Time To Refocus by Steph Beth Nickel

What should someone like me write?


I love movies, from CG to sci-fi—and many genres in between.


I love television, from old sitcoms to crime dramas—and really, what else is there? (Just kidding . . . sort of.)


And given endless hours to read, I would almost always gravitate to novels—primarily, but not exclusively, Christian fiction. Both my physical and my virtual shelves are bending under the weight of unread volumes.


I even have an idea for a series of contemporary Christian novels bee-bopping  around in my head, the first of which is fairly well planned out.


But what have I written over the last number of years? I’ve co-authored a Paralympian’s memoir. I’ve written dozens of poems, hundreds of blog posts (beyond ROW80 check-ins), and recently, I’ve written and recorded over 50 devotionals for HopeStreamRadio.


Yet, somewhere in the back of my mind, I somehow have always thought that when I publish a novel, I’ll be “a real writer.”


Strange . . . because I don’t see other nonfiction writers as anything less than they are. There’s probably a whole psychological thing going on there, but that’s not what this post is about.


And there’s the whole gamut of skills required to write captivating fiction.


Just because I love to get emotionally involved with the characters I read about doesn’t mean I could create a protagonist who isn’t “too stupid to live.”


And just because I love a story that can make me laugh—or sob—aloud doesn’t mean I could weave together a plot with that much intensity.


And my favourite novels of all? They grab me by the throat and won’t let me go. I can only begin to imagine the amount of time and energy it takes to create a book like that.


So really, is novel writing for me?


And is it any less fulfilling to continue writing nonfiction and poetry? Will I still be a writer if I never see my name on the cover of a novel?


Remember what I said about the television shows I enjoy? Because I’m all about relationships, I’m all about the back-and-forth between characters—their relationships—and this is something I just don’t get from documentaries and cooking shows.


By the way, I teared up at the end of Night at the Museum 3. “Real” relationships were ending. Sigh!


I love to grab a new novel and get to know the cast of characters and how they interact with one another. And recently, I’ve discovered the joys of re-reading. It’s like visiting old friends. I’m enjoying several of these stories more the second time through. Oh, my! My To Be Read pile just got a lot higher.


So, will my novel ever be on someone’s TBR pile? I’m not really sure. But I do know a thing or two. I am a writer. I will seek to further develop my skills and write the best poems, blog posts, and nonfiction I can.


Sometimes it isn’t about something else. Sometimes it’s about the project right in front of you. If you’re like me, you may just have to refocus in order to recognize it.



Stephanie Nickel




3 thoughts on “Time To Refocus by Steph Beth Nickel

  1. You’ve always seemed real to me, Steph, and I love your writing – and this post.

    I tend to read more non-fiction than fiction these days, and yet, I adore immersing myself in story worlds of my own creation. And I dig relationships the mostest, too!

    That’s really why I so enjoy Enterprise. Watching a human and a Vulcan do their odd little stumbling interspecies mating dance over four seasons was wonderful. Watching the REST of their relationships to themselves and each other evolving was even more so.

    Love the post. Novel or not, your words speak clearly, and beautifully.

    And that’s really the point, isn’t it?

  2. I will admit I rarely read nonfiction. I love my novels and novellas, and I have very eclectic tastes…from horror to historical romance. However, nonfiction writers ARE real writers. There’s a need for nonfiction and, I think, especially inspirational stuff. I’ve actually got a couple of ideas for women’s Bible class material that I would write under my real name. The writing world needs all kinds of writers because there are all kinds of readers. And even if you just blog, that’s still writing. Never sell yourself short as a writer.

  3. As a fan of non-fiction and just those fiction stories that “connect” with me in some way (my brain is very arbitrary when it comes to fiction), I would (and do) call you a writer, Steph. Writing a turn of phrase that draws a reader into the page, whether the world be fictional or real is a serious skill. Never sell yourself short because you haven’t made a new world for your readers. Count it as making your readers’ world new.

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