What Spills Out of You?

by Ava Pennington

What spills out of you?

When you jostle a full glass of orange juice, what spills out? And what spills out of a full glass of milk?

Silly questions? Maybe. Of course, orange juice will spill out of the first glass and milk will spill out of the second one.

But perhaps not so silly when we apply this to our writing. Regardless of whether we’re writing for the Christian or the general market, our worldview will spill onto the page.

Writing a general market middle grade mystery? Even if you never name the name of Jesus, the values of your protagonist will speak loud and clear. Writing a picture book? Remember your words may be read again and again, night after night, until the child knows them by heart and someday searches her parent’s bookshelf for the beloved volume to read to her own preschooler. What have you spilled onto the page from your own heart?

Writing for the Christian market? Before we speak of Jesus or quote the Bible, have we examined ourselves? If we’re not living what we’re writing, our words will sound hollow. Children are especially adept at spotting a phony, whether in person or through the pages we write.

It’s been said that integrity is who you are when nobody’s watching. So who are we when our readers can’t see us? When we’re at our computers, typing away? When our family members interrupt the flow of ideas from thought to fingertips to word processor?

Who are we when the contract offer comes…or doesn’t come? When a bestseller rank is achieved…. or not achieved? When event coordinators flood us with offers for speaking engagements…or not?

The reality is that our readers may not be watching, but our family is. And if our family is not watching, the Lord is.

So what spills out of your heart and mine onto the pages we write?

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