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What A Writer Wants Most

As a parent of five, I can't think of too many events more pleasurable than watching my children's wide-eyes and delighted smiles as they open presents I've given them.

"Do you like it?" I ask, holding my breath. But I need no words of affirmation. I already know. I've bestowed upon them exactly what they dreamed about for weeks, even months. I made a dream come true--and that brings me more satisfaction than anything they could give me in return.

As adults we usually don't have the long wish lists that we did when we were children. I don't haunt the tree, shake my presents, and try to figure out what I'm getting. (I don't need to. I have a four year old, and she's pretty good at telling me what I'm getting, even when I don't ask her!)

When we get older, our wish lists grow shorter, more expensive, and practical. In fact I'd venture to guess, for most of us, our deepest wishes usually aren't material possessions. If you're like me, whenever you need something you head out to the store and buy it.

No, the items we want most are the things hardest to obtain. Peace with our wayward child. Rejuvenation for a struggling marriage. Health for the suffering loved-one. And so much more. . .

Our lists go deep. The desires pulse through our blood. We ache for their fulfillment. We would gladly forgo unwrapping all of the material presents under the tree, if only we could have just one of our deepest wishes come true.

As writers we have a whole other wish list--all of the hopes we have for our writing career. Perhaps we can't wait to snag the attention of an agent or editor. Maybe we long to final in a contest or land a book deal. Ultimately, we dream about the day we hold our published book in our hands.

But what is the one thing a writer desires most? Is it really publication? When I think about next fall, when I finally get to finger the pages of my first published book, my heart certainly soars. I can't deny that publication is a dream come true.

However, is seeing my book in print really my deepest wish? Is it really yours? If it is, then wouldn't we be more willing to consider self-publishing? After all, with self-publishing we're guaranteed seeing the fruit of months and years of hard work. And if publication was really the goal, then why would we care so much about building platforms and increasing sales?

The reality is that most writers want more than publication. Maybe some wish for allusive fame and fortune. But most of us want our words to make an impact, to hit readers in the heart and leave an imprint that changes the way they view life. We want our words to breathe fresh hope into lives that often so desperately need it.

We labor over our stories because deep down we know that the real joy in writing comes not only from the creative process, but also from being able to share the pleasure of our stories with others. And traditional publication still gives us the largest audience for such sharing.

Not every wish can come true--not with our writing or in life. But we can start today by chasing after the things that truly matter most. We can run after them until they're within sight, never giving up until finally they're within our grasp.

What's at the top of your wish lists this Christmas?

Have a Merry Christmas, everyone! I'll be taking some time off from blogging over the holidays and won't post again until Monday, Jan. 4.

61 comments:

  1. Beautiful post. It really is about living the dream of creating and hopefully making an impact. You have already done that. :) Hope you and your family have a magical Christmas.
    Click here for my holiday message

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  2. Beautiful post, Jody. I wish you and your family a magical Christmas.

    This holiday season I wish, again, for peace on Earth. I also wish for transformation in my writing, in my relationships, and in my self. I wish for joy, happiness, good health and success for everyone.

    Oh yeah, and more chocolate. ;-)

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  3. I'm taking time off, too!
    Have a wonderful Christmas and break!

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  4. First.... I saw on Rachelle's blog thatyou're now published by FaithWords... you're really going through the publishers, Jody! (*grin* inside ACFW joke!)

    First.... you mean, am I the only one that haunts the christmas tree shaking my presents???? CRAP! (and I'm actually serious here... it's a ritual, and my hubby tries to disguise them so I can't guess.. hA!)

    You're write on the writing goal... we want our writing to make an impact.

    I think though, that it comes in sections though. Instead of wishing for the "end" product, I pray about the next step and dream about it, ya know?

    So right now, I'd go bananas if I got a call from an agent on Christmas Eve. (Not holding my breathe, mind you, ha!) Then... maybe for my birthday a publishing contract.... then for my birthday the year following my actual book. I dunno, just throwing present ideas out there!

    But you are right, the goal is for God to use my writing for HIS glory... and I don't think he will adequately do that for ME through self-publishing.

