Friday, May 27, 2011
Writing With A Sense Of Urgency
I had a sense of impending doom as the deadline for this blog approached . . . and passed. Fortunately, the world didn't end with that missed deadline.
True, it was a self-imposed deadline. Technically, I need to have this finished by 6 am on Friday, May 27 (practically, by 5 pm the previous day). However, I intended to have this blog finished before 9 pm, Saturday, May 21. Maybe God knew I wouldn't have this blog done yet and postponed Judgment Day until I completed it.
I may joke about that self-imposed deadline, but not the sense of impending doom. First, I theologically see things getting close to the end. Second, I don’t have much help from the media (maybe because it seems that a lot of the news on CNN and Fox and the like seems to be written by either Mr. or Ms. Little – is “Chicken” a boy or girl's name?) Third, I believe that we may see persecution of Christians here in this country, and that road is already being well paved.
I have two options with this triad of fears. I can doubt there’s any need for me attempting a long term project like writing a novel and seeing it through the publication process, especially the traditional way. Or I can develop a sense of urgency in all areas of life including my writing.
One aspect of the sense of urgency is determining what I’m called to do. Even today, my wife suggested I take time to re-gain my skill at the 88 key keyboard. I’ve given up ceramics 30 plus years ago. I enjoy both clay-work and music, and am talented at both, but I believe I’m called to preach and teach, and that writing is one of those means.
I must be careful not to mistake the sense of urgency with either impatience and trying to do God's work for Him or getting into the panic-mode. Self-publishing seems like the way to go if you want a book out in the hurry. What we need to remember is that the urgency applies to our writing – getting it published is in God's hands. Yes, we can do our part in getting it published, but we also need to remember He's in control.
Another danger I need to be aware of is getting too preachy. I recently read a novel that resembled that remark. Our call as Christian novelists is to make the theme clear, but it needs to be done in a well-crafted novel, not a sermon with plot, characters, and setting.
The best thing about the sense of urgency is it gives our writing fire and energy. I could write a book about zoos (my wife and I have been to over 35 different ones), about the WNBA, or about Christian music, and I can do so with enthusiasm, but while that energy may keep the reader's mind occupied it may not continue the next eighteen inches to the heart.
I also need to realize that there is a spiritual warfare on the loose, and if my writing is a call then it’s a battlefield. I’m currently editing this blog Wednesday afternoon on a computer at the library, hoping to post this in the 30 minutes I have remaining. The reason I’m not on my computer is because it got infected with malware before I could finish and it’s now in the shop.
Of course, there is discouragement. If you heard of New Century Publishing last April (it hit the front page of the Indianapolis Star and was on three local news stations concerning investigation by the attorney general), you’ve heard of the company that was supposed to publish my novel. I’m discouraged with the state of the church across the country and the country itself. Work is at a phase of being a trial. Then, three stray cats have adopted me and my wife Becky who goes into asthma when exposed to cats. Of course, now I’m seeking an agent (like I should have done before New Century) and so far have gotten either no for an answer or no answer.
We need to remember though, that we have a sense of urgency. We can find inspiration in the answer Isaac Asimov gave when asked what he would do if he knew his life was about to end: “Type faster.”