Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Few Writer Joys

(Photo is of my daughter on a zip-line - pure joy!)

As an avid reader all my life, I often fantasized about the lives of the brilliant people who created the stories I enjoyed so much. Crowded study, a cozy wing chair, pipe smoke and a leather-patched jacket? Perhaps ambling through a Scottish moor, hair whipped by the wind, jotting notes as inspiration swirled? Sitting at a local coffee-shop, disheveled and bleary from a long night of creating epic work, carrying on erudite conversations with fellow authors?

So when I got my first contract, I looked around at my life and scratched my head.

It was so . . . well, normal.

And on top of that, some new pressures arrived. Critics and sales numbers, appearances and interviews. Self-doubt that climbs higher with each paragraph I write.

But there ARE writer joys. For those of you sharpening a new pencil each day to scribble your tales: it IS worth the effort.

The most humbling and joyous surprise is receiving letters from readers.

"WOW! I could swear you have been eavesdroping in my home...Thank you so much for writing this book. I've been able to share things from the book with my husband and discuss my feelings and inaequacies as a wife and stay-at-home mom."

"It was incredible. Life changing for me...I had to know what happened to the lovely family you created, but especially Becky."

"I'm reluctant to finish it. It will be like losing a good friend. I find me in so many areas of Becky Miller's life."

"I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the book . . . it has so ministered to me...words/feelings that I didn't know how to verbalize."

To me this reflects God's amazing ability to take simple things (like my goofy little stories) and transform them into blessings. And to watch that happen fills me with awe and gratitude. I still don't have a wing chair and a leather-patched jacket. Brilliant words don't drip from my fingers as I type. I chew my nails when waiting to hear what my editor thinks of my rewrites. I obsess about where I fit among genres and styles in the publishing world. I recognize my insignificance in the face of the "real" writers - the best sellers, the award-winners, those with a hundred books to their credit.

But I also feel joy that my work today includes playing in the sandbox of words, and that at least a few people have found my first book, read it, and enjoyed it.

If you've read a book lately that blessed you, take a moment and let the author know. That writer might need a little bit of joy today. :-)

Sharon Hinck


Inheritor of Heaven said...

My wife recently read your book and gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up.

Ruth said...

Thanks for sharing those wonderful reader comments! I'm so happy to hear how God is using your writing to touch hearts and encourage people!

Alison Strobel Morrow said...

How did you get into my head? :) I've thought and felt those very same things. When I got my first contract, I sat in my living room, staring at it and realizing that my life WASN'T about to change. Not really. I always thought it would when I became a published author. In some ways it changed, of course--I became a 5th grade teacher who'd also written a book, instead of "just" a f5th grade teacher--but in the end life was still life. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. A little guilty, too, as I realized a lot of my disappointment stemmed from wanting to be "special," maybe even a little famous. A couple years have passed and I can say with relief that I'm not as prideful as I once was--although I still have a long way to go. But there IS a special warmth that spreads in my heart when I hear those words, "I just finished your book, and I loved it!'


Meredith Efken said...

You're absolutely right, Sharon. There are days when I'm sure I can never write another meaningful word, and then an email will pop into my inbox from a reader. It totally makes my day. Great observations, my friend.