This past week, my Zumba teacher was driving home from class when a drunk driver swerved into her lane and almost hit her head-on. By the grace of God, he swerved back and she was fine, but with even a second of difference in time, it could've been a very different story.
I began to think after hearing this how devastated I would've been if something would've happened to her. I haven't been taking her class long, but she's incredibly motivating, an inspiration, and a phenomenal teacher. I've been to a lot of other Zumba classes, but none like hers. If she'd been hurt and unable to teach, it wouldn't have meant one less class to attend. It probably would've meant no Zumba for me. Because she's that good. That unique.
|Photo by nuttakit at freedigitalphotos.net|
So often, we in the writing community get preoccupied with milestones. We measure success by whether we have an agent, a cool endorsement, a publishing house. We learn the "red flags" that publishers may not like and remove them from our work for fear it might send our manuscript flying into the slush pile. After a while, we may even start to write according to what we think the
But success isn't in any of those things. The real heart of the calling to be a writer isn't in any of those things either.
The real focus for our writing should be in discovering who we are in God.
See, we are all unique, like different colors in a prism. I am not Pepper Basham or Amy Simpson, nor are they me. If I go around trying to be just like Francine Rivers, my writing is going to be a failure. Why? Because it's not my ministry. It's not my heart.
This is the real problem with playing the comparison game and having thoughts like, "if only I could write descriptions like _________" or "if only I could write comedy like ____________." You are not called to be anyone but yourself. And once we get a hold of that, it's liberating. There is great freedom in developing your own writing style!
Because at the end of the day, the world doesn't need another book any more than it needs another exercise class. But there is a reader out there who needs to hear your particular story (and maybe that reader is even yourself). You are the only person God has equipped for that task, so if you don't do it, no one will. What a great motivation to get writing!
Let's hear from you! Have you ever read a book by an author whose unique writing style came through in their prose? How do you see your own writing style as unique?
Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses at her local university. She's an active member of ACFW and runs their newcomer's loop. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns. You can find Ashley on her personal blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. She is represented by Karen Solem.