Monthly Archives: January 2015
This is from my recent post over at American Christian Fiction Writers forum.
I miss writing. I miss that free flowing, wild abandon “banging out the story on a blank page” feeling – when all the creative juices are flowing and I am IN the story side by side with the characters. That kind of writing. This is what I live for as an author.
However, published authors have to live in a real world of published works and the writing is only a small part of the work. For me, filling up the blank page and allowing this living, breathing, dynamo of a story to struggle its way from my mind and fingertips onto a page is the fun part. It’s the OTHER stuff that becomes work.
The reality is, being a published author is a job. The story in your mind belongs to you. But, once that story becomes the subject of a contract, it belongs to the Publisher! You can still mold and shape the story but the story now serves a new purpose. It exists not to be read and enjoyed and to inspire or convict. It lives to make money. The story is now a PRODUCT!
How do you then keep the fun in being a published author? Here are three tips.
1. A good editor will only make you a better writer and a better author. Editing is the hardest work of being published. It is painful to cut and tweak and excise entire characters. But, with the right editor, your story suddenly becomes lean and hard and vibrant! The fun returns when you get that “WOW” reaction from taking a mediocre scene and watching it vibrate with new energy!
2. Social media and marketing are the leeches that drain me of my time and energy. I spend almost two hours four days a week on my Facebook page, Twitter, and website. How can you find some joy in this? My newest nonfiction book, “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Finding Happiness” generates weekly emails saying how much the book changed someone’s life. Most of these responses come from readers following my blog. Social media gives my readers an ongoing method to communicate with me. All it takes is a positive feedback to make my day and make the work worthwhile!
3. Book signings are disappearing. But, I crave the face to face encounters I have with a signing. I support my book stores. I meet some of my fans. And, I meet new people who’ve never heard of my books. Every book signing allows me to have a “divine” appointment with someone who has a very special need only I can fill at that moment in their life. Signings may be few and far between and I may only sell a dozen books, but I meet people. Meeting people is my life’s blood; my joy; my icing on the cake. In today’s world of increasing technological reliance we are now more connected than ever. But, we are more isolated than ever. Meeting someone and sharing a smile and a handshake makes all of that editing and marketing “work” worth it!
“The only thing worse than nostalgia is amnesia.” Ravi Zacharias, famed speaker and author once said this. For months, I felt like one of the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness. In an unprecedented turn of events, I had not been involved in any of my church’s activities for over a year. When my co-author, Mark Sutton was our pastor, my second “job” kept me occupied at our church. When he retired, it seemed I did too.
At first, I was very uncomfortable. My connection with the “inner circle” was severed. My knowledge of the direction of the church was no different than the person sitting next to me in the worship service. The very fact I was SITTING in a worship service instead of running around behind the scenes helping to make things happen was a disturbing but new development for me.
I was alone in the dark bedroom. I had pulled the sheet and blanket up over my head to shut out the world. I wanted no light; no sound; not even a speck of floating dust to touch me. I wanted to not BE.
Pain so bad it took my breath away filled every fiber of my being. Not physical pain. Emotional pain. And fear, yes there was fear. If I could just shut the world out for a few moments I might find some relief from this pain. Perhaps I could sleep? Probably not. Often elusive, sleep came for me with great difficulty and even if I did manage to slip into a sleeping state I knew it would not be restful. Because the dreams waited for me. Vivid, realistic, outlandish dreams. Read the rest of this entry