Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. By reading, I can learn from other writers’ techniques, and can try to figure out why they are published and I am not. Last week, I reread Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, not only because it was free on Kindle Unlimited, but also because JK Rowling is always referred to as the goal for all writers. (“I want to be the next JK Rowling”). Rereading this classic, I couldn’t help but fall in love again with the quirky characters, each and every one of them unique, and find myself wishing I had received that letter to Hogwarts when I was eleven (Ironically, I got saved when I turned twelve, so it was like God gave me a letter to embark on the adventure He had for me!).
While I read this book, however, I couldn’t help but feel a little sense of hopelessness. There was no way I could ever write like JK Rowling. I mean, seriously, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans? Such genius! They’ve even made a game out of it (Beanboozled) that we can enjoy! We feel part of the story through Rowling’s work by figuring out what house we’re in, and even after she’s finished writing the series, the fans are still creating scenarios of what could have happened at Hogwarts. Doesn’t everybody want to write a novel that captures the audience so much that readers are actively talking about it eleven years after the final book was published?
Alas, I’m no JK Rowling, and I never will be. I might as well put down my pen and stop writing altogether.
Unless, what I never was meant to be JK Rowling? What if God gave me a voice that I could use to bring hope to the world and glory to His name?
Even if I rewrote the Harry Potter series, my book would be a little different from the originals, not because I’m a bad writer, but because I’m a different writer. I have my own flavor I add to my writing that JK Rowling doesn’t. This idea reminds me that I’m not in competition with any writer. We both have a voice, a platform that we want to reach, and God is using both of us to accomplish the plans He has for us.
I scan even the Christian market at fiction authors that blow me away with their amazing talent. Francine Rivers? Who could recreate Redeeming Love? The reality is, I was never meant to recreate Redeeming Love. God has given me my own story to tell.
Although we writers are set free from the need to be the next JK Rowling or Francine Rivers, we still have a responsibility. We are still called to excellence. I might not have come up with earwax flavored jelly beans, invisibility cloaks, or a freakin’ sport played on broomsticks with like three different types of balls, but that does not mean I have to write mediocre ideas. I may use time travel, or a dystopian society, or tense conflict, to convey my message. Whatever I end up using, I will use it well. End of story.
So, if you’re a writer, keep writing! Don’t look at the work of the people next to you, unless you can appreciate it. Try to figure out what you’re good at, and then work from there. Think about the message that God has given you to share with the world, and brainstorm how you can best share that message with others. You may not be the next JK Rowling or Francine Rivers, but maybe over time people may want to be the next [enter your name here].