Evan Zenobia, youth resource editor at Pentecostal Publishing House, offers tips to improve writing to impact the body of Christ.
Your story matters.
Whether you’re sharing your testimony or writing your latest literary masterpiece, your words have weight and importance that reach far beyond your keyboard.
As writers we sometimes struggle to convey the emotions and message behind our stories. Even though the content is important and solid, the execution can be lacking, and because of this, the impact of the message is almost diminished in the reader’s eyes.
Sometimes the subjects that move us spiritually and emotionally are not the same things that move others. I personally have found the reception of some of my own content lackluster and frustrating. Rather than sitting in my frustration, I like to use these moments to assess my work anytime it falls short of my own expectations. I look at ways to improve my writing and ensure that the next keystroke lands with my readers.
In this blog, I offer three tips to improve your writing to make certain your message is heard with the same emotion with which it was created.When we set out to write a story we want to hear, I fully believe that the Holy Spirit is elevated in that moment; all of our suppositions and intentions are removed, and God is able to use us as vessels for a great story. Click To Tweet
Tips to Improve Your Writing
- Consider the Power of the Outliers
A few years ago, I dove deep into the strange and outlandish. I wanted to take a look at stories few people had heard before—stories that teetered on the edge of unbelief and sparked wonder and imagination. I wanted to understand the spark of intrigue that came with the supernatural and the unbelievable. I’m sure we have all heard the maxim, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” I wanted to understand just how much inspiration I could derive from the strange happenings of the real world around us to write something truly compelling.
Take some time to search the local and international news sections. Check out the far reaches of Wikipedia, or spend some time on YouTube, chasing down keywords without much context.
When we find something that sparks our wonder so drastically, it’s certain to captivate the audience you’re trying to reach.
These are all great ways to stumble upon your next spark to write your next project or to supplement something you’re currently working on. Stories that lie outside of our normal sphere can hold a lot of power. When we find something that sparks our wonder so drastically, it’s certain to captivate the audience you’re trying to reach.
- Explore a New Genre
It is easy as Christians to write ourselves into a corner and even easier to limit the scope of what we are reading for fun or growth. I’ve talked to several people who claim the only book they’ve read in the last fifteen years has been the Bible. Now I’m not one for controversy, but just as God speaks to us through His Word, He also speaks to other believers and has given them incredible messages in their books, blogs, and podcasts.
Christian teachers and preachers across the world, both now and for hundreds of years, have prayerfully crafted beautiful fiction and nonfiction masterpieces. These authors enlighten fellow believers and shed new light on the experiences and stories of a Christian life.
If we allow the stories of others to move and inspire us—even if that comes in the form of a Christian fantasy or adventure book—we are allowing God’s perfect truth to permeate every thought, and it will ultimately lead us to craft better stories of our own.
- Write for Yourself
As writers it is easy to chase trends: writing on subjects and stories we see others capitalizing on, or from narratives others have managed to pull one last drop from.
We find solace in the things that inspire us.
It’s comfortable for us to write what has already been explored and expanded a hundred times before. Sure, in the end we might hit our word or page count, but often I find that my words can feel empty and uninviting, as if all passion has gone out of them. We find solace in the things that inspire us. I don’t believe it is a stretch to state that my story is quite different than anyone else’s.
C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were in agreement when they wrote to each other that they would create stories they wanted to read, because either no one else would, and as I’m sure purveyors of their work see now, no one else could.
When we set out to write a story we want to hear, I fully believe that the Holy Spirit is elevated in that moment; all of our suppositions and intentions are removed, and God is able to use us as vessels for a great story.
When we dive headfirst into creating a narrative that inspires us, encourages us, builds us up in the season of our current life, God is reaching down and inspiring your words in a way that will transform the readers that meet your work in a season of their own. When we are in tune with God—when our desires and heart are His desires and heart—the words we write will be fresh and transformative in a way we could have never imagined.
In every situation in which I have found myself writing or at a keyboard creating a new narrative for curriculum or for my own personal enjoyment, I write easier knowing that somewhere someone is writing exactly what I want and need to hear, just as I am writing for the sake of someone else. We are wonderfully connected by God and His church, and when we write for the body, we can rest assured that God has blessed our mind and our hands for a greater purpose and a greater story than we could have ever hoped for.
Write for yourself and write for the body of Christ.
Bio: Evan serves as the youth resource editor and coordinator for Link247 digital curriculum at the Pentecostal Publishing House. He is a graduate of Urshan College and Saint Louis Christian College, holding a degree in pastoral counseling and theology. He has worked as the youth and administrative pastor in Washington, D.C., and continues to pour his passion for the youth and hyphen generations into his work for the UPCI. Evan enjoys managing his team of writers and designers. He is an avid reader of all things Lewis and Tolkien.
Resources and Links
Nathan D. Maki – For historical fiction based in Ancient Rome: readers of all ages will thrill to the action, adventure, and romance that fill these pages.
LaJoyce Martin – For refreshing, light-hearted fictional journeys when you need to step away from the cares of life