This is a continuation of an earlier post. You can read Part One here.
Without further ado…here’s the rest of the list. :-)
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I’ve seen authors jump from traditional publishing to indie publishing, and I’ve seen an almost equal number of authors take the leap from Christian fiction to secular fiction. Sometimes people make these changes because they’ve bathed the decision in prayer and truly believe God is leading them toward something different.
Often, though, they are motivated by a desire for greater income or recognition.
Don’t get me wrong. Income is good. It pays the bills – or at least some of them.
Change made in the pursuit of money or fame, though, is never a good idea. The people I know who have gone that path have ended up (for the most part, anyway) disappointed and disillusioned.
Change in and of itself isn’t bad, but change motivated by selfish desire (or self-centric desire) does not honor God.
So, when I want to make a change in my life – whether it’s related to writing or not – I try to make sure I’m pursuing the change for the right reasons. My heart needs to be focused on God and not chasing after a bigger payday, more attention, or greater notoriety.
More people are hurting than most of us realize.
Here’s a simple fact: Life hurts. If it doesn’t, then you’re not doing it right.
(But there’s a lot more to life than just hurt, too.)
The world is full of pain. What I learn about in emails and messages from readers is just a drop in the bucket. So it’s important — vitally important — as a Christian author that I tackle real-world issues and handle them with grace and care. It’s also important that I weave at least a measure of humor into my stories. Because real life is neither all bad nor all good. In our darkest moments, we still find the strength to smile. And in our highest moments, our lives are still touched by sadness and grief. Life is an intricate mix of the mountains and the valleys, the laughter and the tears, the victories and the defeats. But ultimately, when all the rest of that is pushed aside, the thing that most matters is that people walk away from a story having heard truth — having read something that has the potential to move them one step closer to our Savior.
Writers make great friends.
A group of authors I know gets together periodically to write. Being together creates a little extra motivation now and then. One day, four of us sat at a large table at a coffee shop and wrote. We’d blocked out two hours that day, and once the clock hit the appointed time, we began clacking away on our laptops. At the end of our two hours, we started packing our computers away. A gentleman came over and said, “Ladies, I hate to do this, but I’m going to have to ask you to keep it down the next time you come in.”
Because for two hours the only sound coming from our table was the clackety-clack of computer keyboards. Not a word had been spoken.
And we were all perfectly okay with that.
Writers need other writers. We all have friends outside of the industry, and we all love those people. But who can sit for two hours and not speak or even make eye contact and walk away from it saying they had a great time? Another writer, that’s who. Yep. Writers make great friends.
Writing grows me.
Growing in faith means walking more closely with God each and every day. It means dying to self, picking up my cross, sacrificing the things I think I want in order to pursue the things God has for me. And writing pushes me closer to all of that.
Some people talk their problems through. Others think them through. I write things through. Which is a horribly structured sentence, but completely true nonetheless. Writing is how I sort through my emotions and how I deal with pain.
It’s also the place where I most authentically seek God’s face and hear His voice.
Praying and reading the Word are vital. I do those, too. They matter, and I’m better for doing both. But for me, writing is that place where everything else is stripped away and I am completely real with God. It’s also the place where I am quiet enough on the inside to hear what God is saying to me.
I walk more closely to God when writing is a part of my life. And when I walk closely with God, my attitude toward the rest of life is more God-honoring.
Laugh at yourself.
I was fixing dinner the other day for about ten people. Kung Pao chicken. Easy peasy, right? Until you’re turning around in the kitchen and somebody brushes past you, and the entire plate of just-cut-but-still-raw chicken goes sliding right out of your hand. Slimy, raw chicken all over my kitchen floor was not part of my plan for that day. But you know what? It’s totally going in a book. To make people laugh. And if I’m going to use my mess to make people laugh, I might as well laugh, too.
I used to take life way too seriously, and I wasn’t much fun to be around. Writing helped to change that.
So the next time I’m at the grocery store and pick up an apple from the produce table, and I miraculously manage to cause the other fifty apples to tumble off the table, you know what? I’m going to laugh. Probably blush, too. But still. I’ll laugh. Then I’ll file that moment away for future use in a story.
(No apples were harmed in the telling of this story. I can’t make any promises for the chicken, though.)
Thank you so much for making it to the end! This felt like a long list. I’m glad it broke it out into two posts! :)
I learn life lessons from writing all the time. But tell me – Have you ever learned a life lesson from reading? I’d love to hear about it!
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