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Spring Cleaning

by Aaron McCarver

Spring is here! For many people it is time for that annual foray into closets, attics, and basements…spring-cleaning. I have actually begun to attack some of those areas in my place. I am trying to follow the rule of my co-author, Diane Ashley?if I haven’t looked at it or worn it in more than a year then throw it out. This is easy for some things I have, but for some things I am attached to it is quite difficult. Images of someone finding me buried under piles of books push me on, however.

This led me to think about my writing. Are there things I hold onto that really aren’t necessary? Are there words I cling to or scenes I stubbornly defend when an editor is encouraging their deletion for the good of the work?

A couple of weeks ago my place was broken into while I was at work. I admit this has been a strange experience for me. There is a sense of violation as I know someone has been in my rooms and gone through my things. My sense of security is revealed as false. I was not home so was not hurt, and amazingly enough, the only thing taken was my laptop. Now before all of you writers panic at this part, I had gotten the computer back from the shop and had nothing of importance on it. I have fallen in love with my Apple desktop and no longer used my PC laptop, so I lost no books, no research notes, no synopses or proposals, nothing I couldn’t do without.

I know God did not want the thief to take my computer as that is a sin, but I have been praying for Him to reveal things to me and bring good to me out of this situation. He has helped me to see that all of things I own are temporary and replaceable. My greatest treasure-Him-can be taken by no one as long as I cling to Him.

This took me back to my writing. As an author of Christian fiction, what I must cling to is my message of His truth. Nothing else really matters in the strictest sense of things. I refer to my friend, Terri Blackstock. She once told me that after once writing for the secular market the only things in her books she would not allow anyone to take away were her messages of God.

I think we all could use a good spring-cleaning in the things we write. Our friends?our editors?can help us with this. But as American CHRISTIAN Fiction Writers, we must not let the world make us think what we do is something less. We, as an industry, must cling to what makes us unique-that special, wonderful calling to write stories that honor HIM.

A resident of Florence, Mississippi, Aaron McCarver loves teaching English at Belhaven University and editing for Barbour Publishing. He is the co-author of the best-selling series, “The Spirit of Appalachia” with Gilbert Morris and is currently co-authoring with Diane Ashley the “Song of the River” series for Barbour.

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7 Responses to Spring Cleaning

  1. Great post, Aaron! So very glad you weren’t there and weren’t hurt when someone broke in! You are absolutely right in that all things we own are temporary and replaceable and that He is the greatest treasure and cannot be taken away as long as we cling to Him. Thanks for that wonderful thought today.

  2. Diane Ashley says:

    Hey Aaron, My rule has cost me a few things and may cost me a husband some day in the future (lol) I think you brought out some good points. Sometimes we can get so caught up in living that we forget Who we’re living for. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Jacqueline Wheelock says:

    Aaron, you must know how completely I agree with you. Sometimes I think we need to post it next to our computers: This is for Him. I am encouraged to continue to write stories that honor the Lord–published or not!

  4. Lenora Worth says:

    Great blog, Aaron. I’m doing the same since we’re moving later this year. (And you know I have a lot of shoes!) But letting go can be refreshing and healthy. Sometimes, if we edit the clutter in our stories, we find honesty and a better tale to tell! Have a great spring! Hope to see you at ACFW!

  5. Mary F. Allen says:

    Glad you are safe, Aaron, and that you didn’t lose anything you created. I’m still grieving over things I lost when my computer was stolen last year.

    As for spring cleaning stories, yes, yes, I do tend to hold on to scenes or a certain way I want the story presented. There’s many things I’ve let go of easily, but of course, those are never the problem.

    Just yesterday I finally did spring cleaning on a particular story and dumped most of the first chapter. There’s a lot more to do on that story – but it’ll be stronger, and I’ll get a second story out of it, too.

  6. Amen. I think Christian writers have a much greater challenge when we write. we want our books to be entertaining and encouraging but we also have to keep God in the center of both the book and our lives as we write. It gets harder when the business side keeps urging us to promote, have a platform, create a brand, be on Facebook,Twitter etc. We’re in a business that desires to put God first but we have to promote ourselves to do that. Quite a balancing act. :)

  7. Erica Vetsch says:

    Oh, my! I’m so sorry about the break-in, but I’m so glad you weren’t home when it happened, and that what you lost is easily replaceable.

    You’re so wise re things we hold onto.