Friday, February 27, 2015

The Problem With A Christian Writer's Group

the problem with a christian writer's group - alanna rusnak
I had this preconceived idea of what I would get out of a writing group.  I thought being around people - no matter their age or writing genre of choice - would make me feel like part of a tribe - like together we would do great things and make each other better and it would be rosy and delightful.

I am the only person in my writing group under the age of sixty.  Most of them are twice my age.  I'm fine with that - though part of me thinks they like me around because I somehow make them relevant...

And I have never felt more irrelevant.

1. They are all devoted Christians.
2. Their work is all blatantly Christian.
3. Every time I read my work to them I'm afraid I'm being shocking - because, though I myself am a Christian, I am not writing for the Christian market and I include themes that they would never touch with a ten foot pole.

My book includes such things as: polygamy, prostitution, statutory rape, religious leaders who get sucked into 'bad behavior', child abandonment, hate, revenge...and I could go on.

Instead of hearing me explain that there are also powerful themes of redemption, forgiveness, self-discovery, family, hope, love - they left me with this: "Well, I feel there's just too much terrible, negative talk about religious leaders these days."

Because, in writing this book, I am perpetuating the stereotype that every Pastor is a sexual predator?

THAT ISN'T EVEN REMOTELY WHAT I'M SAYING!!!

Needless to say, I left that meeting feeling unheard, unsupported, and like I was writing trash.

I know it's a lie.  I know it.  But it still put the brakes on and made it hard for me to move forward.

I really think they are lovely people.  I really think they do want the best for me in my writing pursuits.  I also think, not every group is for every writer.

Perhaps it's time to find a new group.  One for people my own age.  One that's not afraid to explore the darker edges of humanity.

Wish me luck as I seek it out...

4 comments :

  1. You can't take sin out of Christianity. It's what makes it worthwhile. We are all sinners! It is only through Christ that we are saved. The bigger problem could be age. That generation didn't talk about any of those things. Not out loud anyway. Doesn't mean it wasn't happenening, just not spoken out loud. You'll find your way. Don't be discouraged.

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    1. What a powerful comment! Thank you so much for this encouragement. I think you're probably right. I also think that I'm over-sensitive and let this get to me a little more than it should have.

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  2. I can totally understand how that would put a damper on how you feel about the group and your story, but do your best not to let it! Not writing for the Christian market is 100% OK, as most Christian-oriented anything is cheesy garbage. There's only a small handful of Christian-music/writing/blogs/stories/etc. that are actually creative and interesting so don't at all feel weird because the story you're writing isn't sitting well with a group of elderly people that are hoping your story is something different than it is. You are a very talented writer and I have no doubt that what you've written is interesting, honest, and real. THAT's what Christianity needs to be in this day and age--real. So keep at it! I can't wait to read it someday. It sounds like a little bit of a departure of what you've written before which is exciting :D

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    1. I certainly will keep at it - I've poured too much in already to let a little setback stop me. I think I'm coming at it stronger than before...you know what they say: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger ;)

      I've learned a lot lately about being true to who I am and that includes telling the story I really want to tell. And that's exactly what I'm going to do!

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