I must have started this blog fifteen times. I’d write a word or a line, then delete it. All because I’m trying to think of something new and clever to say about the fact that we’re facing a new year. But you know what? There isn’t really anything new to say. Sure, publishing has changed, and will continue to change. Yes, books are being published and will continue to be published. How that will happen may change, but there is a fact that won’t ever change:
Publishing is about Story.
Fiction, nonfiction, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about story. About sharing our hearts and experiences and ideas with our readers. About communicating a message that God has planted deep in our hearts in the hopes that we will challenge, encourage, inspire…and maybe change some lives for the better. We write because God has whispered a truth to us, and done so in a way that we know it needs to be shared. So today, let’s welcome 2015 by sharing that God-whisper.
Share the truth God put inside you, the core of your writing. And then let’s pray for each other. Let’s cover our fellow writers in prayer. I can’t think of a better way to start a new year.
My truth? That we must embrace the deep places in our lives, for God uses them to refine us, to make us into clearer reflections of His Son.
Happy 2015, Karen.
I love that you tell us to focus on great stories.
On Christmas day, after all the family had left, my husband and I went with our college son to see Unbroken. Parts of the movie are hard to watch, but you leave the theater inspired. Since then my son has read a biography and articles on Louis Zamperini. My husband who usually reads newspapers wants to read the biography also. Now that’s a great story.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all write stories this year that leave our readers yearning, and searching for more?
Jackie, it would be wonderful indeed! Let’s pray for that.
I needed to read this today. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I sometimes worry about the story I’m writing, berating myself with every word.
Not original. Cliche. So overdone. Bad, bad writing!
But there is something in my writing that no other writer has. My worldview. The way God has touched my heart and placed stories and characters in it that will present His truths – timeless, ageless – in a different light.
Francesca Battistelli’s song, If We’re Honest, plays in my mind as I read your article and if anything, that’s what I want to see in my fiction: honesty. It’s almost ironic, but yeah…
Bring your brokenness and I’ll bring mine
Coz love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy’s waiting on the other side
If we’re honest
I love her music, Ivane. And you’re exactly right. A lot of people could tell the same stories we do, but no one else can tell it with our individual voices.
There is purpose and blessing in the senior years of life, no matter our conditions or circumstances. God is faithful. That is the message I want to get out in the new year.
Shirley, a powerful message, indeed.
Being the reluctant writer, your post today is inspiring and motivating. Helping and equipping others is the strongest reason to write besides God’s parental nudging.
I’m keeping a copy of your post as the first sheet in my writing binder to remind me why I need to write. However, the joy of getting the writing process done is leaning upon the Nudger and your future postings. Write on!
Carolyn, thank you so much for the encouragement you just gave me! Blessings to you in 2015.
When I first started to look for themes in my stories, I realized there was a common one: God is trustworthy with our dreams.
Ane, love that theme! It’s so true.
It is about story, and the stories we write are illuminations of various vignettes in that tale which the Master Storyteller spins. We’re rather like monks, illuminating a manuscript.
We give it character, yes, but in our individual touch we BECOME character, as well. Our narrative voices are as much a part of the story, as personalities, as the characters we create.
And I wonder if this is something of a small sacrament, that we shadow, for our characters, the role of the Spirit in the stories we live.
Andrew, I believe it is, indeed, a sacrament to offer ourselves to God that He may tell life-changing stories through us.
Amen. Your thoughts have most surely struck a chord deep in my (writing) spirit. Thank you!
True confession. I was less than excited about reading yet another “New Year” article, but I am so glad I did. Thank you Karen, for once again reminding us why we write. I will indeed listen to that God whisper and for those truths which need to be shared in story.
And I will be praying for my fellow writers.
Looks like 2015 is going to be an exciting year.
Joe, you made me laugh because that was my struggle: I was less than excited about writing yet another New Year blog. Then this idea came to me (hmmm…wonder where it came from? ), and the excitement bloomed. So God blessed us both this morning. Love how He does that.
Your message is a blessing, Karen! And your encouragement to cover each other in prayer a wonderful start to the New Year! Thank you!
You’re welcome, Rebecca.
Susan Mary Malone
Love this, Karen! We are all on a hero’s quest. The time is now to begin it!
Amen! And what better way to start than undergirded with other believers’ prayers? Onward!
“That we must embrace the deep places in our lives, for God uses them to refine us, to make us into clearer reflections of His Son.”
