Often people reach out for advice on starting their writing and speaking career. Now that I’m so seasoned (old!), I find myself in wonderful conversations with younger women just starting on the author and speaker path. Since someone recently asked me for my top three bits of wisdom, I’ll share them below:
1. Write and speak as an act of worship. As my acquisitions editor, Judy Dunagan, always teaches: writing is an act of worship. In my own life, I find that I write and speak because it helps me connect with Jesus. I’m doing it with Him. This focus keeps my eyes off myself and the crowds’ approval or criticism.
2. You can only give yourself. Anything else won’t ring true. The closer you become to the authentic you, the more your words will resonate with others. Share the stories that you alone can share, in your way, because of who you are and what you’ve lived. You’re not for everyone, and that’s OK. Not everyone will love you. Not everyone will get you. But you’re not for them. You’re for the ones who need your message.
3. Vigilantly protect your heart from greed, the desire for fame, and self-exultation. These will rot you. They will ensnare you in a web that shimmers at first. Instead, invite the Holy Spirit to keep your heart humble. Surround yourself with godly people who will tell you when you are making too much of yourself. Regularly confess to the Lord anything in your life that doesn’t please Him. Writing and speaking position you in public, with people who will want to adore and celebrate you. As long as you remember that you’re worshiping Jesus–that He’s given you this task and ordained the fruit of your life–you will remember that it’s only His grace allowing you to speak the message in your heart. Think often that you might do these tasks for free and anonymously. Do you love Him that much that you would? Would you even let others receive credit? When I ask these questions, I learn my heart’s position before the Lord.
On the technical side of writing and speaking, don’t worry. You’ll learn as you go. Keep going. Keep writing. Keep speaking. But remember that no advice I could give would matter if the top three above weren’t in place.