So there you sit. You’ve poured your heart into weeks, months, maybe even years on a manuscript that you absolutely believe in. One that contains great messages of God’s love, salvation, faith, etc. You type, “The End”, then sit back and think- This is terrible. No agent or publisher will take this seriously.
Guess what? It’s not terrible. It may not be for everyone, but it is a beautiful story that only you can tell. Ever listen to a child sing an out-of-tune version of “Jesus Loves Me”? Is it not the most beautiful thing? The same can be said when God sees the work you’ve done to honor Him.
So, you’re still sitting in front of this terrible manuscript. Your cursor blinks next to “The End”. You’re shaking your head at the plot holes, discrepancies, telling instead of showing and countless other errors that are still running through your head. Why is it not terrible?
It is a start. You didn’t start your life of service to God in a perfect fashion. You’ve been molded and disciplined from what you were into what you are now. Discoveries have been made and new plot lines have been introduced to get you to this point. And there is still work to do! The same is said for your manuscript. Give it time. Give it attention. Most of all, give it prayer. Ask that it glorifies Him, and not you. And mean it!
It is unique. Just like none of us are the same, no two stories are the same. If each of us were to write our own account of Jesus’ life on earth, the stories would all be told differently. Each of our stories would appeal to different readers. Some might like your version while some may prefer another. This doesn’t take away from how wonderful a story it is. It does, however, enable the story to reach a variety of readers. So, what if your terrible manuscript ends up reaching the one individual that the rest of us couldn’t? Jesus seemed pretty concerned with the one lost sheep, so I believe we should be too.
It is needed. Ever look around at the number of dystopian, sci-fi, fantasy stories on screen or in books? There are countless. What are the vast majority of them lacking? The real answer to their situation. We watch or read these stories about heroes or heroines struggling against a controlling force and they continue to dig within to find the answers to survival. Each of us knows the real answer. Let’s share it!
It has purpose. We know that everything that happens is part of a larger plan. A plan for good. There is no footnote for Romans 8:28 that says, “Except for (insert your name)’s manuscript… it was terrible”. What part does your manuscript play? Unfortunately, you’ll probably never know while you’re on this earth. Want to know a secret? You’ve said something in your life that completely affected someone else’s life. Your story will do the same. Somewhere in that terrible manuscript, you’ve written a line or scene that will completely change someone.
Now, push back from your desk. Make a cup of coffee, or tea, if that’s your preference. Take a nice walk and enjoy God’s creation. While you do this, come to grips with the fact that you’re most likely not going to be the next (insert favorite author). I’ve accepted that I probably can’t equal the creativity of Stephen King. I doubt I can weave complicated plots and subplots together like George R.R. Martin. I can’t compete with the wittiness of Nadine Brandes (Have to recognize the Christian spec-fic authors). The odds say none of us can do things exactly as they do.
There is a “but”. That “but” is that, while you’re not the next (favorite author), you are the next you. And you’re the author of your story. Neither of those has been done before! So, your story isn’t terrible. It is extraordinary!
I’m glad that a former journalism professor didn’t talk himself out of writing yet another story about knights and dragons. I’m glad that a certain lady didn’t convince herself that a book about a reporter interviewing a vampire was a silly idea. I’m glad that a certain “Dr.” didn’t talk himself out of writing a book about a red fish and a blue fish.
Finish your coffee, your tea or your walk. Come back to your terrible manuscript. Get to work and make us all glad you didn’t give up. Get published!
Charles Franklin is an Active Duty Soldier in the United States Army. Originally from Texas, his Army service has taken him all over the globe. He is a speculative fiction author with several current works in progress. You can find Charles online at his Twitter or FaceBook page.