Writing Choices

I bought a book from the library last week by Debbie Macomber entitled Hannah’s List – a hardcover for $4.00 – copyrighted in 2010 and published by Mira, USA.

Since she’s a “New York Times”  and “USA Today” Bestseller, I thought I’d analyze her book. I just finished reading Changing Habits by her and liked how quickly the characters drew me in. It was copyrighted in 2004 and published by Harlequin Enterprises.

Changing Habitsphoto from http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/changing-habits-debbie-macomber/1100346303  

I’ve been praying about what God wants me to do with my writing. I bought a labeler for organizing and after the kitchen labels, I went to the office. I labeled four different notebooks and it could have been five.

One was filled with notes and outlining for a romance my younger sister and I were going to write. She moved and we both began to realize the immenseness of writing a novel. We decided to give it up.

Another notebook had the bare bones for a novel I thought of beginning last year.

The next notebook is filled with character sketches, pictures of furniture where the characters live, detailed outline notes. That’s the finished novel that fell flat.

The fourth notebook was going to be a non-fiction book for children on the Great Depression. An elderly lady wanted to co-author it with me, but then she told me she wanted to do it by herself since she planned on writing for adults.

The non-existent notebook would have helped with a book on marriage. I spent a lot of time researching and writing a book on marriage. Unfortunately I listened to an editor at a writers conference when she said, “You’re writing a book on marriage? There’s so many, why waste your time on that?”

So, I am seeking God for guidance.

I have a lot of interests and I’m picturing my writing life. Decisions, decisions – without distinct goals nothing will get done.

As I eliminate items from my home I’m seeing things more clearly. Praise God!

May God bless you.

Writing

Writing comes easily to me at times and other times I’ll put words on the page and consider them drivel. The problem is that I don’t always know what is a waste of time for me and for the reader and what is not. In the book of Proverbs, Wisdom tells us to seek her. She is more valuable than silver and gold. I believe that. King Solomon wrote this advice to his sons: Proverbs 3:13, (ESV)  Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,

Pro 3:14  for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.

Pro 3:15  She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Pro 3:16  Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.

Pro 3:17  Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

Pro 3:18  She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.

Pro 3:19  The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens;

Pro 3:20  by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.

Pro 3:21  My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion,

Pro 3:22  and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.

Pro 3:23  Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.

Pro 3:24  If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

I remember years ago in college I needed to write a paper for a political science class and I couldn’t seem to get to it in a timely manner. So, the night before it was due, I began. At three a.m., I had reached the word limit allowed and it flowed according to the assignment’s structure. Answer these questions and give your proofs. I did that. Exhaustion prevailed, I read it and told my boyfriend the next morning on the way to class that the paper stunk and I was going to throw it away.

He said, “What?”

I was serious and he couldn’t believe I’d throw it away moments before the final deadline.

“Let me read it quick.”

“Okay, but it’s garbage.”

He scanned it before we went our separate ways. “Hand it in.”

“Are you serious?”

“Hand it in, it’s due, it’s done, hand it in.”

I shook my head in disbelief and handed it in. I got an A-.

That’s why I like people to read my manuscripts before I submit them to an editor or to a client.

That’s why I like to read the Bible and pray. I may be ready to enter a meeting, ready to state my opinion loudly and clearly without an ear to hear someone else’s viewpoint. If I pray, “Lord, give me wisdom, give me clarity of thought and guard my lips before I speak,” I’m apt to go in with a kinder attitude. I’m likely to listen with the intent to understand the other person as Stephen Covey advocates in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, copyrighted in 1989, published by Fireside, New York, NY. Then when I give my viewpoint, I’m hoping they’ll understand what I’m trying to convey. Which Mr. Covey said in his book as well.

Do you like to write? Do you like to listen?

May God bless you!

Writing for God

I was looking back through my planner for 2015 and I ran across what I thought were some words from the Lord. He speaks in a still small voice, so I try hard to sit quietly once in a while and listen closely.

I am the type of person that moves around and gets ideas and pops up just to do one more thing.

I wrote a devotional last year and in July of 2015 an editor told me to flesh it out and she’d be glad to publish it if it retained it’s style. So I got online and found the guidelines to copy and read a few samples of other writings. I re-wrote my article to her specifications and let it rest for a while. Then I fished it out of the file cabinet and looked at the guidelines again. It was at least fifty words short. I refiled it to get to later and neglected to mark it in my planner. Not good.

In October, I thought I heard the Lord saying get the devotional out of the drawer and send it out. I’m paraphrasing.

Something came up and I thought I’d return to it later. Then in November I went through October’s entries to jot down an index of events and there was the word from the Lord. By then, I’m thinking of Thanksgiving and preparations. Also, my daughter decided on an early wedding and that took lots of concentration.

I went through my 2015 planner for information I need now, and there was the entry. Oh, man!

