As an author, I try to often be studying my craft, so that I can strive to be the best writer possible. Sometimes this means spending hours in thought over certain aspects or principles that I am trying to implement or comprehend. At other times, it means reading what others have to say about writing or studying what others did right or wrong in their own works by picking them apart while I read them. (Have I mentioned lately the genius of Mr. Dickens, the fascination of Mr. Tolkien, or the charm of Agatha Christie??)
As I study these things, trying to push myself to greater excellence, I find that I analyze more and more. I can’t just watch a film or read a book without measuring character arcs, critiquing the storyline, and judging the motives behind the character’s actions.
The more I immerse myself in the knowledge of story excellence, the less willing I am to just accept any ol’ storyline unquestioned and the more likely I am to measure every tale by a standard of quality, to see how it measures up.
When I was considering this, it dawned on me. This isn’t merely true of writing. This principle applies to far, far more.
It’s good to recognize poor story-telling and weak protagonists. I plan to continuing working on that. Still, what happens if I apply the same principle to higher, more important things?
When I immerse myself in the Word of God, reading my Bible and talking to the LORD, my spiritual radar goes up, just like my story excellence radar. I begin to more easily recognize those things which are contrary to the nature of the LORD and His law, both in my own life and in the world around me, as well as in the many worlds of fiction that I may enter.
On a related note, problems can arise, if I enjoy the written studies over those of God’s Word. If I prefer to read about character arcs instead of memorizing Scripture. When I decide to puzzle out the best way to structure scenes, instead of talking to the LORD.
One is my natural bent. The other includes war. I need no invite to study writing; I gravitate toward it with no difficulty. My Bible, however, can easily be ignored if I listen to my flesh; the flesh that invents a dozen excuses for why I had better “wait until later.” Yet, when I immerse myself in the Scriptures, draw near to God by talking to Him and listening to His voice, then I’m not only more spiritually aware, I am far more at peace and fulfilled.
My prayer is that, while struggling to perfect my craft, I will never loose sight of what should be my true priority; focusing on the LORD and increasing my knowledge of Him. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” Mark 8:36
Knowledge of writing excellence is worth nothing, if not used to glorify the LORD. If used properly, it can be a mighty tool. If wrongly, it can be little better than a distraction.
No matter what our work is, be it writing, engineering, musical composition, singing, architecture, or the every day duties of the house, let us continue to study our craft, tempered with more liberal amounts of study in God’s Word and time spent with the LORD. That way we can, prayerfully, glorify the LORD by doing our best in all things, while remembering Who to put first.
To the KING be all the glory!