Friday 8 December 2017

Write Like You’re Running Out of Time

Because I know I’ve been called to create, I will work, write, and create like I am running out of time today, so that I don’t look back and regret wishing I had spent more time working to reveal God’s character and love others. 
Jordan Raynor

 I’ve been asking myself some questions about why I do what I do.

Why do I write?

Why do I want to write a novel for the general market?

 I thought it was time to check in with myself and question my motives. So, I took time out to read Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate, and Risk by Jordan Raynor.

In Chapter Four, Raynor reminds us that God cares deeply about our motives.

Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good;
    God probes for what is good.
(Proverbs 16:2 The Message translation)

My motive for writing has always been to tell stories that encourage the reader to ask questions that lead to the exploration of faith.  

In my bio, I expressed my mission like this:

I write books that are honest, concerned with real lives and real issues with a spiritual edge. My books are contemporary, don’t always have a perfect ending, but always have hope.

After a busy year of travelling and completing a draft of a contemporary, general market novel, I’ve questioned whether I’ve lived up to my original core values. Do I offer hope in this book? Do I ask questions that will encourage the reader to explore faith?

In the editing process, I’m finding that I have strayed away from my core values and am looking for ways to correct the imbalance.

I had to ask myself:

In my efforts to write for a general market audience, have I lost the reason I began to write in the first place?

Jordan Raynor quotes from the musical Hamilton. The chorus asks him, ‘Why do you write like you’re running out of time?’

The main message of Called to Create is that we should see our creative work as a means of revealing God’s character and loving others ‘then we have proper ambition to write, work, and create like we’re running out of time–because, in fact, we are!’. (Page 81)

Applying this lens to the editing process of my novel is helping me to frame my work in such a way that brings me into line with my core values, even though I’m veering away from writing specifically for the faith community.

I printed this meme and put it on my desk as a visual reminder of my why.

 What’s your why? Is it time to check in with yourself and revisit your why?


  1. Great questions, Elaine. And once again, thank you for your honesty in sharing where you are at in answering them. They are questions I am certainly asking myself as I try to get back into writing my next novel. We don't want to waste our time writing something that is less than what God wants us to write. And we don't want to be doing it at all if God isn't in it. So much to ponder over the Christmas/New Year break!

    1. Thank you, as always, dear Jo-Anne, for your thoughtful comments. Bless you as you prepare for the New Year of writing. xx

  2. I asked myself that question a little while ago when I found I was getting minimal response to my writing. When I remembered the reason that God gifted me with the ability to write, I forgot about the feedback and responses and likes and went back to writing!
    Thanks for sharing, that was a great post.

    1. Oh yes–the scourge of social media likes! They tend to play with your mind. Keep writing as you rediscover the passion God has given you.

  3. Thank you, Elaine. I really love the idea that meme conveys. And you do just that. I recently read Amazing Grace and thought you did a beautiful job of showing God's love while dealing with a tricky topic.

    1. Hi Sue! Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. It was a tricky topic for sure and I did work hard to show God's character and love.

  4. Hi Elaine, your stirring post has me thinking of how much I still want to write in this lifetime! So many ideas and projects, so few hours in the day. I constantly feel like my writing projects are running out of time!

    1. Time! The most precious of resources. I pray you find time as you prepare for 2018.

  5. Thank you Elaine for this thoughtful and honest post. 'Does this reveal God's character?' 'Is this a way of loving others?' Helpful questions for evaluating any writing that I do.


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