by Cynthia Ruchti
She didn’t realize writing a book would mean people might read it.
That’s a slight exaggeration. But in an interview a couple of years ago, the author of a widely read novel series—millions of copies sold to date—noted she was embarrassed to think about the men who had read her books, the pages full of what she calls her private fantasies.
She wrote and published a book—which put it into the hands of the public—and now realizes the words she wrote bear some unpleasant consequences.
Few of us will know “success” equaling that author’s sales numbers. But we’d all benefit from the reminder that our words all carry consequences.
Will the words we write today make us cringe tomorrow?
If a hastily written or prematurely-birthed book gets noticed by the press, will it be noticed for the right reasons? What does it say about our choice of subject matter if part of our prayer labor for it is praying our pastor and grandmother don’t see it?
Will a casual remark on Twitter or Facebook give a negative impression to a prospective agent or editor? Or reader? Will a pattern of whining on social media sites spoil our relationships within the industry and with our readers?
Will carelessness in proofreading, even in emails, tell a story we don’t want to tell?
What happens when the person we spoke against this year changes jobs and becomes our editor or marketing director next year?
Will that photo or video taken “just for fun” worm its way into resources accessed by the press?
If every book, every blog post, every interview, every speaking engagement doesn’t receive our best effort, will we live to regret the consequences?
For those of us who value what the Bible has to say, the motivation to make sure we have nothing to be embarrassed about is even stronger. II Corinthians 6:3 and other verses remind us to live “above reproach,” including in the words we write.
Our marketing efforts need the fewest hindrances possible. The same is true of our character development as authors.
Those who live for Christ—those who write for Christ—are always on duty. “Letting our hair down” is no excuse for unprofessional behavior at any time.
I’m saying this not from behind a pulpit but from across the table with friends. Every word we say and every word we write matters.
I unwrapped a gift—with beautiful Mylar wrapping paper—and noticed it was shiny on both sides. There was no “bad” side. The interior was as sparkling as the exterior.
That may be part of the lesson the Lord is driving home to my heart as I consider these thoughts. I want to be shiny on both sides. Shiny in my public persona. Shiny in the depths of my heart, with every word I write worthy of the King I serve.
And nothing to embarrass either Him or me, whether or not it ever sells a million copies.
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through her novels, novellas, devotions, nonfiction, and through speaking events for women and writers. You can learn more about her books and speaking topics at www.cynthiaruchti.com.