What causes an author to write about a subject from a different perspective? Where does that idea come from? Knowing what inspired an author in turn can help you in finding inspiration–and cause you to listen to your own internal nudges.
Finding Inspiration in What You Know
I recently read an interview in the Costco Connection with Sarah Young, author of Jesus Calling and other devotional books that have sold more than 35 million copies. What inspired Young to write a devotional from the perspective of Jesus speaking to the reader as opposed to a more typical approach of the writer leading the reader to ponder how to think about a portion of Scripture, closing then with a short prayer?
Young recounts that Jesus Calling was born out of her personal prayer journals. For years she wrote in them as if Jesus were speaking to her. Then one day she attended a spiritual retreat and was asked, “What is Jesus calling you to right now?” Much to her surprise, the immediate answer came that she should use her journals to write for publication. The journals she had never shared with anyone.
It took her more than three years to arrange her writings into daily readings. We couldn’t ask for a better example of a writer working with what she knows.
Being Inspired Doesn’t Mean Getting Published
Despite laboring for several years on the manuscript, when Young submitted it to publishers, a couple expressed interest, but ultimately no contract was offered. How many writers can relate to the exasperation of following what you believe is Jesus’ calling only to realize no publisher shares your vision for your work?
At that point, Young and her husband moved to Australia, where they served as missionaries. She stopped looking for a publisher, but every day she prayed God’s will be done with her manuscript.
Young persevered–not in overhauling her manuscript, but in continuing to believe God had called her to write it. Now what did he want to do with it?
Two and a half years later, a publisher approached her and asked her if he could produce her book. As Young said in the Costco interview, “Imagine my surprise and delight!”
Oh, yes, we can imagine because who among us hasn’t striven for that outcome?
Finding Inspiration in the Story’s End
Young, of course, couldn’t know that Jesus Calling, published in 2004, would readily find an audience once a publisher said yes to it. Now she prays daily “for people who are reading my books. I consider it a wonderful privilege and responsibility to pray for readers, so I commit quite a bit of time to this pursuit each morning.”
I can’t think of a happier end to a story. Not only does Jesus Calling seem to have a permanent place on best-seller lists but also to know that Sarah’s devotion to having her books deeply touch people’s relationship with God continues unabated.
And to think, all this inspiration grew out of her personal prayer life.
That makes me want to close with a simple, “Amen.”
What aspects of the Jesus Calling story inspire you? What does it say to you that you need to do in pursuing your publishing dream–either do differently or persist in?
Looking for inspiration in writing your book manuscript? Check this out. Click to tweet.
The back story of Sarah Young’s New York Times bestselling Jesus Calling offers inspiration to all writers. Click to tweet.