Your words resonated with me, Karen. I had the privilege of hearing Allen Arnold speak at our local ACFW meeting this last weekend. Needless to say, I left full. And encouraged to really draw near to God. It’s only as we go deeper with Him that we can write deeper in our stories and touch readers. This is one of my desires this year. Going deeper with God affects every area of our lives.
Okay, I’m done now. Loved your post today!
Allen is so wise. I love hearing what God has given him to say. And you’re right on about going deeper with God. In fact, I’m working on some projects that focus on exactly that. What’s most exciting is I have to go deeper to do it all. And to live and write from those deep places. As a gardener, I’ve always found it fascinating that the darkest soil is the richest, the most full of nutrients. Love how God takes our darkness and teaches us about the light!
I write to glorify God and to share my faith. I will never be good enough, but that’s why I try learn something new every day and to practice. Writing to share my faith helps me to become a better person. I am changed and made more aware of my actions because I know other people are reading my blog posts. A person I barely know asked to see me privately. After I closed my office door, she asked me to pray for her. I believe the reason she asked me to do this is because she’s been reading my blog. We’ll never know who our writing has touched. May all our efforts but used to grow His kingdom.
Echoing your last line, Sheila!
Sandy Faye Mauck
Karen, that was so beautiful, it is hard to add a word to it.
Reminds me of a line in the old David Meece song, You Can Go…
“You have the treasure that the world needs to know.”
I love that, Sandy. Thanks for sharing it.
Janet Ann Collins
Karen, that’s profound and inspiring. You are wise.
Aw, thanks, Janet.
Karen, you just put into words the overwhelming feeling I’ve had from the moment the need to write fell upon me: I want to communicate the messages planted deep in my heart, that is, the truth God whispers in my ear. I’ve tried to do that with all my writing projects, and I will continue to do that, but 2015 brings an opportunity for me explore this this in a whole new way.
A close friend of mine recently opened a multi-service center for the homeless in our city. When she first got the keys to the old church building, she took me there and brought me into a room. “This is going to be the library,” she said. “I see you in here. And I see you standing right here, giving writer workshops to the homeless.” I rolled my eyes because I thought she was crazy. But then the idea persisted. It would not leave my mind alone.
I helped establish the library and have volunteered in the library nearly every Monday since the facility opened. I love it. I’m surrounded by books and I get to meet a very interesting cross-section of humanity. And I now have a handful of homeless friends who are writers, artists who have passion for poetry, lyrics, fiction, and nonfiction… and these friends have stories to tell! I’ve decided to mentor them, to encourage them to keep writing, to go to the deep places, and to focus on the truth God whispers in their ears. And yes, eventually I will offer writing workshops for the homeless. (I’m just not quite sure how to go about that, yet. Maybe that could be an idea for an upcoming Steve Laube blog: “So You Want to Offer a Writer Workshop for the Homeless?” ~lol).
Wow! Sounds like there’s definitely a book in there, Theresa! Love the idea of a library and writing workshops for the homeless. Sounds like something a lot of cities could use.
Happy new year, and thank you for the reminder. Often in our pursuit to write the perfect beginning, tighten our prose, skillfully weave our plot line – we forget that it IS about the story. It’s the reason that readers read. “Tell me a story” – that’s the task we’ve picked up and the one, in the end, that is the most important.
Amen, Vannetta! I find those four of the most powerful words in the world…
“Tell me a story.”
Hello Karen and thank you for such an uplifting message of encouragement. From now on, as I prepare to type that first keystroke of the day, I’ll pray not only that my words will glorify God and edify others, but also that my fellow writers will be blessed with peaceful hearts and streams of inspiration!
This is the first time I’ve participated in the SLA blog … I learned of your agency through a link on one of the Books & Such agent blogs.
It’s wonderful to have so many professionals willing to share their wisdom and experience.
Kathy, welcome! We’re happy to have you join us. And I love that you’re going to pray for other writers that way. May God bless you in abundance!
Wow, Karen, thank you for this! Needed this to refocus and restore my vision to write a book about intimacy with God. Thank you! 🙂
Dineen, you’re so welcome. May God place His words in your heart, my friend.
I loved this post despite my aversion to new year posts because of the urge to advocate starting over – again. But this reminded me of a great non-fiction book I read about God changing our past. My takeaway was God can’t change your future – it has not happened yet. God can’t change your present – He is always working in it. But He can change your past by using your scars (emotionally, physically and spiritually) to change someone else’s eternity.
Thanks for the reminder!
What a wonderful post to read first after being away from blog-following the past month. God blessed us when he created the concept of story through which we understand him, others, and ourselves. May this year find us peeling through the layers of stories, both fiction and non-fiction!