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  5. Great post as always!

    Top of my writer Christmas list is having the good health that will allow me to write more this coming year. Winning a contest/award for one of my short stories would be like putting the angel at the top of the writing tree!

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  6. So so so so true, Jody!! I agree one hundred percent. In fact, as I was driving to work yesterday, I just got this overwhelming desire for exactly that. Like the desire was so overwhelming that I wanted to stop the car and get down on my knees with my face on the floor of my van and just cry out to God exactly what you posted today. I want my words to have an impact on eternity. Some how. I want them to touch lives. Because the true joy in writing most definitely comes from sharing.

    Have a super blessed Christmas, my friend!

    Love,
    Katie

    P.S. I loved seeing your name and picture on Rachelle's website today!

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  7. I've always said writing is about creating and connecting with an audience. Publication means a chance to finally connect with others.

    Merry Christmas to you.

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  8. Krista,
    HA!!! You didn't know I was so versatile, did you?!! I noticed that too, and was like "Wow! Another book contract!? Score!" :-)

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  9. I want to inspire people to think in ways they haven't before. I also hope to never lose the thrill and passion for writing. (Not the feeling, as I know you know...but the deeper passion.)

    Jody, I must say...the holidays might be moving in on me but seeing you on Rachelle's post today got me a little choked up.

    At the risk of sounding cheesy, I am so so proud of you.

    Sending LOVE. And Merry Christmas,
    ~ Wendy

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  10. I love these thoughts. You are so right on the question of whether we're all in this just to be published. Like you, the idea of being published that appeals to me is to share my stories with others, and hopefully they'll see a glimpse of what God has been teaching me through the creative process.

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  11. What beautiful thoughts. As a writer I just want someone to love my book. Every time I hear that someone enjoyed my MS I am happier than happy can be!
    Congrats on your journey to publication this year. And a Merry Christmas to you! I hope all your Christmas wishes come true!

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  12. You have said it all perfectly! It's not the published book, it's making the impact, altering lives, being responsible for the joy someone finds in words. Who needs socks under the tree?

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  13. Wishing you and your family a beautiful Christmas, Jody, with wishes for a wonderful New Year too! Enjoy :)

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  14. Yep. To quote Stephen King, "I want resonance." And you don't need to be writing literary or inspirational fiction for that to be true... you can achieve resonance in ALL KINDS of writing.

    Merry Xmas!!!!

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  15. Jody, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy your time off.

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  16. You're right Jody the most precious gift to me can never be wrapped and packaged under the tree. The more I develop as a person the more my desires evolve further away from material things. Priceless treasures cannot be stored here on this side, but if my life and my words can bring God glory I'm happy.

    Publication is just the beginning of my hopes for this life.

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  17. Yes, that is our heart's desire, to make an impact, to make connections, to live a real life through our words, our other art, music, in our very living. As we interact with friends, raise our kids. And, truly, I want to make good memories with my sons....and a date would be nice. Happy Holidays!

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  18. Hey, Jody!

    That's so true. You pegged it exactly!

    So funny... my wish list this year is all practical--batteries, cleaning products, a toilet brush... things to fill my apartment since I have to furnish it without the help of graduation or wedding showers! Well, that and season 5 of LOST!!! :0) Ha!

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Friend! I'll see you 4 Jan!

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  19. Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas and a joyous New Year, Jody.
    Karen

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  20. I can agree wholeheartedly, Jody. And I wish you the merriest of Chrismases in return. Blessings!

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  21. You've made me make a connection I never had before. One of the reasons I want to be published is because of the impact my stories and characters have had upon me. I love them, I've been changed by them. I've grown and stretched and struggled and understood truths about life, about love, about grace, about God. I want to share them. Just like I want to share the boundless love and grace I've found in Christ with those who don't yet know Him, or the joy I felt at church last Sunday, introducing two of my writer friends to each other who'd not yet had an opportunity to meet, seeing them clasp hands in front of me, knowing I was connecting two cherished people to each other. I want to introduce my novel and all its fullness to others. Of course, my two friends may never become BFFs, and not everyone I share my faith with responds favorably, and not everyone who reads my novel one day will be as moved as I was by its creation. But if even one is...

