The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. **Mark Twain

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Just let it go!

I was talking to a writer friend last night. She's been working on a novel for 10 years. It's completed and she even has an idea for the cover. It's been completed for about two years. I've read parts of it and it's pretty good.

But....she keeps saying, "I think it needs a little more tweaking."

I think all writers suffer with that type of fear. We want the world to like what we write so we are continually trying to write something of "worth". That's a great philosophy - until - it robs us of a career. There's a lot of things wrong with that type of thinking.

1. When you do finally believe it's perfect and you present it to an editor, they will probably want to know how long you've been working on it. If you say ten years, they will gulp wondering if they will be able to get another book out of you. If the first one is successful, they will want a follow-up book. And they will want you to write it in less time.

2. Think of all the information and stories you could have written in the time you spent re-writing the first one. The world has missed at least 9 books while you were fussing with one.

3. Authors should be willing to speak and get out and meet people. If your book is published, your life will be filled with speaking engagements and book signings. You are going to have to produce other books while all that is going on.

4. After a few re-writes, your writing will suffer. If we used a line graph to represent the first few re-writes of your book, the line would soar to the top. Every writer must do some re-writing. But as you begin to challenge every word, the line will curve and finally drop off the bottom.

So...if you are getting ready for a writer's conference like I am - or if you are sitting at home playing with your book or article - it's time......Just let it go!

I have a huge project that I will present at this conference. I hope it's liked and received with a big - "yes, let's publish!" But even if it isn't, I'll take the criticism and rework it and present it again. For now...I'm just going to Let it GO!

God loves you and has called you to write,


Friday, February 20, 2009

Can you be this bold?

One News source reported on a 12-year old girl who wanted to give a speech presentation for her class.

Lia is a preteen from Canada who decided to speak out against abortion in her school's speech contest, despite teachers and school officials who encouraged her to pick a different topic.

"What if I told you that right now someone was choosing if you were going to live or die? What if I told you that this choice wasn't based on what you could or couldn't do, what you had done in the past, or what you would do in the future? And what if I told you [that] you could do nothing about it? Fellow students and teachers, thousands of children are right now in that very situation," she says in her speech.

You can read the entire article here:

I went to You Tube and listened to her speech. By the end I had tears in my eyes. All I could think about was if that young lady could present the kind of poise and grace in her delivery of "unwanted" truth....then I had better find the courage to speak the truth as well.

As I've said so many times before, this world needs strong, dedicated writers that will "highlight" the truth. I hope you will join me in working to be the "salt and light" that this old world needs.

You can view her speech here:

God loves you and has called you to write,


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Are you Afraid to write?

We all have dreams. There are things we want to accomplish for ourselves and for God. It's exciting when we start the journey of writing. We have a wonderful idea and we know that it will bless or encourage or even teach readers more about God.

As you begin to write you visualize the reader and his current mood. Perhaps you stop to watch the news or read an article in the paper. You realize how militant some people are. You understand that the words you have just put on paper will incite some people to attack you. You try to remove anything negative or offensive to anyone but as you refuse to take a stand, your writing looses it's strength.

In his book, Against the Night, Chuck Colson writes, "I believe that we do face a crisis in Western culture, and that it presents the greatest threat to civilization since the barbarians invaded Rome."

We serve a God who commands us to trust Him. Even when we face the "spirit of the antichrist," we need not fear "because the one who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world." I John 4:3-4

We need to pray all the time (Eph. 6:18) and be strong in the Lord and in his might power (Eph. 6:10) knowing that Jesus has already won the battle.

Pastor Samuel Namitiiti from Uganda stayed with me the last few days on his way to the Mt. Hermon Writer's conference. He was telling us about how his church was surrounded by Idi Amin's soldiers and how they machine gunned the church for over 30 minutes. He told how one young man stood and blew his trumpet during the entire time and how all the people prayed. After the shooting stopped not one person was hurt. Even with glass flying all around and bullets piercing different pieces of furniture no one was hurt.

Horrified, I asked if he was afraid. "No. I was concerned about what might happen to my family or what I was going to face - but I was not really afraid. You see, I realized that I am not a creature of this world. I am an eternal being with an eternal home. What happens in the span of this journey is inconsequential to the thin moment that separates me from my heavenly home. It's but a breath that takes me from here to there. Here is the test....there is the reward."

Wow! I can never say it enough - authors.....we can and MUST change the world.

Acts 18:9-11

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city." So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Friday, February 6, 2009

Inspiration is rampant at Writer's Conference

This blog is dedicated to lifting the spirits of any writer! I believe that we are the hope for the future. Nothing on the planet can inspire and change a nation like a well turned phrase.

I hope you will join my efforts and make comments or be a guest blogger on this site. I can see that the stats for this blog are climbing, but I would like to connect with you personally and I know other readers would like to meet you as well. If you are a guest blogger, I will highlight your book or website.

Many of us are preparing for Writer's Conferences. All year long we do our "thing". We sit in our lonely little offices, struggling for insight while sludging through re-write after re-write. We receive rejection letters and send e-mails to editors that are never answered.

