Becoming a Successful Christian Writer
By Kathi Macias
We talk about being “Christian writers,” but what does that mean? What distinguishes us from other writers? And what qualifies us as “successful”?
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to write—and I did, getting my first taste of success in elementary school when my story was turned into a play for the PTA. I went on to work on the school newspaper and won several awards in the annual writing contest in high school. Then, at the age of 26, I received Jesus as my Savior. Since I was now a Christian as well as a writer, did that make me a “Christian writer”?
Technically, I suppose so, but realistically…I had a long way to go.
I took several writing and editing classes and eventually landed a job at a newspaper and then a Christian publishing house, and also started doing freelance editing and writing. Did that mean I was finally a Christian writer? And how did I define “successful”?
Then, in the mid-1980’s when AIDS was becoming a household word, I sensed God wanted me to write a book about it. The problem was, I didn’t want to do so. I wrestled and argued awhile, but when I finally gave up and agreed, the storyline fell into place. All I needed was someone who knew about AIDS to serve as a resource.
One night, as I read the newspaper, I noticed a letter to the editor from an angry young man named Mark, who had AIDS and was blaming everyone on the planet except himself for his condition.
I frowned. Surely God didn’t expect me to work with someone like that! Grudgingly I looked up his name in the phonebook, hoping I wouldn’t find it. But there it was, standing out as if it were highlighted in chartreuse, so I called. When he answered and I told him why I was calling, he agreed to help. “I’ll do it for one reason—because I want to make sure you get it right.”
And so we began what was a very rocky relationship. He read everything I wrote, though he didn’t agree with much of it and told me so in no uncertain terms. Yet, at some point we crossed the line from controversial colleagues to friends.
By the time I finished the last chapter, Mark had moved back home with his mother and was failing fast. After reading the final pages of the manuscript, he called and asked, “Do you really believe all that Jesus stuff you wrote about in the book?” When I assured him I did, he said, “Then you have five minutes to convince me why I shouldn’t kill myself right now.”
It took longer than five minutes, but by the time we hung up, Mark had prayed to receive Jesus. Two weeks later, he went home to be with Him.
The story that Mark and I wrote was never published, at least not in its original form. But did God have a purpose in my writing it as I did and when I did? Absolutely. Not only do I now have a dear friend named Mark waiting for me in heaven, but I also know for certain that I am a successful Christian writer, thanks to what came out of a story I wrote that was never published.
God had to strip away a lot of “me” to make that happen, but it was necessary if I ever hoped to wear the title of “Christian writer” with integrity and humility. It is also the requirement we must meet to be considered “successful”—maybe not so much by our fans or colleagues, but by the One who called and equipped us for His purposes.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored more than 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association), as well as Novel of the Year (Red Ink) from Golden Scrolls and Carol Award Finalist (Red Ink as well). Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al.
Her newest book, A Christmas Journey Home has been receiving rave reviews. It would make a wonderful Christmas gift.
Deliver Me From Evil – a stirring book on a difficult issue. Again, reviews have been over the top.