Monday, 9 April 2012

Ephesians 6:7 and II Timothy 2:15

Rik's Coffee Thoughts

Random thoughts, mostly about writing, publishing, sailing, God, cats, my life, my loves and whatever happens to run across my mind between the first espresso of the day and the last cup of Joe before my shower.

Now - if I could only get Captain Hook to bring me my next espresso without spilling it, we'd have a good thing going.

For whom do we work and how do we go about it? If we are a Gospel Christian believing what Scripture says, we all need to look again at Ephesians 6:7 and II Timothy 2:15. In Ephesians we see that what ever we do we do for Christ and whatever we do for Christ is an act of worship. So, if we write, our writing is an act of worship. If we teach, our teaching is an act of worship. If we are a stay at home dad, our fathering is an act of worship. Scary, isn't it. Am I working to please me, to please my co-workers, my boss, my customers or am I working as an act of worship to God?

In II Timothy 2 we see Paul entreating Timothy to not only do his best, but to "study", to "go to school" so to speak, to learn and to perfect his "craft" so that when Christ looks at what Timothy has done (and when Christ looks at what we have produced), Christ will "smile because of you" (Numbers 6:25) and the worker will not be ashamed.

Warning, at this point today's blog may become very offensive to some.  This is not for the author who is faint of heart. And as such, I am sure that not everyone will like this missive.  
I am involved in a number of websites for various different groups of authors. Every once in a while, I will click on a book that is being advertised, go to Amazon and read the first five or six pages in the "look inside". 
I really really shouldn't do this. I do know better, but sometimes I'm curious.  In many, many of the books that I  peek inside I just have to scratch my head and wonder "why don't people study to learn how to write? Why don't they study about English grammar rules? And if they don't know the rules, why don't they at least hire an editor to check the grammar, spelling and the sentence structure?"  

I am appalled at the number of book samples that look like they have never even been read by the author themselves.  The occasional  typo I can understand, but when verb tenses don't match or when singular verbs are paired with plural nouns it really does give the author the bad name. When the sentences run on and on and on it shows to me that they have certainly not "studied" the craft in order to offer worship please to God. 

I have a colleague Valerie, who is a prolific writer. A piece of advise she gives to aspiring authors is:

"The number one outcry against Indie writers is poor editing and grammar. Don't give them another example. On your tenth book you can get creative. Not on your first."

"But my mother read it and thought it was wonderful." one author said to me. I felt like replying, "your mother probably thinks your shopping list is wonderful, but that doesn't mean that it nor this mess is ready for publication on Amazon."

The Christian singer
Ethel Waters said, "I know I'm somebody 'Cause God don't make no junk."

I certainly agree with Ethel Waters, but she was talking about herself, God's creation not being junk. Not her work. And, if you every heard her sing you would know she studied, practised and practised and practised.

Sorry to be so harsh, but in a world where there are hundreds and hundreds of e-books being self published each day, it behooves us as professionals, as Christians writing as an act of worship to our King, to produce the best professional books we can. 
Just Rik's morning coffee thoughts ...