Finding Balance and Bravery

Balancing Personal Beliefs with Entertainment in Writing

Guest post by Sydney Logan

Balancing spirituality in writingMy journey into publishing has been a whirlwind with its fair share of stumbling blocks. Interestingly enough, my biggest writing “struggles” have come from trying to find a balance between my real life and my life as an author.

I am a public school teacher, and I write contemporary romances with grown-up people who do grown-up things (curse, have sex, etc.). I also live in a rural conservative community where the church is the moral compass.

I know what you’re thinking – what I do on my own time is my business. Well, in a perfect world, yes. But when you live in a tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone’s business, it doesn’t always work that way.

I worried and stressed over how my first novel, Lessons Learned, would be received. It was a fine line I had drawn for Sarah—she didn’t agree with homosexuality, but she loved Matt and wanted to protect him. Not to mention, the deacon of the church (also the school principal) bullies the gay teenager and blackmails his teachers. My characters also have pre-marital sex and say curse words.

In my mind, offending someone was inevitable.

I worried endlessly about how the book would be received here at home. Would I upset Baptists? Liberals? My students’ parents? My colleagues?

(Yes, I care far too much about what people think of me. It’s a problem. I’m working on it.)

Despite all that worry, I still published the story I wanted to publish.

It has been five months since the release of the book, and I have to say that my fears (so far) have been unwarranted. Sure, I’ve received some online reviews wishing I had taken a stance one way or the other on the issue, but that wasn’t the purpose of the story. Lessons Learned isn’t about “taking sides.” It’s about tolerance. It’s about finding a way to hold true to your beliefs without persecuting someone for their own.

It’s a lesson we all need from time to time.

I’m not fanatically religious, but I am a spiritual person, and when I’m feeling anxious, I turn to Scripture. This is my favorite verse:

balance and braver

So, with my second book (Mountain Charm – July 2013), I am determined to be courageous and brave.

As long as I don’t offend any Appalachian witches, I should be in good shape.

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About Jen Barry

Author of Young Adult novels. Reside in Nashville with my husband, a gorgeous Irishman. Drink too much coffee. Online way too much.

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