Friday, June 22, 2012

JUNE CW BLOG CHAIN — PURSUING YOUR GOALS

Climber at the top Mt. Hood. 
(Photo by Trin Yuthasastrakosol)
Hello My Friend and Welcome. 
Today we add our link to the Christian Writer’s Blog Chain. This month’s topic is pursuit and, as usual, we’ll examine it from an authorial viewpoint. Pursue is an active verb implying movement toward a goal. So the question becomes, what is your goal? 

Each year an estimated 8-10,000 people attempt to scale Orgenon's talest peak, Mt. Hood. The operative word is attempt. Despite great intentions and a vigorous pursuit of their goal, as in all endeavors only a few make it to the top.

In her inaugural post, new blog chain member, Holly Michael, shared that when her son attended rookie camp with the New Orleans Saints his coach told the group, “Each of you are one out of three million kids that started playing football. There are 2,800 left. That means you are in the top 0.01%.” As someone whose mother once confessed she worried I’d never learn to walk because I kept tripping over my own feet, I stand in awe of such an achievement.  

The novel as a distinct literary form, though predating the era of professional athletes, is also a relatively recent phenomena. The origins of this unique method of storytelling coalesced in the 18th Century. One of its early pioneers, Jonathan Swift, is credited with introducing allegorical elements and verisimilitude in his book, Gulliver’s Travels.  

Although the novel continues to mutate and evolve, most of its essential components, along with a diversity of genres, were firmly in place by the close of the 19th Century. By then, Edgar Allen Poe had laid the groundwork for the macabre mystery novel, Jules Verne and H G Wells invented what used to be called science fiction, Wilkie Collins and Arthur Conan Doyle defined the first detective novels, Lew Wallace created the Biblical/Historical novel, and Mark Twain developed a uniquely American-style of writing that melded humor with gritty realism. 

Compared to our predecessors, we modern novelists have it pretty easy. The form is there and so are the plots. After all, how many times haven’t we been told, “There is no such thing as new plot?” Not only that, but we are blessed to live in the computer age. It boggles my mind to think of typing War and Peace page after page through various iterations. Nowadays it’s no problem to re-arrange sentences, paragraphs or even chapters. Highlight, Ctrl X, Crtl V and it's done! Change your main character’s name from Helen to Monique? No problem…Find and Replace All.  

But easy or hard, the ultimate question remains Why bother to write in the first place? Whether you’re sitting down to a stone tablet with hammer and chisel or a comfortable desk in front of keyboard and monitor, you must have some goal in mind…you’re in pursuit of something. Perhaps you’re seeking personal fulfillment or a resolution to some inner conflict. You may feel led to share your unique viewpoint, experiences, truths and insights. Then again, maybe you just find filling a page with words arranged in a special order to be fun. Though I would never eschew the blending of art and commerce; a laborer is worthy of his wages.  

In the final analysis, writing is a very personal endeavor and there is no right or wrong reason to write. I would, however, caution anyone pursuing fame and fortune to evaluate their goals. I always tell people that there are many garage bands, but few Beatles…just as there are lots of kids playing sandlot ball and only a few make it to the Pros. Even those writers who are regularly published seldom derive a living from it. Think hard before quitting your day job. 

Matthew Kelly, an Author and Inspirational Speaker whom I enjoy listening to, says God has a place for each us in his plan. We can know we’ve found our particular spot when we find a deep, abiding fulfillment in an activity, time seems to vanish whenever we pursue it, and we’d do it for free if no one would pay us for doing it. That describes a lot of writers I know.

Until the next time, we wish you Peace and Blessings.

12 comments:

Jack Brown said...

writing is indeed a worthy pursuit
the pen is mightier than the sword
good post

Suzette Emilia said...

I love writing so much, but it's also the most criticized job. Punctuation, grammar, storyline, characters, it's all dissected like a frog in science class! It has to be "perfect" and pobody's nerfect. ;p It's so intimidating to think someone is going to wag a finger to death at your story. But I keep pursuing it because it's what I love to do. So much to think about you've got me rolling here! Thanks for sharing!

Bill Jones said...

Thanks for the neat history l4esson (now I have to show my ignorance and find out who Wilkie Collins is).
Technology has made the process easier, but for me it's still a pursuit to get the right words.

E. G. Lewis said...

For any who are interested, Wilkie Collins was a contemporary of Dickens. At the time he produced them, his books were classed as "sensational novels," but are now generally considered to have been the first of the detective/mystery genre. His most famous work is Woman in White.
Peace and Blessings

Michael Johnson said...

Ed,

Thanks for the pep talk...Now off to my writing. No really, it is good to be realistic in what our expectations. I look at writing as a hobby with a stipend.

Tracy Krauss said...

Such an eloquent post, Edward! I enjoyed each and every one of your historical examples and pondered your closing comments, knowing that in the end, I will continue to write whether I make any money at it or not. :)

Deborah K. Anderson said...

Thanks for this great post, E.G. Whenever I write, I truly feel a deep, abiding fulfillment inside. I have a feeling the same thing happens to you.

Oh, you mentioned one of your books as you posted on my blog, said my comment about the nuns made you think of it. Could you stop back by and list the name of your book?

lynnmosher said...

Pursuing our calling as writers should never be but aside. Wonderful post, Edward. Thank you!

From Carols Quill said...

You're so right that there are many, many reasons to write. I loved the way you reminded us how easy we have it in this modern world. I thank God daily for computers and that "delete" key!

Adam Collings said...

I really enjoyed the look back into the history of the novel. I certainly am glad that I live in the computer age.

heartgazer said...

I enjoyed this post. Thank you. I especially like the quote at the end from Matthew Kelly. "...we’d do it for free if no one would pay us for doing it." That goes right to the heart of inspiration and motivation. For most Christian writers the Source for both is happily obvious. :) Great job!

TraciB said...

Ed, you gave me French Lit flashbacks with that history lesson! ;)

I too am glad I live in the computer age, and I'm glad God put me in the midst of such a friendly and supportive community of writers.