Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Let's Remember: Readers Might Actually Be...Reading by Mary A. Felkins

Our motive for writing is simply this: we want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! 
I John 1:4 (The Message)

A few months ago, I received an email from one of my website subscribers who, struggling under the weight of the pandemic, wrote:

I’m a staffer for the US House of Representatives. We’re all working ourselves crazy through all of this. Your writing sure helps to stay focused. Thank you so much, Mary!

At that, I literally sat upright, eyes widened at the screen.

People really are reading my stuff.

Well, she was.

She’s a reader. My audience, one of many to whom and for whom I write.

Had I forgotten? Meaning, had I become programmed to write each day, making more of task completion than giving consideration to two important things…

1) Someone might actually read this.
2) They have needs God wants to use my writing to meet.

Did I put far more thought into the polished and formatted final product than in the soul who’d connect with the words I’d so meticulously strung together to make (I hope) grammatically excellent sentences? The weary soul who aches for encouragement, a reason to laugh, the inspiration offered in a breathlessly romantic happily ever after?

Had I neglected to remember my writing could literally be used by God to…transform?

In the push to grow our email list, add to the number of followers and subscribers, to give the appearance on social media of a writer worth following who offers content worth reading, how easy it is to forget the person behind those numbers.

This one lone reader reminded me of all of them.

In the effort to get the work done, I’d meandered toward dangerous ground along my writing journey and assumed no one was reading when, in fact, they are. Humans created in the image of God, loved and cherished by him. Living, breathing souls in all walks of life, from various backgrounds and unique perspectives who think and reason and laugh and weep and consider and who consume words I've published.

Dear writers, before we set to task each day let’s remember a couple things:

1) Consider the audience. It’s not a far stretch for a fiction writer to “talk” to imaginary people, so why not give serious thought to the real people who'll read our books, devotionals or articles on writing craft?

2) Consider the content. Ask the Lord for guidance here. What might our readers need? For me, how can I seek to inspire and encourage that staffer for the US House of Representatives? In fiction, we take our characters on a difficult journey from the lie they believe to the truth that’ll set them free. Before, during and after we write, let’s pray for our readers, that God will lead them to discover freedom from their own lie.

I love the passion in John’s letter. He had full awareness of the reader and was eager that they share in his joy.

Our motive for writing is simply this: we want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! I John 1:4 (The Message)

He hadn’t forgotten his audience nor the value of his message. He wrote what their hearts needed to hear. It served the purpose of bringing joy to him and fellow believers.

Just because we don’t hear back from every single follower (a little bit busy anyone?), see the smile on their face, witness eager page turning, or learn how they were encouraged or changed by our writing doesn’t mean they aren’t benefitting from our stuff.

To you, dear reader, please know I have prayed for you, thanked God for you, and asked that you remain steadfast during these trying times.

Just because we don’t hear back from every single follower, (a little bit busy anyone?) doesn’t mean they aren’t benefitting from our stuff.@MaryAFelkins #amwriting #SeriouslyWrite #reader

In the effort to get the work done, I’d meandered toward dangerous ground at some point along the writing journey and assumed no one was reading when, in fact, they are. @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #SeriouslyWrite #reader

Mary A. Felkins is an inspirational romance author, administrator for Seriously Write writer's blog, and contributor to Refresh, an on-line Bible study magazine. In 2015, she was awarded a bronze medal winner for her scene submission to My Book Therapy's Frazier contest. Her debut Call to Love (Pelican Book Group) is set in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy.

Raised in Houston, Texas (and forever a Lone Star girl), Mary and her husband Bruce moved to Hickory, North Carolina in 1997. They have four children whose trips and stumbles into various stages of adulting makes for great writing material. She can be lured from her writer's cave if presented with a large, unopened bag of Peanut M&Ms or to watch an episode of Fixer Upper. A surprise appearance by her teen idol, Donny Osmond, would also do the trick, although she’d likely pass out.

If, upon introduction, she likes your first or last name, expect to see it show up in one of her novels.

To receive Mary’s weekly story-style devotions via email, along with quarterly book news offering book-related giveaways, subscribe at www.maryfelkins.com

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