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by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

Never scrimp on an electric blanket. Electrical currents on top of your body. While you’re sleeping. Think about it. Also, if the lights flicker when you plug it in and you smell bacon you should probably forget the whole thing and just get a Snuggie. Or also if you wake up in a morning and find it melted into a puddle of liquid wool and smoking wires. Snuggie. If you hear sizzling at any time. Snuggie.

My grandmother once had an electric blanket that had to be from the pit of the hottest parts of the darkest abyss. But she paid good money for it, so we were going to use that thing or die. I figured probably both. We didn’t need a nightlight at Grandma’s. The little sparks from that blanket did the trick. Never mind the flames. Just pat those puppies out, turn over and go back to sleep. 

Every once in a while life can feel a little like my grandma’s blanket. Just at the moment you think things are going to get comfy and warm, you feel flames instead. Sometimes you may even start to wonder if God sees your discomfort or if He really and truly cares.

Could I encourage you in those moments to hold on to a confident knowledge that not only does He see your pain, and not only does He truly care about you and about your hurt, but He’s right there with you. He’s with you in every distress.

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you,” (Psalm 139: 7-12, ESV). Even when you feel blanketed in everything heavy, dark and uncomfortable, you can know that He sees right out the other side of that darkness. And through it all, He is with you. He lives right inside you.

The Holy Spirit of God has been with you every moment of every day since the instant you surrendered your life to Christ. Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth in you, and shall be in you,” (John 14:16-17, KJV).

His forever presence! Now there’s a Comforter we can snuggle up in for the coziest sense of wellbeing, even when the heat is on. Recognize His presence and you will find sweet rest every time.

I probably shouldn’t admit it, but as I was reading the passage in Psalm 139 and I got to the “make my bed in Sheol” part, I remembered Grandma’s blanket again. And now I’m pretty sure I smell bacon.

TWEETABLES

"Recognize God's presence and you will find sweet rest every time." Rhonda Rhea on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist for lots of great magazines, including HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and more. She is the author of 10 nonfiction books, including How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person? and coauthors fiction with her daughter, Kaley Faith Rhea. She and her daughters host the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ. Rhonda enjoys traveling the country speaking at all kinds of conferences and events. She and her pastor/hubs have five grown children and live in the St. Louis area.
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by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

The ringing phone woke me from a sound sleep. The caller ID flashed bright in the darkness. It was from the memory care assisted-living, where my husband had been for three months. The voice on the other end was somber. “Your husband has collapsed and is unresponsive. We’ve called EMS.” After a pause she added, “But he’s breathing.” 

Strength drained from my legs as I jumped from bed. Steadying myself, I threw on a dress and sandals and ran upstairs to wake my visiting granddaughter. “Wake up. Pop’s on his way to the hospital.” Like a loyal soldier, she obeyed my command and met me in the car, strength and comfort pouring from her tender heart. We drove out into the darkness. Into the unknown. 

The ER was crowded, with doctors and nurses swiftly appearing in and out of the walled cubicles. Emergency codes blared intermittently over the intercom, followed by the sound of hurried feet. The air carried the antiseptic scent of bleach and alcohol.   

My husband lay still, eyes closed, a beeping monitor attached to him by small wires taped to his chest. A doctor turned from him as we entered and told us that all tests conducted so far were normal. They had yet to discover why he was still unresponsive. And then he left with a promise to return.

 I tossed my purse on the nearest chair and went to my husband, cupping his face with my hands. I kissed his forehead, then moved my lips close to his ear, whispering, “It’s Emme. I love you.” I told him to listen to Jesus’ voice for I knew the Holy Spirit of the living God was alive in Him and was conscious on every level. I prayed for healing. Then, with a heavy heart, I released Him to God.

My granddaughter Cheri clutched his hand. “Nana! He moved his little finger.” We looked at one another, new hope emerging from our anxious hearts. We held our vigil for over thirty minutes before he regained consciousness. With wide eyes he searched the room, until his eyes landed on our faces.  A faint smile appeared and then faded as he let loose with an agonizing cry. The pain that had rendered him unconscious struck again. Cheri ran for help. Doctors in green-clad scrubs moved us aside and swarmed his bed.

