Why You Should Try Anthology Writing
What happens when you gather with a group of writers to try an anthology writing project? My experience with anthology writing has been enlightening, inspiring, encouraging, and the process was filled with laughter, joy, and a unique research field trip.
Devotions, articles, novellas, full-length stories, blog posts, and other Christian writing endeavors can involve only one writer. But what happens when you write in a group?
Writing in a group
I enjoy participating in different Christian writing groups called chapters. One of the chapters meets monthly at a local church. The American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) in South Carolina Lowcountry gathers to discuss current creative writing ideas. The members consist of writers who have been published traditionally, indie, hybrid, and self-published. Some of the authors are beginning the publication process and are trying to decide which route to pursue.
After opening the gathering with devotions and prayer, there would be a guest speaker in-person or via video. We’ve been blessed with watching presentations from well-known speakers and new authors. During the meeting, there would be an opportunity to give updates on our work in progress, ask for critiques, and share any exciting publishing news.
During one of these meetings, one of the members suggested we consider writing an anthology. The prospect of this idea was intriguing. Each author was immersed in writing, editing, and seeking places to submit his work. Yet, the idea of working on something together created a buzz of excitement from everyone. The meeting for that day ended, but emails and text messages continued with suggestions and offers for critique and more.
A couple of meetings later, a decision had been made to create an anthology based on a local lighthouse on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina.
Preparation for the anthology
Eight Christian authors decided to contribute a work of writing to the anthology. Guidelines were established, a timeline was suggested, and the creative process began. Each month, those contributing to the anthology were asked to give an update on the progress of their piece for the book. Although certain topics were not assigned to each author, the diversity of their stories was amazing. Each author prayed about their story before they started writing. The book includes love stories and much more, with the lighthouse involved in some aspects.
There was no arguing about what each person would write or what topics would be discussed in the book. This group of Christian authors worked together and separately in preparing the best work possible. At monthly meetings, we gave updates and asked for help if needed.
As the process moved along, questions arose: “How would we share profits?” “What price should we charge when selling the book?” “How do we obtain author copies?” “How would we publish?” Answers were discussed and decisions were made as a chapter. Each person was vital to the development and promotion of the book, so—no worries! Every question was already answered in God’s plan and timing.
Someone suggested that profits from book sales go to Sanctuary of Unborn Life (SOUL), a non-profit group which was founded by one of our members. Everyone agreed that this was the perfect solution.
Embarking on a writer’s field trip
As the journey of writing the Christian anthology continued, the excitement continued to build. Every month, we shared our progress on the story we would be contributing. The artwork for each piece was chosen, and the critiquing and editing process began.
A special time during the process was when we decided to take a field trip to learn the history of the lighthouse and the area. On a hot summer day, we walked through fields and climbed stairs to view the ocean from the lighthouse which had become the guiding light for our anthology. Due to the lighthouse being out of commission, we could only view it from a distance. Visiting the area was enough to inspire our stories.
Enjoying the ending
The book, “Charleston Light: Stories Inspired by Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse” was released in April 2023. The journey of writing an anthology has opened new doors for this group of writers. We’ve been interviewed for television, newspapers, and magazines. Social media has been filled with news of the book which has helped with sales.
In June 2023, the authors of the anthology will be the featured speakers at an event called “The Moveable Feast” on Pawleys Island. Each person will speak about their story and how it was created.
A few of the authors recently visited a local bookstore on Pawleys Island where the owner is stocking the anthology and copies of other works by each author. Stopping by the store, meeting with shoppers, and introducing ourselves was one way to promote the anthology and interact with readers.
In a recent discussion, the contributors were asked if writing with a group was something they enjoyed. Everyone answered yes. Although we had other assignments to complete, this was truly a blessed experience. We worked together and separately to create a book filled with inspirational stories.
The process was more than just thinking of an idea and writing. Each chapter member had to make a personal decision to participate or not. Some of the folks were not able to contribute a story, and that is OK. For everyone, life is busy, and we all have different responsibilities that we must put first. Prayer is the key to making good choices. Ask God to give wisdom, discernment, and revelation, then proceed with the task.
Considering the goal of anthology writing
If you are considering writing a piece for an anthology, pray and ask God for help in making that decision. Writing with others can strengthen writing, build friendships, provide opportunities to promote other works, and (best of all) it can give God the glory.
Whether you are a new or seasoned writer, consider the impact an anthology can make in your community and the world. Will this book win a Christian book award? Will our names be famous? Will we be recognized at the grocery store? That would be wonderful, but that is not our goal. The writers of this anthology hope that God’s glory and love will shine through the writing of each story.
Blessings on your writing journey,
Melissa Henderson, Author
About the Author
Melissa Henderson is an award-winning author who writes inspirational messages which are often laced with a bit of humor. Through online stories and print publications, Melissa hopes to encourage her readers. Melissa has authored “Licky the Lizard” and “Grumpy the Gator.” She is passionate about helping in the community and at her church as an Elder, Deacon, and Stephen Minister. Follow Melissa on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Bookbub, and follow the latest stories on her blog.