I’m starting to feel old. Our eldest got married last year. Married! It feels like only five minutes since we brought him home from the hospital, wondering if we were up to job of caring for this tiny scrap of humanity with the lung capacity of a budding opera star.
I’m surprised our postman didn’t go off sick with a bad back. For the next couple of weeks we were inundated with cards and presents: cute little outfits (mostly in varying shades of blue), teddy bears twice the size of our son, rattles designed more with the fist of a sturdy two-year-old in mind.
Along with the piles of welcome goodies came reams of advice, some of it not so welcome. Make sure you put him down on his back / front. Establish a four-hourly feeding routine / let him feed on demand. Put him on the potty from day one (really?) or let him do things at his own pace.
There’s lots of advice on offer when it comes to my writing, too. One of the things I’ve appreciated about being part of the Association of Christian Writers is the number of people who are willing to support and encourage me – as well as give constructive criticism – as I seek to hone my skills. So I’d like to thank…oh no, that’s my Oscars speech.
What I’ve noticed, however, is that not all writers take the same approach. Some have an idea in their head and simply run with it. Others – more methodical – seek to identify a gap in the market and then tailor their work accordingly. A recent article I came across suggested that writers tend to be planners or pantsers (and that sometimes it’s helpful to switch from our normal way of doing things).
Reflecting on this has caused me to take a step back and consider. Do I prefer a planned or spontaneous approach? Who am I really writing for…and how can I ensure it reaches them? How can I make sure my manuscript is the best it possibly can be? Have I checked it for speeling misstakes and grammatical, errors?
All of these are important questions, and how I respond will influence the progression and impact of my writing. But for me, there’s something more fundamental: Am I writing to glorify God? This is not about building a readership, targeting a particular publisher, or even writing a piece for the church magazine. It’s about me and God. It’s about seeking to honour him in the way I live. And so every word that I commit to paper (or screen) should first of all be written for an audience of One.
Fiona Lloyd works part-time as a music teacher, and serves on the worship leading team at her local church. She enjoys writing short stories, and is working on her first novel. Fiona self-published a violin tutor book in 2013, and blogs at www.fjlloyd.wordpress.com. She is married with three children. Fiona is ACW's membership secretary.