f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Desperate for Approval

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Desperate for Approval

I sometimes get the feeling that writers spend more time and energy worrying about the people who DON’T like their books, than those who do.

Genre writers get in a tizzy because those “bastard-people” critics dismiss their writing. Literary writers mount their high-horse about how the unwashed masses simply don’t appreciate great writing. Everybody thinks that that if the other side would just TAKE THE TIME to READ THE BOOK rather than IGNORING IT OUT OF HAND, they’d enjoy it.

We are human. Since Day 1 we’ve longed for that which we can’t have. We covet. We think the grass is greener with a Pulitzer on the shelf. Or yearn for a NYTimes list when we have enough critical adulation to wallpaper a Cape Cod.

And us Christian writers…we just want to be treated like “normal” writers.

Some would turn this into a diatribe against the danger of seeking the world’s approval. Is it the approval that we’re seeking though or merely the “chance” to be judged according to our own merits, come what may? Are those the same thing? Is the mere fact that Christian books are lumped together further proof that Jesus is a stumbling block, a foul smell to those who don’t know him? Or is it proof that—collectively—we’re not such good writers and deserve each others’ company?

The biggest question is what do we get if, for whatever reason, ABA decides to treat CBA like any other book? Because that’s our “dream” isn’t it?

In the end, I don’t know the answers to any of those questions. Or I guess I know my answers but I don’t know if they are yours.

All I know is that I think we are called to a few things. I think we’re called to be excellent writers, honoring God in using our craft to His glory. I think we’re called to be honest writers, favoring Truth in its myriad of forms. I think we’re called to be humble writers, reflecting praise back to the One who gave it.

Whether that gets us a place on the front table or a place in the back corner, I think it’s fulfilling our part of the equation.