Sunday, April 03, 2005

Learning Curves

On Today's Menu:
A Piece of Chocolate Cake (made from scratch)

The more I learn to write, the more I discover how NOT patient I am. Yes, I just used bad grammar. But impatient seems so "fussy"and "proper" in this case. The road to publication hasn't been an easy one. I've had more detours and potholes than I care to relate. I have friends who've had harder journeys. So far I've contributed to about half a dozen books, had some articles published, received some really "nice" rejection letters, and earned frequent flyer miles from going to writers' conferences. I did buy myself a pretty necklace with the first check. Another check helped pay for conference expenses.

What is my motivation? I suppose like most writers it's because I've got something to say through story, and I want to share it. The power of story is what bridges gaps between generations and beliefs. Story helps us understand the "tuff stuff" we can't puzzle through on our own. Combine that with the God Factor and you've got some words with real power. Is it any wonder that the Bible is still the #1 best seller? Sure, real men wrote the Bible, but they wrote as God moved them. There's a consistency that we writers like to call voice that permeates each book. Not that I'd ever expect my writing to come close to the Bible, but I believe stories can point us in the right direction. Some of us understand different messages than others, so that's why I think there's room for all our voices. Now if only the publishers' budgets would agree!

Besides working through "tuff stuff," I think stories should entertain. I've read some great books that made me laugh and cry and transported me to places I've never been. Then, as an added bonus some of them slide around behind me and wham!--I learn something new or I'm challenged in a fresh way.

Thr3e by Ted Dekker did that for me last year. I rode a rollercoaster ride of suspense and had my thinking challenged, too. Not bad. If I can but learn to write half as well. Another book that did that was The Covenant Child by Terri Blackstock, part heart-wrenching tale, part allegory.

Becoming a better writer is learning to hone my craft better so I can entertain while weaving that message in so it shines through without the, "Okay, time for the sermon" moments that make some people scratch their heads or skim. Oh, how I long to aim ever higher, to realize that in some aspects I'm starting to "get it." I'm learning to keep some joy in the journey, even if it's longer than I hoped.

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