“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards.” Song of Songs 2:15
While this verse is often quoted in marriage retreats, it also applies to the writing life. I wrote about The Big 3 things we need to do to make our writing a priority, to make it actually happen. But there are sneaky little slip-ups that can eat away at our writing that we seldom even think about or consider.
1. Prayerlessness – If we miss a day of our quiet time, we usually think it’s okay, we’ll just start again tomorrow. While that is true as far as starting again tomorrow, what we miss today can have a great impact on our writing. This verse was in my daily reading for today and I would have missed it if I hadn’t sat down with my Bible. As I asked the Lord what to write about today, this article began to form in my mind.
2. Wordiness – Constant chatter drowns out the “still, small voice” of the Holy Spirit. It also smothers otherwise good writing. Eliminate all unnecessary words from your piece. They are weenie words. Little foxes that keep the reader pre-occupied. These include words like the, up, down, it, -ly words, and phrases that only decorate your writing instead of providing meaning.
3. Carelessness – We need to be intentional about our writing. As Christian writers, we need to make sure that what the reader gleans from our writing lines up with what the Bible teaches, and that it is written in such a way that the reader doesn’t think impure thoughts. This means that when writing non-fiction, we pay attention to Bible doctrine and when writing fiction, our characters don’t use marginal language and romantic scenes end when the bedroom door closes.
4. Selfishness – What we write should meet some kind of need for the reader. It should teach them how to live better lives in some way, whether it provides fictional characters who learn spiritual lessons, or leads the non-fiction reader into a closer relationship with the Lord or helps them deal with some issue. We can’t afford to waste our readers’ time and energy on fluffy stuff. It doesn’t matter if we are writing for the general market or the Christian market. We are Christian writers with a higher purpose.
Are there any little foxes sabotaging your writing? Your spiritual life? Are there others I missed that you’ve spotted?