Monday, June 30, 2014

Step in the Write Direction--June 30, 2014--Would you write without a byline?

A Step in the Write Direction

June 30, 2014

Update: Not much to update this week. Still resting up from the Oklahoma trip and getting ready for the Michigan trip, and finishing several editing/proofreading jobs including the galleys for the updated Step in the Write Direction book. I do have a prayer request to share though. My “bestest” friend (friends for 69 years) is now under hospice care at home with cancer of the liver. I visited her Saturday and she was cheerful as usual, but thin and a little confused at times. Prayer request, however, is for her husband—a super nice guy, but doesn’t know the Lord and this is what bothers Kathy the most—that she won’t see him again. Say a little prayer for the two of them today, would you? Thanks!

Thought for Today: The disciplined person, the disciple, is someone who is able to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. The whole purpose of the [spiritual] disciplines is to enable you to do the right thing at the right time in the right spirit” (John Ortberg & Dallas Willard, Living in Christ’s Presence, 2014, 143).

Laugh for the Day: One day, my husband announced to the family that he was going to fast and pray. Ginny, our five-year-old, had recently learned that fasting meant not eating. "No!" she shouted. "You can't fast! You'll die!" Her dad carefully explained that many men and women fasted in Bible times. Ginny paused a moment. Then, with a flash of insight and a note of warning, she proved her point: "And they're all dead!" she said. (The Gospel Greats Newsletter, June 24, 2014)

Second laugh: Here’s 1-second video that’ll make you laugh, especially if you’re over 40:

Song for the Day:
More about Jesus in His Word,
Holding communion with my Lord,
Hearing His voice in ev’ry line,
Making each faithful saying mine.
            —Eliza E. Hewitt, 1851–1920
(Do we Hear His voice in every line we write?)

Writer’s Tips (#5 of unpublished writer’s devotional book):

Our Reward for Writing

Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize?
Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games
goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it
to get a crown that will last forever (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).

A speaker at a writer’s conference asked the question, “Would you write if you didn’t get a byline?” I’m sure, knowing we were all Christian writers, he expected all of us to answer with a resounding “Of course!”

I was a little slow at answering the question in my mind. My first thought was, Other editors might see the article and want to purchase it for their magazine. How would they know who wrote it? Then I thought, What if a reader wants to get in touch with me—not necessarily to offer praise for the article, but to let me know it helped them, or to share something they’re going through. They won’t know my name.

My final answer, however, was that the message was more important than the byline—which is why I often write deeply personal articles under a pen name.

There is an old story about the Greek Marathon. Muscular, conditioned runners paced nervously near the starting line for the long-distance race. In the midst of it all, a young stranger with an awesome physique took his place at the starting line. Taking no notice of the other contestants, he stared straight ahead. Two prizes awaited the winner: a bouquet of flowers and the honor of standing beside the king.

There was no question of who would win, and allegedly someone offered the stranger money and property not to run. Refusing the offers, he toed the mark and when the signal was given, he was the first away—and the first to cross the finish line.

At the end of the race, a bystander asked the young man if he thought the flowers were worth as much as the money and property he had refused. He replied, “I did not enter the race for the flowers. I ran so that I could stand beside my king!”

Bylines are nice, checks are more than welcome, but oh, to someday cross the finish line and stand before our King!

Would you write without a byline? Why or why not?

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich

"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"


  1. When I started my blog, I chose to use the name of the writing ministry for part of my blog title. When I composed and edited two newsletters for a nonprofit ministry, I kept my name off the pages,likewise when I submit items for our church's newsletter.

    But, aren't there times when we need to include our name as a byline? Books, and articles submitted to magazines come to mind.

  2. I would say 99% of the time I do use my real name as my byline; however, several times (as in the case of my great-nephew's suicide and my article on living with a disabled husband) there were other people involved who might want to see those personal details in print so I chose to use a pen name. I think what I was trying to get across is that in some cases the message is more important than the byline. Of course, if I did use a pen name and someone wrote to the magazine about the article, the editor would know my real name and would forward the letter on to me. There are several authors who write under their real names AND pen names, such as Dennis Hensley who writes mostly nonfiction, but who writes novels under a pen name. Thanks for writing!


  3. Whoops,I meant to say "other people involved who might NOT want to see..."