    That's what I wish for.

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  22. CKHB,

    "To quote Stephen King, "I want resonance.""

    Oh, I like that. Yes.

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  23. Very true. I want my life to have meaning, and I want my writing to life someone's spirits and give them hope.

    Have a very Merry Christmas!!

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  24. Great post, Jody. Very thought provoking. I don't know that my words would ever make an impact, but I'd like to think they would give joy and entertain. For me, books provide a way of escape and to have a book of mine be able to transport someone into the words, well, that would be my wish.

    I think I'd like to try out a Kindle or Nook too. ;)

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  25. Hi, Jody. I found your blog through twitter.

    I absolutely love this post! You've expressed exactly what I thought in such a beautiful way. You got yourself a new blog follower. :)

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  26. Jody, once again you've really got all of this in perspective, and because of that, you are going to soar as a published author. It might not always be in exactly the ways everyone else imagines it will be, but you will soar. You will reach hearts, and you will continue to be a vital presence to your family. My writing wish is to find time in 2010 to write the young adult novel that is itching to be written, and to find new ways to help provide for my family through my writing. God willing, both will happen in 2010. Peace to you as you enjoy your reprieve with your family. I will be thinking of you and look forward to more words of wisdom in the coming year.

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  27. I never thought about it like that. If all you want is to be published, then why not self publish. I guess it's more than that. It's not fame and fortune. For me it's that my efforts are rewarded and valued.

    Have a Merry Christmas!

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  28. This was lovely Jody. I think my biggest writing wish for the year is that I can write to my potential-- that I can write something I'm really proud of.

    I hope you have a lovely Christmas and I hope your book makes an impact! I'm sure it will.

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  29. I think mine is that I want affirmation that I don't suck as a writer. I want someone that's not a relative or friend to say, "Yeah, I'd spend money on this." I think that makes me reasons more selfish than most, but I don't think any of my stories are really going to change anyone's life or cause someone to send me an email saying, "I felt like you were speaking TO ME!"

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  30. This is an awesome post, Jody :) Thank you.

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  31. You are so right! We do want our words to have an impact. We want others to enjoy our stories so much they want to share it with others and so on and so on. Yes, fame and fortune would be nice, but the reality is, we just want people to love those words.

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  32. Lovely post. It is about dreaming and creating. Happy holidays!

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  33. So thought provoking.

    I think the thing that scares writers the most is also the thing they long for the most. To invite readers into the extremely personal world of our stories and to share the experience with us.

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  34. The most important thing for me is my Heavenly Father saying, "You did a good job using the gifts I gave you to touch others."

    May you and your family have a blessed Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

    Your friend,
    Susan :)

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  35. What I most desire is for my stories to move people. I want them to feel for my characters. I'd also like to find some good beta readers and a critique partner, but I doubt they would fit under the tree.

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  36. What a wonderful post! I would really like to be more organized so I have more time to write:) This would be a great start.
    Merry Christmas, have a blessed holiday!

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  37. I'm living my wish. I have a healthy and happy family, and I write as often as I can.

    Now, if I *had* to make a wish I'd wish for an agent :)

    Merry Christmas!

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  38. Thank you for the gift of this post. You've said exactly what I feel and long for. I hope your holidays are rich with love and happiness.

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  39. You're right. Publication isn't the dream. For me, it's writing something that people think is worth reading.

    I hope you and your family have the merriest of Christmases and we'll see you in the new year!

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  40. Merry Christmas, Jody.

    My wish is for good health. With that, everything else kind of falls into place. Writing wise - I'm enjoying the process of writing itself. Amazing myself at what comes out of my brain. Some day, I may seek to publish but right now I know I'm not good enough. Writing in training at the moment.

    Can't wait to read your book!

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  41. I think God recently gave us our Christmas wish. That being Hope.
    I pray your holiday is a great one with your family!Merry Christmas!

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  42. I agree that as a writer making an impact with words is tops on the wish list.

    The nicest writing-related compliment I've ever received was "something about your writing stirs me."

