Monday, 27 August 2012

One toe in ...

One toe in
What if … God has called me to something but it looks as if it might be a total waste of time, and end in tears? Have you ever grappled with that thought?

When I began writing I thought that I would be writing fiction for children, but after 3 children’s books, the direction of my writing took a very definite turn towards non-fiction, and for years that is what I did. There were plenty of gaps in the market that needed filling and God blessed my efforts.

Then about 5 years ago I went to a conference about friendship evangelism – something I’d done a number of times in the past. It was a great conference and there was a lot of laughter and helpful teaching. But somehow I felt detached. ‘Lord,’ I prayed on Sunday morning ‘What am I doing here? I’ve been here, done all the things they’re suggesting and even written a book about it. Is this a waste of time and money for me? Did I make a mistake in coming?’

‘I want you to write about it again’ God seemed to whisper. ‘But this time make it fiction and make it fun.’ I shook my head, wondering if my imagination was working over time. ‘Fiction and FUN?’ What on earth did that mean?   I knew that ‘inspirational fiction’ was a rapidly growing genre in America, but in Britain Christians were used to borrowing their fiction from their local library, which, for the most part, ‘didn’t  do inspirational’.  For that and other reasons, British publishers were not interested in publishing it. So to write the kind of book that God seemed to be suggesting looked like a spending time and effort on something that would definitely result in a dead end.

You’d have thought that I would have learned by now. There have been many times in my life when God has seemed to ask me to do the impossible. But for some reason I’ve been firmly stuck on this one … arguing, stalling, putting it off … that is until I read these words :-

“It isn’t necessary to understand the whole journey, in order to obey and take the first step. Surrendered people obey God even when it doesn’t seem to make sense.
      Abraham followed God without knowing WHERE it would take him.
              Hannah waited for God’s timing without knowing WHEN.
                    Mary expected a miracle without knowing HOW.
              Joseph trusted God’s plan without knowing WHY circumstances happened as they did.
Hmm! My delaying tactics and arguing would seem to be saying only one thing … how about you?


  1. Your post certainly rang a bell with me. I'm currently 20,000 words into a Christian novel and wondering whether I should stick with non-fiction!
    Fiction is certainly an effective way to communicate our message. Jesus was brilliant at fiction: parables! But the UK market is very different from the US where inspirational fiction is alive and well. So what's the problem here? Are our Christian book publishers over-conservative scaredy-cats? Is our work not right for our readers? Are our writers unappreciated prophets in their own country? I'm still searching for my answer (fiction v. non-fiction)!

  2. I think one of the keys is that Christians don't read much anymore and certainly don't want to buy their fiction - that is what the library is for. So British Christian publishers don't publish it - although Monarch is having another go.I've been quite involved with the US market - take a look at the American Christian Fiction Writers website - they have a conference each year with 6-700 people there. but the question is, could a book based here, work there? Do let me know what you decide!