After a week in the hospital and a week in skilled nursing, my husband was able to go back to memory care, cognitively impaired by the emergency, but no longer needing skilled nursing. However, the trauma of the event still had us reeling, for most often a medical emergency and a change in surroundings bring permanent cognitive decline to a dementia patient. 

God knew what we would need during this time and sent help. A day earlier my granddaughter had arrived for a visit. She stayed by my side and asked the doctors tough questions as I surrounded my husband with more of myself. After taking her to the airport several days later, I arrived home to find my son James waiting for me. His face was drawn from the long drive. I told him all the ways his dad had declined. He looked at me, compassion in his eyes, “Mom, this is Dad’s new normal. Try to embrace it.” His words struck me. Normal meant I didn’t have to fight to rescue the past. The present, as terrible as it was, was all I had. Strangely, his words brought relief.

Our new normal is any event that transforms our present world and changes the direction of our lives. This type of metamorphosis, whether good or one we deem bad, takes us to the unknown—a place we often avoid at all cost. We build imaginary walls around ourselves and those we love. We strive to obey all the rules. We work to make sure nothing crashes upon our well-manicured world. But still life interrupts. We tumble into the abyss, arms flailing, and cry out, “Where are you God.” We mourn what was. What could be. What should be. Fear, always crouching in the background, pounces upon us and our worst nightmare is realized, life is not safe. 

It doesn't matter if it's life with a loved one, or a detour in our writing. We must look for God in the midst of life's detours. 

And then, God speaks in a still small voice. “I will never leave you or forsake you.” And we remember. For some reason, unknown to us, God allows tragedy to go through His permissive will. He is also faithful to restore that which is lost. After the traumatic dust has settled, God will pick up the pieces and set us on a new course—one that is unfamiliar to us and can only be navigated successfully by allowing Him to lead the way. It will be the new normal, but basked in His redemptive love.

TWEETABLES
Embracing the New Normal - @GannonEmme on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

When life brings a detour - @GannonEmme on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Emme Gannon is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves to write stories that stir the heart. Her award-winning writing has appeared in Focus on the Family magazine, several anthologies, and numerous newsletters. She just completed her first novel.
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by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

One of my “made it moments” in indie publishing was the first message I got from an author asking if Proverbs 31 House Publishing was accepting submissions. It’s not. It’s barely even taking my own work. But I knew when I got that message that I was managing to make books that felt like “real” books to other authors. 

You all know that can be a challenge for an indie!

There are obvious things that need to be done to achieve that polish, like clean editing and quality covers, but there are other little things you can do as well. 

Start by naming your business. 

Make it mean something to you and get a great logo. If you don’t know where to start with logos, check out Fiverr, it’s been around a long time and is a great source for inexpensive art work—as the name suggests, as low as $5!

Once you have that, it’s a good time to check the laws of your area to make sure you have the correct business formation, too. In my town authors are required to be licensed businesses.

Use your new business name and logo to establish your online presence. My online presence could use some work, actually, but a good minimum would be a Facebook business page and a Twitter account. I’m not talking about advertising through them, though. This is more about letting readers find something when they Google you.

Since you got a logo, why not make some affordable business cards at Vistaprint? They had a deal going so I recently ordered 25o one sided full color cards for $8.

Other places to use that business name and logo include the spine of your paperback novels, the interior of your ebooks, pinterest, Instagram, as a watermark on memes you create, or even a tattoo!! Okay, I’m kidding about that one. Don’t go crazy.

If you already have a business name and logo, what are some creative ways you’ve been using them?

TWEETABLES
Professional Polish for the Indie Publisher, Step One - @TraciTyneHilton on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Establish credibility as an #IndiePublisher when you #selfpub - @TraciTyneHilton on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Plain Jane Mysteries, The Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries and the Tillgiven RomanticMysteries. Traci has a degree in history from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, two busy kids, and their dogs, Dr. Watson and Archie Goodwin.

More of Traci’s work can be found at www.tracihilton.com
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Edie here. I know how much you love hearing from this Great American Author. Today he's sharing a video that I know will inspire us all!

