I have tried to distill what I have learnt into five areas. I’ll be interested to see if it is the same for you?
1. PASSIONATE IDEA; Whatever you write about it must grip you. In writing “Broken Pottery – the life of an African girl” it was something I felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to do as I watched these beautiful girls and women suffer physically and emotionally. How could one not be moved to hope with them as they sought a cure for their fistulas created by a difficult childbirth and then enter into their joy when they found healing. My hope and prayer is that through reading my fictional account it may bring some help to these women. See my website for more information. www.JenniferAnn.info
2. START; Even though you can be convinced you should write it can be difficult to start. It may take months or even years to think about a storyline but at some point one has to brush aside interruptions and determinedly put pen to paper. My litmus test for this stage was to ask myself,
“At the age of 90 will I look back at my life and totally regret the fact that I did not “have a go” and see what God may have wanted to do with not just the book but with my being obedient to Him?” The answer was always a resounding “yes”.
3. TRUST; The problem with writing a book, even one you know God wants you to write, you can still feel unsure if it is any good. Most authors are perfectionists when it comes to their writing and could alter a sentence over a dozen times and still not feel that it is exactly right. My rule of thumb is to ask the question, “Does my writing evoke an image, emotion or response from the reader?” In writing a fictional book set on a real continent involving real issues my concern was that many people have not visited Africa but I wanted to write in a way that the reader felt, they had not only visited but they had lived there. Could they visualize the blood orange sunsets, appreciate the nuances of culture, feel their senses reel in the exuberant chaos of life which is an African market and most importantly walk in the bare feet of Aisha (the central character)?
Having done our best, we then need to TRUST that God would do all that He intends to do with our work. (I’m sure you will agree, simple to say, hard to live out)!
4. REALLY GOOD EDITOR; It’s a bit heart breaking if you then turn your work over to someone who “doesn’t get it.” A good editor knows about spelling and grammar. A REALLY good editor reads your work carefully and is respectful of the creative process and realises that your writing is an extension of yourself. They recognize your unique style and storylines and set about polishing your work till the beauty of the story glimmers from each page.
5. JOY; I am wondering if you think I will say that being published brings joy and yes that is a wonderful moment and of course if the book sells that is also great. But I think for writers the real joy comes as we create because we are using the gifts that God has given us for His purposes, (no matter how outwardly successful our books may or may not be).
SO TO MY FELLOW WRITERS, MAY JOYFUL WRITING BE YOURS.