I’m tired of being selfish.
If you ask my why I write, blog, or jump on social media, the answer is probably something along the lines of “I dunno.”
Instinct. Lovely when channeled, deadly when it runs amok. Like oil in your car vs. oil in the bay. And I’ve been letting instinct muddy my waters.
Or so God says. Lately, he’s been reminding me that living for Him is the only way to live, and second to that is living for other people. Reminiscent of Matthew 26:36-40, innit?
My writing is no exception.
Okay, okay, so what does that mean? Well, in general, it means I’m going to channel my fiction writing so people can enjoy good art and scandalous grace in order to better know the fulfilling God.
And what about this site? “Fencing With Ink” used to mean fighting for the fight’s sake. Not bad, but not enough.
So what does it mean now? What am I fighting for?
A: I Will Fight to Give You Good Art
You want good art, maybe even crave it. We all love great movies, stunning dances, music that gives you goose bumps, and more. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find. Worse, many of us are hooked on artistic junk food.
For every Citizen Kane, there’s a Transformers.
For every To Kill a Mockingbird, there’s a Twilight.
For every Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, there’s a Sword Art Online.
And there’s nothing wrong with junk food unless it’s all you’re eating. Too much and it rots you, and worse, it starts to change your appetite so you no longer crave what is truly good.
Too many people walk around with rusty souls, limping from junk art to junk art, trying to get full on what only whets their appetite. Maybe you’re one of them, bored or stressed, looking for something that strikes you, but settling for whatever’s on TV.
I want to to give you art that nourishes your soul. This means…
- Creating amazing fiction that gives you joy, not just in a nice message, but in the art itself. To make something that delights your soul.
- Continuously growing as an artist to better do #1.
- Giving more and taking less. I want to live on my art, but riches would be a means to an end, not an end themselves.
To that end, I even made my Patreon CHEAPER. It used to be you got benefits at $2-10. Now, just $1-5. Because the point of Patreon wasn’t to get rich off some bleeding hearts, but to help get more, better art to you. The money goes towards technical things like editing, conferences, education, anything that fine-tunes my art and gives you more value.
And if my art does nothing for you, then this blog can be a way to see other great artists. Through book reviews, art discussions, and random geek-outs, I can point you in the direction of something that will ignite you from the inside out.
Because you deserve good art, and you need it.
B: I Will Fight For Your Art
The other day, I did a free one-hour developmental edit as a donation to ACFW’s fundraising auction. I did a Skype call with the winner and talked about her books and writing situation for an hour, helping her develop all that she was doing.
And I couldn’t stop smiling afterwards. I didn’t get a dime from it, but I delighted more in helping another artist than I did in getting paid.
That’s what God wanted to remind me of: the pure joy of giving, specifically in helping another artist. Now sadly, I can’t give everything. One, my family’s gotta eat. Two, I’m just one guy with finite time and resources.
But the main point is there: I am here to help you as an artist if you want me to.
What does that mean?
- Checking out your stuff–just supporting you by participating if I can. Reading your books, watching your videos, coming to your performances, whatever I can, within reason.
- Building hype–If I like your stuff, I’ll say so. If I don’t, I’ll tell you quietly, but not defame you.
- Leaving good reviews.
- Blogging about what makes good art and answering questions.
- Advice, suggestions, and referrals.
- Editing services for writers–My specialty. Grammar, story, and developmental edits for fair rates. Click here for all the details.
- And more stuff I’m sure I’ll think of as soon as I publish this post.
Once more, I’m just one guy with limited time and resources, but I want to do what I can, and God is glorified when I spend my strength on others.
C: I Will Fight For You
You’ll notice up top that my tagline is “Art, Freedom, and Most Holy Irreverence.” The “Freedom” part is talking about grace, one of Christianity’s biggest tenants and one that changed my adult life entirely.
Unfortunately, that’s just where my focus has been: my life. I was focusing on the selfish aspects of grace and freedom–I do what I want and if you don’t like it, then grace, so shut up.
And while that’s not…entirely…bad…sort of…well…
The point is, I more often focus on what grace gets me than what grace I can give to others.
But God is reminding me daily that grace and freedom are given to me so I can give them to others, not just bask in them.
So I want to talk about grace more on this site. Get back to my roots, where I reached out to sexual addicts, where I invited homosexuals to know God without stipulations, and I want to take all this, as C.S. Lewis said, “further up and further in.”
Because without grace, me and my writing (my writing and I?) are nothing. I’m the biggest fuck-up I know. And if God was happy to hang with me anyway, then I will do my best to extend that to others, too.
To End This Ramble…
Some changes are big, some are small, but God is telling me to stop writing strictly for my own pleasure and use my pen as a sword, like I said I’ve been doing. More art, more help, more grace.
This post is documentation that I want to make this change, and a chance for you to keep me accountable. That’s right, you. Because that’s who this is all for. For God, yes, but God is honored when we give what we have to others, so yeah, it’s for you.
And finally, help me know what it means to give good art, help other artists, and show Godly grace. Tell me what it is you want from someone who claims to give one or all of those things.
What is it you want?
And if you’re already on board with these ideas, join me by subscribing to my email list to get all the updates, announcements, and more. Heck, you’ll even get a free novella. You can also follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter. And if you REALLY want to get behind this idea, support me on Patreon and get perks nobody else does.