Friday, January 18, 2013

Bipolar Writing

Writing is something I love.  I've been doing it since I can remember. I hand-wrote my first novel in third grade in a Hello Kitty notebook with rainbow paper. It was about a photographer in Africa who happened to catch shots of poachers. The woman was, of course, independent and beautiful and successful. And in the end (not to give anything away), she put the bad guys in jail AND got to keep two leopard cubs.

I'm definitely a fiction writer, no?

In junior high it was all about girls who were popular. Precisely because I wasn't. In high school I didn't have much time for writing, and in college all my fiction was thinly veiled versions of reality. Funny thing about writing reality as fiction: it isn't always believable. I sat through a whole critique listening to the class tear apart the believability of my character's actions. In short, they didn't buy the story, which was an actual event in my life. Real life may actually be stranger than fiction.

While my passion is still fiction, I've been publishing strictly non-fiction on Amazon. And though I don't write Christian fiction, my non-fiction is decidedly Christian. So am I struggling with some kind of bi-polar disorder?

The reality is that I do struggle with Christian fiction. I don't like to read fiction that is didactic--that is, fiction that is trying to teach you something. I read because I love stories and I love people and I get caught up. Christian fiction often feels like it has a not-so-hidden message being fired through a silencer at your face. Or else it seems like it is being very careful--I don't quite think Christian fiction allows for how messed up people (even or especially Christian people) are. I'm not sure I'd fit into the Christian fiction world. Plus, when stories come to mind, they have not been about Christian people. I go where the stories take me, and so far, that's not where they are going.

So why am I not publishing my fiction? 

There are a few reasons. The first of which being that I consider my fiction works like my babies. I am super protective. I have poured years into them. I feel like the characters are real and they are important and they have stories. Largely, this self-publishing has been an experiment. I know some people sell well and some people don't. I wanted to see how it was to self-promote, to put my work out there and find readers besides my family.

I still hope for a traditional book deal on my fiction, and do have an agent who has been waiting for my next book. Not that it's a guarantee--you just never know. But I am not ready to self-publish that.

Before you think of this as an admission that I'm not passionate about my non-fiction or that it's not quality, let me say a word or two about that. I've always found in my writing that when I do write about Christian things, specifically Biblical ideas, things come more easily. There is that springboard coming from the Bible--I'm not making up original ideas. I'm reacting to and building upon something greater.

That also means, of course, that I want to be really careful what I'm writing--to make sure I'm representing my faith in the right way. I find that it's easier to write, but in no way does that mean it's cheaper or that I don't care. I know that Christian non-fiction could potentially have an impact on someone's real life in a way that my fiction doesn't. Which in many ways makes me all the more eager to get it out there.

For now, here's how you can connect with my work.

Today and tomorrow you can snag my Christmas devotional, Make Him Room, for FREE! Christmas may be over, but that doesn't mean that passages related to Jesus being born can only be read in December. Christmas in July, right? Or...just save it away for next year or send to a friend.

While you are there, pick up There Is No Small Call, which isn't free, but is $2.99--less than your favorite Starbucks drink or a gallon of milk. (Less than a gallon of gas, too, unless you have some special source I don't know about.) I am really excited about this book, and I hope that you get excited too. We all wonder about our significance sometimes, whether what we are doing with our daily life is where we are supposed to be. I may not answer all oour questions (I'm not psychic), but I can definitely tell you that you DO have a calling, and it's anything but small.

And I'm linking up this week through A Walk Through the Psalms with Everyday Awe. Go check it out!



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