Friday, March 11, 2011

You Can Do This IF ... by Nancy Rue

Do you have romantic ideas of what a writer’s life should look like? We’ve probably all had them at one time or another. But what does it really take to be a writer? This Fortifying Friday, author Nancy Rue is here to share what she’s learned in her own career.

You Can Do This IF . . .
Nancy Rue

Whenever I meet a new person who asks, “What do you do?”, and I say, “I’m a writer,” –about 8 times out of 10 the person goes straight from there to, “I’ve always wanted to write.”

I love that in one sense. It makes my career sound like something other people want to do. I don’t think if I answered, “I’m a prison warden,” many folks would say, “I’ve dreamed of doing that myself!”

Still, I always have to decide whether to pursue that conversation or go with, “SO how ‘bout those Mets?”, because the person who wistfully expresses the desire to write can actually be saying one of a number of different things:

(1) “I think it would be a glamour gig.”
(2) “I think it would be fabulous to see my name on the cover of a book.”
(3) “I would actually do it if I had time.”
(4) “I’m trying to change my life situation so I can spend time doing this thing that’s in my soul.”
(5) “I am at this very moment spending every spare moment working on a piece that comes from someplace deep within me and won’t leave me alone.”

Since I would rather talk about writing than just about anything else except my new granddaughter, I usually try to tease out which kind of would-be writer I’m chatting with. Because here’s the deal. Being an author has almost nothing to do with book tours, signings with lines of people trailing out of the bookstore and down to the corner, and interviews on Oprah. After 110 books, I have yet to do any of the above. Seeing your name in print is definitely a rush, but getting it there is a long, sweat-producing, hair-pulling, housework-neglecting process. It’s like eating an artichoke, you know? You have to decide it if it’s worth it.

As for doing it if you had time? That leads us to the crux of the matter. If you are truly a writer, you don’t wait until you have time. You make time. You do Number Four and rearrange your schedule, your priorities, and your furniture—whatever it takes so you can focus in a significant way on this gift you’ve been given to share. And if you are born to be a writer, created to craft words to change lives, you don’t wait until you’ve made those changes. You do it anyway—in the car while the kids are at soccer practice, in the doctor’s office even when People Magazine is calling your name, at five in the morning before everyone else is up.

And if you come up with excuses why none of that will work for you, you’re not a writer.

I don’t actually say that to people I meet on airplanes or backyard barbecues. But I’m saying it to you, who yearn to be writers. You can do this thing—IF you know in every part of yourself that this is what God is calling you to do—IF you’re willing to give up anything other than your spiritual practices and your family and your financial survival to do it—IF you can’t imagine yourself doing anything else with the rest of your life.

Without that kind of passion in your soul, you can still dabble, and there is nothing wrong with that. There is also nothing wrong with channeling your heart cry for writing into work you do for newsletters, stories for your kids, memoirs for your own satisfaction. All I’m saying is, pay attention to what’s going on in your heart of hearts. If it’s there, this relentless drive to speak on the page, don’t let anything stand in your way. Because that, my writing friends, is God talking.

Nancy Rue is the author of 110 books, including 9 novels for adults, 17 for teens, and 60 for tween readers, as well as 2 parenting books, 32 non-fiction books for tweens and teens, and the features for the FaithGirlz Bible. Her Lily Series, published by Zondervan, has sold well over one million copies. Her ability to relate to a wide audience has made her a popular radio and television guest and an in-demand speaker and teacher for writer’s conferences across the country. She has been a regular keynoter for The Young Writer’s Institute and Virtuous Reality Ministries, and now anchors Zondervan’s Beauty of Believing Tour for FaithGirlz, which draws thousands of tween girls and their moms. Nancy is also the founder of the “Writing for Children and Youth Conference” in Glen Eyrie, Colorado. Her latest titles include The Reluctant Prophet for adult readers (David C. Cook) Limos, Lattes, and My Life On the Fringe (Zondervan) for teens, and That Is SO Me (Zondervan), a year-long devotional for tweens. A student of the Academy for Spiritual Formation, sponsored by the Upper Room, Nancy continues her own spiritual journey even as she writes and speaks for mothers, daughters, and would-be writers about theirs.

For more information, visit her website at
And her blog at


  1. Thank you for visiting, Nancy. Love this encouragement. So true. :)

  2. Nancy,

    Thank you for your generous and gracious spirit at the Writer's Conference at Glen Eyrie this week. I have been inspired to honor the gift God has given me to want to write and look forward to writing as He has asked me to with the grace that you, Angie and Bill have shown all of us in the last three days.

    May the words continue to flow from your pen with joy!



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