Monday, March 24, 2014

Who Are You Writing For? – By Natalie McNee



“Can you believe it?!” I screeched at my husband, “I didn’t even get a mention! Not even a thank you!” anger rang through my voice but hurt was etched across my face as I shook a book in front of him. I was holding the published work of a client’s book that I had spent many hours over a few months editing/rewriting pro bono as they couldn’t afford my services but I really believed in the message of the book and felt led by the Holy Spirit to help them out. I had just read the acknowledgement section which had listed everyone from family members to the illustrators and cover designers, listing their websites and contact details but there was no mention of my name or a thank you for my help anywhere on the page. My husband just looked at me matter of factly and asked, “Who are you writing for?” I stared blankly back at him, what did he mean who was I writing for? Again he asked the question and then the light bulb switched on – “For God.” I sighed. I didn’t mention the book or incident again.

Fast forward a few months - I was eagerly awaiting an email reply with a critique to a manuscript I had sent in, I was so proud of this piece of work, as a writer I am my harshest critic but this one I was actually satisfied with, I had first sent it to my critique group and they all loved it, I made a few edits according to their suggestions and then sent it off to the publisher. Not once did I have a nagging feeling that I should dissect and re-write it a million times (isn’t this what most writers do with their work?). The email finally popped up but WHAM it was like a whack in the face; “We suggest you tear this up and partake in some studies of your craft before you write another story again!”
 
“This has to be some sort of cruel joke.” I thought to myself. I’ve been writing professionally for seven years and some of the books I’ve ghostwritten have been number one bestsellers on Amazon within the Christian market and now I’m being told that I’ve got no talent! I’ve received rejection letters before – it comes with the territory but this time I burst into tears, again I ran to my husband, he listened sympathetically but when I told him I was quitting, that I had had enough he asked; “Who are you writing for?” I knew the answer first up this time, “God!” I sighed again. I sat quietly and asked God what He thought of my work, there was no denying His presence and I sensed His face smiling down on me.

I didn’t tear the work up and I didn’t quit writing, I went straight back to the keyboard and started on a new piece of work. As writers we are often told to write for the reader; publishers have specific requirements which pertain to their readers buying habits but through experience I have noticed that if you write from your heart and dedicate your work to the Lord there will always be readers who will genuinely praise your work for speaking into their lives and there will always be sales but even better than this you will experience the satisfaction of the Lord’s smile upon you. He has gifted you with penmanship, He will guide your work and His praise is far more worthy than anything received here on Earth. Be encouraged to follow your dream and write for God


Bio
Natalie is a freelance copywriter and ghostwriter servicing the Christian market. She is also the co-owner of Flowers To Remember. Natalie proudly supports Compassion through the Child Advocate Network and volunteers for the Street Chaplains in her free time. To connect with her on various social networks please visit her website www.nataliemcnee.com
 

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for your honest blog, Natalie. Maybe that person who didn't acknowledge your help in that book thought you wanted to remain an invisible 'ghost writer'??!! You know, the same thing happened to me but in the end, I was glad I WASN'T acknowledged, as it wasn't a very good book! God works it out in the end.

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  2. Thanks Natalie. That's a really challenging post. I'm not sure I would have been as gracious as you with the ungrateful writer and the scathing reviewer. But you're so right. We need to remember that we're writing for God and it's His opinion that matters. I was just reading something this morning that seems to relate to that - Gal 6:4-5 - "Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each should carry his own load." I took that to mean we each have our own calling and responsibilities and we need to be concerned with what God's called us to rather than worrying about what everyone else thinks. Not always easy though. Also, I can't believe that reviewer would write something so unkind even if he/she didn't like the manuscript. It reminded me how important it is to be constructive with our feedback. Some people would have been shattered by that and would have given up. Good on you for persevering and thanks again for a great post.

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  3. Hi Natalie. What a great reminder that we do everything as unto the Lord. However I am sorry about the rudeness of other Christians. Maybe these stumbling blocks be stepping stones to great words of brilliance. A few years ago someone gently suggested to me that I couldn't write - the difference was that she was correct and she spent hours and hours teaching me - giving her work to the Lord so that I may write for Him. Abundant Blessings on you and thanks for sharing your heart.

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  4. Thanks for the encouragement ladies, it was a well learnt lesson on serving the Lord first and foremost and listening to His encouragement by overcoming the rejection of man. Bless you all!

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  5. Thanks Jo-Anne, I had asked if they could mention my name and website, as a ghostwriter you obviously don't get many testimonials with client's real names and it would have been nice for some exposure but as you said it all works out in the end :)
    God bless!

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  6. Hi Natalie,
    I can completely understand where you were coming from here. Thanks for sharing your conclusion. You have a wise husband :)

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  7. Oh dear Natalie, I think we have all been there. And my tomorrow's post in the Australasian Christian Writers blog will testify to the fact we continue in our struggle with our personal feelings.
    But through it all we grow when we recognize the Lord's dealing s with us. He perseveres in making us what we ought to be. And so should we persevere in allowing Him.

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  8. Hi Natalie - thanks for the reminder of who we write for. Wow, I couldn't believe how unrelieving harsh that critique was. Perhaps the critic was having a very bad day! I'm glad you didn't listen to him/her. All the best with your work.

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  9. A great blog Natalie and wow - you blessed me. Thank you for your honesty too. Well done for persevering despite the harsh critique (far too harsh! Made me say 'Grrrr' on your behalf) - but yes, writing for God first is definitely what as are called to do. Thanks for both the challenge and the encouragement.

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  10. So true, Natalie. Your very wise husband hit the nail on the head. And as others pointed out, this goes not just for books. We could extend that questions and ask, "Who are we working for in whatever we do?" Thanks for refocusing our aim!

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  11. PS: I really like your Flowers to Remember business idea and wish you great success in that. I can only imagine how much this could mean to someone experiencing great loss.

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  12. Thank you so much for all of your support and encouraging words, it really means a lot to me! Yes my husband is very wise, he challenges me to see things from God's perspective and to stand on biblical truth which is not always easy :)

    Can't wait to read your blog Rita!

    Thank you Margaret, it was a God idea but taking it slowly and building it up steadily as my main focus is still my writing.

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    Replies
    1. Writing can be such an up and down journey, can't it? Thanks so much for this honest (and rather entertaining :) ) blog, Natalie. A great reminder that it's not all about us and the importance of remembering the bigger picture and purpose when experiencing some of those writerly challenges.

      (Had to re-post this. Changed my mind about what I wanted to write but published a little too eagerly - and didn't proof! Oops!)

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  14. Ouch! I hope hubby also offered to kiss it better - those were pretty tough injuries you had to handle. Natalie, thanks so much for your courage and honesty in sharing your experience - your words carry weight because you have clearly walked the walk you talk about! (You can now expect me to cry on your trustworthy and wise shoulder in due course! ;) It seems that you're a ghost writer in more ways than one - in the literary sense of course and in a spiritual one, as a Holy Ghost writer. Thanks for encouraging us to aspire to the same purpose - to write for God.

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