Wednesday, June 18, 2008

God Is Calling Me To Get Back To Writing My Book and Quit Lurking Around the Blogging World (but will I listen??)

Either my attention span is getting shorter or there are a whole lot more blogs on my bookmarks list. I used to be able to hit them all every day, at first just lurking and eventually branching out a little to leave comments here and there.

Suddenly, I've had to prioritize. There are only three agent blogs I hit every day now, and three or four personal/writer ones. The rest I read when I get around to them, skimming the previous weeks to see if there is anything I can't do without.

Today I checked in on Rachelle Gardner's blog and found several really good posts.

One post is about voice. I'm beginning to think this is the "thing" for this year in writing. Everyone wants a great one. No one can define what it is. It can't be taught, but it's essential to a good book. Everyone seems to want to weigh in on it: agents, authors, publishers. Trying to grasp what it is is like trying to hold water in your fingers. It seems to slip away as soon as you think you've got it.

Rachelle also did a 100 word contest. With a twist: she gave a photo as a prompt. I didn't participate (obviously, as I wasn't on top of my blog reading enough to catch it in time), but it is really fun (maybe particularly because I didn't enter) to read the very creative entries, as well as what Rachelle thinks are outstanding.

My favorite, however, is one that may not even effect you, but was entirely funny and useful for me. It is called God Told Me To Write This Post. It touches on faith and writing, and how NOT to use that as your hook to get agents to notice you. She's been getting a lot of queries where people start with, "God told me to write this book." I was shocked to hear people actually use this line in a query.

I liked it particularly because I agree that God may call people to do things other than the obvious. He may really want you to write a particular story. But not necessarily call you to publish it. Why? Because the process of writing may be more important than the publication. The discipline, the insights, what we get out of writing, how others close to us are affected by us writing.... these may all be more important. This isn't to say we shouldn't get published, or try to anyway. Just that we shouldn't tell an agent God told us to. Which, I would think goes without saying.

(Rachelle is, by the way, an agent for WordServe Literary and reps mostly Christian authors, whether their books be overtly Christian or not. If you are a writer, even if not a Christian, she's worth the read. She is funny and snarky and sharp and deep, and she doesn't blog particularly to a Christian audience).

I really like Rachelle's blog. Everytime I stop by her blog I laugh, I think, I ponder, I come up with 50 things to blog about on my own, but never have time to. I think this is why she's not one of my regulars. She takes time. But even if it's only once a week or so, it's worth it.

Maybe God is calling me to get published by a Christian agent after all. Hmmmmm.... I might mention this if I query her...


  1. You know, I really like her blog too. I manage to swing by there everyday...but unlike your super organized self, I have like 15 blogs I check (some more obsessively than others lol) and comment on daily.

    Maybe I oughta cut back...but as you said, can I?


  2. Heidi,

    I am just now working through the agent blogs you sent us, thanks by the way.

    I love Miss Snark.
    This is an interesting item. You hit the nail on the head, writing is cathartic for me - whether it is writing prose so incredibly personal to me I shred it the minute I finish it or a novel I want to publish. It also helps me, I tend to see both sides of the spectrum, an argument, and that has helped me in the real world.

  3. This post kind of reminds me of watching the Grammys on TV. Inevitably someone is going to walk up there, hold their little gold gramaphone up triumphantly, and THANK GOD for it.

    I dunno, maybe I'm just cynical... they're not thanking God for the grammy but just thanking God, for y'know, everything. But I always roll my eyes and mutter that I really doubt that God wanted that artist to have a grammy award. Like, I'd rather hear people thank God for the gift of music, or their entire life, or anything but a hunk of metal and wood with their name on it.

    So, even though I absolutely do feel that I have a calling to write, (and yes specifically to have written this particular book) I don't let myself think that God TOLD me to write it. I think we're supposed to use our given talents.

    Anyways, blah blah blah... I'll save the rest for the reporters, hahahaha.

    Good post, as usual, Heidi!

  4. Miss Snark is addictive! I spent hours trying to read her archives when I first found her.

    Writing is cathartic. I used to write poetry for that reason. I have reams of poetry, most of which has never seen the light of day.

    Your absolutely right about being able to see both sides of the spectrum by writing. I'm experiencing that now with my newest book. It took a while, though, to let go of my own opinions and views and let the characters talk on their own.

    There's a lot of good to writing... publishing is really icing on the cake.

  5. Heidi:


    Rachelle says it's like using the Lord's name in vain.

    I have the same problem with people thanking God when the tornado missed their house. Does that mean God was mad at the people whose house it didn't miss??

    I am, in general, very appreciative of all that God had given me, and done in my life, but I'm not sure it's His plan for me to be a NY Times bestseller.

    Maybe I'm cynical too.