I Was Worried About Writing About The Amish . . . Wouldn’t You Be?

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“Worry ends where faith begins.” —Amish proverb

I can’t tell you how worried I was when I sat down to write my Amish novels. I’d written many historical novels, but it’s different writing about contemporary people who are living a very unique lifestyle. Everyone has a concept of what it means to be Amish, but how true are our stereotypes? The more I met Amish friends and got to know their lifestyle and heart, I discovered stereotypes just scratch the surface.

I knew when I wrote my first Amish novel, Beside Still Waters, that I would not get everything right . . . at least right away. I interviewed Amish families and read lots of books, but my worries nagged me. That’s when I asked friends who’d grown up Amish to read my manuscript.

They caught some very obvious things. I discovered:

  1. The Amish do not pray out loud.
  2. Married couples do not show physical affection to each other, even in their home.
  3. Since Pennsylvania Dutch is a spoken—not written—language, there are various ways to “write” the same words, and they are all OK.
  4. Different communities have different rules. Some communities are more strict, others are more liberal.

The more I researched—and heard feedback—the more confident I became. I learned so much about the Amish lifestyle that my interest has led to five published Amish novels with three more Amish stories in the works and a non-fiction book, One Year of Amish Peace.

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I still don’t know everything there is to know about being Amish, and since I didn’t grow up Amish, I never will, but I did learn that sometimes worrying is OK. Worrying about “getting it right” was a reflection of my respect for this people group. Worry didn’t halt my steps; instead it caused me to turn to God in prayer. I asked Him to lead me to the right people and the right information. Worry made me more diligent in my work.

I love the Amish proverb, “Worry ends where faith begins.” As I took steps of faith to find the truth, my worries faded. I trusted that if God called me to write these books, then He would help me get the answers.

Do you find God calling you to step out in a specific area but worry is keeping you back? <click to tweet> Take a step of faith, and you’ll no doubt discover something about others, about yourself, and about God.

Would you love to win an Amish quilt? Amish Author Cindy Woodsmall is giving one away. Leave a comment on her blog here.

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Tricia Goyer (77 Posts)

Tricia is the author of more than 30 books and has published more than 500 articles for national publications such as Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman and HomeLife Magazine. She won the Historical Novel of the Year award in both 2005 and 2006 from American Christian Fiction Writers, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion Book Award in 2005. Tricia's co-written novel, The Swiss Courier, was a nominee for the Christy Awards.


Comments

  1. I’ve never thought of this aspect of Amish fiction! It would be intimidating . . .

  2. Thank you for this post. I had never thought of this aspect of Amish fiction. Thank goodness you take the responsibility seriously! I am out of my comfort zone right now as I am trying to write my first book.

  3. Just the thought I needed to hear today….worry ends where faith begins. I have been feeling tense with worry and just recently been able to let go a little. This gentle proverb is the perfect reminder to step out in faith. Thank you.

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