For the Love of Reading: How Books Shaped My Destiny
By Warren Adler @WarrenAdler

For the Love of Reading: How Books Shaped My Destiny - YouTube


TWEETABLE
For the love of reading: how books shaped my destiny - @WarrenAdler (Click to Tweet)

Warren Adler is the author of The Fiona Fitzgerald Mysteries series and his stand-alone cozy mystery, Flanagan’s Dolls. You can learn more about Warren’s popular titles here.
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by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

If someone read the first line of each paragraph in your book, would they buy it? I tried that exercise once, afraid of the answer. It taught me to pay closer attention to my paragraphs. Each line that begins a paragraph is like one of those people who are hired to stand on a corner and hold a sign that says: Come visit so-and-so. Except, your first lines hold an invisible sign that says: Keep reading! 

So try it. You’ve probably heard that customers look at the first line of a book to see if they want to buy it. But remember that they are likely to skim more of your book to make a final decision. Help them out. Take the first chapter of your work in progress, and read the first line of every paragraph. Then ask yourself the following questions.

10 Questions to Test the Quality of Your First Lines
  1. Do my first lines make me want to read the whole book? 
  2. Do they make me want to read the paragraphs they begin?
  3. Have I used enough vivid nouns and verbs? 
  4. Are there any “limp” words I can take out?
  5. Is there enough mystery in my first lines, so that the reader has to keep reading to find out more about the story or the concept I am sharing?
  6. Do my first lines stir the heart and appeal to my audience’s felt need?
  7. Could I win a contest just with the wording of my first lines? (Don’t stress about this one, but think excellent quality.)
  8. Have I crammed too much into my first lines, and I can move something to the second or third lines?
  9. Do my lines progress the unfolding of my book’s premise?
  10. If the first lines of my paragraphs were lifted from the book and published separately, would I be willing to put my name with them?

If you use this checklist with every chapter in your book, do you know what you will have? Not only will you have tight, intriguing writing, but words that speak to the soul. That’s what we are aiming for as writers—to craft sentences that speak to the reader’s soul and etch some truth or hope on it forever. 

Will you accept the challenge? Try this exercise, and see what your answers are. Then read the first lines of your favorite books. How do those authors begin their paragraphs? What words did they use to make you read on? What information did they leave out, so you had to read on? We can learn from the best to make our work better, and each minute we take investing in our writing will make it shine all the more. 

Keep at it, writing comrade! And make each first line shine.

Which of the ten questions above are you already mindful of? Which ones may you need to remember? Tell us in the comments below, and keep the conversation going!

TWEETABLES


Katy Kauffman is an award-winning author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies. Her compilation, Breaking the Chains, won a 2018 Selah finalist award. Her newest compilation, Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character, discusses the hidden problems of growing in character and how to overcome them. Katy’s writing can be found at CBN.com, at Thoughts-about-God.com, at PursueMagazine.net, in online magazines, and on devotional blogs. Connect with her at www.lighthousebiblestudies.comand on Facebookand Twitter.
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by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel


Whoever invented the phrase “the wind rustling through the leaves” obviously sat on this screen porch in these woods. The breeze is so cool, the leaves are dancing, the birds are singing, and I am remembering one year ago when I sat right here and asked God to guide my writing of a new book.

Last summer while house/pet sitting for dear friends, I spent hours just listening – remembering stories, researching prayers and biographies and biblical teaching so that I would have enough chapters to submit to potential publishers. My desire was to write a devotional focusing on key biblical words that encourage action. 
            
At that time I had the 40 words and needed everything else. 
            
This summer? On the same porch, attended by rustling leaves, I hold the published book in my hand – “Live These Words.” In the short span of a year, God has fulfilled my dream and “established the works of my hands.”

The first chapter, “Come,” speaks of that time: 

“There at “Mountain Meadows” I settled into an antique wicker chaise on the screen porch which beckoned me during each morning cup of coffee. As I sat back and listened to the singing birds, the chirping cicada and occasional patter of raindrops, I was content. 

I was ‘with God.’

Just like Piglet in Winnie the Poohas he seeks his dearest friend. 
Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you.”

Do you need to just ‘be sure’ of Jesus? Then, get right next to Him.” *

Isn’t this always the first step towards spiritual growth – to get next to Jesus? Recently I was speaking in New Jersey and mentioned this illustration. In the audience was a visitor who had never been to a women’s retreat. After hearing my mention of Piglet and Winnie, she came up to me and pushed up her pants leg to reveal a tattoo. 

