Here’s a guest post by a new friend about writing fiction and being a Christian, and figuring out how that works. Hope you enjoy!
There are many aspects to the Christian life that at times I find hard to keep in balance. Trusting God to provide all I need while at the same time working hard to provide for myself. Living a life that pleases God but also knowing that there is forgiveness when I don’t. Being a good steward of what I have; yet being willing to give everything away. I’ve always reckoned that a lot of it hinges on truth. If truth doesn’t underpin what I do and say, my foundations can be a bit rocky.
Now you may think I’m a bit strange when I say this (and you wouldn’t be the first) but this whole concept of truth in my Christian life made it very hard for me to start writing fiction. I don’t know why but I just felt like I was telling lies!
I’ve been blogging for about 6 years on and off but having been taking it seriously for about 2 years. When my ‘I want to be a writer – hang on, I AM a writer’ epiphany came last year, I signed up for a writer’s retreat and found myself being challenged to write some fiction. At first I really struggled; as I was writing there was this voice in my head saying, “you can’t say that, it’s not true”.
I’d be lying to you if I told you I’ve never told a lie (stay with me now…); but to consciously sit down and write a whole fictional story, choosing details and writing my preferred ending was really hard. It took me a while to allow myself the freedom to write freely. I started a second blog, just for the fiction writing. I felt I had to keep it separate from the Christian stuff.
Lots of folk think the whole God thing is made up – so I didn’t want there to be any confusion!
Recently I had the joy of ‘bumping into’ another Christian writer on Twitter. Most of her writing is fiction and when I mentioned my dilemma to her, she commented that though she has thought about it, she sees no conflict between her Christian life and the make up world that her fiction exists. She put it beautifully saying, “I see my [fiction] writing carrying threads of light in it.”
As I thought about what she said and began feel more at peace, I realised that my concern was actually about my voice. I’ve been thinking about my writing voice a lot lately. Because I have the two blogs, I’ve wondered if I’m actually trying to speak with two voices.
“I see my fiction writing carrying threads of light in it.” Click to Tweet
My Christian blog has a mix of thoughts, musings and ‘spiritual conclusions’ but also some silly poems and light-hearted true stories. My fiction blog is also a mix, mostly (but not all) feel good stories, with happy endings.
Having taken some time to look at the heart and message of what I write on each blog it turns out I am speaking on both with the same voice. Apart from when courses or workshops challenge me to write darker stuff, my fiction is usually positive. Strong on family and relationships. Lots of messages of hope, love, positivity and forgiveness, even if there isn’t a completely happy ever after – and maybe the route that some stories take is a bit unconventional.
Happy ever after stuff is only lame if it it’s not written well. We only have to look to the Rowling and Tolkein to know that at its finest, ‘good triumphs over evil’ is the makings of a best-seller.
I’ve been a bit nervous about my conflicting voices but actually they’re not conflicting at all. They are one voice, both telling the truth – just in different ways.
“At its finest, ‘good triumphs over evil’ is the makings of a best-seller” Click to Tweet
“Fiction and non-fiction are one voice, both telling the truth – just in different ways” Click to Tweet
If she could get away with talking & writing for a living she would but instead works part-time in administration and part-time teaching music.
If you’re looking for her you’ll very often find her on Twitter @amowriting