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.

Giving and Receiving

The other day I read Randy Ingermanson’s “The Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine,” published on May 9, 2016. He wrote about goal setting and taking small steps so you can stick to the goal until it becomes a habit.

 

While looking for the May e-zine so I could reference it, I read the June 13, 2016 issue which dealt with keeping too many e-mails and clearing the inbox. Both e-zines get to writing tips and publishing advice which I find helpful. I appreciate his generosity.

 

Luke_6:38, (KJV)  “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again,” Jesus said.

 

I believe God will bless Randy Ingermanson for his gift to other writers. A similar promise from the Word of God is that people reap what they sow. It’s in Galatians 6:7,8. Of course, that may work for us or against us. A popular saying that means the same thing is “What goes around comes around.”

 

I hope you’re well. God bless!

 

 

 

Goals and Life Choices

Two days ago, on the demo exercise page, I checked off the blog twice a week box as if it were done. Then for two days I couldn’t seem to get to the computer. I hate writing out goals and then watching them sit, and then writing them over and over again each day. It causes me to begin or delete. Which is not a bad thing, I suppose. It’s just if the delete thing keeps happening, it can get discouraging. So I try to delete in moderation.

Ya know, do all things in moderation. 🙂

I’m reading and writing answers in a Bible study book, “Philippians: Experiencing God’s Peace,” by Elizabeth George. I think I’ve had it for years, but I think the timing is always a God-thing with my books. So I’m learning more about Paul’s life and his admonitions. Follow him as He follows Christ. Jesus Christ laid down His life as a sacrifice for others. Paul did the same. It’s heavy stuff. Given the opportunity, would I lay down my life for another? I hope so.

I’ve also read a few books that I didn’t care for. They were recommended in writing improvement books. Read this book, it’ll help you with characterization. Read that book, it’ll help you with dialogue. In Philippians 4:8 it talks about choosing what to think about. Here’s the American Standard Version: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

One book went back to the library at chapter three. The others were good until the very end, and then I was disappointed.One of the two actually made me mad. It was based in Victorian times, but the moral at the end was very much our times. One of the characters went insane because of controlling their passions. Please.

I’m trying to decide how to live according to Phil 4: 8. Also, Jesus said to be in the world, but not of the world. So, this evening, I got out two library books, one by Davis Bunn and one by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. I figure reading Christian authors is not a bad start. I’m not sure I’ll give up secular authors, but tonight I decided to. I guess I’ll research secular authors before I grab their books.

What are you reading lately, anything you want to talk about?

 

September – a Month of Beginnings

I have a five-year old grandson that lives too far away from me. He started kindergarten this Fall. A new beginning for him and his mom. He’s her oldest.

I found an empty DEMO Exercise sheet of paper that asks you to rate everything you want to be, to do, and to have with boxes for a rating from one to ten. There is a spot to rate the benefit to myself and to others, again with a one to ten rating. The items that add up to forty are the ones you’re supposed to do first. Ten for desire, ten for enjoy, ten for benefiting me, ten for benefiting others. The problem is, I tend to have more than one forty, maybe ten or twelve of them. So then I rank them by alphabet with a number to follow. A1 is my first priority, A2 second, etc. I go as far as D and then I quit. So if I’m on a to-be item number twenty-eight and realize that it’s really important to me, I’ll make it an A1.5. It can get confusing. 🙂

The good news is that it works for me. I may not stick to it perfectly. I cleaned my refrigerator the other day, which was my A1. Yes, because I’d been avoiding that chore. The next thing I know I’m mopping floors, which was an A7, because all my life, when I clean the refrigerator, I mop the floors because I always spill water or get crumbs on the floor. I’m happy to note that blog two times a week is an A2.5, and so far so good, I think.

My husband has a hard time with goal setting he tells me. My DEMO Exercise list has thirty-six items on it and covers all of my life, although I think I missed one. Something is niggling at the back of my mind. I include vacation ideas, writing ideas, hobbies, etc. I notice I’m getting more done than I have in a while, because I forgot about these DEMO sheets, which are no longer being manufactured in Rochester, NY. Probably because everyone uses far less paper. Now that I remembered, I decided to fill one out and voila’, it’s helping me focus. Yay! So I decided to make my version on my computer.

I missed out on some fun on Saturday because I was mopping feverishly, trying to be on time. I told one of the ladies that I may not make it because I had a long list of things to do. A few of my friends never would have made plans in the first place if the house needed attention. We’re such individuals, aren’t we? This mopping instead of joining friends is a real answer to prayer. I have too many opportunities to visit with people or to set my own hours, and if I always choose the fun, things get left undone. Then I suffer, my husband suffers, and it impacts others. I’m only there half-halfheartedly, with a weight around my spirit.   It’s taken me a long time to realize this; sad but true. So September is an eye opener for me practically speaking and spiritually. I feel God wants me to take some time and sit quietly with Him to do some introspection. He wants me to make some changes for good that may not be easy, but definitely worth the effort. Whatever I do that lines up with His word always enriches my life. It may stretch me like crazy, but if I feel He’s telling me to do something, He always helps me.

When my husband became a pastor and we moved to another town, a friend gave me a plaque that reads, “The Grace of God will enable you to be what He made you to be and do what He has called you to do.” There’s a Scripture quotation on the bottom, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Do you sense God calling you to step out of your comfort zone? How are you doing with that? Has September brought you beginnings you want to write about?

Crossroads in Life

Have you ever come to a crossroad in life? Do I change jobs because I’m constantly at odds with the company’s policies? Do I continue dating this man or tell him we need to part ways? Do I continue to follow Christ when all my friends tell me I’m no fun anymore? Do I spend this money or save it toward a specific goal: education, better food, clothes, transportation, to help someone in need? Do I continue working tremendous hours or do I spend more time with my loved ones?

Life gives us so many opportunities. When a crisis hits, we can pivot and change priorities radically or in increments. Sometimes a crisis will so change us that folks that haven’t seen us in years will feel they don’t know us anymore. Tomorrow at church I am going to give a word that I’m sure God has spoken to me, in His still small voice. It is the second time I ‘ll say the same thing in a short time span. “I’m coming quickly,” that’s what I believe Jesus is saying. So many biblical prophecies are already fulfilled. His quickly may not be “my” quickly, but then again, it might be. So I consider my writing. Spend a ton of time on finishing my novel. Spend more time blogging. Continue placing ads for freelance writing for individuals or businesses.

What do you think? Part of the word is to stir up the gift within you that God has given you, now is not the time to lie dormant. Do you want to share your opinion?

Dare I Say “Changed” So Quickly?

I feel such hope after attending the Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference. I e-mailed Cecil Murphey, a prolific, award-winning writer. He suggested I ask him for a critique he did on six lines of story at the conference. I signed up for his newsletter while on his website.

I also e-mailed Larry Leech because he said he’d be glad to send me notes on proposals, since I was at Cecil Murphy’s class: “The Power of Story,” when Larry was teaching “Nonfiction Book Proposal.” I signed up for his online newsletter as well.

I’ve come home from many conferences, but soon afterwards, my follow-through slipped away. I never came home with three people asking for a synopsis or a proposal. I never came home and sat down with my husband asking him for input into the scheduling of writing hours.

Cec Murphey asked me what I could give up, so I could spend more time at the keyboard. I really pondered that after our fifteen minute appointment.

Now, here I am, blogging for the second day in a row. I cleaned for three hours yesterday and wrote for five hours. I’m on that same time frame today. It’s amazing how much gets done when the mind is set to get started and set to continue.

I feel changed! Have you ever set a goal that eluded you before, maybe many times, and then you finally reached it? What was the turning point for you?