Thursday, 31 May 2018

Running the writing race

There is much variety in the style and scope of the writers of this blog and in the entire membership of the Association of Christian Writers.

Some are hobby writers, others journalists or full-time authors. Some write books, whether non-fiction or novels; others write short pieces including poems.

As in the case of runners, who may sprint 100 yards or finish a longer race – even a marathon – at a slower speed, practice and perseverance are important for writers.

The difference between runners and writers is that runners are competitive. They like to win races. Failing that they like to beat their personal best times. Writers, and especially Christian writers, should not be comparing themselves with others. Each of us is an individual. Each has a unique personality and set of interests. We have our personal experiences, which may overlap with those of other people, but in our lives we will have been to different places, met different people, had different trials and tribulations and perhaps found happiness in unexpected places.

There is no need to compare ourselves with other writers. Perhaps we should compare our writing now with our writing in the past. There is no real need to compare our writing output from one day to another. Sometimes there are more important things to do than to write.

My writing folders
I was recently encouraged by a rejection. (Yes, really!) While other people were celebrating the inclusion of their submissions to the ACW Christmas Anthology, I was glad that my piece was not selected. I had attempted a piece in an unusual genre for me and had encountered something I had previously been sceptical about. I ran out of ideas for the direction to take my story in, so I ended with an unresolved situation due to writer's block. The rejection I received was the kindest ever. Amy advised me not to throw it away.

Would anyone like an idea for the start of a story set in the not too distant future?

Or a children’s story, which is not going anywhere fast? That is one I began over twenty years ago. Perhaps I should just admit that fiction is not my gift! As part of our spring-cleaning this year I had a look through my writing folders. I found a children’s story written on the back of a pew sheet from 1992. I liked it. I tidied it up. I’d like to see it illustrated as a picture book, but…

…am I scared of success? Am I scared of having something I like rejected? Are my secret ambitions unrealistic? Am I too lazy to pursue my goal?

I haven’t the imagination or staying power for a novel. I see myself as a blogger, a potential picture book author and poet, enjoying wordplay rather than creating complicated scenarios. Perhaps that puts me in the sprinter class of writers rather than the marathon class. I wonder whether anyone would like to partner me in a three-legged race?


  1. I've been told so many times that I do 'short' pieces well but on the longer pieces, such as novels, my structure is faulty. It hasn't stopped me trying, but ask me again in 5 years!

    1. I enjoy your short pieces, Fran. I guess that, as with sport or music, through practice it is possible to move up a level.