Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Best Advice I Ever Received by Kelly Goshorn

Encouraging other writers is something dear to my heart. I would never have finished A Love Restored if it wasn’t for the encouragement that came my way just when I needed it. An email from a friend who liked my characters or a comment in a critique that my dialogue made them chuckle. Whew! There’s nothing worse than trying to be funny only to find out you’re falling short of the mark!

But one particular piece of advice, changed everything.

I’d been writing seriously for about two years in April 2014 when I sat at my computer looking at the all the comments in red I’d received from a contest entry—"deepen the POV here, more detailed description there, and you used the word ‘gaze’ seven times in this scene.” While I knew the judge’s comments were intended to help me improve, I felt overwhelmed and way out of my league.

I closed the laptop and shook a mental fist at God. “Why did you call me to such a ridiculously unattainable task?” The names of my favorite authors flooded my mind—Tamera Alexander, Karen Witemeyer and Julie Lessman. I failed miserably in comparison.

Discouraged, I slumped over my computer and sobbed. “I can’t write like them, Lord. Why are you asking me do this?” As the tears streamed from my face, another voice spoke to my heart.

That’s right, you can’t write like them.

Wait. What? That wasn’t exactly the encouragement I was hoping for, God. Maybe a “keep at it, you’ll get there” or something. Then He spoke again. This time zinging my heart like only He can do with His timeless truth.

I don’t want you to write like them. I want you to write like you.

Reality struck. The only one expecting me to write like someone else, was me. A great burden lifted from my shoulders. My God who placed this desire in my heart didn’t want me to be anyone else but who he created me to be. I began praying for his inspiration as I wrote each day and while there were still many ups and downs along my road to publication, I no longer lived in the shadow of wanting to be like someone else.

A friend sent me this quote which I printed and pinned to the messy bulletin board that hangs above my writing desk.

Comparison is the thief of joy.
~Theodore Roosevelt

I do believe God has given me a gift for weaving words, but where that talent will take me is likely to be quite different from where it will take Julie Lessman. And that’s fine with me. After all, any talent He may bestow on us as writers, even in the tiniest measure, isn’t granted to make us feel good about ourselves or even for others to read an entertaining, well-written story.

The purpose of His gifts is always to glorify the Giver.


What is the best writing advice you have ever received? Do you have trouble with the comparison game?


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Kelly Goshorn weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth century America. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Kelly has been enjoying her own happily-ever-after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for 28 years. Together they have raised three children, four cats, two dogs, a turtle, a guinea pig, a gecko, and countless hamsters. Thankfully, not all at the same time. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi. Her debut novel, A Love Restored, releases June 29th from Pelican Book Group.


You can connect with Kelly on:

Her website: http://kellygoshorn.com/
 



Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kellyjgoshorn/

16 comments:

  1. Good morning, Kelly. Love this timely and uplifting post. I agree with Mr. Roosevelt, comparison is a thief of joy. We all have different gifts and there is room in this world for each one. Happy writing!

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    1. Thank you, Gail. I do love that quote. Applies to so many areas. It has become my mantra!

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  2. The best writing advice I have ever received is to "keep writing". :-)

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    1. That is definitely good advice, Melissa! Some days it can be a real slugfest to get words on the page and other times they just flow effortlessly. But either way, if we are called to write, then sitting in the chair and writing is an act of obedience, even worship.

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  3. I've been thinking about comparison lately, too. One of my writing friends wrote me some encouragement that sticks with me: Becky Wade writes like Becky Wade and I write like Emily Conrad. I enjoy Becky Wade's writing--and many others besides--but we've all been given a unique voice. Thanks for this reminder today!

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    1. She's absolutely right, Emily. But it is a challenge, isn't it. Like a battle we continually fight. Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. I enjoyed your post, Kelly. Many years ago after another rejection, I asked God to remove my desire to write. He did for six months. Other than that God has always encouraged me.
    I've read two Karen Witemeyer books and especially enjoyed them. I've read the other two authors you mentioned too and enjoyed them. I can't wait to read A Love Restored.

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    1. Hi Zoe! Thanks for your kinds words about A Love Restored. I asked God the same thing once, to remove the desire to write. "It's just too hard I'd told him." But I quickly realized how this journey has brought me to my knees over and over again drawing me ever closer to the author of all stories. I repented quickly and have never thought about asking for that again!

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  5. Thanks so much for your post, Kelly. Boy, it's human nature to compare ourselves to others, isn't it? I strive to avoid it, and what sometimes helps me is embracing the positive feedback I get from readers instead of focusing on the success of other writers.

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    1. Hi Dawn! That's great advice as well. Focusing on the positive and being grateful is the way to keep our hearts focused on what's important--glorifying God with any talent he grants us.

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  6. Oh, I'd love to write like Tamera Alexander! But I was reading Exodus 35 this morning, about the tabernacle and God appointing Bezalel as the chief craftsman. I wondered how some of the other Israelites felt about that honor, and the relationship to writing occurred to me as I read. We won't all be a Bezalel or a Moses or (name your favorite bestselling author). Our job isn't to moan over whether our talents are as keen as someone else's, but to do what God has laid out for us. It's something I have to remind myself of over and over again.

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    1. That's a perfect example, Sandra. I'm sure many were jealous of his exalted place as Chief Craftsman but keeping our eyes on the tasks God has given us to accomplish is where our peace and joy will come from.

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  7. What an encouraging post, Kelly. God makes us all unique. He only requires we be ourselves, and write like ourselves.

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  8. Thanks Barbara. That is so true. I wish I'd learned that much earlier in life.

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  9. Thank you for sharing this. It’s advice advice we can all take with us through all aspects of life. We are all created differently with our own quirks, talents, and gifts. How much do we cheat ourselves and loved ones when we try to be something other than what we are created for?

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  10. Thank you for commenting. It's easy to focus on our shortcomings and not our strengths. Easy to forget that in our weakness He is made strong.

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