Wednesday 7 December 2016

Behind the Words on my Page

By Ray Hawkins

When I first decided to write I had some hard lessons to learn! Would-be writers are told ‘write what you know. Write what you like to read the most!’ Great advice. As I reflected upon it however, I felt short-changed. I liked to read westerns and war stories. Could I write them? No! I hadn’t experienced what I liked to read. That was depressive. Good-bye fame and fortune.

Life took a dramatic turn when the Lord Jesus stepped on my toes and my heart opened to His presence. I loved His Word. Now, I’m far from being a scholar or theologian but I wanted to share my Lord and His teachings. But how? Not being a novelist and being ignorant of Point of View and unimaginative in dialogue there was no best seller poised on my fingertips. Once, I sent a short, very short story to a magazine competition with some money for the contest fee. Sometime later both were returned accompanied by a note. In brief, it said ‘hopeless, don’t send anymore!’ I wanted to write. I had something to say even though others had said the same things their way. What burned in the ‘fireplace of the soul’? Devotional teaching! 

I had words and I had a pen. That’s a dangerous combination. But I was determined to ‘build a book.’ However, as I tried to bring construction out of chaos the finished work was lifeless. In the pleasure of God He had to take me from theory to reality through learning the art. Then from learning by listening I had to wrestle with lessons learnt. This involved assembling words coherently on paper without presuming the reader would know what I meant, even if left unstated. Many a tree has been sacrificed in the form of crumpled paper on the floor in my effort to be readable, understandable and marketable! But even then one thing was missing.

I had the framework. I had the longing to inform. I had contacts. What didn’t I have? I didn’t have Passion! The words on the page had been chipped out of the freezer of my mind. Cold, correct, calculating and conceited. The Lord needed to replace the ‘freezer’ with the ‘fireplace’ of personal discovery birthing passionate conviction. Much to my frustration this took time. But it was essential if ever I was to have something worthwhile to say. Without passion writing will not attract, hold and transform. It has taken years of being shaped, crushed, rebuilt, pruned and proven before finding expression in print. I’m not young anymore and how many words will flow only the Lord knows. Still, His taking me through life’s experiences and discovering His faithfulness gave substance to my words.

I’ll never be a best seller in Devotionals. That is not why I write. I’ll never recoup the costs in time, effort or promotion. That’s not why I write. I’ll never be on the morning chat shows lauding my recent creation. That’s not why I write. I write because I have a passion. It’s the fire of conviction about Jesus and his word. It’s the flames of His grace within which wants others to meet Him. It’s a blaze fed by devotion more than emotion and a sense of calling which cannot be extinguished!
Those are what lie behind the words which I write.    

©Ray Hawkins December 7th 2016.
Ray is the author of themed devotionals, a book of poems and numerous articles.
Married to Mary for 52 years. Mary is a writer of Christian Romance and suspense novels.


  1. Thank you for your lovely, honest post, Ray, and for giving us a glimpse into your own personal writing journey. The word 'faithfulness' comes to mind, above anything else. God bless!

  2. Hi Jo-Anne. Appreciate your words. The journey continues for all of us. We thank the Lord for putting us into the genre which best suits.

  3. I love these posts Ray. Hurray for someone who knows their limits!

  4. Thanks Christine. Not knowing the limits meant I fell over the edge a few times. Still, God picks us up and reminds us to look again at the boundaries. Thanks for yourwords.

  5. Ray, I love this post. I enjoy reading anything you write as you always point my heart and mind to Jesus. Praise God for the spark he fanned into flame in your heart to share with us. Thank you for not giving up! I sold several of your 'Dynamic Ageing' books at a book stall with over 300 books two weeks ago. It was the top seller in Gundagai that weekend : ) May God continue to give you the passion and the words to write.

  6. Hi Jenny, Thanks for your comments and encouragement. Would have loved to have been at the book stall you were at. Imagine -all those books to entice.


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