One of my new year’s resolutions was to actually crack open and read some of the many how-to-write books I have stacked in piles about my house (as opposed to simply being content thinking how scholarly having such books scattered around makes me look.)Last year I read two terrific books on writing: Stephen King On Writing, and Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott.
The first one I’m tackling this year is a book my sister Susan (possibly my biggest fan) gave me for Christmas, called On Becoming a Novelist, by John Gardner. I think it will be a good one because, even though I’m still just in the preface, I’ve found a great quote:
“It is far more satisfying to write well than simply to write well enough to get published.”
It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that getting a novel published is a dream of mine. Right along with seeing my picture on the book’s dust jacket, having my own spot on a shelf at Borders, and maybe even doing book signings. Perhaps I’ll see those dreams realized, and then again, maybe not. But getting published shouldn’t be my big goal.
My big goal should be using my gift for God’s glory, and letting Him use me in any way He wishes. If I’m writing for God’s glory, I must strive for excellence, not publication. I hope that once I am published (Lord willing), I won’t decide my writing is “good enough,” and stop growing. I hope that all my life I’ll continue improving and learning.
As the above quote suggests, it is possible to write well enough to be published, yet not be writing your best. But God has designed us in such a way that we find true satisfaction when we know in our hearts that we are doing our very best.
Colossians 3:23-25 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Lord, As I continue on my writing journey, please help me to keep my eyes on You. Help me not to be lazy or to lower the standards of what I’m striving for. I want to work at this writing thing with all my heart, working for You, and looking forward to the inheritance I’ll receive from You as a reward. That inheritance will be far more precious than any contract or raving book review could ever be. Amen.