Welcome to the blog of author Tricia Goyer!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mommying and Writing: The Nitty Gritty - Foundations

I've been running a 'Mommying and Writing' series. Just a few things I've learned along the way as both a Mommy and a Writer! To read the previous posts, scroll down!

Majoring on the Foundations.

There is one more final way that both mothering and writing are intertwined and that’s in learning to major on the foundations. In fact, here are some parenting tips I learned that helped me on my writing journey too.

a. Foundation One: Focus on the heart. When it comes to raising kids we can do a lot to shape behavior, but it will do little good if we don’t focus on our children’s heart. What matters is that they learn to do the right thing because of the moral code that’s inside them, not because they’re worried about being punished.

In writing, it’s also important to focus on the heart … what does the reader need most? Is the reader going to pick up your book or article to be entertained? To learn something? To be encouraged? It doesn’t matter if you get all the mechanics right if you miss the main point.

b. Foundation Two: Everything happens in stages. We would not expect our children to run before they walk or drive a car before they learn to ride a bike. The same is true in writing. Too often we want to sell a novel to a major publisher and we haven’t studied the craft of writing. We want our first book to hit the bestseller’s list without understanding the most audiences are built book by book. Understanding stages encourages patience. Growth will happen in time. Small steps lead to larger ones.

c. Foundation Three: No comparisons. When my daughter was thirteen-months-old my husband came home to a weeping wife. “What’s wrong?” John asked.

“Leslie isn’t walking yet, and Madilyn has been walking since she was 10-months old.”

My husband’s advice was wise, “Honey, she will walk, and when the kids are five-years-old they’ll all be running around and no one will be able to tell who learned to walk first.”

This is good advice for the writing journey too. Some writers will get published before others. Some will get bigger advances or better contracts. Some writers will get media attention and others … won’t. The best thing to do is not compare. Ten years from now, twenty, your books will be sitting on the shelf next to everyone else’s and no one will be the wiser. Just as our journey as a mom is unique, so are our journeys as writers.

Looking back I’d have to say there one final HUGE advantage to having my kids surrounding me as I wrote. They watched as I stumbled my way through my dream of becoming a writer. I not only told them, “You need to follow your dreams” and “You need to work hard to achieve your goals,” I showed them. They see me work hard, and they see the end result ... books and articles! They also see how I’m using the dreams God placed in me to share the good news of Jesus with others. Life as a writer (and as a Christ seeker) has been a wonderful model for my children to follow. Now that they are older, it is no surprise that they are BIG dreamers who love serving God in their own special way!

So, Mom, go ahead and take a deep breath. You can do this. Your way. In your time. Also, remember … God is there with you, every step of the way.

4 comments:

Wendy said...

Tricia,
I love that last paragraph. I had a recent experience with my children when I learned I'd be published in a fantastic online magazine. I kept jumping up and down thanking and praising God. When I thought of it afterwards, I realized I think I may have been teaching them some powerful things in that moment. Thank you for these posts.
~ Wendy

Name: Holly Bowne said...

This has all been such great advice! Thanks so much for posting this series. I'm inspired. Now, I'm going to go write something.

Carol said...

I love these posts! Thanks for sharing your sage wisdom with us! :) I'm hoping one day my book will be sitting on someone's bookshelf.

Jessica said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you so much!