Friday, August 23, 2013

The Courage to Shout by Billy Coffey

Billy Coffey
I’m so pleased to have author Billy Coffey with us today. He expresses what so many writers feel, yet don’t often confess. Soak in his words and be inspired. 
~ Dawn

The Courage to Shout
by Billy Coffey

Every writer begins the same way. That’s my theory. We are all unique in where we’ve come from and what we do, how we live and what we believe. Our stories are as different as ourselves. And yet the reason I began writing my stories is very likely the reason you began writing yours—there is a mysterious Something in us that demands to be unloosed, and we have chosen to shout it.

That is where it begins. With that one pure desire.

That is what drives us to lay ourselves bare upon the page. To confess our deepest fears and hurts. Most of all, that Something is what allows us to endure an endless stream of rejections that crush us far more than our thickening skin lets on. And yet we keep writing and shouting and submitting. We must, because deep down we understand that an editor’s or agent’s No may wound us, but keeping our stories hidden in silence will kill us.

Then, finally, that breakthrough. We find an agent or that publisher. We sign a contract. And let me tell you this, friend, there is no finer moment. It is everything you’ve dreamed it would be and every wish you’ve always made, and it’s all due to this one undeniable fact—someone has found that Something in us worthy.

It’s a long road from the beginning to that place. A longer road waits after.

There is something about having that contract in hand that tempts us to want more. It’s human nature, really. Most of us couldn’t be accused of wanting much in life, we just long for a little more than what we have. Getting published is no different. Suddenly everything grows bright and clear and we understand that merely shouting our stories isn’t enough. What matters is that those stories are heard.

I can’t say how many writers have fallen into that trap. Most do. I did. It’s a nefarious little snare because it seems so right on the surface. Of course we want our stories heard. Who wouldn’t? But the problem is there are hundreds of thousands of other writers out there as well, and each of them want that very same thing. The clamor of all we did to get that book on the shelf or that e-book on the page pales to the clamor of guiding readers to it. That isn’t nice to hear. I know, because it isn’t nice to say. But it’s true.

Yes, that road is long. More often than not, we wonder if there is ever an end.

I can’t answer if there is. Many times, I think there isn’t. Most times, I hope I’m right.

But even if I can’t speak to an end, I can ask that you remember the beginning. Hold fast to that mysterious Something. Don’t let it go silent. There are a great many things that matter in this life. The accolades of being heard aren’t among them. The courage to shout is.


An editor’s "no" may wound us, but keeping our stories hidden in silence will kill us. Click to tweet.

Merely shouting our stories isn’t enough. What matters is that those stories are heard. Click to tweet.

Author Billy Coffey encourages writers to hold on to that mysterious “something.” Click to tweet.

Leah is a child from away, isolated from her peers because of her stutter. But then she begins painting scenes that are epic in scope, brilliant in detail, and suffused with rich, prophetic imagery. When the event foreshadowed in the first painting dramatically comes true, the town of Mattingly takes notice.

Leah attributes her ability to foretell the future to an invisible friend she calls the Rainbow Man. Some of the townsfolk are enchanted with her. Others fear her. But there is one thing they all agree on—there is no such thing as the Rainbow Man.

Her father, the town psychologist, is falling apart over his inability to heal his daughter or fix his marriage. And the town minister is unraveled by the notion a mere child with no formal training may be hearing from God more clearly than he does.

While the town bickers over what to do with this strange child, the content of Leah’s paintings grows darker. Still, Leah insists that the Rainbow Man’s heart is pure. But then a dramatic and tragic turn of events leaves the town reeling and places everyone’s lives in danger. Now the people of Mattingly face a single choice:

Will they cling to what they know . . . or embrace the things Leah believes in that cannot be seen?

Billy Coffey’s novels tackle faith’s big questions against the backdrop of the rural South, where history is long and things are seldom as they seem. His latest, When Mockingbirds Sing, is in stores everywhere. He lives with his wife and two children in Virginia.

To learn more about Billy and his writing, please visit