Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Get 'er done!

Do any of you need an in-house rehab 
program in time management?


If I recorded in a journal each night how I spent my day, it would not look anything like what I claim to prioritize.  (You all know what I'm talking about. Do you prioritize Facebook? Twitter? Television?)

Maybe we just need daily reminders of our priorities. 

I decided I needed to make dates with my writer self. 

And keep them.

This month I had two appointments on my calendar for updating
my blogs. It worked! Although, I didn't get the task finished, I made major progress.


My mouth dropped open when I really dug in and saw how outdated my pages were. Some of my sidebar links were no longer pointing to anything. A few were still working but quite dated, and better off gone. (Don't investigate yet--I'm not done.)


I spent the most time on my farm blog. A little voice asked me why I would waste time there if my
book was a priority. I thought about it...



 Writing a blog is good exercise. Not for the body, but for the writer's brain. Besides, I have things to write about that don't belong in a novel. And I enjoy writing. Anything.

You know the old saying: If you don't use it, you lose it! So I'm using it.

Are you stuck in a rut? Does writer's block have you avoiding your WIP? Write something else. Write a poem. Write an essay. Write a blog.



I have a date with my book.

It's on my calendar in April. 

I have given myself advance notice.


Whatever it is you've been putting off, 
why not mark you calendar? Do it now.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Struck by the Proverbial Lightning Bolt!


It's been almost a year since I wrote this post about the dilemma I face with my WIP. Since then, God has been busy with me. Funny thing is, I didn't even realize how much He was doing!

Does this verse from Psalm 25 hit home for any of you? I pray continuously for God to show me what He wanted me to do with my book. But I didn't just pray about my writing...

God has led me into working in children's and teen ministry. I enjoy it tremendously, and love watching the seeds grow! But He put on my heart that there was another purpose for which He was calling me, and I just couldn't put my finger on it. I prayed and prayed for wisdom and enlightenment. I had lots of ideas, but no clear direction...


In His Word, He promises to show us the path...right? 
I was constantly looking for the illuminated road sign. 
When I found my path, I would know it...right?

I've been taught that God will give you affirmation.
He will make sure you know that you know...
So I waited for clarity.
And I waited.
Until...clarity knocked me over.



Forgive me for all the back-story I'm about to share, but it's important.

 If you follow my blog, you know that I'm a fan of Jody Hedlund. You also know (if your memory is better than mine, or if you clicked the above link for a past post) that I avoided reading Christian fiction for a long while. I don't know if I shared how I came to read Jody's books...

I won her debut novel in a contest I don't remember entering.

Let's switch gears from Jody to Terri. 

Through blogger, I became friends with Terri Tiffany, another inspirational writer. Terri had been published many times in the Chicken Soup books, along with various publications including Sunday school papers, but had yet to have a novel published. Somehow, I ended up teaching her how to do a little something with images and text on her blog, and from there I ended up being a beta reader for a book she wrote titled The Mulligan. (I think my next post might be a review. Hint: 5-stars. Buy it!)


I have also read her next-to-be-published book that landed her an agent! So let's just go ahead and call her a profession author. A real honest-to-goodness author.

More than once, she offered to read my WIP, so I nervously sent her some chapters. The feedback I received brought me to tears!

No, it wasn't that bad. Though, she did offer some constructive advice for which I am thankful, she said she saw talent. She asked me why I wasn't writing. I remember how I felt when I read her reply. This real author liked my writing! She encouraged me so much! 

 

Switching gears again...


On Tuesday mornings, I attend a ladies' Bible study. I can't even begin to tell you how much our in-depth studying has sculpted my life. God has revealed so much to me through my homework...

We are currently doing a Beth Moore study titled Children of the Day on 1 & 2 Thessalonians. In our homework this past week, the focus for one day was on how to figure out what God has created you to do. Hmm...I need this. I leaned forward in my chair. After reading that God made us with our own unique DNA for a purpose, and that we just need surrender to Him, her very next paragraph said:
"If you're a writer..."

I think this is a good graphic to use right here...

 Can you see the path?
Any little signs that I'm supposed to go that way?



I honestly cried. I'm sitting there, ready for this illumination--'Beth, tell me what to do!' She could have started this section with any other example... If you're a teacher; if you're a prayer warrior; if you're a singer--but she didn't. She wrote, "If you're a writer..." Why? Why would she choose those specific words to start this point? This is a Bible study--not a writer's conference. She had just been talking about missionaries and foster parents--people really doing godly work--not creative thinkers.

"If you're a writer..." I just can't type it enough!

And if that's not a bright enough light for the trail, two pages later, Beth instructs us:
"OK! It's your turn! Testify in this space to ways God has used others to encourage, train, or direct you in your works or your calling. Get specific, using names..." 
I didn't have to think about it. My instantaneous answer started with:
'Terri Tiffany asked me why I'm not writing.'


 Yep, that is exactly what happened.

If you randomly asked me, "Who does God use to encourage you?" my answer might list some of the mature ladies at church or a best friend. But in that moment--when the proverbial lightning bolt came right through the ceiling of my dining room--I thought of Terri. And Jody. And Beth Moore. And the many other Christian authors to whom I have made connections online and through books.



Let's do a super-condensed time-line of events...
  1. I won a Christian novel in a contest I don't remember entering. (And I didn't mention that I rarely--almost never--enter contests.)
  2. I became good friends with a contemporary author who lives over a thousand miles away.
  3. Beth Moore wrote, "If you're a writer..."
Well. 

Tell me why I was looking for confirmation. All this time I have questioned whether my book should be secular or inspirational. All this time I have wondered what special ministry God has planned for me since before I was conceived. Anybody have any idea what I'm supposed to do?



The answer was right there all along.

Some of us just need a two-by-four to the side of the head.

Or a lightning bolt.