by MaryAnn Diorio
Writing fiction, like all of life, is a matter of the heart. Scripture tells us that “people look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).
The heart is the seat of motives. It is the control center of all human behavior. For those of us who write fiction, the heart is the motivator and generator of the stories we write.
Given the above, it seems to me highly imperative that we continually monitor the condition of our heart, for, as Scripture also says, everything we do flows out of the heart (Proverbs 4:23). This is the reason that our Lord commands us to guard our heart above all else.
Above all else.
What does it mean to guard our heart above all else? It means to protect our heart more than we protect everything else, including our reputation, our relationships, and our reasoning.
It means to monitor all that goes into our heart through our five senses and to cast down every thought, perception, and imagination that does not align with the Word of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). Bottom line, to guard our heart above all else means to embrace only truth and to reject every lie.
Scripture tells us that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). So how can we guard our heart to keep it from deceit, especially when it comes to our writing? Here are some disciplines I practice that help me to guard my heart:
1) Examine your heart daily. Ask yourself why you are writing what you are writing? Is it for God’s glory or for your glory?
2) Consider the story you are writing. Did God direct you to write it, or were market trends the sole motivating force?
3) Consider your initial reaction to the success of fellow authors. Are you genuinely glad when other writers succeed, or are you jealous?
4) Consider your initial reaction to your own success? Do you take all the credit and feel proud at what you have accomplished, or do you praise God Who gave you the ability to write and Who accomplished His purpose through you?
5) Consider your initial reaction to your own failure? Do you whine and complain and grow angry at editors and publishers, or do you thank God in the midst of the failure, knowing that He is working in you something far greater than any failure or any success, and that is conformity to the image of Christ?
The greatest lesson we can learn about our writing is that it is not about us. Indeed, this is the greatest lesson we can learn about life. This life is all about Jesus Christ and exalting Him. This life is not about our happiness but about our holiness.
As we guard our hearts with all diligence, out of them will flow into our words the healing fragrance of Jesus Christ in Whom we live and move and have our being.
Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is an award-winning author who writes compelling fiction about the deepest issues of the human heart. She and her husband live in New Jersey and are the blessed parents of two amazing daughters, a wonderful son-in-law, and a beautiful granddaughter. Her latest book is A CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING.
Copyright 2013 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA. All rights reserved.