Jesus talks about being obedient in the little things before we’ll be given the privilege of bigger opportunities in a parable. In Matthew 25:21 (KJV), Jesus told his disciples about a business man that left others in charge of his vineyard. “His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”

With that in mind, I’m going to mark my planner before going to bed tonight. I like that article and to have an editor like it too, well that was nice to hear. I wrote about my oldest daughter and her pair of gloves from when she was a little girl. Good memories.

As I searched for the previous verse, I came across these verses. It always amazes me how straight forward Jesus was. He spoke with authority and that is why the crowds marveled because they could see he wasn’t a highly educated man. He was a carpenter like his stepdad. Anyhow, here’s verses from the book of Luke in the King James Version that show Jesus’ thinking:

Luk 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth the good. And an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth the evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Luk 6:46 And why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?
Luk 6:47 Whoever comes to Me and hears My Words, and does them, I will show you to whom he is like.
Luk 6:48 He is like a man who built a house and dug deep and laid the foundation on a rock; and a flood occurring, the stream burst against that house and could not shake it; for it was founded on a rock.
Luk 6:49 But he who hears and does not perform, is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, on which the stream burst, and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.

I heard Dr. James Mac Donald say something similar to what my husband says. We serve a powerful God and we need to repent of our sins, often. He’s more than a God Whom loves us and wants the best for us. He is a judge and He’s holy. My husband says to keep short accounts with God.

I love Scripture even though sometimes I see how much I need a Savior, a Redeemer.

So I will write a note in my planner, again, “send out the manuscript!” I’ll give it a high priority and I’ll ask God to help me send it before next week, in case it needs to rest for a few days. I know it’s not finished yet. I’m not finished yet, and God is patiently working on my character. He is faithful and I want to be, too.

Wrestle or Surrender?

Ephesians 6:12 (KJV): For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

I love being a Christian for many reasons: one is experiencing God’s love as He shows Himself to me as I read the Bible. Today I read in Romans 8 that nothing will ever separate me from the love of Christ. Not principalities, nor powers, nor tribulations, and I’m paraphrasing here. I’ve been running into some difficulties lately, which feels like spiritual warfare. Some of the stress is because I need to let go of things and give them to God. So when I read Romans 8 today and then Ephesians 1, which reminds me that God predestined believers to come to Him before time began, I experienced such peace, which is the second reason I’m glad to be a Christian.

In 2 Peter 3:9 it says that God does not want anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance. In Romans 3:23 it tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. So, we all need a savior to make it into God’s holy heaven.

I wonder if everyone is predestined to go to heaven if only they will choose. I guess that doesn’t make sense. Someone once told me that they thought everyone’s name is written in the Book of Life until they reject Jesus Christ, God the Son, or the Father, or the Holy Spirit, and then their name is blotted out. So I guess they believe everyone is predestined until they say, “No thank you.”

The third thing I enjoy about Christianity is leaving the guilt behind. Once I repent, if I need to every ten minutes, God says our sins are as far away as the East is from the West in Psalm 103:12. He remembers them no more.

The fourth thing that I enjoy is that God wants what’s best for me and for all of mankind, so He tells us in the Bible to fear not. My daughter said it tells us that 365 different places in the sixty-six books. Which is why I’ve been willing to face rejections when I send manuscripts out to publishers. I ignore the fear and try to do the best writing and follow the writers’ guidelines and choose topics the editors actually want to see and send them out.

So, do I wrestle against flesh and blood when things go bad in my life and people act against me? According to God, when terrible things come my way I have to consider the source. Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy, Jesus said in John, chapter 10. Jesus came to give life and that abundantly, according to John 10:10.

I write because I really like to write. I surrendered my life to God many years ago so I will never have to surrender to the enemy of my soul, who only wants to inflict pain, and keep me from what I like to do. When things get bad, I turn to the word of God and He fights my battles for me. Jesus spoke the word against the devil and the power of that word sent him scurrying. I speak the word and it changes the atmosphere. To God be the glory.

 

Don’t Give Up

Someone told me that Davis Bunn said that if he didn’t get his quota of words done one day, he did not add them to his next day’s quota. He accepted the fact that he’s human and began the next day determined to meet his daily amount of words to write without a thought for yesterday’s loss. I’ll bet he doesn’t do that very often though. 🙂 I’m paraphrasing this person who quoted Davis Bunn. I have no way of checking this quote, so I hope it’s right.

I did not get my five hours of writing in today, or my three hours of housework. I went through the day with my normal routine before the conference. I felt a little grouchy over this new schedule. Then I read a novel for about two hours. Tomorrow I intend to start over. 🙂

If Davis Bunn can begin again, surely I can, too. We’re all human, after all. I did continue work on the young adult novel I’ve been working on for over seven years. I feel closer to the end of it, although if a publisher accepts it, I know the editor will want revisions. That is what I hear always happens. I’m all for it. My emotions may get in the way, but that’s okay.

I’ve decided more than once in my life to stick with a hard choice. Sometimes I talk to myself. “Don’t give up.” When I read Winston Churchill’s quote to the English people during WWII about never giving up, I get a thrill throughout my bones.

On a cork board in plain sight are the words, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5
God’s word encourages me often. I hope this blog finds you well.