Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Shirlee's Cheap Thrills

Okay, I admit it. Every once in a while, I log onto Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com and type in my name just so I can look at the list of books. It sounds stupid, I know. After all, it's not like I don't have most of the books here at the house. Still, there's something about seeing them on the computer that motivates me. There I am, Shirlee McCoy the AUTHOR. Who'd have thought it? Not any of my elementary school teachers. Not my middle school language teacher. A couple of high school teachers encouraged my writing, and maybe a college professor or two might have had an inkling that I'd be published one day.

What's my point? Just that we can never know what the future will bring, or how God will use our gifts. We can plan and set our goals. We should plan and set goals. In the end, though, it is God's timing that moves us forward into whatever success we might find. God and a whole lot of hard work and persistence.

When I was a kid, making up stories in my head and day dreaming my life away, I never thought I'd write books one day. The first time I remember actually thinking about writing a novel was when I was a young teen and my sister said she planned to write a book. Suddenly all that daydreaming didn't seem so pointless. I thought, "I can write a book." I actually began my first novel that day. Of course, writing a book is a lot more difficult than actually conceiving the idea. It took me another couple of decades to complete a novel. My sister is still trying to finish one.

I suppose I could still be where she is, not quite committed to the dream. Somehow, though, I was able to go from dream to effort and from effort to success. Maybe I was too much of a daydreamer to worry about how much money I would or wouldn't make or whether or not the sacrafice of time and sleep would be worth the eventual results.

You see, to be an author, we must suspend disbelief, stop worrying about reality, and sink wholeheartedly into the dream. Rejections, writer's block (and, yes, there is such a think), harsh critisisms, they must be in the periphery, shaping and molding us without causing us to colapse. We must be tough and soft at the same time. Committed without being overly attached to our ideas. Sure of ourselves without being arrogant. We must, in essence, be people of character. In an industry like the one we strive to be part of, living with Christ as our center provides the grounding that keeps our reputations pure. And whether we want to believe it or not, reputation means a lot.

Where is your focus today? Who is your model as you interact with the world and deal with the harsh reality that comes from pursuing your dreams?

6 comments:

Sabrina L. Fox said...

"Every once in a while, I log onto Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com and type in my name just so I can look at the list of books."

Uh, every once in a while??? It would be my homepage. LOL

Shirlee McCoy said...

The number of times I look is directly corrilated (correlated? How do you spell that) to how frustrated/depressed/unhappy I am with my writing.

Just for your FYI, I already logged on this morning. LOL

Sabrina L. Fox said...

I think as a writer my biggest downer thought would be "Is it worth it? Am I doing anything of worth with my writing?" But then I can't tell you how many times I've been blessed through Christian fiction.

It's worth it and it has importance and FYI you're doing a great job incorporating God's love and wisdom with entertaining your readers. ;) I'll get off my soapbox now.

Shirlee McCoy said...

You've hit the nail on the head, Sabrina. That's exactly what I struggle with. Is it worth it? Is it worthwhile? I have four kids and my time with them is precious. I'm constantly assessing things, making sure that I'm really where God wants me to be, doing what He wants me to do. Over and over again I ask, "is writing worth the time and effort I put into it." The answer continues to be yes.

Sabrina L. Fox said...

I'm not God, in case you haven't noticed, LOL, but I would say that as long as the life of your family isn't sacrificed in any way, and I'm not talking about a little dirty laundry now and then, I mean as long as they don't feel like the books are more important or taking your precious time from them, then I would say that you're having a writing career isn't hurting your children in anyway.

In fact it's teaching them about dillegence and self worth, about setting goals and achieving them. How to budget your time and make compromises, etc... I'm sure there are lots of things your kids are learning as you are on this journey.

However, I will say that I'm right there with you, or maybe a little behind, since I'm not seeing fruit from my fiction writing right now, but I think about chucking it all until Tanner is older all the time. It's a constant battle within me to keep on keeping on. :-/

Crystal Warren Miller said...

Shirlee, This post reminds me--would you like to be interviewed in my When I Was Just a Kid feature of my blog Chat 'n' Chew Cafe'? Did I ask you this already?I'd love to interview you!

You can check out the other authors on the blog. If so, just leave a comment on a post and I'll try to get my email to you. (I'm in ACFW.)