Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

Aaron, Holy Ghostwriter

THERE’S AN OLD saying that everyone has a book inside them. If that’s true, then it’s only partially so because the second part of the sentence is usually missing. It’s this: and some of them should stay there. A bit harsh, maybe, but after many years helping others tell their stories, one thing has become clear to me: we often think our lives are more interesting and significant than others will find them.

However, there are also folks out there who, for various reasons, are sitting on a treasure that needs to be shared. Maybe it’s because they feel they don’t know how to write. Or, even if they do, that they simply don’t have the time it would take to commit to such a project. And so something precious they have to share stays hidden.

If this is you, then consider finding a collaborator to work with you on bringing your story to life. There’s a spectrum here: it could just be someone with a good eye who you will read what you have produced and give it to you straight, to help you polish what you have written. It could be someone who takes the raw material you have set down on paper to rewrite, reshape, and revise it so that it sparkles. Or it could be someone who actually writes your book for you.

This latter practice is often derided in popular culture as the last resort of washed-up, worn-out, or unsuccessful would-be novelists, “slumming” to pay their bills by cranking out words under someone else’s name: the ghostwriter. But I believe there is an honorable, even biblical, dimension to this kind of collaboration.

I call it the Moses and Aaron connection. When God told Moses to go back to Egypt to free his fellow Hebrews, Moses said he wasn’t up to the challenge: “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue” (Exodus 4:10). So God sent a helper. Moses had the word from God; Aaron had the communication skills needed to give them clear voice. A Holy Ghostwriter, as it were.

If you’re seeking an Aaron, let me suggest that skill isn’t the only thing you should be looking for. Yes, your collaborator needs to have some chops: God told Moses that Aaron could “speak well” (Exodus 4:14). But as importantly, I believe, he also had a relationship with God (Who spoke to him: Exodus 4:27). Your collaborator should be someone you feel you can trust with your heart.

Together, like Moses and Aaron, you might make a team that delivers a message that brings freedom to people in bondage.

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