“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” –Thomas Mann
Considering my desire to go into the ministry of Christian literature, I thought it might not be such a terrible idea to do a little bit o’ research on Christian literature. I looked up the top ten Christian magazines and was pleasantly surprised to see that there are way more than ten. I browsed through some of them and zeroed in on one called Relevant magazine.
Relevant was founded in 2002 and started as an idea in a college dorm room. Targeting an audience of twenty- and thirty-somethings, this magazine is all about showing how God is relevant to every area of our lives. The magazine is available in print but there is also an e-mag (a separate online issue) at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/. From politics to Priscilla Shirer, this magazine is like the New York Times in the world of Christian literature.
After scrolling through their website, learning about their story and their origin, and reading some of their articles, I noticed a little tab at the bottom of the page that said “write for us.” My curiosity was sparked and I clicked on the blue words. Reading through their query guidelines and the explanations of their categories, I sat back in my chair and did a face palm.
“I’m a novelist…I can’t write a magazine article!” I said aloud. I glanced at the political news articles on the sides, the “how to” bits on the queue, and the book advertisements scrolling across the top of the page. I was too candid, outspoken, immature, and opinionated to even think about how to write a magazine article.
But then last night, I wrote out a query and summarized a web article pitch and emailed it to the address given. This morning when I woke up, I was faced with the terrible fact that I still didn’t know how to write a magazine article. I spent the majority of the day doing homework and mumbling about how much I hate writing and how I can’t stand the fact that I have to love writing so much. I was just being a five-year-old about the whole thing. I even got to the point where I was whining to God.
“God, why did I submit that web article pitch? I don’t have the skill or the experience to back up my own query. I’m such a doofus. This is so dumb. I’m not a magazine person; I’m a novelist. This is so stupid. I want cake.”
I’m pretty sure He was just shaking His head….or laughing….or doing a funky eyebrow thing that gave the look of “really Hunter….really?” Yeah, really.
When I had finished my assigned reading (I love the fact that I get to read novels for homework. It’s a legitimate excuse to curl up in my bed and read tons of books and do nothing else except blow my nose and drink Early Grey loaded with four packets of sugar), I sat in my desk chair and looked at the pages of notebook paper I had put on my desk.
“God….please help me write.”
I picked up my pen, wrote a few lines, then crumpled up the piece of paper and threw in the wastebasket. I picked up my pen again, wrote a few lines, crumpled up the paper. This process recurred about four or five times before I finally got on a roll. Once you get past writer’s block, everything normally just spills out, like a dam being broken open. I filled about two and half pages front to back before I stopped and took a break. This weekend is family weekend at Pratt, so all of everyone’s parents are up and visiting their little darlings. My family was going to come up, but some things happened and it just didn’t work out. Besides, I was privileged to see them last weekend, and that’s enough for me.
I went into Karly’s dorm, having met her mother last night. They were just chilling, so I inserted myself into their presence and spent a good hour or two talking with them. It was refreshing to be around a mother and daughter, and I was reminded about how much I miss and love my mom. My mom is awesome because she’s not my best friend. Best friends are great, but sometimes I just need my mom, not my best friend. I can talk to my mom about anything, and in times of spiritual weakness, I can lean on her and trust her counsel. I want to be like her as a mom if I ever get married and have kids. When you watch mothers and daughters interact with one another, it’s easy to see likeness in character and without asking you can deduct the conditions (or lack there of) that make up their relationship. Karly and her mom are so much alike. They look alike, they talk alike, they nod and laugh the same way. But their personalities are different in one or two ways. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I am sure that there are differences between them 🙂
My sickness has grown a little worse in the past two days and Karly and her mom convinced me to take more medicine. Considering I was being told by a mom to take medicine, I decided to put aside my medical stubbornness a second time.
After saying good night to them, I returned to my dorm and began writing once again.
I’m not sure if Relevant will even look at my query, or if they’ll want to run my pitch, but I want to be prepared if they do. I don’t know why I decided to send them the pitch, but I did, and now I have to follow through on it. I gave myself a deadline of a week, and the quote, “I love deadlines; I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by,” by Douglas Adams keeps running through my head and making me chuckle.
For my writer’s studio class I’ve been working on a spiritual allegory. This allegory has the same tension and drama exhibited in Frank Peretti and Ted Decker’s novel House, though obviously not as skillfully and professionally written. The only problem is that I have to do justice to this storyline within 4,000 words…I now know why I’m a novelist and not a short fiction writer. Oh well, I just hope that my classmates get it, or at least pick up on it, if I decide to use it as my short fiction piece. Also, even though I’m experiencing literary growing pains, I appreciate the opportunity to write in different genres. I guess that’s the point of going to college, right? 😀
Tomorrow I get to go to church and see my wonderful church family 😀 Hopefully there will be no subway problems, but if there are, I know God will get me there anyway 🙂
“Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God, the Creator of all light, and he shines forever without change or shadow.”
James 1:17 (TLB)