The Greatest of These is Love
All writers know the faith it takes to put words on paper. They’ve seen the faith required to search for the right word, the right phrase, the right nugget of truth that will mark their work as top-notch. Ultimately, they know the gut-wrenching faith it takes to turn their written baby over to someone who might reject it outright.
They know hope too. Even after they’ve been kicked to the curb by an agent who probably didn’t even read the first sentence of a query, hope prevails. After a few days of chocolate and Kleenexes, hope surges again. Maybe the next editor will love it, buy it, publish it, and send it to be included next to John Grisham’s on the front table of every bookstore in the country. Don’t deny it. You know that hope is real.
One element, however, sometimes gets lost when faith and hope begin to emerge in our writing journey. That element is love. Sure, we love it, or we wouldn’t stress ourselves out to learn how to do it better, to find someone to publish it, and to put ourselves on the chopping block of rejection time and again. It’s almost a given that we love it.
The problem is we forget that we love it. As a character who loves music in one of my books says, “You know me, I’d play for the squirrels if they’d listen.”
Too often the longer we write, the less we remember what we love about it. Our focus shifts from writing for love to writing so others will love what we’ve written.
When we write for the love of it, every frustrating moment is an exhilarating challenge. Shaping the ephemerally picturesque stories in our minds into something coherent and fluid is like no other experience. The very act of putting that last piece of our word puzzle into place has no equal.
Remember the journals you kept, the poems you wrote, the short stories that are still tucked away in some old notebook. You wrote those not to gain love but because they were burning a hole in your soul to be put on paper.
Then you began writing not for love but to gain love. You became convinced that you had to twist your writing to meet what others believe is marketable or publishable. And so you let your love for writing morph into wanting your writing to be loved… sometimes at all costs. You twisted yourself into a pretzel, learning perfect grammar, point of view, the “correct” way to write a marketable manuscript.
Learning and growing in your writing is one thing, but when that gets so tangled in the rules that you forget why you started in the first place, that is something altogether different. Love is the key to writing real. As the Bible says so eloquently: In the end three things shall last, faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. –1 Corinthians 13:13 It’s a lesson every writer should take to heart. Copyright 2005, Staci Stallings
Thank you for that devotion, Staci. I needed to read that today, even if you have a published book it is easy to forget about the love when you start writing the next one.
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Staci Stallings Author Bio & Tag Deep in the Heart Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a Contemporary Christian author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you today and tomorrow only... FREE ON KINDLE TWO DAYS ONLY! April 18 & 19, Staci's novel:
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Christian author, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, writes historical and contemporary romances about women who challenge their fears even though they want to run from them. Author of Mind of Her Own, A Bride's Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee and We’re Not Blended-We’re Pureed, A Survivor’s Guide to Blended Families.