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How Badly Do You Want to Write?

2015 February 6
by Fay Lamb

image of a young woman writer at the table with typewriterI’ve worked with many writers over the last several years. Whether it is with critique, coaching, or giving advice, I find that not all those who take up the art of storytelling do it with a heart purposed to give the best effort.

I’ll be the first to admit that my advice falls short on occasion. I have always tried, when teaching or leading, to ask God to make me every mindful of my mistakes. Those who have worked with me for any amount of time have probably gotten a note from me that says, “You know, I thought this was the way it should be done, but I have recently learned …”

I never want to lead anyone astray.  My goal is always to teach to the best of my ability so that a writer might take what I teach and use it to write well. I know others who have given freely of their time to come alongside struggling authors and infuse some knowledge to help them gain an edge. For the most part, new authors are sponges, soaking up what they’ve learned and squeezing it out onto the pages they write. They want to learn. They question. They practice. They experiment. They even challenge because they want to understand why something is done a certain way and just when they can take their slant and create something unique.

I live for those authors who are burning with the stories inside them, yet they recognize a need to glorify the one who gave them the desire.  To glorify Him, they recognized that they must first learn the craft. In other words, those writers want to write so badly that they are willing to sacrifice the time and effort to do it correctly.

On occasion, though, I find someone who constantly shuns the truth offered to them.  The criticism is taken personally rather than constructively. These writers don’t have time to learn everything that goes into writing an unforgettable story. Forget grammar and punctuation rules. Those are problems for editors. The job of a writer is to create, and the creation doesn’t have to follow basic rules. If the reader likes it, that’s all that counts. Usually, these folks will put more into learning how to self-publish a book than they took to study the art of storytelling.

I’m not saying that all self-published authors are disgruntled writers who haven’t learned the art. To the contrary. I know very talented authors who have elected to self-publish, but I also realize the amount of time they took to learn the craft.  A variety of reasons to self-publish exist if you are an author who is ready for that step.

I wrote last week about waiting upon the Lord. That post was written to authors of either venue. Wait until the Lord tells you the time is right. Seek opportunities and ask the Lord to open the door when He wills it to open.

For “authors” who disregard honest criticism, who believe that all there is to writing is sitting down at the computer and pouring thoughts on paper, who have not taken the time to study their chosen art, my guess is that you wish to write badly because if you wanted to write well, you would listen and evaluate criticism, you would work to study the art of storytelling, you would seek out and learn the rules of grammar and punctuation, and you would rework your manuscript until it is no longer written badly, but it is written well.

To those authors, I encourage you to stop and to think of the self-inflicted harm that is being done. The old adage is true. We often get only one chance to make a favorable impression. If someone picks up a poorly written book, they aren’t likely to give the author a second chance.

Again, I urge authors to wait upon the Lord, and while you wait, study and practice the art.

I firsthand know the agony of waiting, but I also know that the thirty years that I studied and practiced were all better than the one year I plunged ahead of God because I so badly wanted to write.

Books Collage

Fay Lamb (The Tactical Editor)  is an author, editor, and writing coach.

Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Art of Characterization Cover FINAL FRONT (2)Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on three romance novellas: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas, and the newest A Dozen Apologies. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind. Also, look for Book 1 in Fay’s Serenity Key series entitled Storms in Serenity.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

 

 

 

3 Responses Post a comment
  1. June Foster permalink
    February 6, 2015

    Fay, a very thought provoking post.

    I write because God has put the desire in my heart. I am constantly learning more about the craft and you, for one, have been instrumental in my progress. I know your heart for couching and encouraging writers.

    Yes, I am one who has delved into self-publishing, but I don’t think it was because I couldn’t wait for a contract. In my case, I truly believe the stories I have to tell are non-traditional, probably not considered best seller material by agents and editors. Yet I feel compelled to get my stories “out there.”

    At this moment, I’m preparing to self publish my third book but at the same time I have two contracts from a traditional publisher. I believe authors like me are called hybrids.

    In any case, I appreciate your thoughts in this post.

  2. February 6, 2015

    June:
    Thank you for sharing. I know you well, and I know that you understand my stance on tradition/indie publishing. I am not against either venue. I am for well-written, well-edited stories by authors who have taken the time to learn the elements of story.
    I’m afraid that we all know authors in both venues who have not done so, and their work has harmed others in our industry. Christian authors climb an uphill battle to show that our work is as good, if not better than secular storytelling.
    You are a good friend, and I love you for your efforts to introduce Christ to others who may not know him. You do this through everything you write, and you are a blessing.

    • June Foster permalink
      February 6, 2015

      Thank you for your kind words, Fay. Love you, too.

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