Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Discovering Our Calling as a Writer

Pin This!

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to meet my favorite author, Karen Kingsbury. Being able to witness how many lives have been affected by her stories reminded me that, yes, it is possible to write as a ministry. It was encouraging to hear stories about how God has used Kingsbury's books in a special way to touch the hearts of others. 

By the time I left, my passion to accomplish the same in my writing career was stirred even further. I found myself reflecting on my own writing journey and the reasons why I write.

I wrote countless stories as a kid and pre-teen, but I "officially" began my writing journey in 2010, when I was sixteen and naive about the entire process of publication. All I knew was that I had a burning passion to write, a joy that immersed every time I became swept away through the process of penning a story. 

{One of the first "books" I wrote.
Complete with a translation at the bottom. Haha}
Accompanying that joy was also a dream to see my story in print.
I would run my hands along the covers of books, smell their pages (okay, I confess, I still do this), and envision what it would be like to see a cover that represents a story I wrote. A thrill would rush through me any time I thought of how the characters, setting, and plot I craft -- ones that were birthed in my imagination -- could potentially make its home in readers' hearts as well. 

It sounded magical. It sounded surreal. It sounded like a dream.

Which is why, when I received my first book contract at sixteen-years-old, I couldn't convince myself that it was real. It was hard to grasp the idea that the book I'd poured hours into writing and editing was going to be real. It was going to be alive. Living and breathing. No longer would I tell people that I aspired to be an author some day: I now had a signed paper that guaranteed it would happen. 

I remember the day I received the box of books in my mail. The day I opened the package and saw the spine of Purple Moon. The day my eyes filled with tears because this story, the one I'd invested hours upon hours of my teen existence into creating, was officially born.

And so was my dream of being an author.  

I remember when I began to receive emails from readers, the shock that numbed me as I discovered they enjoyed my book far more than I thought they would. The way my heart swelled the day I received a handwritten letter by a twelve-year-old reader, telling me she came to Christ while reading Purple Moon.

Above all, those were -- and still are -- the best moments, the highlights, of my writing journey thus far. 

Those are the moments that remind me I'm not in this author gig for my own pride. 

Rather, I'm in it to reach readers. To touch people across the globe, people I may never come in contact with except through the magic and power of a book.

This is what ignites me to continue. It reminds me that, this writing gig of mine? It's ultimately not about how big I can make my platform. It's not about how many times I'm going to see my name in print or how nice my advances will be. It's not about whether or not I can secure a deal with a big traditional publisher for my next book. 

It's about asking God to use this gift He's placed in me -- this flame that has burned since I was three-years-old -- to reach the lost. To heal broken hearts. 

And to introduce people to a Love greater than they've ever known.

♥ ♥ ♥ 

I encourage you to take time reflecting on your own writing journey and dreams as well. Remind yourself as to why you write. Go back to the highlights of your journey, the moments when the dream felt tangible.

Then, ask God to give you His vision for your writing career.

Not all of us have been given the same assignment with this gift. God has a different purpose for each individual. So how can you discover what your Creator had in mind when He planted this dream inside of you? 

It's simple: Spend time with Him. See if He impresses anything on your heart.

Often, the answer lies simply in what motivates you to write, what gives you the thrill of joy and the inspiration to continue. 

Does it lie in the idea of encouraging kids and teens to pick up a book? Or maybe you'd like to shed a positive light in today's secular industry. Perhaps you write to entertain, to give readers a break in their days by weaving humor and laughter into your stories.

Whatever the case -- if God entrusted you with this gift, then you can be assured it must be there for a reason. He has a plan for it. A unique calling for those future books of yours. So take time this week to be still and listen. See if He reveals anything to you. 

Then, take another step forward in this writing journey, another step toward accomplishing this calling of yours. Because that vision of yours? It'll only come to pass if you begin by doing one thing:

Picking up your pen and writing.

Click to Tweet:
Discovering Our Calling as a Writer via @TessaEmilyHall #amwriting #writingtips

♥ ♥ 

What is it that motivates you to write? What do you hope to accomplish in your writing career? Has God revealed to you His calling for your writing career?

post signature


  1. Thank you for this post! I love writing and pray that God will use m words to help people some day. I love knowing that I'm not the only one trying to write for God. I tend to feel unqualified. Have you ever struggled with this?

