Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Process Within the Process

By Patrick E. Craig

One of the questions I am often asked when I do interviews or articles is “What’s the process you use when you are writing?” It seems that everyone is looking for the answer to being a good writer.  We go to writer’s conferences to learn the latest techniques, we read books by authors who have already “made it”, and we listen over and over to the latest mantras: show, don’t tell, simplify, keep one person’s point of view throughout a scene, use better words, don’t write in the passive voice, etc. etc. etc.

When I sat down to write this article the guidelines were simple: 250 - 500 words about the writing craft such as "how I do it" or a "how to" theme. So I took a few minutes to look back over the answers I have given to the “process” question in the past. As I did it struck me that no two of my answers were ever the same.  In one article I stress the importance of a complete synopsis, in another I talk about chapter outlines and in a third I write about the importance of knowing your characters.  

So I dug deep and when I got down to the bottom of what it means to me to be a writer I found that I don’t really have a process. That was a startling realization. When I think about the books I have written I realize that somehow the stories already seem to exist somewhere “out there” and they come through as I discipline myself to be in the room with my feet on the floor and my fingers on the keys.  It’s as though I am reading someone’s journal and copying it down.  And that was an eye-opener. As I considered the implications I realized that I am not the storyteller, but there is a master storyteller who lives in me.  He is the repository of all the stories that have ever been or ever will be written. There is nothing that I can do that He hasn’t already done, and nothing I can say that He has not already said.

So what’s the bottom line? If I want the story that’s in my heart to come out, I have to show up at my computer and ask Him to tell me the story and then write it down the way he gives it to me.  Am I saying, “Don’t worry about writing well?” Am I saying, “Don’t edit and rewrite and do multiple drafts?” Am I saying, “Don’t write and write and write until you get good at your craft?” No, I’m not saying that because those things are all important. What I am saying is that as a Christian writer you must listen to the story that He wants to tell through you and stay at it until you know that you have written it the best you can.  And then trust Him to do the rest.
Best-selling author Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. In 2011 he signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series. The books are historical Amish fiction and include A Quilt for Jenna, The Road Home, and Jenny’s Choice. A Quilt For Jenna recently hit #1 best-seller in Amish Fiction on Amazon.  His current series is The Paradise Chronicles and the first book in the series is The Amish Heiress, published by P&J Publishing and just released on August 10th. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in Idaho and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency. Author Social Media Links  Webpage  Facebook  Twitter Where can readers purchase my books?

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