Thursday, August 1, 2019

Be a Writer Who Dares to Write with Honesty by Beth K. Vogt

“Writing has made me more honest.”

My statement surprised me, even as it rang true.

I was out on an impromptu date with my husband, Rob. The conversation had turned to my writing life – the ups, the downs, and the constant choice to trust God with this hard work of living my dream.

And somewhere, in the midst of it all, came this moment of clarity of how choosing to be a novelist has demanded that I live an honest life.

We writers talk about learning our craft. We attend conferences and take workshops on dialogue and setting and characterization. We study the rules so we can break ‘em. We search for our voice until we recognize the sound of it in every word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter.

All of this makes us better writers. Possibly even award-winning writers. (Awards are fun, y’all!)

But what gets me every time is when another writer dared to put from-her-heart-honest words on the page. That kind of writing makes me stop and think, “I want to write like that.”

Sometimes what I’m reading is as simple as a Facebook post. Or an Instagram post. But it’s not a social media post masquerading as Mary Poppins, where a person’s life – past, present, future – is practically perfect in every way.

And then there are the times I read a nonfiction book, and the writer dared to be candid about their struggles. Or I read a novel, and the author’s imaginary characters are living real life on the page. I’ve struggled with that pain, cried those tears, regretted those choices.

And then … then I chose to write like that. I decided I write honest.

Yes, it would be easier to hide behind my words. But story is an opportunity to connect with our readers. And if we’re going to connect, why not risk enough to connect in a genuine way?

Is it scary to write honest? Yes. There have been times I’ve written a scene that’s a direct reflection of my heart – pulled from my life – and I’ve second guessed myself. Wondered if it’s too honest. Too much. Times when I’ve pushed away from the computer to cry. To pray. And come back to write.

But it’s a choice of either living out loud as a writer … or whispering. And the writing life should never, ever be about whispering.

What choice are you making with your words?

Amazon Buy Link
Moments We Forget (Thatcher Series)

Jillian Thatcher has spent most of her life playing the family peacemaker, caught in the middle between her driven, talented older sister and her younger, spotlight-stealing twin sisters. Then on the night of her engagement party, a cancer diagnosis threatens to once again steal her chance to shine.

Now, Jillian’s on the road to recovery after finally finishing chemo and radiation, but residual effects of the treatment keep her from reclaiming her life as she’d hoped. And just when her dreams might be falling into place, a life-altering revelation from her husband sends her reeling again.

Will Jillian ever achieve her own dreams, or will she always be “just Jillian,” the less-than Thatcher sister? Can she count on her sisters as she tries to step into a stronger place, or are they stuck in their childhood roles forever?

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored nine contemporary romance novels and novellas, Beth’s first women’s fiction novel with Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, released May 2018. Moments We Forget, book two in the Thatcher Sisters Series, releases May 2019. Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. Visit Beth at www.bethvogt.com

10 comments:

  1. This is why I admire Beth as a writer and a person. She allows us to see her and the characters that we connect with. I’m so glad you invited her to SeriouslyWrite and she accepted.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great message. Thank you so much. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, Beth! Good to see you on the Seriously Write blog. First let me tell you how much I'm enjoying the Thatcher sisters' stories. Relationships between siblings can be so complex.

    Thank you for your advice about being honest for our readers. In my WIP, the main character suffers from the emotional and physical effects of having served as a caregiver. I'm considering revising this part because I'm afraid she is unlikeable because of her internal complains. However, I know some of the realities. You have given me something to think about if I'm to write honestly. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sherida: I think your topic is a good one because caregivers can go unnoticed. Do you follow Sarah Forgrave on Facebook or Instagram? She wrote the book Prayers for Caregivers and has a heart to encourage caregivers. I would definitely connect with her and her ministry.

      Delete
  4. So hard to be authentic to the point where a reader could ask, "I wonder if the author is speaking from experience?" Because maybe I am and now they'll find me out :) Thanks for the challenge to expose hidden places for the sake of great and richer story. Always a pleasure to have you here at SW!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Mary: I've had to choose to say, "Yes, I speak from experience" and to also realize that I share one side of my story and respect the "other" side -- and the others involved in the story. Thank you for letting me be part of Seriously Write.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Such a great post, Beth...wise words, as usual from you. 8-) It's hard to be completely honest on the page but that's what makes fiction "True."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marie: I love how you phrased it: An author's honesty is what makes fiction true.

      Delete

We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave comments. We'll moderate and post them!