Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Writing from Your Pressure Cooker Life by Zoe M. McCarthy

Zoe M. McCarthy
I read Stephanie Rische’s interview “Beth Moore’s Novel Approach to Loving People” published in Today’s Christian Living (November 2016).

In the article, Moore talked about how she’d like to write like Jan Karon, but nothing in her life was like Karon’s books. She had to be true to being someone who’d been victimized.

Many of us have come from what I call pressure cookers. That’s a home or family like a pressure cooker. People inside are abusers and victims. Abusers pressure the victims with verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. Depending on how high the pressure setting is, victims have their gumption and identity cooked to some level of vulnerability.

Moore gave an encouraging statement about victims who feel like they’re up against something that can’t be fixed: “The truth is, sometimes there isn’t a way back. But with Jesus, there is a way forward.” After her pressure cooker past, Moore wants her writing to let others know how wonderful the Lord is.

One stride forward for Bible study writer Beth Moore is a novel she has written. She believes God prompted her to step out of her comfort zone, but even in writing fiction, she had to be true to her vulnerability.

This made me think about how my past has affected my writing.

I enjoy romantic suspense, so it seemed natural to write it. In the three inspirational romantic suspense novels I wrote, I couldn’t seem to get the balance right. In one, the romance and the suspense were good, but the inspiration was lacking. In another the suspense and inspiration were good, but the romance was bland. In the third … You get my drift.

Also, in those novels, my writer’s voice never showed up.



Writing from the Pressure Cooker’s Steam

I think often writers are called to write with God from the vulnerabilities in our lives—either from how we learned to manage the pressure or how we traveled through it and came out of the cooker.

Besides other pressures I grew up under, we moved about every two years, inside and outside of the US. I let out the steam from my pressure cooker by being witty and funny around others. (I had to make friends fast before we moved again!) I used humor to entice people to accept me.

In writing my fifth book, which was published, I let go of my preconceived notions about what I was to write. The words poured out in my writer’s voice. The book was an inspirational contemporary romance full of humor, sass, and tenderness.

In hindsight, I believe God first wanted me to learn about Him, then He wanted me to learn to write through the four rejected novels, and finally He wanted me to write with Him from what my pressure cooker past gave me.

Maybe you have been called to write from how you handled what was inside your pressure cooker. Maybe you write comedy, fairytales, or fantasy.



Writing from the Pressure Cooker’s Process

I think some writers are guided to write with God directly from their tumbled lives. Through non-fiction or fiction, they stay true and show others how to find hope.

Perhaps God has called you to write from your vulnerable state like Moore, because that’s what will help your readers most. You may write women’s fiction or devotionals giving hope.

How has God directed you to use your pressure cooker life in your writing?


God can release the lid on your pressure cooker so, through writing, you can help others. 
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About the Author
Zoe M. McCarthy believes the little-known fact that opposites distract. Thus, she spins Christian contemporary romances entangling extreme opposites. Her tagline is Distraction to Attraction, Magnetic Romances Between Opposites. Christian Fiction Online Magazine published two of her short stories. Zoe self-published two books of contemporary Christian short stories. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She enjoys leading workshops on the craft of writing; speaking about her faith; planning fun events for her 5 grandchildren; and exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she lives with her husband, John. 

Learn more about Zoe M. McCarthy at her website: http://zoemmccarthy.com

Calculated Risk
Calculated Risk
by Zoe M. McCarthy


What happens when an analytical numbers man meets a mercurial marketing Rep? Romance is a calculated risk…

Jilted by the latest of her father’s choices of “real men,” Cisney Baldwin rashly accepts an invitation to spend Thanksgiving weekend with a sympathetic colleague and his family. Nick LeCrone is a man too much her opposite to interest her and too mild-mannered to make her overbearing father’s “list.” Now, Cisney fears Nick wants to take advantage of her vulnerable state over the holiday. Boy, is she wrong.

Nick wants little to do with Cisney. She drives him crazy with all her sticky notes and quirks. He extended an invitation because he felt sorry for her. Now he’s stuck, and to make matters worse, his family thinks she’s his perfect match. He’ll do what he can to keep his distance, but there’s just one problem—he’s starting to believe Cisney’s magnetism is stronger than he can resist.

Purchase links for Calculated Risk: http://zoemmccarthy.com/books

6 comments:

  1. Absolutely spot on, Zoe. Thank you.

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    1. Tanya, I'm touched by how many writers don't waste what they've had to go through.

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  2. Zoe - you are making me think. That could be dangerous.

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    1. Terri, I made myself think, too, and realize I need to be diligent in seeking Jesus about how I use my past in my writing.

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  3. Great article, Zoe! In both my nonfiction and fiction, I've drawn a lot on the challenging - and sometimes hurtful - situations in my life. The characters in my novels experience similar things I've struggled with and have learned.

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    1. Dawn, like I said to Tanya, I'm touched and encouraged how writers are not wasting what they went through, but are helping others.

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