I read an article quoting an editor who said sometimes authors churn out stories so fast, they become hack writers. In Webster's
, there's almost a half a column defining the word "hack." The one that applies here is a noun meaning "working for hire especially with mediocre professional standards." The verb "hack" means "to ride at an ordinary pace."
I desire to produce quality fiction, as I'm sure all authors do. It would be ludicrous to think that an author would begin a work thinking, I want this to be mediocre or sub-standard.
No, we all want to produce a magnificent work.
I think Catherine Marshall, author of Christy, put it best. In her journal, she wrote her "soul's sincere desire:"
"I want to become a writer who will make a
real contribution to my generation and to the world."
-- Catherine Marshall
This proclamation came about in a unique way. When Catherine was a young woman, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. The treatment was enforced bed rest twenty-four hours a day. She wrote in her book To Live Again, "This period turned into a time of soul searching to evaluate the meaning of human life in general, and mine in particular." She came across a book that spoke of the value of probing "to find one's precise dream—'the soul's sincere desires,'" and that's when she wrote the above.
Amazingly, Catherine Marshall became one of America's most notable and best-selling Christian writers. The New York Times called her "America's most inspirational author." More than 25 million copies of her books are in print, and her novel Christy is estimated to have been read by 30 million people. A few years ago, the Christian publishing industry created the Christy Awards, named after Catherine Marshall's book, and it honors Christian novels of excellence each year.
My soul's sincere desire is that, first, I will please the Lord in my writing. Second, I will cause readers to think about the Lord. Third, that my work will...maybe I should sum this up by saying,
I want to be a God-guided writer who gives readers The Three E's:
entertainment, encouragement, and enlightenment.
So, how do I go about achieving that? I think it requires one thing: passion. Let me quickly say it's a given that I must be always seeking the Lord and His will. But after that comes passion, and perhaps they're intertwined.
Here are some great quotes about passion:
"Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion."
-- Georg Wilhelm, 19th-century German philosopher
"Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility,
like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark."
-- Henri-Frederic Amiel, 19th-century Swiss critic
These speak to me! These resonate with me! I can see a nugget of flint and an iron instrument, and I can envision that iron instrument striking the flint and starting a fire, a fire that warms in freezing weather, a fire that cooks food so life may be sustained.
Here's a quote that spurs me on, and it's found in the Bible:
"Wait passionately for God, don't leave the path."
Psalm 37:34, The Message
"Lord," I'm praying right now, "help me to wait passionately on You. I won't leave the path (of writing) You've led me down thus far. I believe You've called me for this purpose, to produce Christian fiction that will make a difference in readers' hearts. I wait passionately--and patiently--for this to come to full fruition in my heart. Amen."