The last couple of weeks have been jam-packed for me. I completed edits on four (yes, four) projects, turned in A Love for Leah (Mississippi Amish Book #2) to my editor, and finished my first-round rewrite for Ten Reasons Not to Date a Cop. I still have a few more edits to do on the next Kappy King mystery and outlines for the next three books in my queue, but being busy is good. And I am grateful.
But I can’t say that it’s always easy. I went from finishing up all my contracted work to an indie project rewrite that I have been fighting against ever since I knew this was what I needed to do. Even before. Change isn’t easy ya know. And that’s when the doubts set in.
Writers are notoriously insecure about their craft, but these were doubts of a different kind. Am I doing the right thing? Why is being brave so hard? Is it just that I don’t want to change my stories? Heaven knows it’s easy to fall in love with our own words. But it’s not only that. The doubts come from another place, a place that should never be. A place that was created when I was younger and going to church every time the doors were open, even though I was a young teen and the only one in my family/household at the time who was attending. A place that came into being when the people I trusted to get me through what then was the toughest point in my life, turned on me, made me feel like less, and sent me searching for something different. Not God. He is always there and always true, but the church and the people that I surrounded myself with.
I’ve been reading, but not commenting, on social media where readers are discussing why they feel Christian writers are writing “not so clean” books with cursing, bedroom scenes, and other potentially offensive material such as drinking. This is something that’s been on my mind lately as I am focusing my efforts in continuing as an inspirational author. Yes, I’m changing the books that I am able to. It’s going to be a long road to get there. And I will not be able to do this to all of them. Does that make me less of a writer? A Christian? A person?
Some are asking why do authors (like me) have books like this at all. That’s a question I’ll answer later, in another blog post, at least for my own tale. For now, let’s look at the broad picture.
The big question is, why? The answer is everyone is different.
We say ‘the church’ like it’s the only one. Like where each and every one of us goes to Sunday School was directly established by Jesus with no deviation. And it’s not. It has changed. The church has split, grown, and evolved. Good or bad, those are the facts. Even the Anabaptist had a split and within that split even further. That’s why we talk about Old Order, Beachy, car Mennonites, and more.
Everyone has a different tolerance level for certain things. What bothers me might not bother others and vice versa. I actually had a reader get upset with me because, in an inspirational book, I had dancing and the characters drank a beer. I found no problem with either one of these things, especially since the book was set in Texas. But she did. She didn’t want that in an inspirational book and felt like the inclusion made it not so inspirational. But I didn’t have cursing or bedroom scenes. They went to church and prayed and tried their very best to do what they felt God wanted from them. Was that not enough?
Not for this reader. She stopped supporting my writing–all of it–dropped from my street team, and otherwise wrote me and my writing off. This is her prerogative. I can’t say that it didn’t hurt my feelings, but I accept her choices. Yet is it not also my prerogative to write the books as I see them? How clean is clean?
I’ll admit I’m struggling a little with these rewrites. I want to make my reader happy. I want to take stories that came to me a long time ago and make them into stories that reflect what I care about now. But I’m terrified. I go back to being that fourteen-year-old who only wanted to love God and be a part of something bigger and yet the actions of others had them turning against me.
What if I write something that offends someone? What if they get mad? What if I’m not good enough?
I’m not saying this for you to comment that you won’t be offended, you won’t get mad, and I am good enough. I’m writing this to say, of all writing, have an open mind. If it bothers you, don’t read it. But that doesn’t mean that you should completely give up that author or trash them in an Amazon review. One of my favorite authors wrote something in a book that horrified me. This was years ago. I didn’t finish the book. Right now, I’m reading another book by that same author. Tolerance.
Writers write. Most write for money whether they make a living from it or not. If they didn’t write for money, they wouldn’t charge for their books. They want you to buy their books. So they try to write something different to stand out from the rest and toes are stepped on. See, the Beatles had it easy, but that’s a post for next time.
Have you read a book that had something in it that offended you? Did you finish it? Do you still read that author’s books? I’d love to hear your thoughts, but please keep it as uplifting as possible. If you can’t be positive, please don’t include names or other clues to tip off to what book/author you are referring to. Please don’t ruin that author’s chances with another reader. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure applies to books as well!
Please share by leaving a comment below. I’m giving away a copy of The Amish Brides to one lucky person who comments this week.
Remember…be kind, loving, and brave.