An ink replica from “Winnie the Pooh” classic storybook illustration of when
Piglet sidles up to Pooh “just to be sure of you.” And my words that night (of all the children’s books I could have mentioned) were a clear confirmation of God calling and wooing her to Himself. By the end of the weekend, she had responded in faith.

When we take time for God, He meets us in surprising ways. So this morning as I feel the breeze through the screen, I know that the Holy Spirit has continued to blow through my life since I last sat in this antique chaise.
            
What are your dreams, hopes, visions and desires this summer?Will you pray and seek God’s face? Ask Him to reveal to you … what? A new path? A new sense of His love and acceptance? A new “kick in the pants” to take the plunge of faith?

Why not set apart a time somewhere to simply be in God’s presence --  exploring a quiet place and marking a specific time on your calendar? Whatever you do, just enter in to your time with an open heart to receive God’s love. Come with open ears to hear His voice and come with open hands to carry back all you have gained. Just come….

“Father, I exult in the free, confident access You have provided so that I can come into Your Presence for warm fellowship, for refreshment, for mercy when I’ve failed, for grace when I’m in need. What a joy to know that I can draw near to You at any moment, wherever I may be…that I can come boldly to Your throne of grace, assured of Your glad welcome. Thank You that I can ‘be still’ and know that You are God… that You are in control… and that I can restfully depend upon You and absorb Your strength and joy and peace. Amen.” *
Ruth Myers (1928-2010)

As you pray this prayer, be prepared for what can happen in a year’s time. For me, those rustling leaves sound a lot like trees “clapping their hands.”

God did it. The applause of Heaven…

*selections from “Live These Words” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

TWEETABLES
What Can Happen with Your #Writing One Year from Now? @LucindaSMcDowel on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Give God time and see what He can do with your #writing - @LucindaSMcDowel on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is passionate about embracing life — both through deep soul care from drawing closer to God, as well as living courageously in order to touch a needy world. A storyteller who engages both heart and mind, she delights in weaving grace and mercy into ordinary life situations. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, she is the author of 13 books and contributing author to 30+ books. Her books include the award-winning, Dwelling Places (2017 Christian Retailing Best Award for Devotional) , Ordinary Graces,  Live These Words,  Refresh! and Role of a Lifetime.  A member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), Lucinda received Mt. Hermon “Writer of the Year” award and guest blogs monthly for The Write Conversation.Whether co-directing  "reNEW ~ retreat for New England Writing,"  pouring into young moms, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. Lucinda’s favorites include tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things.  Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at http://www.encouragingwords.net/ 
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by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

We all know it’s important for writers to have a solid presence online. 

But many of us struggle with Social Media commitment issues. We have good intentions, but our follow-through may be less than stellar. 

So today I’d like to share some tips to help you stay on track.


Stay Committed to Social Media

1. Set Reasonable Expectations. I think this is the most important piece of advice I can give you. When I first started blogging, I wanted to excel at it. So my inclination was to set the bar high, posting at least five times a week. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I might not be able to keep up. So instead I started slow, posting once a week, and only adding more days to my schedule when I knew I could handle it. It has been the smartest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve managed all my social media this way, and I believe it’s the one thing that has contributed the most to my success.

2. Don’t try to do it all at once. Along with reasonable expectations, don’t try to jump into everything at once. I began with blogging, moved into Facebook, and then into Twitter. Taking things one at a time helps you establish good habits without overburdening yourself.

3. Don’t try to do it all. It’s important to find a few things that you like with social media and stick with those. As I’m writing this, there are approximately 123 social media platforms. Five minutes from now that number will change. We can’t all do everything. Find the networks that work for you and concentrate on those instead of chasing every new things that comes up.

4. Diversify. Yes, stick with only a few. But make sure you are spreading your social media time between several networks. We all know that things change, and that’s true with social media. If you have all your social media eggs in one basket, you can get burned when those changes occur.

5. Give yourself a break. Trust me, life happens. There are going to be days when you won’t be able to give the time you want to social media. Relax, it will be fine. Kids get sick, deadlines appear, and tragedies strike. Keep your priorities reasonable and learn to be gentle with yourself.

