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Friday, April 6, 2012

And You Thought Writing Was A Solitary Life! By Jennifer Slattery


A while back a Facebook friend suggested a story idea. I loved it! But decided to put it off–relegate it to third place on my “must-write” list. God had other plans and sparked a passion and a swirl of plot ideas. KnowingToDoList this would be a tough story to write, one that would take intensive research to do well, I prayed for confirmation. I received it, along with help. Extensive help. And on Wednesday I spent almost four hours picking the brain of a medical professional with the same job as my heroine.

While she began to share her story and experiences, I began to see why God wanted me to write this novel. If done well, it will be a powerful tale of grace during extreme suffering, of hope amidst despair, and of good brought out of evil.

If done poorly ….

Last night, after watching a sitcom on a topic relevant to my story, pen in hand, spiral notebook quickly filling, I got frustrated. The phrase, “Write what you know,” wouldn’t leave me alone. What do I know about medicine and hospital rooms? Why dive into a story that could very well take over a year to research? One that could easily lead to failure if God doesn’t provide continual understanding and aid?

Because I believe God’s in it, and although He promises to lead us, I don’t believe the journey’s always easy.

But He ALWAYS provides people to help us along the way. That’s the Smiling Group of Professionals --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbispart that continues to amaze me. In June I wrote a duel-setting story about a news anchor, an El Salvador orphan, and an El Salvador English teacher/translator. Three subjects I know very little about. Two chapters in, I considered dropping it. Too much research, and what if I got it wrong? But God was faithful. He connected me with a news anchor, with people living in El Salvador who could answer questions, with a critique partner knowledgeable on foreign settings, with another critique partner knowledgeable on medicine. (My hero’s father had a medical issue.) And He carried me through.

So now I’m embarking on another, and this one’s my hardest yet, but I’ve got the memory of God’s help with my past novel to spur me on. I’m also beginning to see sprinklings of help, of the body of Christ coming beside me to offer information, to do beta-reads, all those necessary things we writers hate to ask for but need to find. Which reminds me, even in a solitary career like writing, God still wants us connected, as a body. Interdependent, working together to make Him known.

I’m starting to see Proverbs 11:25 in action. “… he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” It’s a beautiful cycle only God could work out. One author helps another, who helps another, who helps another.42-16483288

Where are you in the cycle? At any given moment, you should occupy two positions—that of helper and helpee. Are you letting God surround you with helpers? Who are you leaning on? Are you letting Him use you to bless someone else? Who are you helping? Writing must be a give-and-take, a community effort. Because the body extends beyond the walls of our church.

Join God’s circle, friend!

How have others helped you in your career?

Posts you might like:

Joints and Ligaments

Do-ers and Be-ers

Body Parts

Jen'sBiopPicJennifer Slattery lives in the Midwest with her husband
of sixteen years and their fourteen year old daughter. She’s
passionate about seeing lives changed by the radical love of Christ
and prays to be a grace and truth filled ambassador for Christ. She
writes for Christ to the World Ministries, the ACFW Journal, Internet
Café Devotions, Jewels of Encouragement, and maintains a devotional
blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud
She’s also written for
numerous publications and has placed in numerous writing contests.
Connect with her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte) or by
email at jenniferslattery(at)gmail(dot)com to find out more.

Her other websites:


Samie Sisters


  1. Connie, thanks for having me! I think we'd all agree, it's so much easier to give than receive, but what if our hesitation to ask for help gets in the way of what God wants to do through us?

    Similarly, when we help another Christian writer fulfill their calling or task, we're helping to sew those seeds. :) Imagine if, when we get to heaven, God were to allow us to see all the ways we impacted others on their road to salvation? It's easy to look at the "proclamation" and forget all the other details that came into place (the backstory. lol) for the proclamation to be made and heard.

    Have a blessed Easter!

  2. Hi Jennifer,
    What a nice blog. You're such a giving person and that comes through. I wish you much success with your new book, and I love your picture.

  3. Jennifer what a great post, and what an amazing journey you're on! I'm imagining all the ways God will use the story he has for you to write. I think you will be changed by writing it as much as your readers will be reading it. Praying God's blessings for you!

  4. I love to hear how God puts all the pieces together in any work. He is amazing. And so is His Body. Thanks so much for this post.

  5. Jennifer, great post (see, I knew there was a reason or five hundred that I have you on my blog too ) and as always, great words of wisdom. I was struggling with a story that gave new meaning to writer's block. I'd fought surrendering the story because it had actually placed in the 2011 Genesis in the semi-finalist round. But... the story just wasn't moving. And, as we all know, God has other plans and I needed to open my eyes & heart to His. I just started on on a new story that has been incubating for a while now, but that old writer's adrenaline is again flowing and I am again enjoying the writing experience.

    Blessings on your new writing adventure. I hope you're enjoying it!

  6. Excellent post! When I was younger, I only wanted to help. Not like I'm a really old lady now, but as I matured, I began to accept and appreciate the help of others

    1. Holly, you make an excellent point. It's not just about helping others, but realizing we are not complete without the rest of the Body. We are meant to be in communion with the rest of His creation.