Thank you, KyLee, for welcoming me on your blog today. For those of you who don’t know me, and that is probably most of you, I am a historical romance writer, wife and mom who is somewhat obsessed with my Pembroke Welsh corgi, Levi. KyLee and I met through American Christian Fiction Writers and are now critique partners.
Encouraging other writers is something dear to my heart. I would never have finished A Love Restored if it wasn’t for the encouragement that came my way just when I needed it. An email from a friend who liked my characters or a comment in a critique that my dialogue made them chuckle. Whew! There’s nothing worse than trying to be funny only to find out you’re falling short of the mark!
But one particular piece of advice, changed everything.
I’d been writing seriously for about two years in April 2014 when I sat at my computer looking at the all the comments in red I’d received from a contest entry—”deepen the POV here, more detailed description there, and you used the word ‘gaze’ seven times in this scene.” While I knew the judge’s comments were intended to help me improve, I felt overwhelmed and way out of my league.
I closed the laptop and shook a mental fist at God. “Why did you call me to such a ridiculously unattainable task?” The names of my favorite authors flooded my mind—Tamera Alexander, Karen Witemeyer and Julie Lessman. I failed miserably in comparison.
Discouraged, I slumped over my computer and sobbed. “I can’t write like them, Lord. I can’t write like Julie Lessman or Tamera Alexander. Why are you asking me do this?” As the tears streamed from my face, another voice spoke to my heart.
That’s right, you can’t write like them.
Wait. What? That wasn’t exactly the encouragement I was hoping for, God. Maybe a “keep at it, you’ll get there” or something. Then He spoke again. This time zinging my heart like only He can do with His timeless wisdom and truth.
I don’t want you to write like them. I want you to write like you.
Reality struck. The only one expecting me to write like someone else, was me. Although I had no idea what “writing like me” meant, I felt a great burden lift from my shoulders. My God who placed this desire in my heart didn’t want me to be anyone else but who he created me to be. I began praying for his inspiration as I wrote each day and while there were still many ups and downs along my road to publication, I no longer lived in the shadow of wanting to be like someone else.
A friend sent me this quote which I printed and pinned to the messy bulletin board that hangs above my writing desk.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
I do believe God has given me a gift for weaving words, but where that talent will take me is likely to be quite different from where it will take Julie Lessman. And that’s fine with me. After all, any talent he may bestow on us as writers, even in the tiniest measure, isn’t granted to make us feel good about ourselves or even for others to read an entertaining, well-written story. The purpose of His gifts is always to glorify the Giver.
I can’t do that if I’m trying to be another Tamera Alexander. Besides, He has one of those already and she’s quite amazing in that role.
Instead, I choose not to compare myself to others or their accomplishments, but instead to rejoice in their successes while trusting God with the unique path He is preparing for me. That is where I will find the freedom to express myself and tell the stories He’s laid on my heart. That is how I will find joy in the journey.
Kelly Goshorn weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth century America. Her debut novel, A Love Restored, received recognition as the winner of the 2015 COTT Olympia Contest and as a semi-finalist in the 2015 ACFW Genesis Contest. Kelly has been enjoying her own happily-ever- after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for 27 years. Together they have raised three children, four cats, two dogs, a turtle, a guinea pig, a gecko, and countless hamsters. Thankfully not all at the same time. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi.
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