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Write What You Know

You’ve heard the saying haven’t you? Write what you know. How many of us actually do that? If you’re a lawyer or a doctor, I guess you could make a career out of writing legal thrillers or medical suspense novels. It’s been done. But I’m not so sure the majority of writers really do write what they know. They may draw on their own feelings, emotions, past hurts etc… to flesh out the characters in their stories, but if you’re writing fiction and you’re a stay at home mom, I’d wager the last thing you want to write about is a trip to the grocery store or how you had to wash the dog for the third time after he rolled in something pretty disgusting.

I think what they really mean by this write what you know thing is pretty simple. You know how to love? Write about it. You know how to forgive or not? Write about it. Use the emotions God gave you, search your soul and examine your heart. And don’t be afraid of the outcome.

About twelve years ago, I embarked on a search for my birth mother. Relinquished as a newborn, I always knew I was adopted, but never really wanted to know where I came from. I had wonderful parents, a happy childhood. Sure, I was curious, but not enough to do anything about it. Until one day when I woke with an inexplicable desire to know. My search was quick, but certainly not painless. At the end of it I had an incredible story with God’s fingerprints all over it.

Write what you know.

Really, God? I didn’t want to. Parts of that journey were painful. I wasn’t ready to re-live them, let alone share them with the world if the story ever got published. But eventually, God showed me how I could use what I’d gone through to create a work of fiction with very real emotion threaded throughout. And thus, Hidden in the Heart was born.

Writing at soul-deep level is not easy. Sometimes we don’t want to share those intimate transparent moments when emotions are stripped bare with total strangers. Not surprisingly, you don’t see it very often. But when you can do it, if you can pull it off, it works. And it is healing.

When all was said and done, I wouldn’t have wanted to write this book any other way. While my character’s stories are pretty different from what I went through, there are a few scenes that are very real. Honest. Those who know me best will have no trouble picking them out. Truthfully, I was a bit scared when I heard this book would be published. But today I’m extremely thankful. Because it is a story of God’s grace. It’s a story of forgiveness, redemption and healing. And hope.