One of the first steps in writing a book is determining the purpose.
Why are you writing this book?
- Is it for personal enjoyment?
- Is it to aid in and record your spiritual growth? (Journaling is a good example of this.)
- Is it to earn part- or full-time income (tentmaking)?
- Is it to teach or help others?
- Or is it for ministry purposes?
The purpose is important, and so is the emotion behind it. Once you have established your reason for writing, ask the Lord to purify your motives.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God.” Psalm 51:10
What is the purpose of your book?
Prayerfully determine the purpose for your writing and try to put it into one sentence. Make that purpose the “red thread” that you funnel all points through in your manuscript.
In the past, when participating on editorial panels at various Christian writers’ conferences, I would often hear interesting suggestions such as “do your homework and see what is selling in the American Booksellers Association (ABA) market, the secular counterpart to the Christian Booksellers Association. Once you determine what is selling there, assume a similar trend is in the future for the Christian market and write toward that end.”
Rarely would I hear editors on these panels encourage Christian writers to write from their passion. I must admit, it’s gotten much better these days, largely because it is so much harder to get a contract with a major publisher. Editors, for the most part, are much better about counseling new writers toward purpose-filled writing, regardless of the publishing possibilities with their companies.
Consider this. Writing may or may not turn out to be a profit-making venture, so, for Christians, writing should be a ministry aimed at bringing life to those who read the message. Whatever God chooses to do with it from there is up to Him.
If we are not anointed by the Holy Spirit to write on a subject, then it will all be the “wood, hay and stubble” that 1 Corinthians 3:12 speaks about.
Yes, you might even be able to sell the manuscript to a publisher, but unless it has come as a result of the passion burning within you to share the message God has given you, it will fall short of the glory of God. It will be just another book with no anointing, and no power through the Holy Spirit to bring change to its readers.
What is your mission statement?
I’d highly recommend developing a mission statement for your writing and publishing. This will help you stay on track and keep the right mindset as you move forward towards publication.
As an example, over the last four years, after God redeemed me from my 12-year detour into deception, my personal mission statement has changed. It now affects all that I blog about and speak on, for the most part. It’s not finished yet, but here’s the rough wording:
To help women who’ve been wounded by the church or other traumatic life experiences, so they can learn to trust God again and to inspire women to comfort others with the comfort they’ve received from Jesus. I do this through my blogging, writing for publication, radio show, and in my role as a pastor’s wife.