Monday, March 15, 2010

Destination: X-Factor

X is a funny letter... it doesn't really make a sound another letter of the alphabet couldn't make. It gets less dictionary pages than any other letter. It's probably the least used letter.

But it's also powerful in ways that other letters aren't. When other letters stand for a sound and usually need other letters with it mean something, X is bigger than just a sound.

On a map, X is the destination. It's where you want to end up when you're on a journey.

In math, X is the part of the equation you want to solve for: it is what you are seeking.

In ancient Greek, X is the symbol for the word Christ.

This past weekend the youth group at our church had a retreat in which the theme was X. X for Roman numeral ten, as in 2010. X as in what you are seeking in life. X as in the end of your journey. X as in Christ – the destination, the One you are seeking, the place your journey in life will end up.

Which, of course, got me thinking about writing, and my particular path in my own life, and my own journey. Besides the obvious answer of wanting to spend eternity with God, where do I want my life to go? What is it I seek? What is my X-Factor?

 I admit that last week I got a little Amazon-ranking addicted. It was fun seeing my book climb the chart, the number of books that sold more than mine go down. It was a freak out moment seeing my book listed in the same group as Jodi Picoult and Michael Crichton, both of whom I greatly enjoy reading. I want my book to sell well. What writer doesn't?

But as the weekend settled in and the numbers evened out, I got something even better than a notice that I was on the medical fiction bestseller list. I got an email from a reader saying how much my book had meant to them. And then another. And another.

I got six emails and letters this week from people who found a piece of themselves in the book.

Let me tell you, there is nothing better to me than hearing that something I wrote made someone feel less alone, less unheard, less frustrated; made someone think about God in a new way, find miracles in everyday life, understand what someone else is going through.

There are lots of reasons to read, and lots of reasons to write. Not a single one of them is bad. Not even if you as a writer secretly want to write to get rich. Hey - if you can do it, good for you. If you want to entertain, if you want to provide escape, if you want to be heard, if you want to help, if you want to be famous, if you want to just make some money doing something you love. All very valid reasons to take the journey of writing to be published.

For me? The X-factor is making a difference. The destination is having my writing touch someone else's life. It's being faithful to God's call to reach people and tell them he loves them, no matter whether or not they struggle loving him back, or whether they question his goodness or relativeness to their lives. Whether they even believe he exists.

I don't think it's a more noble goal than any of the others, and maybe my publisher would prefer I strove to be famous and wealthy. :)

Still, it makes me more focused when I'm writing to know what I want the end goal to be.

What about you? What is your X-factor? Why do you do what you do?


  1. Great post, Heidi. And I LOVE your book trailer!

  2. Oh, letters from actual readers? I think I just passed out for a second there. That has got to be the most amazing feeling in the world, Heidi. So happy for you and all your success!!!!

  3. This warms my heart to read this Heidi as I feel the same way and it is the reason I think we should write. So glad those people took the time to let you know.

  4. Aww!

    In other news, I'm giving up on the book just going to buy on my next order :)