Tuesday, June 17, 2014

God is Not My Audience

Phenomenal cosmic power...
itty bitty audience?
Being involved in Christian writers circles, I've heard over and over, "Write for an audience of One." It can come in variations, but that's the gist. Write what you believe God wants you to write and don't worry if no one else ever sees it. You're doing it for Him, not them.

I could never understand what bothered me so much about the saying. Maybe it was because it seems as though you are writing for God's entertainment. Like, some cosmic bedtime story just for Him--as if He's bored with taking care of the universe and trying to bring His children home, and needs you making up imaginary people that go around having conversions for His escapism. (Does God need to be presented with the Gospel?) Or it's simply obedience--Write what He says to write, and don't worry about it ever getting published or seeing the eyes of other readers. It's just an exercise in you Doing What You're Told. Cosmic busywork.

Yeah, I know, those comments probably ruffle some feathers. It can be argued that writing a story "for" God is like singing to him in worship (of course you may want to read my post here about that before continuing). And obedience is something the Bible commands. We don't always know why we're told to do something. Dip in the river seven times? Walk around the walls blowing horns? Ludicrous. But God sees the big picture. And working on your manuscript may be something in and of itself--a way for God to refine you, to make you think, to give you patience, etc. The end result is not necessarily what you think it will be.

But none of those things makes God my audience. I'm not a performer putting on a show for Him--I'm a person forging a relationship with Him. I'm not trying to wow him with my cleverness, or get Him to gasp over the twist ending I came up with. What I am trying to do is open my heart and soul to Him, to express my awe, to ponder his Creation, to connect with Him.

But the question is--does that mean the end result is just between me and Him? Is the ultimate goal a private conversation, or one others are supposed to overhear, and maybe learn from, maybe discover a new connection with God of their own? And how much am I supposed to consider those readers when I'm writing?

How's this for timing--I started this blog post yesterday. Today, right before I dived back in, I read today's post on Speculative Faith: "Biblical Discernment: The Glory Rule." Basically, if you are supposed to glorify God in everything you do, how does that translate to what you write (and read)?

I think in many ways, this is the same issue I've addressed. What does it mean to glorify God in your writing, and how much of that is directed at an "audience"? My belief on this is that it's different for every person. That we each meet God in a different way, unique to our personalities and experiences--but the key is, again, we are meeting Him, not performing for Him. He is not my audience. He is the one with whom I'm connecting in order to write a story that is going to reach an audience.

When I write, though, am I thinking of them? Yes. But I'm not writing just to please them. I'm writing what comes out of my connection with God. I'm writing the result of opening up my heart and soul to Him, not what comes out of seeing God as an audience of One, and the rest of the world as incidental.

I do, in fact, believe God uses my writing for me--which is what inspired this post. My Sunday school teacher was talking about how preparing lessons for the class benefits him by making him get into the Bible more deeply. My writing does the same for me--it makes me step closer to God, makes me read the Bible more so I can find that connection I so need in order to write.

But I'm not writing specifically directed at me, or at God. I'm writing knowing that someday an outside audience is going to read my words, and see my story, and hopefully find that connection I've forged with God through the process. And I believe that God wants that. My readers are my audience, and the show I put on for them is a story based in a very real connection between me and God. God is a very real part of the story--He is not my audience.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Realm Makers 2014 - Riding the Conference High

I probably should be using the time I have this morning to work on an actual writing project. But I figure I better get this post out while I'm still on "conference high." Yes, I think that is a real thing, and yes, I think it is a good thing, too. If you can take that high and transfer it into motivation before letting yourself crash.

So, let me start where I left off last time. I said I was going to wear my Captain America shirt the first day, and I was true to my word:

The Avengers got nothin' on us, baby!
There is nothing like being greeted by amazing friends, both new and old.

Especially at a venue that looks like this:

We started off with a critique party on Thursday night. Then moved into an amazing opening Keynote speech by Tosca Lee. (Whom I took about five picture with, but none of them came out. I. Could. Just. Cry.)

There were sessions on topics like magic, horror, world-building, the psychology of war, villains, and Steampunk....

Oh, and some stuff about writing, too ;).

But speaking of Steampunk...the costume party was nearly taken over with this genre!

Not that there weren't plenty of other genres represented:


Science fiction!

OK, I know, I know...hardly a word in this post. But you know what they say about pictures...

Which, btw, if you're interested in seeing some more, you can check out my Realm Makers 2014 photo album on Facebook.

And if you are at all interested in joining us next year, follow Realm Makers on Facebook, and/or the Faith & Fantasy Alliance blog. There will, absolutely, positively be another Realm Makers conference next year! Now...time to figure out my costume...