Friday, October 10, 2008

your creative best

I read an interesting article about the author Nicholas Sparks this week and thought I'd share some of it here. He's written 14 bestsellers in 14 years and sort of stumbled into writing by accident. I think he exists to keep those of us who've felt called to write from birth humble! I've read a couple of his books in the past (The Notebook is the one I remember) but I don't read a lot of contemporary novels so don't know much about him.

He's an avid exerciser, church attender, and writes 5-6 hours a day. His goal is 2,000 words a day. I do the first three but counting words is too much like counting calories to me and I could never do it. However, lots of writers set a daily word count goal and it works well.

It's so interesting to read about other writers and how they do what they do, how they got started, how many times they were rejected, etc. But I've noticed that it can be a trap as well - a comparison trap. I think this is something we all struggle with throughout our lives.

A good friend of mine runs an adult family home with several ladies in their 90's. She loves these ladies and they love living with her in her beautifully remodeled home with a huge patio, waterfall, and those big koi fish swimming around. When she first started taking ladies in, she was tempted to look around and see what others were doing and how they were doing it. She'd been well trained in this area so felt the Lord was telling her to keep her eyes on Him, not them. She even declined joining any groups or organizations in her specialty area. This might be okay for some but Kathy felt this was a firm no. She is simply doing what He's called her to do and not trying to run someone else's race.

I've noticed that as I become better acquainted with the publishing world (and it's a very different world than simply me and my imagination!) I am tempted to look around also. Perusing other writer's websites and blogs can be kind of fun but I've noticed they create unrest in my spirit. That's the simplest way to describe it. Other writers might be fine doing this - from all the blog-hopping going on it does seem I am in the minority. Perhaps I'm uncomfortable because this is all new to me and I'm a private person (yes, this blog still stretches me past all comfort but maybe it serves a purpose, if only for further writing practice). I really think He's telling me to keep my eyes on Him and off others. Maybe He's telling you to do the same in the particular race you're running.

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself! Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
Galatians 6:4-5 The Message Bible

...Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith ...
Hebrews 12:2


  1. Proverbs 4:23 says "Above all things guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of Life".

    I loved this post and yes, while you do need to be observant in this literary world you've entered, follow your heart and His Spirit moreso than the examples and tugging of others.

    If you didn't open this door through cunning or competition, why try to push on it more now?

  2. Awesome pic, Chris! And I love the scripture you quoted. Fits so well with this particular post. I was thinking of what would happen if you were running a race and started looking around at your opponents - at what they were wearing, the brand of their running shoes, etc. How quickly you'd be sidelined! Really, focus is everything. And He's the only one worthy of focusing on.

  3. I love Nicholas Sparks! Good novels and they make good movies as well. Mark's sister, Seana, used to be his next door neighbor, literally, years ago in Simpsonville, SC before he was so famous. His books took off like wild fire and now I believe he lives here in NC. I am looking forward to your first book next summer! Will be here before you know it. You sound so busy there but glad all is well with everyone. :)

  4. Bless you, Rhonda, for reading this blog and wanting to read my book! Yes, Sparks does live somewhere in North Carolina along with one of my very favorite authors - Jan Karon (Blowing Rock). Wish I could join them:) North Carolina is right after Kentucky for me!