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?


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.

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