As a writer and an avid reader, I find that just as two of the writing tools above have changed a lot over the years, so have the books that get published. Due to the option of self-publishing and the ability to publish not only hardcover or paperback books, but also ebooks. The market is over saturated with writers and their works.
In some ways this is a good thing. In other ways, not so much. I do not mean to step on anyone’s toes in this article nor am I looking for an argument. I simply want to write what I have seen, learned, and experienced for myself with the hope that it may present food for thought for both readers and writers alike.
I have loved to read ever since I learned how to do so. I have also dreamed of being a published writer for many years. I have read MANY books over the years in every age bracket and in most genres. I have read classics and modern writings.
What have I observed as I have read so many books?
- That, sadly, many of today’s books, especially self-published books, are not well written.
- That many of today’s writers are impatient.
- That many of today’s writers do not value learning or the advice of the learned or experienced writers nearly as much as they should.
What do I mean?
Well, I began my serious writing journey in the summer of 2013. I started by reading articles by Jeff Goins online. I found his articles helpful and encouraging, and I thought his advice sounded very good, especially in two things he stressed: 1) if you want to be a writer, you need to call yourself a writer and tell people you are a writer. That is how you will begin to believe you are a writer. 2) Find and join a writers’ group, either in your local area or online, or start your own.
I chose to follow both of those suggestions, and in September of 2013 I walked into my first local Christian writers meeting with my heart pounding in my chest because I didn’t know anyone there. But I was welcomed, heard a writer present information about writing. I found the information helpful and I continued attending monthly meetings until Covid halted in-person meetings in 2020. I took lots of notes at each meeting. I participated in the critique groups held at the meetings, after the speaker was finished speaking. I got to know other writers and made valuable connections. This particular group held an annual one day conference that I attended each year, where I learned more and made more connections.
Why did I do all of that?
Because I didn’t want to just write and publish a book. I wanted to write and publish a book that I knew was written to the best of my ability.
Why? Because as a Christian, I believe that we are called to excellence. After all, Jesus Christ is our example. We are called to do all things by imitating him as closely as we can. And Jesus was a fantastic story teller, right? I mean, how did he teach his disciples? He told them parables — stories.
Did Jesus just pick out twelve men, tell them why he came to earth, and then say, “Okay, now I want you to go out and tell everyone you meet what I told you?”
No, he spent three years of his life with those men, teaching them and setting an example before them so that they would be prepared to carry on his work after he returned to his heavenly father.
So, if you’re a Christian — a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ, and you believe he called you to write — that he gave you your story idea, your characters — do you think he wants you just to throw it together as quickly as possible and release it into the world in poorly written, poorly presented shape?
Isn’t that what Peter would do? But how many times did Jesus have to remind Peter that he needed to take his time and learn and think before he acted?
Most writers had other jobs before writing. You probably did too. Maybe you still have another job and can only do writing on the side. So, in the other job, did your boss just hire you, tell you what to do, and leave you to it or did you have a supervisor — a teacher, to teach how to do the job properly? Even if you started your own business, didn’t you already have knowledge about the business before you started it? Didn’t you have to learn what it would take to start and run the business?
So why do you think writing should be different?
As Christians, we should definitely think about our writing in regard to our spiritual journey and as part of our relationship with our Savior, and we should desire our writing to be pleasing to God, even above our readers.
Join me next time for some practical ways to write and publish well written books, and I will also address readers and book reviews either in the next post or in a third part.