A couple years ago, I started attending writing conferences and learned how very much I need. I’ve listened to credible people with tons of clout in Christian publishing explain what is needed for success.
If you want a literary agent, you need at least 10,000 followers. If you want a book deal, you need a lot more than good writing. If you want your book to sell, your writing needs to satisfy a big need among readers.
Experts say these things not to dishearten but to disenchant. I guess you could say I’m now less enchanted with the prospect of publishing.
However, I do feel called to write, but my need to write is stronger than the need to amass followers or try to figure out readers’ big need. And so, I’ve been operating on the assumption that maybe readers need the same thing I need, which is a big need, which is Jesus.
Sometimes when I write the words come easily, and sometimes there’s a hole in the bucket and the well is dry. Like today. I’ve learned to ask for the words—words that are needed.
Not long ago, I remembered a song from my childhood that seemed like the perfect Invocation of the Muse. It’s a hymn by Gloria and Bill Gaither, and this is the verse I remember:
Come, Holy Spirit, I need you,
Come, sweet Spirit, I pray,
Come in your strength and your power,
Come in your own gentle way.
Lately when I sit down to write, I sing it. On days I’m too discouraged to sing, I whisper it.
Weighed down by despair, Jesus whispered one last need from the cross: “I’m so thirsty.” They offered him a sip of vinegar. The only needful thing left was to die. So he waited. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit waited in the wings. Jesus had already promised to send his friends someone to help them:
“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you” (John 14:26-27).
In Jesus’ absence, the Holy Spirit brings us God’s presence. Of all the things I need–marketing prowess, intellectual clout, a social media miracle–that’s the main thing I need.