    1. Hey Abi,
      I've felt like this. I still feel unqualified. But this gift of writing is from God and since it's from God, He'll be the one to sustain it as you grow in your gift, if you trust Him to do so. The words that are inside you are needed by someone. You may not know who, but God does and He'll deliver it to them. Just write and trust God and shut down the voices that try to discourage you. Your words are too important to be shut down.

    2. Hi, Abi!

      I think every writer struggles with doubt at some point or another. I believe it’s one of the best weapons the enemy will try to use against us to keep us from furthering God’s kingdom with our words.

      However, I’ve learned that simply writing out of obedience and faith that God has a plan is the best way to silence those voices. If you feel unqualified as a person, just remember that God’s strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. I love the quote “God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.” Great words to remember when those writing doubts try to creep in.

      Let me know if you have any more questions!


    3. Well said, Regine! Thanks for offering your input.


    4. Thank you both so much :) That is something that has been heavy on my heart lately.

  2. Thank you for this on-time post!! It's so needed and so true. Sometimes I can get caught up in the thought of "Would anyone really read my writing? Do people need to hear this?" And this week God's been pressing on my heart that those things don't matter, that the aftermath or results of writing and publishing is not my concern; it's His, He'll make sure it gets into the hands of those who need it. But my part is actually doing what He's called me to do: write. That's all I can do and in a way control.

    1. Exactly! I feel like doubt and fear are the number one tools satan will try to use against us to keep us from developing our gifts. He doesn’t want others to be reached through our writing. (In a way, that's encouraging! It just proves that God's given us an amazing gift that has the potential to reach people in a powerful way.)

      We have to remind ourselves that God has entrusted the gift of writing to us for a reason; in fact, it’s a sin if we neglect to use it. When we write, we can instead write out of obedience, faith, and worship, trusting that God will open up the way before us. But the only way that’ll happen is if we take a step further. Then another step. Then another. We don’t have to worry about where we’re headed, what’s going to happen, etc. As long as we stay in prayer and are focused on working for Him, as Scripture says, then He can use our efforts for His glory.

      Thanks for commenting!


  3. With Storytelling Dreams of my own, my path so far might be viewed as directionless or failing as I don't yet have a book of my own published (yet). But, like you've mentioned, God has a different purpose and calling for the each of us. It's taken me time to understand (and I'm still learning) how God uses these moments of seemingly minimal progress to grow and shape us in unseen ways. Also that: God doesn't call us to be successful, He calls us to faithfulness. To obedience. While I still hold to the dream of seeing a book of mine in print one day, listening and surrendering and moving after His whispers is my first intention. Besides, only in Him will the rest follow.
    You shared such a lovely mission in this post. How precious are those notes and comments from the people you've inspired and touched. Keep up the beautiful work you do in Love, Tessa. ^^

    1. What you said is so true: Success, in God’s eyes, is doing what He’s called us to do. Whether that’s writing devotions on our blogs for an audience of 10, or writing books for thousands of readers. Because of that, failure doesn’t come when we receive rejections; it comes when we neglect to continue developing our gifts, just as you mentioned.

      I believe God plants certain dreams and desires on our hearts for a reason. But rather than obsessing over those dreams like we’re often tempted to do, we can instead place them in His hands, trusting that He will open the doors in His timing. The “why’s” and “how’s” of our writing career isn’t up to us, and ultimately, His plan for these dreams are far better than what we could’ve imagined or accomplished on our own.

      Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words, Joni! <3


  4. Beautiful post, Tessa, it really inspired me. Thank you so much for this, I really enjoyed reading it!

  5. Wow! Such a great reminder! I have to constantly remind myself that God gave me this gift of writing, and I'm yet to find out what He wants me to do with it. I also have to check myself to see if my motives for writing are to become somewhat famous, or to glorify God. Great post!

  6. I've been meaning to write a blog post of my own to express why I've been called to write, and how that fits in with the genre that I write in, because sometimes it seems like they might contradict one another, but this post has inspired me to write it. :)


Thanks for stopping by my blog!