I once took a poem I wrote and converted it to a short story. The story ended up being stunning and rhythmic. And because my poems tend to be more personal and written in darker moments of my life than my stories, it was the most honest and uncompromising story I have ever written. I loved the result.
I wrote this to a friend on the Christian Writer's Guild forum tonight and realized I gave myself some insight in the process. Lately, I've been burdened in my writing. I feel like I'm trying to squeeze myself into a style of Christian writing that isn't quite fitting. It's not from external pressure but from my own internal uncertainties.
What I'm finding when I write is that I am somewhat removed from my stories. There is a density there that I can't seem to poke holes in. I am making my own personal compromise in an effort to appeal to a Christian audience.
And yet, I am a Christian writer. I wouldn't even be in this writing place if God hadn't led me here and told me to write for Him.
Maybe my ideas of what a Christian audience wants are inaccurate. There are times when I write that I come to a split in the road. One way leads me on the straight and narrow, and the other explores something a bit more crooked and broad - maybe even dark at times. I almost always choose the straight and narrow because that's what Christians want to read... right? When I do this -- choose the path I'm less inclined to choose -- I sacrifice the passion, the honesty, the connection of my story.
The funny thing is, every time I take that straight and narrow path, something tells me I'm on the wrong road, but I persist because it's safe.
I have considered that maybe God didn't send me to this place to write to a Christian audience. I can be a Christian writer and appeal to a secular audience. What an incredible honor it would be to be sent to the writing field to speak to God's lost children. How does a Christian writer balance such a call? In this day, how do you meet unbelievers where they are and not compromise your Christian values and commandments?
Is it possible to appeal to both? Is a story that is not blatantly Christian throughout, but that you know is nothing but Christian in the end, going to hold the attention of a Christian reader until they realize its message? Is a story that isn't filled with graphic sex, morbid violence, or a multitude of obscenities going to hold the attention of an unbeliever long enough for them to be gripped by the possibility of Christianity?
I love thinking things out in a blog because as I read through what I've just written, something occurred to me. It doesn't matter which path I follow as long as it's the path that God is on. If I look ahead and He's not in front of me, I have to change paths. If I stay on the wrong path, then it's not actually His message I'm delivering.
Father, may I always write from a truthful, passionate, and connected place, and above all else, may I carry only Your message as I go. - Amen