Tuesday, 27 September 2016

A Story of your Own, by Lucy Mills

I found that writing my first book was a profound experience - a journey; something which shaped me, something I was determined to do despite the outcome (there had been other attempts, but this one had staying power).  I fell in love with my topic.

What utter joy to find a publisher who did too.

Once it was published, amid all the fanfare, I felt exhausted.  I needed time out, time to regroup - let alone time to do all the other work I do in my life.

I kept an eye on what writers in my circle of acquaintance were doing. I felt stunned when, after publishing a book (after me, I might add), they announced the second one was on the go. I know we're not meant to compare ourselves but I felt that mixture of dread and envy. How on earth?

But of course, that isn't me. And God's timing for me is different. I'm built differently. And God knows I need time to find that topic I can fall in love with, the one planted gently in my heart until I notice it growing there, sending out branches and connecting itself with other interests, other passions. The one which wakes me up at night when I realise - yes! That's the connection!

Your story is your own. And I don't mean the book you may or may not be writing. I mean your life, your journey as a writer.  By all means, be inspired by others - but be yourself.

This can be challenging, when we examine our motives. Are they simply 'to get published'? Is that enough? Or do we claim to have more noble motives, such as 'bringing God glory'? Perhaps you feel called to share your testimony and thought 'I'll write a book!'  But what if that's not the way you are called to share your story - not now, not yet?  Perhaps you are to bring God glory in something less obvious, but far more important to those you encounter.

Maybe you've written something no one else seems interested in, but it is special to you. That doesn't take away its worth as an important part of your story. It's not wasted. Don't toss it away as if it were nothing, but treasure the journey you made. Perhaps God wants to speak to you through it, most of all.

Perhaps it takes you six months to write a book; perhaps it takes you six years. That's your way of doing things, that's the way you've been made.

You don't have to produce books left, right and centre. Fallow times are important for many of us. We need sometimes to put things down, even if people are clamouring at us: 'when's the next one?'

But when the right moment comes, it will capture you again.

I've just signed a contract for book number two.  I'm elated, not just because of the thing itself but because it feels the right time.  And now I get to fall in love all over again, throw myself into the heady mix of something bigger than I am. I'm ready. I wasn't, before.

And I'm ready to listen to God and learn from God myself in the process. 
That idea fills me with delight.


Lucy Mills

Lucy's first book, Forgetful Heart: remembering God in a distracted world, was published in 2014 (DLT). The 'next one', Undivided Heart: finding meaning and motivation in Christ, will be coming in Autumn 2017. Lucy writes articles, poetry and prayers for various publications and is Editorial Co-ordinator at magnet magazine.

Lucy on Twitter: @lucymills
Lucy's Facebook page

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  1. So agree, the fallow times are essential - possibly varying according to that word we have to use, 'genre', to describe our books. Some types are less complex to put together. Some require much more research. I was intrigued by your title here, since I'm preparing a talk called A Genre of One's Own, referring back to Virginia Wolff's A Room of one's Own, as my fiction is hard to pigeonhole and I'm talking about why I write and why I have so far selected to be Indie published, and the title actually covers a small number of other writers besides me.

  2. I love this Lucy - so wise. We try not to compare but it can be hard not to. Waiting for the right time is right!