Friday, September 23, 2016

Keep Writing…and Get Better Along the Way by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson

I’m reading Robert Benson’s book, Dancing on the Head of a Pen. It’s a thought-provoking, journal-of-sorts on the career of writing. Robert’s life experiences are woven into the fabric of this work, helping to bring to light some topics writers must tackle, whether they like it or not.

Although I’ve chuckled numerous times at Robert’s singular wit, one section, in particular, made me laugh out loud. Robert gets asked the question we all do from time to time: “So, how’s the job going?” But as you know, our friends and acquaintances don’t use those exact words like they would of their doctor friend or their school teacher buddy. Instead, we often get the question put to us this way: “So, are you still writing?”

Like Robert observes, no one asks the doctor if she is still seeing patients. No one asks the school teacher if he still goes to class every morning. No one asks the pastor if he still drops by the church on Sundays. Yet, when confronted with a writer, people feel compelled to ask, “Are you still writing?” In Robert’s words, it’s as if they just can’t believe someone would want to accomplish the feat of writing a book more than once.

Sometimes, we ask ourselves the same questions, don’t we? Do I have any more books in me? Good books? Books people would actually want to read? And enjoy?

For some, one book is all they have in them. Nothing wrong with that, per se. So long as they realize it. (I wish M. Night Shyamalan would have realized that when it came to his movies.) For others, life simply gets in the way. However, as Robert observes, for the true writer, writing is a much a calling and passion as the doctor who must operate, not to make money, but to save lives. Or the teacher who will not stop until her students understand with proficiency. Or the pastor who feels his mission is from On High.

If you ask any of those other professionals how they accomplish such feats, they will tell you two things: 1) They never stop. They keep “Keeping On” when the skies are blue and when the ominous clouds roil in the heavens. Those old wild horses are no match; and 2) They never cease to want to grow, learn, or improve at what they do. There’s an internal gas pedal always pressed firmly against the floorboard. Their minds are always working on the task, even if in the background while at dinner with a friend or spouse. Their passion will often find its way into conversations as they “test” thoughts and ideas on others in an attempt to fine tune for future use.Also, their noses are always in journals, books, and articles on their craft. Learning is just as important as doing. They know the former makes the latter better.

Do you write when nothing is selling? When there are no prospects on the horizon of a contract? Do you take the reviewers’ 2-star critique to heart and seek to determine where the weak sentence structure lies?And do you keep the 5-star reviews tucked away for encouragement but careful not to let them swell the ego?

As Robert Benson says, rewriting and rewriting sentences, organizing the words in the best possible positions, is an art. No artist with a chisel chipped away a statue in a day or two. No artist with a brush ever placed bristles to canvas, satisfied with the very first stroke of each color. Time, care, skill, and diligence—they all rest in the artist’s quiver, to be used with forethought, so something wondrous can emerge. Something with which the artist will never be truly satisfied because of the passion within.

(Oh, and Robert would be proud of this article, too. I kept it to approximately 600 words.)

A Clandestine Mission.
A Cryptic Message.
A Chaste Promise.

Blake Meyer dreamed of a peaceful end to a dutiful career with the FBI. Married now, his life was taking him in a new direction—a desk job. He would be an analyst. Ride it out until retirement. Be safe so he could enjoy his grandchildren some day.

But when a notable member of the IRA is murdered in a London flat, Blake’s secretive past propels him into the middle of a vindictive, international scheme so hellish and horrific, it will take everything Blake possesses—all of it—to save the United States from the most diabolical terrorist attack to date.

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister with a B.A. In Bible (Houghton College, Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies (Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS), and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (National-Louis University, Wheeling, IL). He presently works as an assistant principal in a middle school. He also has several years of experience as an administrator at the high school level.

A former Language Arts teacher, Kevin decided to put his money where his mouth was and write, fiction mostly. Now, years later, Kevin is a member of the Christian Authors Network (CAN), American Christian Fictions Writers (ACFW), and Word Weavers International. He is the Chapter President of Word Weavers-Lake County (FL), and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (Winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) is scheduled for reprint with Hallway Publishing, Spring 2017. Kevin’s second book, 30 Days Hath Revenge - A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, is also scheduled for reprint this fall, with Book 2 due out later in the year. Kevin also has had articles appear in The Wesleyan Advocate, The Preacher, Vista, The Des Moines Register and The Ocala Star-Banner.

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too.

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Twitter: @CKevinThompson
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson