Praying to be a Better Writer
Our family does the Netflix thing. Yesterday, Evan Almighty arrived in our mailbox. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s basically a modern-day retelling of Noah and the ark. Admittedly, I was skeptical, knowing how Hollywood tends to mock anything Biblical or badly misinterpret Biblical accounts. With Evan Almighty I was pleasantly surprised. It really is a great family movie with a great theme. And very funny.
But what does this have to do with writing? Patience, patience. In one scene, God (played by Morgan Freeman) asks “New York Noah’s” wife, “When someone prays for patience, does God suddenly zap them with patience, or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? When someone prays for courage, does God zap them with courage, or does he give them opportunities to be courageous?” It got me thinking, when someone prays to be a better writer (as I have on many occasions), does God suddenly make them a best-selling author, or does he give them opportunities to learn and opportunities to write?
Look for those opportunities. When I was just starting out and praying to be a better writer (I still do, by the way), God didn’t just make me a better writer but gave me opportunities to write. At first I wrote letters to the editor of our local newspaper, articles for my church’s newsletter, even started my own newsletter that ran monthly for a year. I found websites that needed content, start-up magazines and periodicals that needed articles. None of it paid but it was something, it was writing and that’s what I needed.
Eventually, I landed a few freelance jobs writing a weely column for my local newspaper (which lasted three years) and writing inspirational articles for The Candle of Prayer company. Finally, I was getting paid! But more than that, I was learning. Gosh was I learning.
Listen, if you want to be a better writer, pray about it, but please oh please don’t expect God to make you a better writer while you sit on your duff and watch Seinfeld reruns, expect him to give you opportunities to write. And look for those opportunities.