Friday, December 19, 2008


Remember when you loved to read and knew nothing but the joy of finding a good book and getting lost in the plot? Authors are first and foremost readers. We all started by reading and, in a moment of pride or obedience, we crossed the threshold and became writers.

On that day, we lost our innocent wonder. Suddenly good stories weren't good enough. Now they had to be technically perfect. Point of view? Head hopping now jumped out at us. Author intrusion? Little did the mediocre author know, it jarred us out of the story. The storyline was simplistic. The voice was passive. The author didn't vary sentence structure. With the turning points at imbalanced places in the plot, pacing problems left us limping through the book. Happily, though, the reverse is even more true. When we find a well-written, thrillingly-plotted book with great characters, our appreciation is so much greater.

Remember when you thought authors weren't real people? Often when I sit down to write, I feel like an impostor. Who am I, to try to put down anything that would be of value? I'm a flawed woman. The doorbell's bound to ring and someone's going to demand my author's shirt with the nifty picture of a writer's quill on the front. Seriously, now... I'm the "author" whose typos are legendary. I've discovered truly jaw-dropping facts that would make it reasonable for others to question the wisdom of permitting me to be associated with any professional group. Things such as the letters Y and U are beside one another on the keyboard, which made for me mistakenly changing *trust* into a *tryst.* Out of morbid dread and fear of the depth of my impairment coming to light, I'll not give other examples. Suffice it to be said, it took no time whatsoever to come up with an example.

There are days when the words just pour from my heart, through my fingertips and onto the monitor. Interesting research I've done makes a scene come to life, or a twist of phrase turns regular dialogue into something unexpectedly humorous. I live for days like that. Other times the story is so clear in my heart and yet the right words just won't flow. I struggle to craft just the perfect words. I agonize over a sentence for the nuances and how it will dovetail with something more in the next scene.

Christmas is upon us--a time to pause and reflect on how God began writing the greatest romance of all times. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. Remember when men asked, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" That's proof there were unjust critics and reviewers back then, too. Then a handful of saints wrote the New Testament. And those words touched hearts and souls. And someone read verses that changed their heart.... and they then wrote Christian literature that somehow touched you. Remember when you read it? The fairy tales of your childhood and the Bible stories from Sunday school all came together at the same time: The First Romance featured the Prince coming in a humble disguise in order to save us and take us to His kingdom to live happily forever after. We intuitively understood how it all came together and that it was all of our needs and hopes all met together at once--for real. How could we not respond?

So now, we can sit at the keyboard and be daunted by the task at hand--but it's because our focus is off. But the Prince is with us, and whether the day at the keyboard is difficult or fun, it is our honor to be in His presence. We have to show up, start in, and do our part. Christ will meet us where the need is. So this year, let's all help each other remember when we all feel those self-doubts that the battle is already won and our Happily Forever After is already guaranteed.

Merry Christmas!

Mary Connealy here: Cathy Marie Hake's most recent release, Whirlwind, is a CBA Bestseller and least 40th novel. Seriously, who can keep track of that many books? Her list includes Alaska Brides where I was blessed to be the author of one book in that three book collection, along with Cathy and Kathleen Y'Barbo.


Walt Mussell said...

I went through some of this yesterday, when, in the midst of just enjoying the book, I started analyzing everything. Granted, for me, it's to try an improve my writing as I'm still unpublished.

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Cathy. Thanks for the inspirational post! I'm experiencing a long list of doubts about my ability to write this next book. I will focus on Who I'm writing for, not on me, my fears and weaknesses. Christ will meet us where the need is--an awesome reminder. Thanks!

Merry Christmas!

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Cathy, you read my heart exactly. I do miss the days when I wasn't such a critical reader. But I always try to find something about a book to like. Always.

LOL on the "trust"/"tryst."

As you well know, I have looo-ooong adored your books. Still to this day one of the most memorable characters out of thousands of books I've read was your ramshackle Rose from Ramshackle Rose.

Your blog post was as great as your books!

Thanks for being with us today.


Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Cathy. Thanks for beign with us on Seekerville today.

I suppose being plagued with self-doubt is actually a very REASONABLE reaction to being a writer. While we write, while we're revising, rewording, inventing, it only makes sense that, since we're rejecting our own work, trying to make it better, we'd expect others to analyst and reject and rewrite while they read it.
So I go from

I'm an imposter--which I'm pretty comfortable with


Wow, I can't believe I wrote that.
It's really good--for me, it's much harder to be confident than to be critical of myself.

And my prayer, my most fundamental prayer for my work is, "Let is be worthy." And I have to hope God will help me do more than I'm capable of doing on my own.

Audra Harders said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Cathy! Brr, it's really cold in some parts of the country, like here in Colorado, so I've a table set up with spiced cider, cinnamon buns and Christmas cookies. Happy Friday!

Yes, I totally relate to the imposter feeling. Who am I to write a novel? Who am I to think I have anything to offer?

Your timely reminder of our Prince's love for us is why we writer. Happily ever after. Sappy to some, but words to live by for me.

Thanks so much for the reminder of why we write and reigniting the joy!!

Merry Christmas!

vince said...

Hi Cathy:

“Christmas is upon us--a time to pause and reflect on how God began writing the greatest romance of all times.”

What a wonderful insight. It’s reading an absolute gem like the quote above that can double or triple the enjoyment I experience as a reader. You have the gift. Please suggest which of your books I should read first.

Thanks for your inspiring post.


Tammy Doherty said...

Cathy - wonderful post, and just what I needed right now. I'm not yet published and the self-doubt keeps getting in my way. It's great to know multi-pubbed authors have some of the same feelings. And your reminder that we need to stay focused on the Lord is the advice I needed most. I just may print it out and paste it at the top of my screen, so I'll remember always.

Thanks, and have a Blessed Christmas season.

Tammy Doherty

Missy Tippens said...

Kathy, thanks so much for being with us in Seekerville today! And thank you for your wonderful post. It's a great reminder.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying what so many of us feel, Cathy. And, for the record, you ARE a real writer - and a brilliant one, dear lady.

Kathleen Y'Barbo