by Sarah Tun
Authors need fellowship. Teachers speak the same language, scientists and artists do too. And so do writers. Perhaps it’s because our work is generally solitary that we often don’t recognise our need to “socialize” or it may be that we are so used to managing on our own that we have learned self-sufficiency to a high level. Nevertheless, we can benefit from sharing our material, sharing our achievements and our frustrations, and…. just sharing. It’s important to work hard, and keep to a schedule, but it’s also important to spend time with others who understand the writing process.
As Believers we need fellowship too. Most in AC are followers of Jesus, though members who are not are most welcome. So long as all published work is family-friendly according to AC guidelines, we delight in having any members on board. And if you have been a Christian for long, you are aware of the value and importance of connecting with others who are also committed. Psalm 133 is a favourite: “How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity….”
So how can those of us who have these two things in common connect on a meaningful wavelength? Members in AC are scattered around the country and even around the globe. I for one, have often been in a writers’ group, where a handful of folk would meet on a regular basis and share our work for constructive feedback. I think I learned more during one of those sessions than I learned in a year of solitary practise. I needed both!
As Christians too, we can share and pray together about our Calling, our hopes and ambitions.
We need to fellowship together in ways different from the World’s ways. By connecting with others who love Jesus, we can fellowship together, and work together, and build one another up. 1 Cor 3:10 says, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.” Jesus is our foundation, and we — through care and support of one another — make each other stronger to complete our Call.
There are practical ways we can work together to grow our network too. Rather than re-invent the wheel, let me take you to Gina Burgess’ shared wisdom on building a network.
Finally, my personal view is that it is very important in our work that we do not compromise our Christian values in order to “succeed” in the world. Rather, if we extract ourselves from the world’s pursuits for book sales and notoriety, and instead focus on bonding with one another and staying true to our principles and values, we can find our market, to get our work known by those who need it most.
Do we abandon the world, work in it, or endorse it in our efforts to breakthrough? I encourage us to stick to our convictions and reach out to those who will value what we have to say within those parameters. For, if we compromise, then we miss the very Calling the LORD has laid on us in the first place. We all crave breakthrough, but if we sell out in order to achieve it, we’ve lost the whole purpose to our work. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36) To my mind, the answer is, it will gain him nothing.