Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Guest Blogger: Chris Fabry on the Journey of a Writer
I was fortunate enough to have my first book published in 1995. I still remember driving to the publisher about 20 minutes away with my wife and children. I picked up a box from the receptionist and walked to the car, my kids clamoring for a peek inside. We stood there with the Illinois cloud cover and I ripped off the packing tape and handed out the first copies. I had dreamed of that moment for many years. I read every Writers Digest Magazine, read Dean Koontz’s book on bestselling fiction a hundred times, wrote for my local paper, journaled, scribbled stories in the basement of our home—words that no one will ever read. I prayed, begged, and cajoled God to let me do this.
Holding that first book in my hands, the culmination of so many dreams, I had one thought: “When will I hold book #2?”
I didn’t feel like a “real writer” after book #1. Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe the publisher just showed bad judgment. And if anyone actually bought the thing, well, it showed how bereft they were of their literary scruples. The book sold pretty well, but it didn’t make me feel like a real writer.
A couple of weeks ago I had a meeting where my sales history was put forward in black and white. Undisputable numbers. I gulped. What would the numbers say? I flipped to the last page. The total at the bottom was nearly 4 million copies sold.
And still, as I sat there, that number didn’t confirm that I was really a writer. A typist can sell a lot of copies.
What I’ve learned through this journey is that I was every bit as much a writer BEFORE I was published than I am now. In my heart was a burning desire to communicate through the written word. I couldn’t NOT write. I had to get to the page. Whether anyone read it or not, this was part of the way God made me. No one can tell you you’re a writer. No sales figure will confirm it. Not even your name on the cover of a book will give you the feeling. It’s something you have to believe deep inside. Writing is something you do. Being a writer is something you are. You work at the craft, you progress, you fail and you fall and you pick yourself up each day and put one word behind another.
If God has put that desire in your heart, he’s done so for a purpose. Create. Pour out the pain and love and truth. You can’t control if you’ll be published. You can’t control how many people will read what you write. You can only be faithful to the pulse beat of the heart of a writer.
About the Author: Chris Fabry is the author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books for both children and adults. His book, Dogwood was the 2009 Christy Award winner in the contemporary standalone category. He is also a host for the daily radio program Chris Fabry Live! and co-host for several other radio shows.
Please keep Chris Fabry and his family in your prayers this November. Check here for updates: Fabry Family Updates.
Also, don't forget to download Chris' latest book, Almost Heaven, currently available FREE from Amazon Kindle.