By nearly every measure, Beth Moore is a powerhouse in our evangelical world. She’s prolific and popular, with dozens of books and Bible studies earning her spots on bestseller lists. She’s spoken at hundreds of conferences and hosts a weekly TV show.
She’s Beth Moore.
When someone has that level of success (not to mention her perfect Texas hair), we’re bound to wonder if she could really be as wise and wonderful as she seems. So I was skeptical but hopeful as I stepped into the sold-out writers conference, Lit, hosted by her Living Proof Ministries a few weeks ago.
The 59-year-old author launched the new event as a way to reach a group she saw being underutilized in the church and in need of encouragement: women in their 20s and 30s who are writers, teachers, and speakers. She gathered a dozen women who she has mentored through that stage to help instruct the 800 women in attendance. I was one of them, and here’s what I learned.
1. Each idea has a shelf life.
Moore compares the longevity of an idea to a train on tracks. The first stop is social media. Sometimes you’re riled up about something that demands an immediate response, so you fire off a tweet or Facebook post, and that’s that. But social media might fuel your passion, and the resulting discussion grows the idea into a blog post. If the idea still has more facets to explore, that blog post could develop into a sermon or session at a speaking engagement. Finally, when ideas continue to gain steam through social media, online articles, and teachings, they turn into longer-form projects like books or Bible studies.
Some ideas shouldn’t find their way past social media, few books could—or should—be distilled to a single tweet, and many ideas are best served by sermons or blog posts. The trick, as Moore said, is having the discernment to know how far to go with an idea. The concept itself, the surrounding discussion, and the writer’s own competence to address it play a factor.
In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott seconds this advice for fiction writers: “If you find that you start a number of stories or pieces that you don’t even bother finishing, that you lose interest or faith in them along the way, it may be that there is nothing at their center about which you care passionately.”
When I started writing a book on singleness, I wanted a whole chapter on blind dates. I’ve had a horrible string of blind dates, 15 or so in a row, yet when it came time to write about them, I realized blind dates made for witty tweets and Facebook posts but fell flat as a book chapter. So I was forced to “kill my darlings,” as Stephen King says, and my book is better for it. Cultivating the self-awareness to assess your own ideas is crucial.
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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Joy Beth Smith