By Andrea Merrell
Every farmer and gardener knows that in order to harvest a certain crop, he or she must plant the right seeds. Planting the wrong seeds would be foolish, but not planting any seeds at all would be a disaster.
You might be wondering what this has to do with being a writer. Just like there are natural laws in effect—like the law of gravity—there are spiritual laws that govern our Christian walk, determining how we fulfill our purpose and God-given destiny. One of the most important is the law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7).
I’ve heard it said that what you are today is a result of what you’ve been believing and confessing (sowing) for the past five years. If this is true, then what you want to become in five years will depend on the seeds you sow now.
To make it more practical, if I want love, friendship, and encouragement from others, those are the seeds I must plant. When I plant seeds of hate, indifference, and criticism, those are the things I will harvest. Not only do we reap what we sow, the Bible says we receive the same portion, whether it’s a spoonful or a bushel basket. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Luke 6:38 NIV).’’
As we talked about in my last post, I just recently returned from a large conference where I met a multitude of new writers, bringing back memories from my own first experience. I can vividly remember the seeds I tried to sow before I was ready. My pitch was not polished and my proposal not ready. My one-sheet looked like my ten-year-old granddaughter designed it, and I made my own business cards. My three-inch notebook was so organized I couldn’t find anything. Being focused on making a good impression and getting a contract created missed opportunities to network, make new friends, learn the craft, and encourage others who were just as nervous as I was.
The Bible tells us to sow seeds of kindness. This is easy to forget when we’re focused on our own agenda. The best way to achieve our goals is by pouring into the lives of others. To live generously. To tithe our time and our talents, as well as our finances.
When we “delight in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4), He promises to give us the “desires of our heart.” He abundantly grants those desires when we invest our time in helping others. Everyone needs approval and acceptance, and that’s a gift we can freely give.
Here are ten seeds we can regularly sow:
- Develop a relationship with other writers either face to face or through social media.
- Pray for others when needs arise, and let them know you’re praying for them.
- Encourage others when they’re struggling with a project or just received a rejection.
- Rejoice with others when they win a contest, sign a contract, acquire an agent, receive an award, or have a five-star review on Amazon.
- Share your talents. You might be a graphic artist, have an eye for detail, or love marketing. If someone can benefit from your expertise, don’t hesitate to bless them.
- Find someone to mentor. We’re all at different stages in our writing career, and we all had to start somewhere. Everyone needs others to help them succeed (just like we did). The Bible says that “two are better than one” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 KJV). The Message translation puts it this way: “It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. And if one falls down, the other helps. But if there’s no one to help, tough!”
- Look for the best in others. Encourage them. Don’t offer shallow flattery; give them genuine, heartfelt praise.
- Be a trustworthy friend and confidant.
- Don’t just sow query letters, proposals, and contest entries. Sow love and kindness into the lives of others, and watch what God will do.
- When you do sow query letters, proposals, and contest entries, make sure they are as clean and professional as possible.
I’m much further ahead now than five years ago, but I’m still on that journey with a long way to go. The seeds I sow from this point forward will not only determine my destination, but the joy and fulfillment I experience along the way.
What seeds are you planting? We would love to hear your suggestions.
(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/koko-tewan.)