Blogger: Cynthia Ruchti
Fruit loops? Not the cereal. The cycle.
Whether or not you adhere to the premise that the Bible is practical for daily life–pick a subject, any subject–I personally see a strong correlation between what it teaches and a writer’s success and contentment. As I pondered which of a dozen topics we could tackle today, the looping pattern of healthy fruit came to mind.
Galatians 5:22 tells us that the Spirit of God produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Consider with me how those virtues show up in the life of a “fruit-“ful writer.
The Fruit of LOVE.
What would happen if writers spent as much time concerned about the love they show as they do perfecting those cherished first three chapters? What if those who write for the Christian market watched for more than grammar and punctuation problems, more than “Have I tied up all the loose ends?” and also asked themselves, “Have I clearly shown the love of God? Is it obvious I love and care about my readers? Even when tackling a controversial subject, will my work reflect God’s love for those both far from and near to Him?”
The Fruit of JOY.
Have you met a joyless writer? They don’t make great dinner guests. Or clients. Joylessness shows up on the pages they write, too.
The Fruit of PEACE.
Is your life as a writer producing an abundant crop of peace? Or are you strangled by worry and uncertainty, and passing that on through your writing? Does a delay from a publisher rattle you? Are you stirred by what happens in the publishing world or shaken by it?
I used to think waiting for a book to be published was a lot like pregnancy. Positive pregnancy test. Whoo hoo! We’re going to have a baby! But…not yet. We’ll hold that baby in our arms after about nine months, with a lot of discomfort between “Whoo hoo!” and “One last push!” But it’s an inferior analogy in many ways because few pregnancies are allowed to go longer than a couple of weeks beyond the due date. Not so with writing. Writers in waiting can sometimes beat out an elephant’s year-and-a-half gestation period. Writers have been known to carry a book idea inside them for decades. Or longer. When an interviewer asks my best advice for aspiring writers, I always say, “Attend the best conference you can afford.” Then I add, “Write as hard as you can. And wait as hard as you can. You’ll need both skills.” Contented writers grow bushels of patience fruit.
The Fruit of KINDNESS.
The Fruit of GOODNESS.
Since the Bible lists kindness and goodness as two separate but complementary entities, let’s assume goodness in this case applies to integrity, honesty, and “doing good,” fruit that distinguishes stories with value and meaning, books worth reading, books that do good, not just do well.
The Fruit of GENTLENESS.
This far into the list, it isn’t hard to imagine how fruit like this can make a difference both in the life of an author and in what he or she creates. The apostle Paul wasn’t inspired to write, “You know…love, joy, peace, etc.” He spelled it out. Included gentleness in the list by name. Books & Such Literary Management is blessed with authors and agents who harvest bushels of gentleness fruit. They’re gentle with one another, with editors and publishers, and with readers. Strong, savvy, and gentle. Can you envision to-do lists that read, “Rewrite chapter two. Send requested proposal to agent. Listen to teaching tape on point of view. Work on gentleness”?
The Fruit of SELF-CONTROL.
I won’t mention the bowl of M&Ms or Jelly Belly candy on many a writing desk. How does the fruit of self-control reveal itself? In holding back an angry response to a thoughtless reviewer, receiving a critique without argument, thinking honorable thoughts about the editor who suggests a complete rewrite? Self-control certainly shows itself in writers who stay within the prescribed word count, making no excuses for why their book HAS to be 40,000 words over the limit. Who knew self-control would be so important for those who write?
Comments to this blog show that many of the Books & Such followers care about what the Bible has to say. They’ll see a spiritual connection as well as a daily life application. If that’s not you, consider these points from their practicality side. Whose writing life wouldn’t benefit from an ongoing loop of love, joy, peace, patience…?
Which of the above character virtues comes most easily for you? Which could use attention? Do you see other roles the loop of fruit plays in your path to or through publication?
And aren’t you glad I didn’t spell it loupe? Another metaphor entirely!
BONUS QUESTION: What persuasive role did the literary technique of asking questions play in this post?
Click to Tweet: What grows in a writer’s orchard?