Monday, February 14, 2005

Join the Overcomers

Some times I surprise other writers about what I read and where I learn more about publishing.  My work is primarily in the spiritual/ inspirational/ religious/ Christian marketplace for the majority of my writing. You can pick your label but if you look at what I’ve written it’s pretty obvious from most of my writing such as Teach Yourself the Bible in 24 Hours.

Because of my journalism training, I continue to learn from many different places.  There is a fairly constant theme from the lives of many well-known and lesser known writers: each one has overcome some remarkable obstacles in their path and journey.  About twelve years ago, I was writing a lot of author profiles about different authors. Reading through a news release from a publisher,  I learned an author had overcome severe dyslexia yet continued writing. Bodie Thoene’s determination as a writer continues to provide inspiration and encouragement to me. Follow the link and you can learn more about it.  Or many people have forgotten the personal story of pain that bestselling author Frank Peretti told in The Wounded Spirit, which is one of his few nonfiction books.

Last week I was reminded of this principle again with the announcement of Arthur Miller’s death.  Through reading Power Line, I discovered this story from the Los Angeles Times (written in 2000) about Miller. The story begins, “If the young Arthur Miller ever thought he was "The Man Who Had All the Luck," he learned otherwise when his play with that title closed after only four performances, in the playwright's Broadway debut in 1944.” and it ends with some interesting insight for writers in this quote from Arthur Miller, “Every play has a secret. This one has a deep one. It's a combination of fantasy and reality--and you've got to strike the balance just right.”

Or make sure you catch this phrase in the lead paragraph of the MSNBC story about Miller, “Arthur Miller never stopped writing.” His early experience in playwriting could have discouraged him to the point that Miller quit writing. Instead, he pushed beyond this experience and joined the overcomers.  It drove him to write plays like “Death of a Salesman” and “The Crucible.”

I appreciated the insightful interviews with writers which Terry Gross put together last year in her book, All I Did Was Ask : Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians, and Artists. Like almost any book of this nature, the overcomer theme was throughout the pages.

Each of us face our own daily challenges in the writing life.  If you need encouragement, possibly you can find it in Marvin Olasky’s article, How to Become A Good Writer. Are you choosing to persist and overcome? Possibly the painful experience of the present (or your past) can become something precious for your writing. It is in my life.

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