Early in my writing, it made me feel like I wasn’t ever going to be good enough. The number of conferences and workshops I attended didn’t matter. Adding books on the craft of writing to my library wouldn’t help. I would never be able to rise above being a mediocre writer without hope becoming more. No matter what else I had, I was still missing it.
Because of the way it made me feel, I was tempted to doubt the passion I had for writing ministry. Maybe I’d heard God incorrectly. If I couldn’t be better than simply okay, why would He put it in my heart to pursue this path of writing? A stubborn nature and my faith in God’s ability to work, even when I felt I was lacking in a necessary skill, kept me going.
Imagine the freedom I felt when I sat in on a workshop by my favorite author and she said she didn’t have it either. In a time when everyone in the publishing world seemed to preach the need to be a plotter, I was finally given the freedom to be a pantser. She didn’t downplay the benefits of being a plotter. In fact, she listed several ways it can be beneficial to writers. But she said not everyone wrote that way. She didn’t write that way. She was often just as surprised by what her characters said and did as her readers.
Finally, I was free to write according to my personality instead of feeling guilty and less professional. There are benefits and drawbacks to each style of writing. Careful attention must be paid to technique and the craft of creating a strong story regardless of whether it’s every detail is plotted out before the first word is written or the author takes a freer approach to writing.
Relatable characters, conflict, and believable resolutions are needed in every story. Strong dialog and a well-developed setting go a long way in crafting a well-written story. But how does the story get from “once upon a time” to “they lived happily ever after”? That’s a little more up in the air, unless, of course, you’re a plotter.
As a writer of faith, knowing I can write well utilizing the traits of my God-given personality is a comfort. He made me just the way I am to write the books, devotions, and reviews He wants me to write. But I also find comfort in knowing that while He has given me the freedom to be a pantser, God is a plotter.
I don’t have to wonder if He knows what’s coming around the next corner. I don’t have to be concerned with whether or not He’s prepared for the plot twists in my life. While working in this ministry He has put on my heart, I don’t even have to worry about whether He knows my faults and failures. God isn’t looking down at me shaking His head and saying, “I wish I’d chosen a different person for this task. I didn’t expect her to act like this.” Jeremiah 29:11 assures me that God has plans for my life. He knows those plans from beginning to end, and He knows me more intimately than anyone including myself. Psalm 139 promises God knows me, and He knew what all my days would hold before I was born. In fact, He wrote them in His book before I’d lived even one of them.
There is peace in knowing God has it all figured out. I can be a pantser in my writing. You can be a plotter. He knew we would be that way. He planned our lives and ministries. We can be who He made us to be and do what He asks us to do with confidence. He’s already written our stories. We need to live them out in obedience and peace, knowing God is never caught by surprise.
A Little About Heather Greer:
Heather uses the pantser method she’s comfortable with to write contemporary Christian fiction. Check out Faith’s Journey and Grasping Hope on Amazon. The third book in the series, Relentless Love, will release June 2020. You can also check out her By the Book blog at www.heathergreer.com. She discusses writing, book reviews, and living life God’s way.
You can also find Heather on social media:
Facebook: Author Heather Greer