Monday, February 6, 2012

Still Enough to Listen

I’ve written a number of fiction books, but the one non-fiction book I wrote was harder to write than any of them. Our move to Texas was difficult, especially for my daughter. Her first year in high school was so challenging we decided to move her to a private Christian school. I’d fret over things I had no control over, so I started reading devotionals. None of them quite fit what we were going through, so I began writing my own. I continued writing them off-and-on for years. It takes me much less time to write a fiction book but this was non-fiction, something new for me, and it was personal, not fictional characters in a make believe world that I could control. Every time my girl fell into trouble I’d start writing them, when she was doing okay I’d stop and go back to my fiction. Both gave me strength in different ways.
Years later when I was submitting a fiction manuscript to my agent she asked, “This is a great story, but when are you going to finish those devotionals?” My answer, “I’ll be done with them when my daughter’s done.”
When I got the final galleys and saw the formatting I was thrilled. Each page flowed beautifully and was easy on the eyes. But that wasn’t the only reason for my joy, my girl was done. She was in college, living in her own apartment, working and doing much better.
When I signed the contract I remembered feeling a bit scared and exposed. A part of us would be out there for hundreds of people to read about. But then a sense of peace flowed over me thinking...but I need to share this because I wish I would have had these devotionals when I needed them. It was then I was still enough to hear God’s voice and heard Him say, “You did. You wrote them.”

Question: Do you find yourself in the books you write?


Beth K. Vogt said...

I write both fiction and non-fiction too. And I'm hidden in both. Well, more hidden in the novels -- exposed in the nonfiction.
There was one especially less-than-perfect moment I'd written about in the first draft of the NF book. I took it out in the second draft. My editor requested I put it back in because there would be other women who felt like me.
She was right ... but I I didn't want to be the one going first, you know?
But then, somebody had to go first . . . and oftentimes, it's a writer.

Beth Shriver said...

How true that you are more exposed in the NF. Good for your agent. Sometimes we need encouragement to take that leap. I think being the first in anything is hard. We're taking a risk that somsetimes fails or suceeds. You don't know until you try. I apprecaite your comment.

Jillian Kent said...

I think some aspect of me comes through in all my characters for better or worse.:) I wish I would have kept all the e-mails through the years of struggle begging for prayer related to issues of my oldest daughter's mental illness. I think I'd have many books on the subject,:) but it was my fiction that kept me sane. Someday. Maybe. The journey continues in different ways but much improved.

Beth Shriver said...

Jill, I appreciate your struggles. My mother deals with mental health issues, so I understand what you're going through. Sometimes it helps to write it out and other times it's a private thing. We have a common bond in the fact that our writing keeps us whole. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to sink into another world:)