“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”
Barbara Kingsolver, an American novelist, essayist, and poet. Author of The Poisonwood Bible and The Lacuna, among others.
This strikes me as truth, for writers. Akin to the advice to not “chase the market” because by the time you figure out what’s hot, it won’t be.
But there’s more to Kingsolver’s advice than that, isn’t there? For me, she’s also suggesting that we each have a passion. We each have a handle that turns the crank on our personal ice cream maker.
My passion is shining the light of God into the dark places of love, marriage, and life together. I want to illuminate the things many married people are afraid of because when the Light shines, darkness flees and the Boogeyman is unmasked.
What about you? What’s your passion? Why do you write what you write?
Michael Ehret, for Writing on the Fine Line
I thought the Poisonwood Bible was great. It seemed that she really did break some rules and came out smelling like roses of congratulations. Your point is a good one to remember. As for my passion – people, even Christians, are just people, definitely not perfect, but Christ brings transforming power to live better and with more joy even in the midst of crisis and fallibility.
Mary, I like that. Living better and with more joy–who wouldn’t want that? Many, unfortunately. But that leads back to Kingsolver’s advice. Don’t choose to write for others; choose to write what you have been given to communicate.
Ms. Kingsolver’s advice is why I abandoned my first attempt at a novel and began Moe. No matter how “small” we think we are, by God’s grace He can accomplish great things through us to the praise of His glory. But we must be willing to lay down our lives, abandon our own pursuits, and follow the Light. I love helping folks “find the Light.”
Yes, I find I have to be willing to lay down my life almost daily, if not daily. Here lately, definitely daily. And it gets easier, but never easy. And that’s OK.