Monday, April 16, 2012

The Long and Winding Road My Writing Journey – C. S. Lakin Part III

But, to my surprise, I had some other books to write. At first I thought I was a little mad to also work on more contemporary novels. In fact, I was (and still am) often criticized, even by agents and publishers as being “naïve, immature, amateur, and clueless”—to name a few labels. Why? Because I don’t stick to one genre. I write YA sci-fi, fantasy (adult), mysteries, contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, relational dramas. It’s not like I mean to. But I get an idea and have to chase after it. In between fantasy books two and three I wrote Someone to Blame, a mystery based on Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. It won the 2009 First Novel Contest by Zondervan and was published last October.
Since that fateful prayer back in 2005, I have written eight more novels. Of those, four have sold and four I’m currently trying to sell. I have three more contracted I need to write in the next eighteen months. I just completed an epic family saga, a modern-day rendition of the biblical story of Jacob and Joseph, with a huge theme of faith and knowing God is leading us through a wilderness to the Promised Land. I mention this novel for, as I was writing it, God was making it clear that he knows where he is leading me, all the while I have no clue. His intent is to lead me to a very specific place, and this is the book’s theme—right into his arms. That is something that is taking me years of understanding as I wander through this strange landscape of writing novels and getting published.
Just as I was puzzled by God calling me to write fairy tales, I’ve also been puzzled as to why I am writing these heavy contemporary dramas (which I love to write). Why doesn’t God make me just focus on one genre so I can appear to be a professional, mature writer instead of a lunatic? I don’t know. All I know is that I write the books burning in my heart to write. As soon as I come close to finishing one book, the next one floats to the surface of my heart and says, “write me, write me!” How can I refuse? I have to believe he has a plan for these books. I may not ever see all my books get published. I sure hope I do. I want more than anything for my writing to reach deep into hearts and lead people to the God who knows and loves them with all his heart. But one thing I am learning on this journey is that God’s idea of significance has nothing to do with sales figures or best-seller lists. It is all about obedience and humility. It’s all about God doing a work in me (in all of us) to make us into the kind of person we need to become in order to dwell with him forever. As we follow our heart’s path, wherever it leads us—whether we are writers, doctors, bus drivers, daycare workers—God’s plan is to draw us close to him. Sometimes that means we just plow ahead and not be concerned with the outcome. It’s hard to be a writer and not care about sales or contracts. We write so others will benefit. But God’s aim is to get us to trust him and surrender to him. A much harder goal to achieve than writing a 400-page novel.
So as I continue on, writing what’s in my heart, I’m excited to see what doors open—and I’m learning to appreciate the closed doors too. For that just means God has something else—something better in mind for me.

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