Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Writing Is Not a Solo Trip by Marie Wells Coutu

Marie Wells Coutu
Angie, here: Last week, I had the real pleasure to room with my friend, Marie Wells Coutu, while at the 2016 American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference. So today, when we had a bit of a schedule mix-up with today's post, she agreed to write this wonderful piece for you. I know you'll like it.

The writing journey is not a solo trip.

That’s one of the key takeaways that I got from the past week at the annual ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference.

Even more than in past years, it seemed, the winners of the Genesis and Carol Awards thanked their families, mentors, and critique partners as well as their agents, editors, and—of course—God.

And, one after another, they encouraged unpublished and non-winning authors to persevere in our writing. As Ted Dekker said, Christian fiction is “story in which you ultimately bring the light of Christ into the darkness.”

The awards program reinforced the feeling of the entire conference that we (meaning all Christian writers) are family. Rather than competing with each other, we support one another and lift each other up. As each of us studies to learn the craft of writing and as we help others to grow in their craft, we raise the overall level of excellence in Christian fiction. And that makes our books more attractive to those who need light in their dark world.

But not only are we on this journey with other writers, but we are traveling with Jesus.

In one of the conference breakout sessions, Allen Arnold (former fiction publisher at Thomas Nelson who is now with Ransomed Heart Ministries) taught that we not only write for God, but we should be writing with God. When we have the Creator of the universe as our writing partner, we can find freedom in our writing. We relinquish “the illusion of control” and find peace, hope and joy that will permeate our stories.
In accepting the Carol Award for Historical Romance, Karen Witemeyer quoted Psalm 115:1: 

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! 
She reminded us that “all you do is for God’s glory.”

While we often need solitude to write our stories, we should not—indeed, cannot—succeed independently. By joining with God and with others in the industry who are passionate about Christian fiction, we can shine His light into dark hearts.
We can encourage others who travel with us on this path, as well as those who will come behind us. And God will get all the glory.

About the Author
The Secret Heart
by Marie Wells Coutu

Marie Wells Coutu’s newest novel, The Secret Heart, will be released in late August from Write Integrity Press. Follow Marie on Amazon.com to be notified when it becomes available. The Secret Heart is the third book in the Mended Vessels series. Books in the series are contemporary re-imaginings of the stories of biblical women, including Esther and the woman at the well.

Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest. Thirsting for More, the second book in the series was a finalist in the 2016 Selah Awards Contest. You can find more about Marie and her novels on her Facebook page (Author Marie Wells Coutu), at her website (MarieWellsCoutu.com), or follow her on Twitter (@mwcoutu).

Marie retired after 15 years with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and she and her husband now divide their time between Florida and Iowa.

The Secret Heart

Beautiful Shawna Moore married Hunter Wilson, the governor of Tennessee, after a whirlwind romance, only six weeks following her first husband’s death in Iraq. Now, she wonders if the governor loved her at all or only hoped to avoid a scandal.

An investigative reporter—and friend of Shawna’s—is asking questions. If he discovers the truth about Shawna’s baby, Hunter’s chances for reelection could be ruined. But keeping the secret is destroying their marriage. Will Shawna convince Hunter to choose his family and drop out of politics, or will he continue to put his career first?

The Secret Heart will be released in late August from Write Integrity Press.