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Writing the Story of your Heart versus Writing Something “to get the sale.”

by Susan May Warren

I receive a lot of questions from aspiring writers and this one caught my eye.

Q: Have you ever had a story that you wanted to write, a spiritual message you wanted to share, but it won’t let you just yet?

A: Yes, I have a couple stories sitting in my heart that I haven’t had the opportunity or perhaps the divine timing to write yet.

I’m a firm believer that God will work out the story in the right time, so I continue to collect ideas, impressions, do research and let those ideas soak, waiting for the right timing. But sometimes I’m not ready – emotionally, or even professionally to write it. Maybe I don’t have the skill level yet. And I certainly don’t want to waste my swan’s song on mediocre writing! So, in the meantime, I move onto the stories I have the ability to write right now.

This is what happened with my “Josey” series. The story of my hilarious happenings in Russia simmered in my heart YEARS before God opened the door to write it. And when he did, the timing was perfect. (My first book in that series, Everything’s Coming Up Josey was a Christy finalist). The same thing happened with Nothing but Trouble. I cooked up my heroine PJ Sugar four years before I saw it come to publication. And I’m glad I waited – I was able to write a deeper story than the one I had originally envisioned.

I’ve always loved historical fiction, but I had to wait until I had the time to do the research, as well as the ability to pull them off. I envisioned something more literary, so I had to grow into those skills, reading widely and doing a thorough scrutiny of my writing. My first dive into the historical genre was Sons of Thunder (which won an ACFW Carol) , and I’ve continued my love of Historicals with my Daughters of Fortune series. (Heiress and Baroness and Duchess.)

Just recently, I put together a series that I’ve waited years to write-a Search and Rescue series set in Montana. I’m working on that now-but while the story has been lingering in my head for years, the timing wasn’t right until now. I needed to wait until my skills caught up to the idea.

I think a lot of writers believe they have to write the stories on their hearts…but perhaps they’re also not ready to write that story yet. I think it’s wise to ask God if it’s time…or if there is another story that could hone your skills in the meantime, in preparation for that heart story.

So, don’t give up on your heart story. Wait on Him, and be open to working on something else in the meantime to that you’re ready to write the “story of your heart.”

God Bless you on your writing journey!

Susan May WarrenSusan May Warren is the Christy, RITA and Carol award-winning author of over forty-five novels with Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill and Summerside Press. Two time Christy winner, RITA winner, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol award. A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the book, Conversations with a Writing Coach.
She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a craft and coaching community for novelists. For more help on your writing journey, visit www.mybooktherapy.com (or www.learnhowtowriteanovel.com).

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2 Responses to Writing the Story of your Heart versus Writing Something “to get the sale.”

  1. Great perspective. Thank you!

  2. Kathy Cassel says:

    Thank you for your insights and encouraging words.