Education with James Scott Bell

Thursday morning former lawyer and author James Scott Bell talked about whether we are writing for ourselves or for God. Below are some of the comments I enjoyed or by which I was touched.

Natural gifts and talents are not enough in God’s work. He gave us those gifts and talents but we are required to hone and use them. Writing is a partnership with God. It has three main parts.

  1. Be dedicated to God. Do this in a ritualistic sense. Make it an outward renewing of our covenant with God. At least once a year take a day alone with God to develop your mission statement.

  2. Honor your craft. Keep learning all you can about writing. Do it every day. Attend conferences. Be in writing and critique groups.

  3. Deal with the writer’s sins. These include jealously, comparison, impatience, and bitterness and blame. Don’t fall into the trap of dealing comparing yourself to other writers. Perseverance is a key and impatience only leads to emotional pain and bad books.

Remember: Rejection is not personal unless it is accompanied by a punch in the nose.

One example of the need to keep trying and not taking rejection personal comes from the book Rotten Rejections and was sent to Tony Hillerman, author of the Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn novels. These are mysteries set on the Navaho reservation in the Four Corners area of the United States. He has dozens of published books, some of which have been made into movies. The rejection he received after submitting his first novel to a publisher said “if you insist on rewriting this, leave out all the Indian stuff.”

James Scott Bell closed with this thought. God will take your words and match them with the heart that needs to hear them. That may be one person, or ten people, or a million.