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Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's No Hunger Game

There exists in most writers a hunger to be published. It’s genuine, deep and far-reaching, and it motivates most to improve what they perceive to be a calling, a purpose, a desire at the very least, to share words in a meaningful manner. When an individual is willing to spend hours, weeks, even years in front of a computer screen creating a story or writing longhand on paper, the inspiration which drives the dedication to telling that story ignites the determination to make it worthy of telling.

If I had to define story, this is what I’d say it is: Story is the composite of reality, the revelation of the soul. Story allows a reader to slip into another’s life. To experience another’s reality. To glimpse the soul of both the author and the characters which are revealed.


One of the amusing results from my first novel, Hope Of Glory (and for the umpteenth time, I capitalized the O in of on purpose), was when my fellow racetrackers discussed and tried to guess who each character “really” was. Those characters were composites of everyone I ever knew in racing including myself at different stages of my life. One thing racetrackers got when reading that book was a comprehensive experience of the racing they knew and gave their lives to day in and day out. Yeah, it was mucho preachy and very much a first effort. Not my best work as far as the writing end of it, but the testimonies from the readers who dared to plod through its over 700 pages (and, no, that's not a typo) have given me such gratitude to the Lord for sending me on my way as a writer of novels and actually turning some people's attention back to Him.

So. The Hunger. It's no game for those of us who are compelled to write stories. There comes a point in time when that hunger for being published must yield to whatever the Lord has ordained for any given writer. Where the actuality of getting published becomes secondary to whatever the Lord is directing. It’s that “die to self” thing which is, not surprisingly, hard to do. After all the study, work, and desire, the hunger to please the Lord must surpass all other ambitions. For some this is much easier to achieve than for others. We want it all. Of course we want to please the Lord, but wouldn’t He be proud of us receiving a contract, for crying out loud? And the answer is probably yes because if it wasn’t for Him, the contract wouldn’t be given.

Let’s face it. It’s just as easy to make idols of writing and publishing as anything else in this life. Why wouldn’t God want me published since He called me to write these blasted stories?! I mean, come on. Don’t ask me. Ask Him what His plans for you are.

And I’m certainly no one to ask. I’ve “felt” all along that self-publishing was going to be the route I’d be taking which is rather interesting since I’m such a lousy marketer.

After all the hard work, a manuscript emerges. After sharing it, receiving suggestions, critiques, perhaps even professional editing, you gain a contract and it’s published. Many love it. A few hate it. Reviews come in all forms of praise and malice. It’s impossible to please all readers. Someone wants to change something; someone wants to erase every word. It’s the nature of the reading beast. Some authors will be challenged and excel; others will be discouraged and retreat to some degree. The hunger to write will eventually emerge and some will improve while others will remain the same. Some readers will still love you and those who hated you might still.

The only real satisfaction to the hunger comes in the pleasing whisper from the Lord’s heart: Well done . . .

No one can do what He can do for us.

Raw, Romantic, Redemptive


  1. Love that last line, Nicole: "No one can do what He can do for us."

    May it be so for each of us: at the end of the day, a "Well done."

  2. What I'm learning, though, is that "we want it all" doesn't stop at a book deal. The hunger doesn't end when we hold our debut baby for the first time. Huh-uh. It grows. Because now we want to be published AND we want to be successful....whether that's great sales numbers or a best-seller list or winning awards. Anything that would bring our book out of obscurity.

    So yeah....that hunger doesn't end.

    Which is exactly why a post like this is so important. As real as that hunger is, and sometimes as valid as it is, our hunger for Jesus and His glory and His plans needs to be more.

    This post also reminds me of a very poignant post by Chip MacGregor a few weeks ago about the difference between success and significance. We should all strive to live significant lives - whether that involves publishing success or not. Here's the link to Chip's post (I highly recommend!)

  3. Well said, Nicole.

    I think much of the hunger to be published comes from the world's perception of what a successful author is. When I admit to anyone that I write novels, their first question is, "Are you published?" Or I get that other question from those aware of my journey, "You're not published yet?"