    Stir...that's it. Not change the world, just stir. That's my goal in writing. To tell a story and have the reader see the story between the lines.

    Merry Christmas Jody. You are a treasure.

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  43. Wonderful post, Jody! I want to be true to the call, fan the flame to a roaring fire, glorify God, touch a life, and make a mark for eternity. Is that too much to ask?

    Oh--and to meet you in person would be very cool.

    Have a wonderful time with you family! See you next year.

    Hugs.

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  44. I enjoyed your thoughts here in this post. Many of them echo my own.

    At the top of my wish list this Christmas is to have more time with my grandmother. To not feel panicky but instead, to hold her hand as she breathes her last days and let her know how she has impacted my life.

    As a writer, it is something else: finding the time (I have 4 young kids) to write in the first place.

    And when I do write, to find the very words to express the reverence I feel for every waking sunrise, every yogurt smile on my children's faces, to know they are mine and to somehow still find joy in that responsibility and moment and share it with the world through writing and someday, being published.

    Yep, that's about it.

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  45. Gorgeous post! I've been away from blogs for a while, and it's so god to be reading yours again. Every post has something personal that everyone can relate to in some way. Thanks for writing, and have a great Christmas! :)

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  46. I'm late to the party but wanted to pop in and say I'm blessed to know you and your entire prayer is my lamentful prayer to the Lord. Thank you for such a beautiful blog and Merry Christmas!

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  47. Such a beautiful post Jody, and so true. :-) I love seeing my kids open presents too. AT this age they're so unspoiled, so excited over small things. I could learn a lot from them.
    I hope you have a lovely Christmas! :-)

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  48. Amen! You hit the nail right on the head (to use a cliche).

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  49. Terresa: I agree about finding the time. I only have one child (a toddler) but there is a twinge of guilt associated with every free moment.

    Merry Christmas, all!

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  50. You are so right Jody about wanting our words to make an impact. I found that out first hand this fall. Finally holding my book in my hand was a wonderful experience but having people tell me that my words struck a cord with them is a pretty humbling experience.

    It won't be long before you, too are experiencing this first hand. How exciting for you!

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  51. You hit it, Jody. Changing lives with my words is at the top of my list.

    Enjoy your unplug week, dear. Love you oodles and poodles and itty bitty boodles,
    Jen
    Audience of ONE

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  52. I also wish for transformation in my writing, in my relationships, and in my self. I wish for joy, happiness, good health and success for everyone.

    How to make a website

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  53. Hello Jody!
    I've missed visiting the path these last few weeks. This post is beautiful. You're so right. If all we wanted was publication we'd all self publish!
    It's more than that. It's more than just holding the book in our hands, smelling the crisp pages and fresh ink. It's hoping that someone, somewhere will "get" what we've written. That someone needs what we've written. To touch another living, breathing soul and somehow fan the flame that burns within them...that's why I write.

    Happy New Year! I hope your Christmas was a blessed on.

    Jen

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  54. Beautiful post! I really hope to use my writing and teaching to glorify God.

    May God show you outlets for your book that will allow you to spread His words.

    Happy New Year!

    Patti

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  55. Jody, your posts are always thoughtful and thought-provoking! I didn't have a "wish list" this year. So, let's see... I hope for the ability to express myself well enough that my writing will transport readers into the world of my novels, into the lives of my characters. I hope for the confidence to seek agent representation this year. Not very altruistic but that's what comes to mind.

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

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  57. A very thoughtful post, Jody. I think even if we write fiction the ability to impact others is a ministry and very dear to my heart.

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  58. Blessings to you and your family, may this year bring to fruit your hearts secret desires and may your joy runneth over.

    I think you are right in terms of our wishes as adults although I still think my list is a bit long should I choose to list them. haha...

    Stay blessed

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  59. Wonderful post. I think authors want to publish to affect someone else's life. Either to make them laugh, think, or just get away from the mundane or frustrations for the day.

    PS: I love the new look.

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  60. I don't know if I could really say what my wish is...I think my wish is simply for my life to go in the direction it's meant to go, and that I would be open to seeing that path even if it's not the obvious one?? Hm. Hope you had a great holiday!

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