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

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thank you for all your prayers!

I think God must look at people like me with a "tsk, tsk, tsk" every so often. I'm always concerned about doing the right thing. I spend a lot of time researching my opinions, my work ethics and my daily routines - just to be sure that I'm on task and doing what God would have me do.

Then there's a little hic-cup followed by a medium hic-up followed by a large gasp and an explosion. There I stand in the middle of a rubble of hopes and dreams and wonder what in the world happened. All my plans, all my research, all my hopes and dreams are merely a pile of broken pieces surrounded by a lot of dust. I quickly look around and wonder if others have noticed. "I'll bet she thinks I messed up." "Maybe he wonders why I'm not finished with this project or that one." "Oh my, please dear God....please don't let her feel like I've let her down!"

I fret and worry and wish that I could somehow be perfect - but alas! Failed again.

I love writing on my blogs. I love my readers and want to help them. But this week, I've felt like the little hic-cup of last week's surgery blossomed into an explosion of events that couldn't be helped and yet prevented me from writing.

Have you every felt pushed along by circumstances? Have you ever wondered what your friends thought of you? Have you ever felt like you failed and yet you know you did the very best you could?

If you answered yes to those questions then you are just like everyone on the planet. Even the most productive, resourceful and sanctified Christian has had at least one week or one month of stressful "I'm not preforming at my best" days.

And if you answered no to those questions - then you probably aren't human. You must be an angel only visiting and using the computer because it would be something novel to do. (Which means you probably don't need my writing anyway.)

The best news of all is that God understands. He expects us to "be" the best person we can be. He wants us to "strive" to do all that he has called us to do. But....I know that he is also compassionate. He can read our hearts. He knows when we are goofin' off and he is also aware of those special times when the circumstances were just out of our control. He knows the truth about our lives and he loves us anyway. Ahhhh....isn't that reassuring?
My surgery went fine. It took a lot more out of me than I thought it would and therefore my busy schedule was interrupted much longer than I had hoped. But....I do appreciate all the prayers and thoughts and I hope that I'm now on the mend!
I love you all and I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas Season.

God loves you and has called you to write,

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Just in case everyone is wondering what's going on with Debbie and her sites.....I have been preparing for surgery. I will have what I hope will be minor surgery tomorrow morning.

Please say a prayer for me. Hopefully, I will be able to return to daily postings beginning Tuesday. I have so much material to send your way!

God bless you and I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Writing is too hard:(

I shook my head and couldn't believe Jimmy McMillan and his party of "The Rent is too d*** high".  It caused a lot of pundits to smile and even a few to agree that the rent is too d*** high. 

Since then (although I don't use those words) a couple of times I've sat at my desk and thought.  "Writing is too hard".  It is you know.  It is very hard. 

It's frustrating when I have a brilliant idea and can't hang on to the right words long enough to grab that pen and paper. 

It's hard when I have to read some passage from The Chicago Manual of Style five times because I just don't understand (and maybe don't want to understand).

It's gut wrenching to read that rejection e-mail and wonder if you will ever get that piece published.


But...on the other hand....writing is a calling that I just can't abandon. 

So today....I'm at my desk - once again.  Praying for inspiration - once again.  Refusing to clean the den until I write 1,000 words - once again.  Hearing my mother call and begging her not to interrupt the process - once again.  Feeling guilty about all the things that need to be done and yet here I sit - uninspired - once again.  Holding on to the promise that if I force myself to continue the process and to push through all this, I'll finally be published - once again.

I think it's that last once again that keeps us all pushing and writing.  For comfort I read a quick passage from Jim Denny's book, Quit your day job!

I have actually met a surprising number of unpublished writers who are probably a good deal more talented than I am - but they'll never get published.  When I've asked them about their disciplines and habits, they've told me they have none.  They write only when "inspired."  When I've suggested that they need a daily writing routine, they adamantly resist my advice.  They have their idealized image of "the writing life" and they don't want the realities of hard work, focus, discipline, and persistence to mess that up.

Writing is a job - a tough and demanding job.  You can't succeed as a writer until you understand and accept that fact.

Thanks Jim...I needed that! 

