Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Writing = Bleeding on the Page

Writing can be a lonely journey. So many days it is me and my computer. It can be tough for this extrovert to invest the time day after day alone. Yet I love story.

I really believe I was created to tell stories.

I've felt God smile when I do write. I've felt like beating my head against a wall or kicking cabinets when I'm in the discovery phase.

Writing is intense. It's like opening your veins and bleeding on your keyboard. Then you clean up the mess in edits. Then you send your baby to an editor and pray that he or she will see the essence of the story and help you make it sing. Then you edit and send it back. Then you labor over back cover copy. Gasp at the beautiful covers. And then it goes out into the world.

And you wait. And wonder. What will people think of your baby? Will they like it? Will they mock it? Will God speak to them through the wonder of story?

Yesterday my novel Shadowed by Grace received Christian Retailing's Best Award for Historical Fiction (you can see the full list of winners here). It was an amazing honor because Francine Rivers and Karen Barnett had written beautiful books that could have easily receive the award. If you haven't read Shadowed by Grace, it is currently on ebook sale for $2.99 on Amazon and iBooks.

Awards aren't the reason I write. If so, I should have packed up my typewriter...errr...laptop long ago. But they are encouraging. They are a signal to writers that their books have impacted readers somewhere. This award is voted on by retailers and those in the industry. So it has different meaning than an equally awesome reader award.

So why do we do this?

You have to know why or you'll give up because for most of us accolades are few and far between.
  1. I write because I feel called to do it. Truly. I was born loving story. And the desire to write my own stories has never gone away. The season wasn't always write, but the desire never died.
  2. I write because I feel an unique partnership with God when I'm in the midst of creating. It's hard work. Very hard work. Yet there's nothing like knowing I'm working on something with HIM.
  3. I write because I love a good challenge. Coming up with the next great idea. Developing characters -- those pesky heroines give me fits. There's something to the battle through to a story.
  4. I write because when a story reaches a reader, and the reader connects with the characters, the story, the spiritual thread, it all becomes worth it.
If you are a writer, why do you write? If you're a reader, what do you love to see in a story?


Julia M. Reffner said...

First of all, I didn't realize you had won the best award for historical fiction! Congratulations, Cara! The Alley is super proud of you!

"I've felt God smile when I write." This speaks to me. In fact, one of the other Cats spoke a similar word to me several years ago. I need to let it sink in. Really let it sink in. God enjoys spending that time with me.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Cara, a HUGE congratulations on winning! That's super!!

Secondly, when I read your post, I kept thinking of Eric Liddel's line, "When I run I feel His pleasure." That's how it is for me when I write. Getting the first draft onto the page, revising it and making it beautiful--leaning on Him through the entire process. That's been one of the biggest delights for me since I began the writing journey.

I write because God's given me stories and a desire to write for His glory.

Cara Putman said...

Julia, It's been so true that there are those times I feel God's pleasure. It keeps me going on the hard days where writing is plain work.

Thanks, Julia and Jeanne for the congrats. I'm still smiling!