Ashley here! Today, I am so happy to welcome a friend, mentor, and encourager, who has spoken God's direction into my writing journey. Allen Arnold currently leads Content & Resources for Ransomed Heart Ministries, and previously worked as founder and Publisher at Thomas Nelson Fiction for over twenty years. Many of you probably know Allen through ACFW and his impact on the Christian publishing industry. I know you are going to be so blessed by his words about God's invitation to write. Be sure to join me in welcoming Allen to the Alley!
In my twenty years in Christian publishing, I’ve worked with more than 500 authors.
Some of them reached great heights of success.
Others began with big hopes and dreams...that never quite materialized.
And many labored for years and never received a contract.
On the surface, their journeys could not be more different.
Except for one factor.
A place where they feel isolated. Burnt out.
Unfortunately, this desert is real.
Whether you are a best-selling author or still waiting for someone to hear your story, you will spend time there.
But the sense of being alone?
That is perhaps the biggest lie of all.
Yes, the process of writing can feel isolating.
After all, you write by yourself.
And your characters, well, they don’t offer much company.
But you are not alone.
Whose idea did you think it was for you to write anyway?
The Creator of this world gave you the desire to create with words.
Have you ever thought about why?
It’s not because the world needs more stories.
Or just a skill for you to pay the bills.
The reason is far more intimate.
And something most miss.
He gave you the gift of story because he enjoys spending time with you.
To spend time with you.
The art of creating is your unique playground together.
Picture a father teaching his young daughter how to dance.
He places her small hand in his.
She looks up into his eyes, unsure what to do next.
And he brushes her hair back from her ear and whispers, “It’s ok, just follow my lead. I love dancing with you.”
His goal isn’t to place her on the stage to dance alone.
Nor does he stand at a distance – shouting each move.
He sure doesn’t expect her just to figure it out.
He isn’t spending time with her out of duty.
Or so she will become the world’s best dancer.
It’s not primarily about the dance...but the shared experience.
He loves the smell of her hair, the smile in her eyes, and the laughter when he dips her gently.
Dancing alone can’t compare.
Funny thing is - neither can creating alone.
Your gift is actually his invitation into a creative fellowship.
But that invitation often gets stolen so easily in the blur of daily word counts, manuscript deadlines, editorial letters, online reviews...or perhaps the longing for a contract that never quite comes.
So we strive.
We turn to productivity while God longs for our presence.
We put our head down...instead of looking up.
We ask God to bless our day instead of expectantly asking what his plans are.
And when we finally look up, we’re off the dance floor.
Back in the desert.
Your identity goes far deeper than being a writer.
At your core, you are a son or daughter of the Father.
He knows you by name.
For who you are...not what you do.
God’s primary desire is not that we write about him.
Or even for him.
It’s that we write with him.
The invitation is always towards intimacy.
Because you can’t write a better story than you’re living.
May you never write alone again.
Do you ever feel isolated in the writing journey? How does this perspective of God's heart challenge our focus on productivity? Allen will be stopping by throughout the day, so feel free to address questions or comments you may have directly to him as well as to the rest of the Alley Cats!