Writing like David

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By Melissa Tagg

So…King David. I kinda love him.

I’m talking about David in the Old Testament. The one who took down Goliath. I love the guy and it’s not so much his giant-slaying ability that warms my heart as much as his vulnerability and brutal honesty. He has big ups and big, big downs (and yeah, some not-so-shining moments, too). Honestly, he’s an emotional trainwreck at times, and he’s so far from perfect it’s…well, it’s comforting actually.

Plus, he was a writer.
From the Start
Recently, my love of David jumped another notch when I read the story anyone who’s grown up in church has read a thousand times…the David versus Goliath account. Only it wasn’t the battle itself that stood out to me this time, but these couple verses in the middle of 1 Samuel 17 when David is getting ready for the fight:

Then Saul outfitted David as a soldier in armor. He put his bronze helmet on his head and belted his sword on him over the armor. David tried to walk but he could hardly budge.

David told Saul, “I can’t even move with all this stuff on me. I’m not used to this.” And he took it all off.

I love it! And here’s why:

I don’t know about you, but in my writing journey, I tend to have a bit of a wandering eye. I’m constantly looking to my writing heroes-the authors who, to me, just seem to do everything right. They’re organized. They pump out stories crazy fast. They know all the marketing tricks…and everybody in the world loves them!

So I try-and try and try and try-to be like them. I try to do the same things they’re doing. I attempt the same schedule pace and creative practices and plotting processes.

Then I wonder why I can’t keep up, why I feel worn out and weighed down…like David wearing armor that just doesn’t fit. That wasn’t made for him.

And when I read that account, it was like someone pulled aside the curtains to shine a light on such a needed truth. And that truth is this:

My writing journey-and yours-doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.

My thought process and storytelling technique and creative needs don’t have to mirror [insert author of choice].

I don’t have to wear someone else’s armor.

I don’t have to walk someone else’s path.

Such a huge truth for writers, yeah? We’re often looking to improve-which is good. We want to grow as writers and learn from the success of others. We attend conferences and classes and buy workbooks and craft resources. Again, all good.

But there comes a point-doesn’t there?-when we have to get comfortable walking our own path. Our individual writing journeys may take turns we didn’t see coming. What works for one author-plot or characterization or schedule-wise-may not work for us.

And that’s okay.

There’s something so beautifully freeing about letting go of the need to look like everyone or anyone else…and just write the stories we’re meant to write…the way we alone are meant to write them. Like David, shucking off Saul’s armor in favor of God’s help and his own skin.

MelissaTagg May 2014Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl. She writes romantic comedy for Bethany House, and is also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Her latest release is From the Start, the first in her new Walker Family series. She loves connecting at melissatagg.com and on Facebook and Instagram.

Comments 0

  1. Wonderful encouragement, Melissa. A really good way of looking at it.

    But it made me laugh as I reckon there are many of us who put you in that author hero box. There are many of us who are in awe of how much you’ve produced in such a short period of time plus juggle 2 jobs, and be a great friend, sister and aunty.

    And that’s why this post is so good because you reveal your vulnerability and that God’s word has helped give you perspective. So so good, Melissa.

  2. @Ian, thanks so much for the kind comment! I’m so glad that among the author community we can share our vulnerabilities and tendencies… 🙂

    @Emily, thanks for reading! I’m glad it resonated.

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