Friday, November 18, 2011

Guest Blogger, Author Rochelle Melander

Is God Calling You To Write?
By Rochelle Melander

I am a writer.

My job is to pay attention to the world—to the terror and beauty that brushes up against our life each day, to the passions that break our hearts and make those same hearts sing, to the language we use to express our hopes and hurts. I pay attention to the things that most of us never notice and I make stories out of them. I shape them into a form that I hope will help people to face the beauty and terror of their own lives.

I was a little girl when God first called me to this task of shaping experience and idea into stories. In those days, I wrote and performed plays. I wrote poetry. I kept a journal. Over the years, God called me again and again to this task. Sometimes I listened. Sometimes I didn’t.

When I was 31 and pregnant with my first child, God came calling again. Three times. It seems that these things always come in threes. That fall I attended three author events. At the first one, as I watched Kevin Henkes walk up to read his book to 45 children (and me), I heard a voice in my head: this is what you need to be doing. I heard the same voice a few weeks later as I listened to Patricia Polacco read her wonderful book, Pink and Say. And then, attending a writing workshop with my hero Madeleine L’Engle, I felt my heart leap within me and the absolute sureness that writing was what God had always intended me to do with my life.

I began to take God seriously, to transition my life from parish ministry to writing. Here are some things I learned about callings that might help you in your writing ministry:

1. God will call you again and again and again until you finally pay attention. If you are wondering what God wants you to do with your life, look at yourself as a seven year old, a ten year old. What stirred your heart then? Chances are God is still calling you to some form of that first passion. Forgive yourself for not hearing God the first and second and twenty-second time. God will call you again.

2. In order to hear God whispering, you need to pay attention. Get a little less busy. Be more idle. Take walks. Stay silent. Ask God to show you the next step.

3. Know that not everyone will rejoice with you. Some people will think you are crazy. That’s okay. Most of the people God calls to do God’s work—whatever that may be—are thought of as crazy or worse. Look at Saint Joan. So what. Who cares what others think? Do what God has called you to.

4. Listen to that call to action. Take the steps necessary to answer God’s call. Until you do the thing that God has called you to, the thing that brings you joy and serves the world, you will experience angst. When you start moving, your anxiety will begin to disappear. As author and minister Frederick Buechner said, “Vocation is where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.”

5. Finally, get support. Find a friend, a coach, a therapist, a school, a support group, a mentor, a prayer partner—anyone who will encourage you to do the thing that God has called you to do.

In the past ten years this support has been filled in many surprising ways: writers who shared their struggles in books that came out at just the right time, friends who were on a similar path or who could simply affirm mine, and music that made my spirit soar. Today, ask God how your life might shine in the places you dwell and in the tasks God has called you to do.

Your turn: How has God called you to the task of writing?

Author Bio
Rochelle Melander is a certified professional coach and the author of 10 books, including a new book to help fiction and nonfiction writers write fast: Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It) (October 2011). Melander teaches professionals how to get published, establish credibility, and navigate the new world of social media. In 2006, Rochelle founded Dream Keepers Writing Group, a program that teaches writing to at-risk tweens and teens. Visit her online at She will be blogging about NaNoWriMo all month at


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