But once a year, after saving all our pennies, we get on planes, trains, buses and cars - making our way to a Writer's conference. There we connect. We eat our lunch with an editor and absorb a how to class with a famous author. We participate in discussions and sit on community benches thanking God for this privilege. We pray with others who are also struggling to be published and we feel renewed when they pray for us. We jump for joy when someone compliments our work.

Attending a Writer's Conference is the most important thing you can do as a writer. If you are serious about being published - you must pick one and go. You will not only get the instruction needed to correct any flaws in your writing, but you can "feel" the acceptance, patience and inspiration in the air.

If you are low on funds, check out the possibility of a scholarship. Many conferences offer some type of help. While conferences without editors can be helpful and cheaper - I've found that connecting with that editor on a personal level is huge! (Picture - Debbie with Ginger Kolbaba of Today's Christian woman)

I will attend the Florida Christian Writer's Conference February 26-March 1. This is a wonderful conference and editors from large publishing companies will be there.

I will also attend the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Conference in California April 1 - 7. They offer a mentoring clinic just prior to the main conference. A mentoring clinic will give you personal attention and can point out those little changes that will make a positive difference in your manuscript.

Next time, let's discuss the proper way to approach an editor. Do you have a story about an experience at a writer's conference? Send it to me and I'll post it here.

If you attend one of these conferences - please look me up and say hello!

God loves you and has called you to write,


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Do you need "inspiration" to write?

I remember sitting in a writer's conference and hearing Dennis Hensley announce, "Everyone in America wants to write a book." He went on to say, "Very few people have the drive and determination to follow through."

His comment made a valid point but I was sceptical that it was true. One day I was sitting in an emergency waiting room. I had my pen and paper poised and was scribbling away. I opened a writer's manual and read for a minute and then went back to my writing. A lady next to me asked, "Are you studying for an exam?"

I stopped and smiled at her. "No, I'm a writer."

"Oh, that's great. I have an idea for a wonderful story. I've never read anything like my story. I know it would be a great seller."

"Are you a writer?"

"No, well....I would like to be. I have this great idea, but I just don't have time right now. One of these days though." She looked up at the ceiling and sighed. " of these days."

Over the last three years I've met a lot of those people. They have great ideas but just can't find the time or the will power to put those ideas on paper. I think one of the saddest excuses is the one about "inspiration".

Five years ago a young man told me he was working on a great book. I listened to his idea and it was an exceptional one. Unfortunately, this young man is under the impression that you can only be a "great" writer when you are inspired. Putting words on paper and working through them later won't produce a truly inspired piece - or so he thinks. Recently I asked him how the novel was coming. "Not so good. I've just got so much going on in my life that I can't find the inspiration I need."

"How much have you done?"

"I've almost finished the introduction."

How sad. In five years he's only completed about three pages. Writing is a job that will not wait. If we are going to help people or spread the gospel or give society the information it needs for change....then we can't waste time. I like how Jim Denny deals with inspiration in his book, Quit your Day Job.

Habits are better than Inspiration

Over the dozen or so years that I've been writing full-time, I've discovered something about myself: My creative energies rise and fall. I have learned to become keenly aware of those energy levels. There are days when I feel creatively depleted. I don't feel that inner motivation, intensity, and drive to write. It's not that I feel physically tired. I just feel creatively spent, listless, and uninspired.

Yet there are other days when I wake up full of an inner fire, my mind bursting with ideas, my fingers eager to dance on the keyboard. I think that's the experience some people describe when they say they feel "inspired" to write. I enjoy writing on days when I feel inspired -- but I have found that such days are rare. Most days, writing is work. I enjoy my work, so that's okay, but rarely do I feel "inspired" when I work. I get my work done by simply being there and slogging through it, hour by hour, day after day.

It's my habit. I write everyday. On those rare occasions that I go a whole day without writing (Christmas, family vacations..) I have a vague, nagging sense that I should be writing. Something inside tells me that it's not right to not write.

That's the power of a habit.

If I only wrote when inspired, my output of published books would be a slim fraction of what it is today - and you wouldn't be reading this book right now. Fact is, there are many days I drag my unwilling carcass to the computer, slump in my chair, groan inarticulately, and begin grinding out my day's allotment of words. Occasionally, while I am sitting in that unwilling, uninspired state, I feel something come over me: the magic of inspiration. The words on the screen take on a life of their own. Ideas start flowing like wine. Soon, I find I can't type fast enough to keep up with the magic.

By the time I'm ready to stop, I've racked up two or three thousand words. If I hadn't started writing purely by habit, I would have missed the lightning bolt of inspiration when it finally struck. So, I write daily and diligently, inspired or not. As someone once observed, "The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair."

Habits are constant. Inspiration is variable - it comes and goes. That's why habits are better than inspiration. It is habit, not inspiration, that builds writing careers. Inspiration makes you feel energized while you write, but inspiration isn't writing. Only writing is writing and you can write whether you feel inspired or not.

(Used with permission)

So.....what are you waiting for???? Get busy!

God loves you and has called you to write,