6. Set a time limit. Remember social media is the means to an end. It’s the way to connect to your audience. Use it as a tool, but don’t spend all your time on it. Most of all, don’t let it interfere with your commitment to writing.

7. Celebrate your successes. It’s easy to get discouraged when the numbers move slowly. But small consistent steps will get you where you want to go. So celebrate the process.

8. Remember they’re people, not numbers. Yes, we want to improve our platform, but don’t focus on the numbers, focus on the relationships. After all, that’s why we’re doing this.

These are the things I use to help overcome my social media commitment issues. I’d love to hear your tips, too. Be sure to leave them in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie
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by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I don’t know about you, but I have trouble forgiving myself. For some reason I expect a level of perfection from myself that I would never expect from someone else.

Because of this, I also struggle to accept God’s forgiveness.

Somewhere deep inside is the fear that God has finally reached the limit of His patience with me and with my constant sin and shortcomings. Just writing this makes me shake my head because it’s so far from the truth. But I’m sad to say it’s something I struggle with.

The result of this lack of forgiveness is that I carry a lot of baggage that I don’t need to. I’m weighed down with past sins that God has long since forgiven. I also carry the baggage of unconfessed sin because I’m fearful of returning to God over and over again asking forgiveness for the same thing.

At times, I add the baggage of my own refusal to forgive someone else. I hold on to the way they’ve hurt me and try to make it into some kind of armor against getting hurt again. But that’s not what it is. Unforgiveness is just more weight to carry.

That kind of weight can weigh a person down. 

Baggage is something I need to get rid of. I need to drop it at the feet of Jesus and leave it there.

Luggage, on the other hand, is something that equips us for our travels. My luggage consists of the things that God has blessed me with. It also includes the lessons I’ve learned through the struggles and the triumphs of walking with God.
  • It’s the Bible verses I’ve memorized.
  • The praise songs that run through my mind.
  • The stories I’ve heard about God’s faithfulness. 
Everyone needs some luggage to be equipped for the journey has God in store for us. The trick is to get rid of the baggage.

So today I ask you what I asked myself. Are you carrying baggage or luggage on your personal journey? 

TWEETABLES
Baggage or Luggage—Which Am I Carrying? @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)
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The Write Conversation by Edie Melson - 1w ago

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

My friend, Sherrinda, recommended the book The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus. (I’m not going to comment on his wonderful middle name—Raphael—at this point. But I mean … really … Raphael.)

One thing Sherrinda said was how she was underlining the book like crazy.

So I bought the book … and I am doing the same thing. McManus’s book just breathes truth to my thirsty soul.

Today’s quote is one of those truths:

Our story is what we have to offer the world. 

McManus goes on to write:

“I wish I had a different story than the one I just lived through, but I am so grateful for the story that has made me who I am today.
Even the pain. Even the wound.
The sadness was real.
The brokeness deep.
The scars mine.
It’s my story.
It’s who I am.
It’s how I’m becoming.”

Today more than ever, I am embracing my story. Is it the beautiful fairy tale I longed for growing up? No. But it is my story … and as I allow God to soak it in his lavish grace—rather than steep it my efforts—it’s becoming something beautiful. Something worth sharing. 

Like McManus I can say:

The sadness was real.
The brokeness deep.
The scars mine.
It’s my story. 
And the healing is just as real. Just as deep.
Because God is real.

In Your Words: How are you embracing your story? How are you offering it to the world? 

TWEETABLESEmbracing my story - thoughts from @BethVogt on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Inspiring quotes for writers - @BethVogt on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Beth K. Vogt is a nonfiction author and editor who said she'd never write fiction. She's the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she'd never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She's a mom of four who said she'd never have kids. Now Beth believes God's best often waits behind the doors marked "Never." A women's fiction novelist, Beth's first novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, releases May 2018.

Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2014. A November Bride was part of the Year of Wedding series by Zondervan. Having authored nine contemporary romance novels or novellas, Beth believes there's more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us.

