Not all writing has to be a huge book. I have found several outlets for writing, and I think it is useful to begin in smaller bits before taking on the larger project of writing a book. All writing is helpful to develop our skills and gifts.
1. Journaling. This is a personal exercise which enables you to put your thoughts and experiences on paper (or computer) in order to later reflect on what God's been doing in and through you. It's a release for some, healing process for others, and in general an encouragement. Journals can also be a good resource when a person feels led at a later date to write for publication.
2. Newsletters. These are very important as they convey to your supporters what is happening in your world and how they can pray for you. The better you write these letters, the more they will be encouraged and motivated to partner with you. Work on making them personal and share stories about real people with real needs.
3. Articles. These can be for your team, company or larger worker body. They can be used in magazines or company journals. I've written poetry for some and straight articles for others. Many publications are looking for true-life stories. Search the net, and you'll find them, or ask your organizational leaders for how you can contribute. The challenge for the article writing is to be concise--my greatest challenge! I have a hard time cutting my material down. It takes practice and is sometimes painful, but will make your article read easier and be more effective if you do.
4. Papers. These are similar to articles, but are more about a certain issue and can be longer in form. I've written papers for the local church body overseas. For instance, they asked me to review a book. I also wrote a paper about mixed-marriages that was used to confront an issue facing the local church. It was circulated among both workers and nationals. Not everybody reads a paper, but there are some who want to see something in writing, and this is where we can be of help.
5. Books. For me this began with a title. My husband asked me to write a tract—I ended up with a 300 page book! I told you I had a problem with being concise! :) However, it was with the title that I saw an opportunity to tell a story. I looked at the market and realized there was really no material written in fiction form that showed how a Muslim comes to faith and is able to remain in his/her environment, so my book became a church planting manual in story form.
I am going to go into detail in the next blog about writing books or novels. Until then, look around you in your area of service and see what stories need to be told!