Thursday, December 18, 2014
Living a writer's life – together.
By Cate McKeown I've always loved writing, as I'm sure most of you who are reading this have done. Writing is the sort of thing that is engrained into a person; like an everlasting mosquito bite you have to scratch, because no matter how much you try lathering it in spit, relief will only come when you rub profusely over the little red dot, preferably with a nice long sharp fingernail. And happy I was, sitting at my laptop writing for my own amusement, way back in 2012. Were you ever content with your own words, happy to keep them to yourself, happy to achieve your goals in silence, leaving the world oblivious to your secret, inner, writing life? Well, I was. Until one day when I felt a nudge – you know the kind. The one where you sense God tugging on something in your heart that lets you know he has bigger plans for you – uncomfortable plans that will lead you out of your comfort zone and place all that is sacred to you on display for the world to see. The kind of plans that you push aside as nonsense until you step out and start telling people that you believe God might be calling you to write – and suddenly everyone is supportive and championing you and you swallow hard and take a deep breath and think those three magical words: well now what? *Sigh* Those were hard days. Faith is an interesting thing. Trust God with my three daughters? Sure! Trust him with my hubby's (seemingly) mediocre income while I write rather than work? Not a problem. Trust him with our health and happiness and for miraculous intervention into the lives of friends around me? Okey dokey, can do. But trust him with my words being put out for the world to see, to be judged, to be criticised not only as a writer, but as a Christian writer? Ah – can I take a rain-check on that one, Lord? What a steep learning curve the past two years have been. From learning about showing not telling, to not using 'that' as a conjunction all.the.time, to cutting out the thousand+ adverbs from my first manuscript. But then came deeper issues – how do you not preach, and yet get a message across in Christian fiction? And should we even be attempting to get such a message out there? What is Christian fiction, who reads it, and how do we cater for the non Christian who may pick up the book to read? It's a complicated world out there, and with every new step I take I feel I am even more a novice than I was yesterday. But that's why groups like CWD are so valuable. We need each other. We need the help and the support and anyone and everyone to join our cheer-squad to get us over the line. And we need to be this for others, too. It's a tough world out there, and sometimes the red dot we're itching bleeds. What about you - are you published and on your way to becoming the Christian equivalent of the next JK Rowling, ready to mentor an upcoming writer? Or perhaps you're back at the starting line, wondering what that ear-piercing sound was that made everyone else take off running, hoping for someone to reach out and grab your hand to pull you along for a bit. I'd love to hear how you're going on your writing journey at the moment.
These thoughts were bought to you by Catriona McKeown at 9:00 AM