It has been said that a writer can create worlds, build new dimensions, design new beings, and so on. Writers can even create new names and new positions of authority. They can change cultures and start new trends. All this is true. Some change the real world, and some just change the inner mind.
Take, for instance, one of the greatest cultures ever created by a writer: Star Wars. The whole epic story began as an idea in the mind of George Lucas. The movie was not so greatly received by the critics, yet the fans went crazy over it. I was one of the fortunate few to have seen A New Hope in its first run through the theaters. I look back and think, “Who knew?”
Obviously, not every writer will have that effect on our world. But if you are already expecting to change minds with your work, then you are on the right track. If you have accepted that you will not, then put your pen down until you do.
You must write with the world waiting on pins and needles in mind.
Still, there are facts that we accept because they are a reality. Providing they do not deter us.
Fact 1: Many of your friends will not see you as successful.
Even your family may not. I was surprised when I discovered that many of my actual friends (not just on Facebook) and family merely promised to buy a book when I was done with the first. A very small percentage did. Most of my friends who have one or more of my books possess them because I have given the copies to them. Remember, even Jesus was not accepted well in His hometown. In that, though, my close family thinks I am Stephen King, only better. And we write on.
Fact 2: You will spend money on your own work.
Even with the advent of Amazon’s free publishing, you are going to spend money to get your work into people’s hands. Accept that fact. The only way to avoid this is to be a total introvert writer. In other words, someone who never cares whether anyone ever reads your work. In which case, you are not likely reading this, to begin with. Regardless, we write on.
Fact 3: Writing must become your passion.
Oddly, success cannot be the reason you write. Success must become an important side effect but not the point of it. You (I, we) write to be writing. To create, to build, to inspire, to fill that thing in you that says, “I have this idea.” And then to see it through to a conclusion. Or at least a temporary wrap, depending on how many sequels or prequels you end up with. Star Wars, as we all know, is a never-ending series that will be on the screens until we are all dead. In any case, we write on.
Fact 4: This road is a journey.
I have a constant influx of ideas. I give the credit for this to two reasons, the first being the graciousness of the Master of Ideas. God has constantly blessed me with new and innovative concepts and synopses. And two, my life experiences. The first you can have simply by seeking it. God is benevolent and indulgent when it comes to His kids. The latter…well, you just gotta get old. Write on anyway.
Fact 5: You can write about anything, but keep it real.
When we write fiction, we allow ourselves to immerse into another yet unexplored world. Whether that world is one of crime, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, horror, etc., there is a need to keep it within the realms of “real.” In other words, your fantasy may indeed be something most extraordinary and nothing like any reality ever seen, but your characters will have habits, a past, plans, ideas, etc. Maintain consistency. The character development (or “arc”) will always have a foundation. I, personally, find this often to be the most difficult part of my character. Sometimes, the nature of a person in the story happens as I write. But I have found it better to create an outline and work from there. You can add as you go. Let’s write on.
A few pointers. Granted, I have not sold a million copies of anything yet, so you can take this advice or leave it. But these are some of the finer points I have learned and thought you might be able to use them. There are many more. Who knows how many? But the point of all of this is to say…we write on.
This post was written by Matt Davenport, a member of the Kingdom Winds Collective. Matt, his wife Nancy, and son Caleb are artists and work in several mediums. While their focus is wood arts, Matt is also a published author. His books range from teaching Christian Understanding to Christian Fiction and are available on the Kingdom Winds site. To see a few of his products and read more of his posts, visit his member page here.
Featured Image by Kelly Sikkema