“Not So Dreamy” DREAMS

October 1, 2010 at 8:36 pm (More than Mediocre) (, , , , , )


So today is October 1st, the release date of the October 2010 In Touch Magazine.  A day that I WAS really looking forward to.  I’ve decided to abandon my blog idea for today and rant and rave a little…if you don’t mind.

Back in December, I thought I’d try my hand at writing magazine articles for Christian publications.  I sent my first attempt out to MANY different editors and was genuinely shocked to receive the same response over and over.  Your message is too “Christian.”  We serve a “cross over” market.  You can’t say anything that might make someone feel bad.  We’re looking for “soft” evangelism.  We’re not looking for anything “preachy.” 

Oh, I’m sorry…I thought I was submitting to the Christian market.  When did we cheapen the truth?  When did we water down the Gospel?    How in the world can anything I write affect anybody if I take out the one thing that has the power to actually affect them?

After I settled down, dropped my defensive attitude, and reasoned that maybe, just maybe, people might be able to learn something from a “not too Christian, cross over piece that doesn’t make anyone feel bad and isn’t too preachy but has some soft evangelism in it,” I drafted a new manuscript-one with a whole lot less of God in it and a whole lot more of  ME in it.  A practical, humorous piece about surviving motherhood.  I sent it to only a handful of publications this time and quickly received interest from three of them.  Shortly afterward, I signed first rights over to In Touch Magazine, a ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley that still promotes Biblical truth.  After a little happy dance, I thanked the Lord for opening a door for me to change lives for Him.

A month passed.  Two.  Three.  Four.  No published article.  Five months.  Six.  So much time passed that I began to believe that they dumped my manuscript and decided not to publish it after all. 

About two weeks ago, I received an envelope in the mail from In Touch containing two copies of their magazine.  Realizing just how special these little books were, I excitedly flipped open the front cover to reveal the table of contents.  And sure enough, there it was on page 26!  “Mothering Without Incident” by J U L I E   H I G G I N S.  And it was even spelled correctly!  I could barely believe my eyes!  Better yet, someone had written a clever little attention grabbing intro for it! 

Getting tantrums under control is of vital importance-especially when it’s the parent who’s having them!

Could it possibly get any better???

I flipped through the pages as fast as I could and came face to face with a screaming woman sporting  green skin.  “They gave me artwork!”  I squealed to my husband, dancing around the kitchen.

And then it happened.  A large yellow text box caught my eye.  I scanned its contents and was instantly overcome with panic.  “I didn’t write that.”

“What?”  My husband walked over to take a look.

“Those words in the box.  I didn’t write them.”  I continued to scan the small print.  “I didn’t write that word either.  Verdant.  What does that even mean?”

I got out my original manuscript and noted all of the things that had been edited out of the copy due to space limitations.  (What can I say…I’m wordy!) 

Perhaps the most upsetting thing of all, the one little bit about God-the most important part of the piece-was cut and spliced with an entirely different section, changing the entire message I was hoping to speak.

“Or better yet, if I would have started the day with fresh inspiration and strength from the word of God, how much differently I might have handled the situation altogether. 

My only complaint as a mother is that there simply is not enough time to get it all done.  I would love to spend time reading devotionals and inspirational stories every day to help me on this motherhood journey.  Those of you who have toddlers know that every minute wasted on yourself is equal to about five minutes of “damage control” later when you find out what your small child was up to during that stolen moment! “

was changed to read, “I USED TO THINK that if I could start the day with fresh inspiration and strength from the Word of God, I would handle these situation more calmly.  I’d love to spend time reading devotionals and inspiring stories to help me on this motherhood journey.  But then I reasoned, every minute wasted on myself equals five minutes of “damage control” later when I find out what my small child was up to during that stolen moment!

While it might not seem like that big of a change, it entirely changes the meaning of my words and leads others to believe that I’ve “tried that and it didn’t work”  instead of “this is what I should have really done.”

“How can they do that!”  My husband was now irritated, also.

“Because I signed a contract that said they could ‘edit’ my work.”  I sighed.  I did not realize that ‘edit’ meant  re-word and add their own thoughts to it.

I’ll admit that it was a pretty hard lesson for me to learn, but it could have been much, much worse.  From this experience, I’ve learned that maybe the dream of being published in the largest circulating Christian magazine isn’t quite so dreamy after all.  If a million people read my words, but they don’t glorify God -and don’t challenge people to become more like Him-  have I really accomplished anything at all? 

I’ve decided that I’m just not really the “soft” evangelism type.  Perhaps I’ve spent too many years under a pastor with a passion for speaking the truth at any cost.  Perhaps it’s just another lesson in becoming more than mediocre.  I’ll still submit my work to Christian magazines, but I refuse to compromise my message just to get published.  It’s just really not worth it.  I’d rather speak the truth  to a single blog reader than to have thousands read a message that does not stir a hunger for God in them.

You can check out my professionally “edited” article posted on the In Touch website at this link  http://www.intouch.org/magazine/content/topic/mothering_without_incident

OR…you can read the original version right here on my blog at  www.hiddenjewels.wordpress.com  Just scroll down until you see the picture of the Incredible Hulk!


Permalink Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: