Thursday, July 16, 2015

Who are you writing for?

Photo courtesy of Apple's Eyes Studio/
“It’s in the struggle that the story is written.”

Yes, yes, I said as I read those words from a fellow author just before I sat down to draft this post.

Golly gosh, I’ve struggled writing the sequel to Angelguard. The basic story of Angelguard fell out of me. I was a complete novice (well, I still am really) but the story just kept coming. I’d turn up to the blank page and out it would come.

Nine months later it was done. The first draft. Not to be read by any one, oh, except, Fiona my wife who egged me on and kept giving me new ideas and lots of names for my supernatural beings.

Many years later it was finally published. Even though there had been many many changes to that first draft the essence of the original story of that first draft remained.

Second time around I’ve found to be a completely different experience. I started out with an outline for a story that I loved. Then I started writing it.

But it just didn’t grab me.

So I shifted gears and worked on another angle, which I’ve enjoyed writing. But it’s come out so much slower. Like waiting for a file to download when there was only dial up internet. Remember those days? In fact it wasn’t that long again. Most of my research for Angelguard was done using dial up.

Doubt, discouragement and procrastination became part of my daily diet. As they do for every writer. The successful ones (those who finish) manage to ride those bullies and put them in their proper place most days.

“… most writers spend their lives in the shadows and do their best work there.” (Richard Flanagan)

And then there are those of us who allow the bullies to beat us each day. So much so they become over-bearing giants. Where’s the David in us when we need him?

Nowhere to be found. We find it easier to stay in the background with the sheep.

“But what about us, Ian?”

The nudges never leave us. Someone wants us to go on an adventure. With them. One that involves risk with no certainty of how it will end. But we’ll be doing it together.

In the struggle.

I was explaining a little of this struggle to a good friend of mine and he encouraged me with the thought that it must be special knowing that we writers share our struggle with an audience of one and He’s the one that really matters.

Even if no one else gets to see the end product sharing this writing experience with Jesus is pretty incredible.

Don’t you think?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by those giant bullies and making little progress, step aside for a moment and take your eyes off them. Remind yourself of what David said to his brothers when he first saw Goliath: “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26 ESV) David had his eyes on the audience that mattered: God.

May I encourage you to switch your focus onto the Lord and He will equip you with a new slingshot and some extra stones so you can get back in the game.

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Always, Ian--write from your passion and write for the Lord. I pray that my stories will help build his kingdom. I also write for the person who knows the most about my subject--that keeps me on my toes with my research.

    1. Donna, thank you for your encouragement.

  2. Thanks for your lovely, honest post, Ian. I am very well acquainted with those 'giant bullies' you mention, for sure and can really sense the struggle you have had with them in writing your sequel to 'Angelguard'. But I love your determination and your focus on the Lord. In fact, I really found your last sentence very empowering as I read it today, so thank you. God bless and strengthen you to stay the course, and finish this sequel--even if, as you said, only the Lord sees it.

    1. Thanks Jo-Anne, appreciate your kindness and support. The past couple of weeks have been so much better for me as I've kept my eyes keenly focused on Him.

  3. Ian, thanks for sharing your story. Writing isn't easy and we all struggle, at times, to reach the end. Our best writing can come through struggling with the stories and our characters because we're forced to dig deeper and challenge ourselves in new ways. Thankfully we aren't alone in the journey as we write for His glory.

    1. Thanks, Narelle. It's fantastic inspiration for me to able to see so many authors like yourself who are able to punch through the bullies and keep finishing multiple stories. It helps me know that it can be done.