Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lessons From Writers Who've Gone Before Us

It's me again! Today I'm introducing our newest columnist, Tim Suddeth. I've known Tim for several years and have watched him grow as a writer. Even though he doesn't quite have that first book contract, he's active in the industry and I believe can add a lot of insight to this blog. He's one who, in my opinion, has done it right. He's been willing to follow the advice of professionals, spend time reading, learning about all aspects of the publishing industry, and attending classes and conferences. I hope you'll give him a warm welcome!


Lessons From Writers Who've Gone Before
by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth


Writing can be a lonely endeavor. It’s easy to want to withdraw into our little holes like Mr. Beaver in C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Then we can shut everyone else out. But most of us have to poke our heads out, at least every once in a while, because we want others to read our work. The reason we write stories is so we can share them with someone else.

In the publishing world, it is so easy to get lost. We hear that to be published and widely read we have to add sparkle, flash, a little sex, and profanity. Can we write our stories without that?

Fortunately, other writers have already gone before us. They’ve developed markets where both writers and readers can go to find books holding a more Christian worldview. Where we don’t have to be on guard for the gratuitous sex scene or profanity blast. Where the hero or heroine will be a more appropriate role model.

I’ve recently read two books that tell the stories of several of these writers and their stories of hurdles they encountered and why it was important to them to stand true to their principles..

Behind theStories was written by Diane Eble and published in 2002. It has the stories of over forty well-known authors and how they began their writing careers and found their way to the Christian market. It was interesting to see how many didn’t think of themselves as Christian writers, but writers who were Christians.

Terri Blackstock is an example of one writer who was writing successfully in the general market. However, she wasn’t comfortable writing the sorts of books the decision-makers thought the market was calling for. She shifted to the Christian market and “continues to write books that reflect her passion to help Christians grow spiritually.”

Isn’t that what we all want to do? To write stories faithful to our beliefs?

Without becoming destitute trying to achieve it. Angela Hunt remembered a time when she was on a panel and someone asked her what motivated her to write. “And my first honest answer is, ‘To pay the mortgage.’” Making money, while fulfilling your gift or calling, is okay. It’s one reason God gave you this desire.

Writing is a gift. Some of us would say a yoke. Diane wrote that Jerry Jenkins felt it was his only gift, and he worked to exercise it to the fullest. He averaged more than five books a year for twenty-five years.

Another book is closer to home, both geographically and timewise. It’s Yvonne Lehman’s Writing Right to Success, published in 2016.The book is broken into two parts, the first part telling the stories of twenty-five best-selling authors and how they began to write and started on their journeys to success. The second part of the book is their tips to mastering the craft of writing.

Yvonne Lehman is known to many of us as the founder of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, director of the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat, and the author of over fifty books. Many of the authors included in the book have been instructors at her conferences.

After reading these brief writers’ bios, it’s easy to see that many of the writers felt a calling, an internal desire to tell their stories. Some of them, like our Edie Melson who is in the book, say that they have to write, even if they didn’t make any money on it.

Another lesson I found reading both books was that there is no one way to become a writer. All of us are different and on different journeys. Comparing how you are doing to someone else misses the mark.

The question we need to ask instead is, are you being faithful to what you think God is calling you to do? By making that a priority, you will write your own writer’s bio.

What writer’s story has inspired you in your writing? Please tell me about it by leaving me a comment.

And thank you for reading.

TWEETABLE
Lessons from writers who've gone before us - @TimSuddeth on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


Tim Suddeth has been published in Guideposts’ The Joy of Christmas and on www.christiandevotions.us. He’s working on his third manuscript and looks forward to seeing his name on a cover. He is a member of ACFW and Cross n Pens. Tim’s lives in Greenville, SC with his wife, Vickie, and his happy 19-year-old autistic son, Madison.  Visit Tim at www.TiminGreenville.com and on Facebook and Twitter. He can be also reached at timingreenville@gmail.com

14 comments:

  1. Thank you Edie, for letting me share today. The picture of me and my schnauzer is from a large snow we had here in Greenville a few years ago. It's very appropriate to what we're waking us to this morning.

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    1. Tim, I'm so glad you're part of the team!!!

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  2. It's nice seeing you here, Tim! I look forward to your future columns. :)

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    1. Thanks Cathy. How was the first snow in your new house?

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  3. Congratulations on being added to the rotation! I too look forward to your future posts.

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  4. Welcome to The Write Conversation, Tim!

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  5. Welcome Tim. I really enjoyed this and your words spoke to my heart. I have ordered both these books, one on kindle and began reading - great recommendations. I have been a writer all my life, loving every aspect of it from reading, to learning about, taking online courses and of course writing. Except for a couple of devotions in a few devotionals, I am not published. I am 69 and preparing for retirement and entering into a new season of life when I can write fulltime. Publication isn't a requirement - but a goal. Thanks again.

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    1. Thank you Judy. One of the things that the books taught me is that we are all on our unique journeys. God doesn't give retirement watches, just new assignments.

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  6. Great post, Tim. And welcome to the team. I've purchased but not yet read Yvonne's book, but will make that a priority. I agree we must stay true to our calling, and true to our faith.

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    1. Thanks Bruce. Hope you're enjoying the beach. Don't tell Edie but I think she has an article in there.

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  7. Tim, welcome to the blog. Edie, you've chosen well. And, BTW, I'm honored to have a part in Yvonne's book--all the stories are inspiring.

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  8. I can see why you were added to the team. Great post! Thanks for this. The book I just finished reading is How My Book Became A Movie by Robin Jones Gunn. Full of hope for this writer! Robin has written more than 90 books, and yet she still has to rewrite her stories. "What if I'd stopped, what if I would have given up?" The great What If...Such a great read. I'm anxious to read Writing Right to Success. Blessings to you, Tim.

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