Last summer after completing my seventh novel, I felt depleted and lost as a writer. I had to force myself to write or check email or even look at a book. My fields needed to fallow. God said rest. I said but but but… oh, all right.
I spent weeks in prayerful introspection, journaling my feelings. Eventually, my thoughts cleared and my spirit calmed. Then something unexpected happened. Questions began to pop into my mind, one by one. Questions I couldn’t ignore. Why do you write? What would you write if no one would ever read it? I’d spend days contemplating and scribbling out the answers.
Once answered, another question would come. Finally, one stumped me. What is the core message God has given you to share and who needs to hear that message?
I’d never thought about my core message as an author. I first started writing stories for funsies. I wanted to craft uplifting, unusual stories to encourage and entertain. Of course, I made sure every story had a solid theme, but I just wrote what came out of my heart and let it fall where it fell. That couldn’t amount to something as weighty as a core message.
Or so I thought.
During my time of prayerful introspection, the Lord led me to sift through each of my stories, searching for a core message. I felt silly analyzing my own books. Then there it was in a mass of index cards and Post-It Notes. No matter the characters and the plot, my stories did have a core message: You can trust God.
In The Land Uncharted, Lydia and Connor had to trust God’s sovereignty. In Uncharted Redemption, Levi and Mandy had to trust God’s forgiveness. In Uncharted Inheritance, Bethany and Everett had to trust God with their future. In Christmas with the Colburns, Lydia had to trust God with her family. When I went back in time to tell the history of the Land, the same theme flowed. In Aboard Providence, Jonah and Marian had to trust God’s unfailing provision and in Above Rubies Olivia and Gabe must trust God’s purpose.
Once the Lord so graciously opened my eyes to the core message He gave me to share, I knew I had to write out this process in an easy to follow way for other authors. I first created The Writer’s Purpose Journal, and I loved the process so much I went on to create three more guided journals for writers.
The Writer’s Character Journal and The Writer’s Scene Journal both focus on craft. The Writer’s Book Launch Journal has been the best seller thus far. Who knew writers wanted someone to guide them through book marketing? Ha! Book promotions can be intimidating for authors. Since the day I signed my first publishing contract, I’ve kept lists of marketing ideas. With each book launch, I try them and add to them for my next launch. I have both traditionally published friends and indie friends who’ve asked for my list (and a couple of publishers, too). So, I created The Writer’s Book Launch Journal (read the TBAP review here) and spread the to-do lists over 12-months to turn it into an easy to follow plan for any author.
If you’re a writer, what aspect do you find most difficult? Craft? Marketing? Finding or remembering your purpose?
About this Guest Blogger
Keely Brooke Keith is the author of The Land Uncharted(Edenbrooke Press) and Aboard Providence (CrossRiver Media). Her novels are known for blending genres in unconventional ways. Keely also writes resources for writers, including The Writer’s Book Launch Guide and The Writer’s Purpose Journal. When she isn’t writing, Keely enjoys playing bass guitar, preparing homeschool lessons, and collecting antique textbooks. Keely resides with her husband and their daughter on a hilltop south of Nashville. She is a member of ACFW.