Tuesday, March 28, 2006

End Cap Musings

Today's photo shows a book store end cap display.
It's a cardboard shelf unit that a bookstore has the option to buy. It sits at the end of an aisle and showcases special books.

The idea of an end cap has triggered some interesting emotions for me.

First of all, I'm thrilled. Thrilled that the publishing house cares enough about my book to include me with three other terrific authors. Grateful that they are making this investment . . . along with all the rest of the financial risk they are taking by publishing a brand new author.

Second, I'm scared. Will my book do what it's supposed to? Will Bethany House Publishing House's trust in me be justified?

Third, I feel oddly like a can of soup. You know those displays at the end of grocery store aisles? When I wasn't a published novelist, I could think of writing as pure art. But as an author being paid for her work, the book becomes a commodity. That's not an evil thing. If the publishing house doesn't make money, they can't afford their building, their staff, all the myriad expenses of creating books. But it's still taking some getting used to. Especially on days like today when I'm not sure I'll be able to crank out the next batch of soup.

I'm living in the place of tension between art and commerce. A book is a tangible item that can be sold - NEEDS to be sold in order to fulfill its purpose. But the creation of characters and stories is more ephemeral. More personal. More spiritual.

Maybe it's okay to be a can of soup. Soup can be comforting, nourishing, spicy, fragrant. I hope when people grab my book from the end cap this summer and read it, they'll think it's "Mmmm, Mmmm, Good."

By the way, if you didn't see it yet, Novel Journey interviewed me yesterday, and I shared openly about my writing neuroses. Feel free to check it out!

Sharon Hinck

Sunday, March 19, 2006

My Zigzags at U-turns

This week, I'm guest-blogging at God Allows U-turns.
Please pop on over to visit!
I'll be sharing thoughts about how God can use the U-turns in our lives, and how He led me on the zigzag path toward becoming an novelist.
Hope to see you there!
You can post comments and questions here.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Minnesota Spring

Just wanted to share the view from my front porch on this fine spring morning.
Looks like a great day for cocoa and some writing time.
Here's a big snow angel to you!
Love, Sharon

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Ministry in the Midst of Motherhood

Today, I invite you to pop on over to the Faith Chicks blog to see my post about Untamed Words. While you're there, be sure to check out the great informal thoughts from a group of warm, wonderful, witty authors.


Tomorrow, I'll be speaking to a Christian Mom's Fellowship on the topic, "Not so Desperate Housewives: Finding Ministry in the Midst of Motherhood." Preparing the talk has been a great reminder for me of Galatians 1:10. We serve not to win the approval of man, but of God.

Calvin Miller wrote that "We are trustees of our glorious individuality." (in his book, INTO THE DEPTHS OF GOD). I love both the challenge and the bliss of those words.

Frederick Buechner said, "Vocation is where your deep gladness meets the world's deepest need."

One of my favorite Bible verses is John 15:16, which promises that our lives and service can bear fruit...fruit that will last. My brain can't wrap around the concept of eternity, yet that is the "long view" that God takes. And He invites us to be part of that work. Because of Him, the little ways that we serve can have eternal fruit.

Even in the midst of Mommy Exhaustion (a very specific form of the "Tyranny of the Urgent") God invites us to join Him in finding ways to minister to the world with the gifts He's given us.

In my debut novel, THE SECRET LIFE OF BECKY MILLER, Becky wants to do Something Big for God, but misses the point that her small choices can make a difference in God's kingdom. Ministry isn't about running from service to spouse and children, or running in circles, or running ourselves ragged...but about being open to opportunities during all seasons of our life.

Lord, open our eyes to specific needs you call us to meet today - both inside and outside the home.