Becoming a Writer of Excellence

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Friends of ACFW, writing Leave a Comment

By Donna L.H. Smith

This is something we all strive for, but let’s face it. As “excellent” as we can become, mistakes happen in publishing, both on the author’s side and on the editor’s. I recently read and reviewed a book by one of my favorite authors and found at least two instances of POV problems, and at least one typo. To give credit, that’s the first time I ever discovered mistakes in this author’s books. And this is a multi-published and popular author in their genre. It disappointed me.

The prophet Daniel was known as being a man with an excellent spirit. King Nebuchadnezzar says in Daniel 5:12 & 14: “Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding…were found in this Daniel…” And in verse 14, “I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you.” NKJV

The word excellent means: outstanding, extraordinary, exceedingly, pre-eminent, and surpassing. While I regard this author’s work in that realm, this latest book didn’t quite measure up to excellent, yet still it was good.

I don’t have the answer. I don’t know why this author’s work seemed to slough off a bit with the latest novel. It doesn’t matter. Maybe the editor’s eyes are so used seeing the author’s work, they don’t notice the writing mistakes.

I’ve been taught to do my best. My best may not always get done. There could many factors why. A few weeks ago, a friend helped me find things that needed changing in my historical love story before my agent submitted to a new publisher. I gave her an Amazon gift card. She deserved it, especially since she did it so quickly and thoroughly.

It’s all possible, I need to learn more in order to be excellent at my craft. Maybe when I submitted something, I didn’t feel well (physically or emotionally) that day. Or possibly, I was distracted. Perhaps I had brain cramp. There are many reasons why my best might not be done.

As we all strive for excellence, let’s allow Daniel be our example. I’d love to be told what Nebbie’s son (my personal nickname for Nebuchadnezzar) said to Daniel: “I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you.”

If readers say that about our novels, then God gets the glory for the proper use of our gifts. No one is perfect, but don’t our readers deserve our very best?

There’s a lovely song from about 25 years ago from the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, called “Giving My Best.”

The chorus of that song says:

“Now I’m giving my best to you, Lord
All that I have, I won’t withhold.
Giving my best, to you, Lord
All of my heart, and all of my soul.”

And in our case, God deserves our very best efforts at writing. We owe our precious Lord, all of us, our very best.

Donna LH SmithDonna L.H. Smith is a Kansas prairie girl transplanted to Amish country in Lancaster County, PA, and has been writing on and off for forty years. She serves as Area Coordinator and Pennsylvania State Chapter president. Her historical love story, “Meghan’s Choice,” was a semi-finalist in Operation 1st Novel 2015. A historical romance novella listed in the semi-finals of this year’s Genesis, in the novella category. Her website is:

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