Another piece I wrote in 2014 and I'd like to say that I've taken Allison's advice. I've come a long way but I definitely haven't acted like I have a deadline for any of my fiction pieces. Although a couple of years later, I set the goal of publishing a photo devotional every holiday season. And I have done so for five, going on six years. And although I may not treat every piece as if it's under contract, I do treat it as if it's a work I am co-creating with our Creator.
And a shout out to Allison who has probably published another dozen books since I wrote this.
A few weekends ago I attended the local ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) chapter meeting. Being the middle of summer, a small crowd was in attendance. Toward the end of the meeting, after discussing the few agenda items we needed to cover, our president, Allison Pittman, decided to revisit a comment made earlier in the meeting. A young writer had lamented about the curse of the blinking cursor and what to do when the page and the mind is blank (aka writer’s block). Our gracious president, always wanting to encourage, asked for input from the other attendees. We all took a few minutes to share some ideas of what we do when the idea-well seems dry and uninspired. Allison also shared her thoughts and she said something worth jotting down (which I did), repeating, and sharing (so I am.)
She said, “treat every piece as if it’s under contract.”
Sounds simple enough, right? But how often have we worked on something and eventually grown tired of it? Maybe the storyline became stale. Maybe the characters turned out boring. Or maybe we were just frustrated with how the whole thing wasn’t coming together. Whatever the reason, if we’re honest, we’ve had the moment when we wanted to chuck it all and start on something fresh. However, the author who is actually under contract for a piece of work does not have that option. He or she must perservere, must press on through the moment, and keep going until finished, because someone else has invested in it. So what about the uncontracted writer like me? Or even an author who is toying around with an idea currently not under contract? What about those pieces we are working on? After all, there’s no deadline. No one has invested in the story yet or expressed any interest in it. If the going gets rough, shouldn’t the piece be crumpled up and tossed into the circular file (or the more up-to-date version, the document moved to the trash folder)? Allison says no. She says, “treat every piece as if it’s under contract.” An uncontracted piece deserves the same respect as a contracted one. I like that. Maybe if I change the way I see my work in progress, I won’t be so quick to hit delete. The story, the life I have given it, the time I have invested, should not be something discarded so easily; it is something of value and deserves to be seen through to the end. It deserves to be finished. So from this day forth I choose to treat every piece I write as if it’s under contract. I will not give up on it but persevere through the moment and keep on going until it is finished. I will give it the respect it deserves. Thank you Allison. Please be sure to visit her site at: http://allisonkpittman.com