July 15, 2018

Firsts - Tracy Krauss

You may have already heard the story of writing my first novel - a sixteen year labour of love that took me on a journey of hard knocks and rejection for another decade before PLAY IT AGAIN found a publishing home. It taught me a lot about perseverance - among other things.

My first published book, AND THE BEAT GOES ON, also had its share of rejection before finally landing a contract in 2009. I have since received the rights back and republished it under a new title - CONSPIRACY OF BONES. (Too many Sonny and Cher references!)

I wrote a post here called 'A Pivotal Point In Time' about the first play I ever wrote back when I was just a child in Grade Four and how my class ended up performing the play for the entire school. It truly was an important milestone for me as a playwright and gave me confidence, I think, in later years.

With more than twenty published books and plays and over thirty years of writing experience, there are a lot of 'firsts' that I could talk about. There is something special about the 'first' of anything - first love, first loss, first kiss... the list goes on. It's why shop owners and entrepreneurs often frame the first dollar and hang it in their establishment - not because it actually has more value than the rest, but because there is something symbolically important about the 'first'.

It is a concept that has been brought to light for me this past while as I have been researching and writing a new devotional book based on the Hebrew calendar. Throughout scripture God set aside the first of many things - people, cattle, crops, and even days, instructing His people about how to honour Him with their 'first fruits'.

Nehemiah 10:35-37a 
And in order that they might bring the first fruits of our ground and the first fruits of all the fruit of every tree to the house of the Lord annually, and bring to the house of our God the first-born of our sons and of our cattle, and of the first-born of our herds and our flocks as it is written in the law, for the priests who are ministering in the house of our God. We will also bring the first of our dough, our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the new wine and the oil to the priests at the chambers of the house of our God. (NASB)

There is something powerful about dedicating the first, be it our children, material goods, or in this case, our writing. As I pondered this principle, I decided to pray over and dedicate my 'first' books. I decided to give away all the leftover copies of the original version of AND THE BEAT GOES ON to a creation science museum since the book delves into intelligent design and creationism vs. evolution. I also made both of the two books mentioned above free in one form or another as a way to give back to God and to readers.

As new books or plays come out I pray and try to think of ways to honour God with the first of each edition - perhaps giving a copy to my church library, public library or other people I think would benefit and appreciate it. I've given about 500 copies of my little prayer book THIRTY DAYS OF TARGETED PRAYER away, most recently to a denominational conference in Vancouver. It's the 'first' prayer book I made and I hope to make more someday on various topics. I don't say this to brag or somehow make myself look overly generous. I do want to make money with my writing, especially now that I will be taking it on full time after retiring from teaching public school. But God's principles don't always make sense from a worldly view. I am beginning to understand the power of obedience, and dedicating our 'firsts' is part of that. It's why I am so excited about finding ways to honour God in this way.

As we continue to hear the stories about our writing 'firsts' may I challenge you to also think of how you can give back to God in this regard?

Tracy Krauss continues to write from her home in northern BC. Visit her website for more: tracykrauss.com   'fiction on the edge without crossing the line -

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