    But, as you said, "'s that die-to-self thing." It's learning to be obedient to His call, not the world's. It's tuning in to His voice telling us "Well done!" Oftentimes that's hard to do, but oh so rewarding.

  4. Agreed Katie. The hunger doesn't end. I struggle more with this in other areas of life than writing, but sometimes I feel horribly ungrateful because, while I'm thankful for the gifts I've been given, there's still that part of me that wants more, better. The only solution for it is hungering for Jesus more.

  5. Ahh, I've had my Nicole-boost for the day! ;-) I never tire of your encouraging heart for writers to follow what they believe they are called (and compelled) to write, as well as the path they should take to get there. And a resounding YES, the most important voice to obey throughout the process is God's. Hungering for "well done, good and faithful servant" is how we'll keep it about His plans for our "success" (relative term), not ours.

    Great post, Nicole. Lovely to see you over here.

  6. N, our souls ride the same spiritual waves.

    Katie, the flesh is unrelenting. Always more. The spirit quietly asks, "So, what is real success to you?" The key is to be able to answer. I'll check out Chip's post.

    Bren, exactly. Exactly.

    B, yup. Truth again.

    Barb, thank you. And thanks for coming over here to say such nice things. Keep going, girl.

  7. Great post, timely reminder for me, thank you.

  8. Loved this post! Yes, the hunger is there, and you're sure God put it there--a way to mesh your talents/gifts and reach the kingdom for Him. BUT, why isn't He moving in some spectacular way? Why do we have to wait and pray and pray and dream and then wish we'd never dreamed at all?

    Yes, we always have to give that dream back to Him. I think I'm back at that stage, AGAIN--thanks for the nudge! Will be laying it all on the altar again today!

  9. Camille and Heather, we all have to "go there", don't we?

    And Heather, you had to say that "dream" word, didn't ya?

    I did a post on dreams a while back on my blog (Dream, dream, dream). You might not want to read it.

    1. I'm such a dreamer, I even bought "Dreamer" jeans from Old Navy! (seriously, they actually fit!). Anyway, will have to check out that post, Nicole. I can take the tough stuff, don't worry!

    2. And I can't find your blog, Nicole. Do you have a link to that post?


    4. Great post and I just commented over there!

    5. Appreciate your taking the time to read and comment, Heather. Thank you.

  10. Thanks for this post Nicole. You've given me some things to think about as I continue to seek the Lord for what He wants me to do next. I've been blogging for a year and have loved it. Yet, there's all those unpublished works on my computer that are waiting...actually I am waiting for the Lord's my 69th year. For years, I taught Precept Bible studies and went to Writer's Conferences, but with never a passion for publish. I know that sounds different...but honestly, I was content to share what God gave me within my family and bible study groups. Now that I have more time on my hands, I know God is calling me to write for Him on a more regular basis....maybe doing some self-publish. In the meantime, God continues to give me more of a hunger to sit at his feet and worship. It's then that the overflow to write comes. O.K. that's enough of an epistle from this writer. Thank you so much for this worthy post.

  11. Glenda, you sound like a woman with a lot of God's wisdom. Your heart is right, your desire is Him. I can't think of better inspiration to continue to write with perhaps an "extra" purpose. And yours is a "worthy" "epistle". You'll do the best thing because He leads, you follow. Thank you for this.

  12. Nicole,

    Great article and very important reminder for us as writers. As Christian writers, we function differently than other creative types. Will our god be our art or our expression? Or will we stay submitted to whatever the Lord has for us, even if it means anonymity?

    Thank you for your prophetic voice to call us back to what truly matters.


  13. Thank you, Jason.

    "Will our god be our art or our expression? Or will we stay submitted to whatever the Lord has for us, even if it means anonymity?"


    You're a brave man, Jason. This message isn't just for women. It's for male breadwinners as well. I appreciate your words and your friendship, Jason.


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