Here Be Dragons – Part 1

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By Lynette Sowell

Twelve years ago, on August 16, 2000, ACFW launched its first e-zine, with seven columns. Back then, I was honored to have a tiny column called Dragonslayers. I was unpublished at the time and I wasn’t sure what I could contribute except my willingness to encourage.

ACFW, here be dragons along our writer’s walk. Twelve years later, I still find this to be true. While my author’s resumé has changed from a wanna-be-published to over a dozen titles released and six more in the next two years or so, I find the battle is no less diminished.

The time dragon lures us to the side of the road and sucks the minutes from our day. There is never enough to satisfy this beast, never enough time to do what we must. Family, day job, church activities, the mundane someone-has-to-do-it-so-that-someone-is-me task. You name it. Next thing you know, you’re trying to sleep and realizing that you still haven’t finished chapter five of your WIP.

Then there’s comparison, or plain old-fashioned dragon of jealousy. This green-eyed creature can lurk in a place you might least expect it-the bookstore. This one doesn’t roar or blow flames to make its presence known. Jealousy is far more subversive. “Look at that book on the shelf,” it whispers. “How dare they think they can write? Didn’t you read their last book? All those mixed metaphors, split infinitives, and dangling modifiers. Weak characters, predictable ending. Your story should be there. You’ve worked longer, harder…”

Pretty icky stuff, especially when we wear the badge of an American Christian Fiction Writer, huh?

The dragon of procrastination is probably the most fun dragon of all. Yes, fun. This dragon is pink and friendly-looking, not at all like the Godzilla-type creature of nightmares. It exudes a sweet perfume intended to drug its victim. Procrastination can work hand-in-hand (or should I saw claw-in-claw?) with the time dragon. There will always be something more fun to do than write. So says procrastination as it romps into a field of flowers. Oh look-Facebook!

Another dragon lurks in the forest of rejection. This one is perhaps the worst of all, because it attacks not just the writer, but a writer’s very soul. When that no-thank-you comes back from an editor or agent, or worse, there’s no response. “But all I’ve ever wanted to do is be a published writer,” the road-weary writer sobs on the side of the road in that forest.

“Of course you have. And you’re not worthy. Your words are terrible, unimaginative. In fact, they stink,” says this dragon. This fellow comes with a full-on attack. “You are never going to be published, you will never learn beyond what you know now, nobody wants to read what you have to say. Who do you think you are, sending out those proposals?”

All of these creatures are real and I know I’ve faced all of them in my journey. What’s a writer to do? Join me next week and I’ll tell you.

Lynette Sowell is the author of over a dozen titles for Barbour Publishing, with one title winning the Carol Award and two others finaling. When Lynette’s not writing, she works as a medical editor and part-time newspaper reporter. Lynette lives on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband and a herd of cats who have them well trained. You can keep up with Lynette at

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