Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Tenacity Interviews - Marcia Laycock

Marcia’s writing began in the attic of her parents’ home where she wrote stories for her dolls. They didn’t complain so she kept it up. God has blessed her with publication in magazines, newspapers, on radio and the web. Her work has garnered praise from notable writers Mark Buchanan, Sigmund Brouwer and Phil Callaway. Her first devotional book, The Spur of the Moment won an Award of Merit at Write Canada and her novel, One Smooth Stone, won the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award in 2006. Marcia writes a weekly devotional column that goes out to over 4,000 people. Her devotionals have been published by The Upper Room and The Quiet Hour, among others, as well as in anthologies compiled by Multnomah and Thomas Nelson. Marcia is currently the Sunday devotional columnist for Novel Journey.com and was a contributor to Hot Apple Cider. Visit her at http://www.vinemarc.com/

1) When did you know for certain being a writer was a goal you weren’t going to give up on?
In thinking on this, I’m not sure it was so much a goal, as something I always was – I began writing when I was very young. But there was a gradual dawning about the responsibility I felt as a writer, as people began responding to my devotional column (The Spur), originally published in our local newspaper. I was blown away when people told me how my words had affected them and began to realize that God had given me a ministry and a task to perform. I was to type the stories; His Spirit did the work in the hearts of the readers. That reality often takes my breath away. (to use a cliché), J and makes me realize I can’t stop until God tells me to.
2) How many manuscripts/articles have you written that haven’t yet seen the light of publication?
Oh boy, I don’t think I could count them. I have 5 book manuscripts in my computer, some that have been sent out a bit, some not. Some are finished, some still need work - a couple that I intend to work on this year. I think the timing may be right for them now. I also have a number of stories/articles – those that weren’t targeted for a publication, but sort of ‘came to me’ – that haven’t been published yet. With those, I’ve found that opportunities come along eventually and then they seem to slip into place like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. I just had one of that type published in a literary magazine.

3) What were the top three obstacles you encountered on the road to being published?
In my last year of high school (an eon ago!) my English teacher said, “If you don’t have something significant to say, don’t write.” My self esteem was so low at the time that I immediately stopped writing! I was sure no-one would ever want to read my words. I had a sense that I needed to just go out and “live” and find something “significant” to say. That took about 15 years! Then I became a Christian and the light went on.
Since trying to be published, which began 20 years ago, I’d say the top three obstacles are:
1. My own procrastination
2. My own proclivity to get involved in all kinds of “good” things at the expense of my writing time.
3. My own fear of rejection

4) Which personal strengths did you use to remain tenacious in your quest to be published?
I have a large streak of Irish stubbornness in me. I’m a bit like a bull terrier that gets the taste of something good in her mouth and won’t let it go.J That something good is the belief that being published is a means to God’s ends. And I was also trained, by some very tenacious teachers, to finish what I started. That works against #1 above.

5) Can you be tenacious and content at the same time?
Only by staying in step with what God wants. When my tenaciousness steps beyond that, then I get frustrated and even angry that things aren’t going the way I want them to go. When I remember that it’s all under His control and He knows what’s best for me and how to accomplish His plan in the best way, then I relax and am content, even joyful, while tenaciously pursuing my goals.

6) Has your dream changed at all? Grown bigger? Smaller?
Oh yes, the dream keeps shifting and growing bigger, in a way. The first dream was to publish something, anything. (That was accomplished with a poem that garnered a cheque for $1.25 – U.S funds!) Then it was to see my words have affect. That’s still a big part of my dream now – more than being on a best sellers’ list, it’s to know that God has used my words to change a life. That makes it all worthwhile.

7) What advice do you have for a writer who is facing “no” right now?
Be obedient and patient and trust that God is working for your good and the good of others. I went through a difficult time a number of years ago, and escaped into writing a fantasy novel. I became obsessed with it. Then I attended a retreat and someone stood up one morning and said the Lord had told him to say these words – “What you have done is good, but your obsession with it is not.” I knew exactly who He was talking to. It was agonizing for me, but I quit writing fiction for about 5 years, until I felt that the Lord had released me to go back to it. My husband said a wise thing to me at that point – “Maybe God wants you to write from a place of strength, relying on Him, instead of weakness.” I realized I’d been going to my writing to provide what only God could provide for me – identity, affirmation and peace. Getting those things from anywhere other than God is idolatry. I believe we must continually guard our hearts against that and obey His “No” when we hear it.
***
Love those top three obsticles. I think many of us can see ourselves in one or more of them. Thanks, Marci for the warm wake up call to keep the first thing the first thing!
I bid you good writing.

1 comment:

Koala Bear Writer said...

Great interview, Marcia; it really encouraged me today. :) Nice to see a familiar face here!