Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Introducing... My Husband the Novelist

If you're friends with me on Facebook, you might have noticed me posting some things from my husband's new blog. Allow me to explain...

By day he runs Disciple Magazine (along with other communication-related jobs for AMG International). Ever since we were dating I knew he wanted to write the next "great American novel", but wondered how he would ever make that a reality? Everyone knows that writing fiction does not become a day job until AFTER you get discovered. And then unless your name is Harper Lee (who created a sort of media immunity for herself), there's tremendous pressure to follow up your first acclaimed work with something else worthy. The whole "writer's life" does not seem to fit with being a committed, financially stable family man.  

I digress...

So right after college we got married at 22. I was a high school teacher and he had his job at AMG. The years passed and I stopped teaching to stay at home when we had our oldest child at 25. We have had two others since then and life has just kept us really busy and shows no signs of slowing down. Any big career dreams are pushed by the wayside when you have so many competing needs in one house! For two people like us who tend to idolize stability, we knew that unless we either got a huge windfall of cash or someone wanted to go oldschool and patronize Justin to write, that a novel (or any serious writing project) would not write itself with a 9-5 job and three kids.

Enter a new season of writing.

We decided that he ought to take some time to write after work at the library some nights. Not an easy sacrifice for me, but if time wasn't carved out for him it wasn't going to get done. Not because Justin is lazy or unmotivated, but the exact opposite -- because he works SO hard for our family. He serves us until he doesn't have energy for his own writing, so we both wanted a way to make sure he was getting the outlet he needed.

I suggested that he also start a blog and a personal Twitter account to get his thoughts and writings out there. This idea was initially repugnant to him because, like most good writers, he loathes anything that smacks of self-promotion. Yes, it's a catch-22. Unfortunately, it seems that in order to be noticed these days you have to get a following on social media. You have to PROVE to publishers that your fan base will support you if they take a chance on your work.

This is where you come in.

We're not going to get a Kickstarter campaign to fund his work (unless you know some filthy rich people that are game for that sort of thing -- then talk to me!) and he's not quitting his job (see preceding paragraphs about paying the bills), but I do ask that if you enjoy his writing, please share it with others. Facebook it. Tweet it. Google Plus it. E-mail it. Text it. Print it off and snail mail it. I believe in the power of grassroots movements and social networks and I know Justin would love for people to engage with his work or just briefly tell him that he's got a good thought going. His blog is called Hardscrabble. Go ahead. Click the link :) While you're there you can sign up to receive his blog updates (usually once or twice a week right now) in your e-mail box. In its fledgling stage, it's a mix of thoughts, poetry, short stories, theological musings, and whatever else original he feels compelled to share.

We have no idea where, if anywhere, his career in writing is headed, but it's got to start somewhere. We need you -- friends and family to jump on board with encouragement and engagement.            

Thanks in advance,

- Rachel and the family

P.S. If you want a feel for his writing style, I've posted many of his book reviews previously on my blog: 

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

Justin's GoodReads of 2014