Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tracie Peterson (Advice for Novelists, Part 41)

Here's another wonderful response in our series of "Advice for Novelists" posts. Authors, agents, editors and publicists give their responses to the question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

Take it away, Tracie!

One of the most important things I ever learned was to ask and truthfully answer the question, "If you knew you would never be published, never be paid, never have a single person read what you were writing, would you still write?"

I think it's a critical question and ties in with the things already posted on the website by so many others. It's important to know why you write and not get bogged down in reviews, rejections, critiques, fads, how many conferences you've attended or awards you've won, or whether or not you've even sold a single word.

This question was posed to me long ago and it truly impacted my writing life. When facing a harsh review or praise-filled fan letter, I have to take it back to this question. God always brings me back to Him and the fact that writing is a gift and a passion that He has given me, and what is done with that gift and passion is also in His hands. I have to be open to where He is leading and if that means I write books, I write books. If I'm supposed to write magazine articles, poetry, trade manuals or journal entries, then that's what I need to be ready to do.

Why I write has never been based on the money I could make. I pray it never is. I want the focus of my work to be on what the Lord wants it to be. If it's for nothing but personal reflection, then so be it. If it's to offer encouragement through a letter to a friend, then let it be to His glory. If it's to write the next mega-best-seller that will be made into a hit movie, great. So long as it's got God's fingerprints all over it, I can know that I am writing for the right reason and there is great liberty in that--liberty that allows my creativity and delight in what I do to not only bless me, but hopefully bless others and bring glory to God.

Ask yourself the question I posed and see where it takes you. You might be surprised and relieved by the answer.

--Tracie Peterson, multi-published author of many, many novels including The Ladies of Liberty series, Alaskan Quest series, and The Broadmoor Legacy series. Visit her website here to learn more.


Nicole said...

Amen. It is a question which must be answered.

Rachel said...

Very wise words. And my answer to the question is yes. I write because I have to, if I don't write it's like a big piece of me is missing. I could care less if I ever get published, but I will write for the rest of my life.