One of the concerns I hear most often from writers or would-be writers is, “How do I know if I have any talent—if I have what it takes to be a writer?” Of course, that is a question only you can answer, but perhaps I can share some insight. Although I know now that I was called into writing and this ministry to writers, I didn’t know it in the beginning. I started out following the path laid before me—step by step. I’m a firm believer if that we have the desire and the opportunity to write, we should follow that path until the doors close for us. That may mean we are unable to sell anything or that something more important blocks our path. I don’t mean that we simply don’t have the discipline to follow through on the writing or that we let less important things fill our time. Much of this comes down to taking this calling seriously until that door closes. The problem with too many writers I have seen is that they pull the door from God’s hands and close it themselves—or never walk through it.
Writers are basically afraid of two things—that they have no talent or that they won’t be successful. Although some writers have obvious talent—and I have seen them either succeed or squander that talent—I have seen many more develop a lesser talent, with hard work and determination, into a successful writing career. Some of you may have to work a little harder. The important thing is to be a caretaker of the talent you have been given, and determine to become the best writer you can be.
Although I recognize that I do have some God-given talent for writing, I also know that a lot of it comes from the hard work of learning the craft over the years. I have no delusions of becoming a literary giant—there are few of those in this world—but I have worked to be the best writer I can be, no matter what the final results of that effort might be. And you must do the same. I believe that real success is not judged by the accolades or royalties you receive, but by how well you do the job. As Joe Bayly, one of my first writing mentors once said, “God is not served by technical incompetence.” I learned years ago that the hard work and professional attitude are my responsibility. God is in charge of the results.