Monday, October 10, 2005

"Real" Writing

I have a lot of friends who love fiction, they can see the purpose, value and beauty in a story well-told.

But I'm also well aware of all the naysayers that surround me. The ones that think because I write novels- teen novels at that, that what I'm doing is simply a hobby, or worse, unspiritual. Now if I wrote non-fiction, something "real", well that would be a different story altogether. If a book doesn't contain Scripture it's seen as a waste of time.

You've met these people. They are often the same ones who never watch movies or television and plan all their activites strictly off the "Upcoming Events" listed in their church bulletin.

I feel like I've, in some cases, been put in these people's lives to be a prod. And no one really likes being a prod. I love watching television and movies and the stories I want to write already outnumber what I could accomplish in a lifetime. It wasn't until I spent a month at the Act One: Writing for Hollywood program that I realized something very valuable to me.

God made me this way. He created me to be an who communicates truth in a different medium. And for me, it's through story. While I learned many, many valuable things at Act One during that month to make me a better write and person, learning that my creativity and way of approaching the world is no more or no less valuable than the many other ways people serve God.

I'm an artist, and I'm no longer ashamed of that.

I do find it amusing that even though I have multiple non-fiction projects that have garnered interest from publishers, it continues to be the fictional stories that they are most interested in. And in creating the proposals and diving into the stories, I had to come to the conclusion that what I'm doing is still "real" writing. Even if my own church or my own friends don't understand that.

Just one more step in the process of seeking God's approval rather than man's. He is the only One I have to follow and this is the direction He's leading. It's no wonder that I just let most of the people in my church believe that all I do is stay home with my kids and help run the cafe on Sunday mornings before church. Most people just won't understand. A few do, and that will have to be enough.

I had a boy come up to me at a conference that I spoke at concerning Hollywood. He wanted to write comic books with godly themes. I encouraged him and told him to keep following after God, keep pursuing what God has put in his heart and he was astounded. Most of the people in his life didn't think it was worthwhile. How can the plans God gives to us ever be worthless? That young man may have a hard road ahead because he's forging an artist's path, but I hope he blazes the trail.

God's plans don't always fit in a church-shaped box.