An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and also enjoys speaking to writers' groups and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people, and their youngest daughter, Christa, who loves to play volleyball and enjoys writing her own stories. Connect with Beth at  bethvogt.com.
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by Marcia Moston @MarciaMoston

I like to encourage people, to inspire them by sharing examples of others who have done something of interest. But today, I’m taking the “misery loves company” approach for those of you who may have returned from a conference high in hopes but are now scraping bottom, or those of you who can’t get even your mother to buy your book. Take heart. Here’s what a few giants who have trod that road before you have to say:

“The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.”John Steinbeck 

When a book dealer returned over 700 copies of one of his books, Henry David Thoreau wrote, ‘I now have a library of nearly 900 volumes, over 700 of which I wrote myself.”

While visiting a zoo, award-winning journalist Paul Dickson noticed saw a sign over a poisonous snake exhibit that said every year in America 1906 people were bitten by a poisonous snake. Dickson quipped that he had written a “snakebite book” because fewer people had bought his book that year than had been bitten by a snake.

Okay, so maybe that didn’t help. Most of you know the reasons for those rejection notices and low sales (there’re plenty of posts on this blog that offer industry advice and encouragement), but I want to consider another angle: 

Your purpose. The one you are uniquely designed for. The one you are best at doing.What if your real gift is as a supporter, or a connector or a teacher? How can you use your writing to that purpose?

I know a woman who has attended nearly every Blue Ridge writing conference for the past eight years. She is diligent to learn the trade and pursue the recommended paths, yet I don’t know if she has published a single word. But what she does do with whole-hearted generosity is promote others. She links posts, shares the successes and news reportsof writers and puts her money where her mouth is by buying their books and writing reviews.  Her name may not be on the front cover butI’m certain it’s indelibly written on the back page of many an author’s life. 

I’m not saying she shouldn’t continue writing if that’s her heart’s desire, but she’s an example of someone who is using her diligently acquired connections, information and skill sets for the purpose she seems so suited to. 

Your purpose might not look like you want it to. This idea flies in the face of doing whatever makes us happy, but it’s worth considering.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famously killed off Sherlock Holmes because Doyle wanted to write historical novels, which he considered to be “higher writing.” But he had created a character that wouldn’t die. The public mourned Sherlock’s death relentlessly, going so far as to wear black armbands and cancel magazine subscriptions. After several years, Doyle had to resuscitate his hero, living with him until his own death more than twenty years later.  

English evangelist, George Muller, known for his ministry to orphans, had fervently wanted to be a missionary, but every time he tried, God blocked his way. Eventually Muller embraced the work he knew God had purposed for him. Over the course of his life, Muller cared for over 10,000 orphans. Although a poor man, he left a legacy of giving hundreds of thousands of dollars —much of it to support missionaries on the fields he never got to go to himself.

You don’t know what God will do with even the most seemingly insignificant role.

Look up the story of Adolfo Kaminsky. Kaminsky was a Jewish teenager who worked at a dry cleaner. When his family needed forged papers to flee Hitler’s Europe, Kaminsky learned that the skills he’d acquired in stain-removal were valuable for making forged documents. Kaminsky stayed behind and applied his talents to forging papers that saved thousands of lives.

So what is your writing purpose?I am aware I have dragged an elephant into the room because the answer is beyond the scope of this post. Personality profiles, gift tests and life-coaching materials abound on the Internet. But here’s a start for examining your purpose:
  • Prayer—be confident that God is a rewarder of those who seek him. 
  • Passion—be specific about what interests you. For example, if you like to write, do you prefer to do it by informing, inspiring, entertaining, scaring? 
  • People—be generous in supporting others in your areas of influence.
And finally, 
  • Presence—be available behind the scenes and visible before them, because you never know what gets noticed, when, or by whom. You never know what higher purpose those seemingly insignificant efforts will be used for. I always get a chuckle when I think of Job’s words, “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!” (Job 19:23)
Hey Job—I’m happy to say they were and they’ve encouraged many a drooping soul— for about the past few thousand years or so. The purpose for your suffering has served others well. May it be so with the work of our own hands.

TWEETABLE


Marcia Moston—author of the award-winning Call of a Coward-The God of Moses and the Middle-class Housewife—has written columns and features for several magazines and newspapers. She has served on the faculty of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and currently teaches her true love—memoir and creative nonfiction—at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute on the Furman campus in South Carolina.
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