Her writing is full of thought-provoking quotes which address some of our beliefs as Christians.
Like any good writer, she highlights places where we tell but don’t show, or where what we do and how we live contradicts what we say we believe.
Here’s one example which hit home to me as a writer:
I suspect most writers can relate to this. It’s certainly something I see in a lot of the writer forums I frequent. It seems writers continually seek validation:
- Bloggers seek validation through website visits and comments.
- Social media experts seek validation through follower numbers.
- Unpublished writers seek validation in contest finals and wins.
- Contest winners seek validation through signing with an agent.
- Agented writers seek validation through signing their first contract with a high-profile trade publisher. Or a lower-profile small press.
- Published writers seek validation through sales and contests, seeking the validation of a bestseller ranking, or a contest final or a win, hoping success will bring the next book contract, and the next.
Some authors choose to step outside this circle of external validation and self-publish. They say they don’t need agents or editors to validate them—the only validation that matters is that of readers, as measured by sales and reviews. Ideally five-star reviews, although they’ll take a one-star review as validation that not all their reviews are from friends and family.
Yes, yes. I know this is wrong. And I'm not saying everyone does it. But it's a trap I see people falling into, and one I'm working not to fall into myself.
It's all to easy to forget we shouldn’t be looking for man to validate us. We should be looking to God, who has already validated us, who approves of us just as we are:
Kendra Fletcher points out that when we're seeking to please man, we can become self-righteous:
There is no objective standard, so the only way we can feel better is to compare ourselves to each other. Bad idea.
Publishing is driven by numbers, which gives us so many things to compare! Follower numbers, email subscribers, books published, reviews posted, copies sold, royalties earned (and these last two are the only two which aren’t public information, although Author Earnings are doing their best).
So we follow the latest marketing must-do in the effort to build our blog or our email list, to get more reviews, to sell more books. And what do we forget?
Because it’s easier to follow a checklist and check off all the correct boxes than to listen to the gentle, faithful leading of the Holy Spirit.
Kendra Fletcher wasn’t talking about publishing and marketing when she wrote Lost and Found, but she might as well have been. When it comes to publishing and especially to marketing, we’re relying on that checklist to reach success. And hoping we’re using the ‘right’ checklist.
Yet that’s not what God wants from us. Sure, we have to put in the work—learn to write to the standards required by publishers and retailers, learn to tell stories that will touch our target readers, learn the best ways to find and engage those readers.
We have to seek His will for our writing and walk in obedience to that. I've spent the last two months on a project that wasn't on my to-do list for the year, but the feedback I've received is that it has blessed others. That's a win. A God-given win.
Because in the end, our success (or otherwise) up to God. My job is to write and publish to His plan. Not mine. Then my blog posts and my books will be exactly as successful as God intends them to be. I know and believe that. So I have to let go of my definitions of success and focus on His. Focus on my word for the year, to be a blessing.
And remind myself that all I need to do is follow Him.
About Iola Goulton
I am a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction. Visit my website at www.christianediting.co.nzto download a comprehensive list of publishers of Christian fiction.
I also write contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist—find out more at www.iolagoulton.com.
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