A few years ago I embarked on a new hobby: couponing. One of the first lessons I learned was in order to save the most money, you can't be brand loyal. Now there are exceptions. For instance, I always buy Philadelphia cream cheese if I'm making a cheesecake and I cannot abideb by any sandwich bread that sticks to the roof of my mouth no matter how cheap it may be. But I have learned to set aside some preferences as I realized there often was little quality or taste difference.
Another lesson I learned quickly is the fact that shopping generically is cheaper is often a myth. You can buy brand name products just as inexpensively through couponing. For the last few years almost all the shampoo, toothpaste, shaving rasors, and many other personal and home care products I have purchased have been free.
As a homeschool mom, I've had to learn this lesson. An older lady at my church has given me some valuable advice about homeschooling. She advised me to not get "stuck" on a curriculum, but let the Spirit lead me.
Last year when I first started homeschooling so many people told me about a certain curriculum. Everywhere I went I would hear ad nauseum about this particular curriculum...how great it was and how advanced. The lies crept in and I began to doubt myself. So what if Elizabeth was having fun with this other curriculum? Maybe it wasn't providing everything she needed. Maybe everyone was right about this other curriculum. But I'm glad I decided to stay with the curriculum I was using.
I started preparing for this year last spring and spent lots of time looking through catalogues and websites. I became very interested in a particular curriculum that is very literature-based, however, it was expensive. So I figured I would use the same curriculum from last year, after all I had liked it. It seemed like a good curriculum. A month into the school year my daughter and I became quite bored with this curriculum. Back to the drawing board, some prayer about the school year...and what do you know I suddenly discovered a more inexpensive way to purchase the Sonlight curriculum. So far (its only been a couple weeks) but my daughter can't wait to find out what we will be doing today for homeschool.
These past few weeks Chris and I have been enjoying listening to and discussing the ACFW 2008 Conference mp3s. While listening to the agent panel we were struck by the obvious fact that each agent is individual, each publishing house is individual. And God has an individual plan for all of our writing. It is a good thing to be able to listen to criticism and make changes where appropriate. It is a good thing to be always learning and growing through listening to workshops and reading books on craft.
But let's not forget that our writing should be distinguishable from others. Don't let yourself lose that voice that is unique to you. It is a gift from God. Don't become that generic dressed in a white and blue package. BUT allow yourself and your style to change and grow. If something isn't working, don't be afraid to switch brands...even mid-manuscript.
What do you think distinguishes your writing from others?
Or do you have a favorite author and what distinguishes them from others?
What is God telling you that you need to change in order to have optimal growth?