Today I’m joined by indie author and music lover, Anne Carol. Anne shares her intense love of writing and how God, through difficult circumstances, brought her to a crossroads of faith in her writing and spiritual life.
So, without further yakking on my part 😉 I’ll hand this post over to Anne. ~ KyLee
Confession: this is the first blog post I’ve written for another author – thank you, KyLee! I am beyond thrilled to be here and to have this opportunity to share my writing journey with you.
When KyLee said she was doing a blog series to encourage authors, I immediately became interested. What a great idea! We all need encouragement from time to time: aspiring authors, “newbies”, and seasoned authors alike can be inspired. Like most authors, I’ve made many mistakes along the way, and by sharing my story, it is my hope and prayer that you can learn something from my experiences and discoveries.
I’ve been writing fiction since childhood. In 2011, after devouring the infamous “Twilight” series, the writer in me resurfaced, and I decided to publish a story that had occupied my imagination for twenty-seven years. (Yes, that long!) Since the story evolved in my mind over those years, by 2011 I had enough material to make it a four book series, not unlike “Twilight”. The first book was self-published in 2014, and the second book a year later in November of 2015. I’m currently in the editing stages of the third book.
Wait…its 2018, and that third book hasn’t been published yet? According to my “one book a year” standard, I should’ve published the entire series by now. What happened? Let me explain—
As a Christian, what is the first thing you do (or should do) when making a major decision or embarking on a big project? Pray for God’s direction, right? I know that now, but before a few years ago, it wasn’t foremost in my mind, despite my background of attending church regularly, having an education in Christian schools, and traveling to Ghana for a short term mission trip. My life was the perfect representation of the Christian faith, but to look at my book shelves or Kindle, you would have thought otherwise.
For some reason, I separated my entertainment choices from my faith. I voraciously read mainstream romance novels without blinking an eye—one after another. They were my escape from the daily grind of life. So naturally, when I began writing my series, I included steamy scenes in my books, even though my main character, for the most part, kept strict morals. Without giving away anything, let’s just say she “waited”—that was one standard I wasn’t willing to compromise on for this story. However, that didn’t mean the bedroom door remained closed in my second book.
The rationalization that the characters were married, (so it was “okay”), kept me content until a few months after the book released, when God brought me to an awareness. Did He hit me over the head? Not really, but close. A week before the book was set to release, my husband and I were involved in an automobile accident in which the airbag inflated and bruised my cheek. I also required physical therapy for a month, but my physical injuries were minor compared with the emotional trauma that followed. Unfortunately, a woman in another vehicle that had been hit passed away. Even though we didn’t know her personally, my world was shaken.
In the midst of depression and anxiety, I turned to reading Christian fiction and fell in love with it. Once again the ache in my soul began, only for a different reason. At the time, I was beginning to write my third book, but I found myself struggling more than I ever had before. The words wouldn’t come. By summer, I’d managed to write a few chapters, but I couldn’t deny the ugly truth: I was suffering a mental block.
In the fall of that year, after “cranking out” another chapter or two, I joined a local Bible Study Fellowship group, as well as a number of Christian author Facebook groups. More than anything, I wanted to surround myself with people who lived out their faith. Gradually my heart began to change, and I realized I could no longer continue writing the same material as before, which meant it was necessary to go back and revise my first two books, since this was a series.
Needless to say, I was discouraged, and part of me wanted to give up.
But I couldn’t. This story was in my blood, and it had to be told; just in a “cleaner” fashion. So here I am, in early 2018, in the process of revising my first two books. My third book took almost two years to write, because I had to go back and revise/rewrite certain parts that had already been written. Furthermore, I had to learn how to write in a new and different way.
Why am I telling you this story? A few reasons—
First, in order to avoid the very long, complicated process I’ve endured, make sure when you write, you remain true to who you are. Don’t compromise your faith because you think your books will have more success. Write WITH God; He’s your co-writer. You can be sure He will not steer you off course. Pray for direction and for your writing to be God-pleasing, not people-pleasing. Write for an audience of One.
Secondly, if you do mess up, don’t get discouraged. God will take your mistakes and use them for His good. I’ve adopted Romans 8:28 as my theme verse: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Do I wish I could go back and do things differently? Of course! But am I going to obsess about it? No. I’ve learned a great deal from this experience and my faith has grown stronger in the process.
Whatever challenges you encounter in your writing journey, above all else, let God be your guide.
About Anne Carol
Anne Carol grew up reading, writing, and listening to English rock bands, obsessing over one in particular. Continuing her fascination with musicians, she married a bass player, with whom she has two sons, both blessed with the music gene. Besides reading, writing, and music, Anne also loves traveling, visiting with friends, watching Netflix, and daydreaming on Pinterest. A native of Northern California, she occasionally indulges in good red wine and a square of dark chocolate.
Other authors who shared thier writing journey: