Rather, boldly share the good news, pointing to the One who has told the best story.

Apart from Christ, we are not sufficient for the task of writing. But we are in Christ. Therefore we can fearlessly proclaim the timeless truths we know about God, illuminating the beauty of his character for HIS GLORY and for the good of all people.

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