Workshop 16: Fiction Writing: Passion, Calling, Ministry, or Business?
In his ACFW conference workshop Fiction Writing: Passion, Calling, Ministry, or Business agent Les Stobbe shared his background and how he views writing. After sharing how God called him to be a messenger he defined the components of the workshop.
Passion leads writers to get the word out—whatever the message. The calling is carrying out the passion through writing fiction, Stobbe said. A writer’s ministry comes out of his calling. The business side brings in money to support the ministry.
Passion is what drove the Apostle Paul, Stobbe said. His calling directed him, his ministry built the church, and he made his living by making tents.
Many things can ignite a writer’s passion. It is different for each writer. For one, it can come from reading Scripture. For another, passion could be the cause of a childhood event. Whatever the cause, passion is what drives a writer past obstacles no matter what.
Calling and ministry
Stobbe said the calling can come from a desire to be recognized or from something the writer wants to proclaim. It can even come through a family member who asks the writer to do something specific.
Writing is a passion that leads up to or predates the calling, Stobbe said, which leads to ministry. He reminded us not to forget the importance of evangelism. “Sometimes books are part of the softening,” he said, which prepares the reader for accepting Christ later.
But passion, calling, and ministry aren’t enough. They have to lead into business to support the writer. To succeed at the business of writing the writer must learn the craft, Stobbe said. He recommends starting small and shared how his writing career began with writing devotions for a magazine for boys. What the writing is isn’t that important, he said. The important thing is to learn and practice the craft.
Stobbe noted that to succeed in the business of writing, writers must stay current with what publishers are looking for. Many writers, he said, skip this step. Checking a publisher’s guidelines is necessary, but often overlooked. Some writers don’t study what’s selling in the bookstores. To help with this, Stobbe suggested writers become friends, or at least get acquainted with, the clerks and buyers of their local bookstore.
Stobbe closed his session talking about the cost/benefit ratio of writing. All writers know pursuing writing has great costs, paid by the writer’s family as much as the writer. This is when we have to remember the benefits of writing include personal satisfaction and—more importantly—changed lives.