God loves you and has called you to write,


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Don't let the Beetles destroy your writing

No, I'm not talking about the singing group.  I'm positive that writers have the ability to attract beetles that will effectively destroy their best work.  I've watched the insect variety destroy my best roses while the the smallest beetle works on other various flowers in my garden.  I've tromped down woodland paths and seen how their constant chewing has brought down even the mightiest of trees. 

According to Wikipedia....."Beetles are the group of insects with the largest number of known species. They constitute the order Coleoptera which contains more described species than in any other order in the animal kingdom, constituting about 25% of all known life-forms. About 40% of all described insect species are beetles (about 400,000 species), and new species are frequently discovered. Some estimates put the total number of species, described and undescribed, at as high as 100 million, but 1 million is a more likely figure."

I think we should add a new beetle species.  I like to call it "journaoptera".  This species of beetle is dedicated to eating away at your work by creating tiny holes that weaken your piece.  The "justaminute" beetle refuses to latch on to the host.  This culprit quietly calls to you from another room or makes a quick call on the cell phone.  "Can you help me for just a minute.  It won't take long.  I promise."  The front fangs are laden with a sugary substance that numbs their bite and makes you feel guilty if you don't leave your work.

Another insect in this species is the "depromioptic".  This little creature makes his home just under your eyelid.  He is the tiniest insect yet his poison is the most deadly.  Every time you look at your work, his poison covers your eyes with doubt.  Each word takes on a clouded perception allowing his partner "giveitupfornow" to convince you that your piece will never be ready.  Victims embeded with these two insects rarely send their work to an editor.  The devastation they produce leaves a weak area where "discouragatic" can enter and bury his blood sucking fangs.  This beetle will gorge on the life blood of creativity until the writer is so weak that producing saleable work seems like an insurmountable task. 

The nastiest beetle is the "contradicanub".  This insect carries guilt like a tanker carries gas.  He sits on top of the skin making thousands of little scratches and depositing guilt until it covers the writer like a heavy blanket.  "You can't write today.  You promised to take your mother to the store.  Don't finish that article until the house is totally cleaned.  That information can wait until you spend time with your husband.  You need can't be nice to your family and write until you get some rest.  How can you spend time at the computer when your church needs you?  After all, don't most famous writers recommend that you get out there and live life?  What about your children?  Who comes first, the work of God or your writing?"

Beetles can destroy your writing.  Beetles can eat away at your work until you lose your desire to do what God has called you to do.  Arm yourself with the right kind of insecticide. 

Read good books on writing.  Pray about your calling.  Realize that most men and women who do what God has called them to do - had to sacrifice in order to get the job done.  Don't let anything come between you and what God has called you to do!

Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.  Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.  Psalm 96:3

Have you encountered a writing beetle?  If so, let me know about it.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Are you interesting?

Have you ever stood for what seemed like an eternity and listened to a friend who bored you to tears?  Maybe they thought you needed to know about their crabgrass or what they ate for breakfast.  Maybe they thought you should know that earwax can be used as a glue substitute or that they couldn't sleep last night because they wondered why paint sticks to ceilings. 

It really didn't matter what they talked about, you just couldn't wait to get away!  Why?  Perhaps it's a good friend, a special Uncle or a child you love dearly....but are bored and can't wait to bail.

And then you meet with a dear friend that seems to be able to make anything interesting.  You laugh at the dumbest stuff and you sit on the edge of your seat engrossed in some story about how dull life really is.  What makes the difference?

Your slant on life can be the difference in conversation (or writing) that depresses the listener and conversation that lifts the listener.  So what changes our slant? 

Social psychology proves that when a person is engaged in life their outlook is different from those that seem to cocoon.  In the writing world that is especially true. 

If all you do is write about your opinions and your life, your writing will seem flat and uninteresting. 

But, if you take the time to get involved with others, listen to their opinions, lift the veil and look at problems from their point of view....your writing will be like a fine tapestry rug.  There will be depth and beauty entwined in everything you write. 

So today I beg you to get out of the house.  Make time to live your life, visit with friends, talk to relatives.  Enjoy who you are and the things God has placed around you.  Then, when you come back to your office to write - let all that sunshine filter through and highlight new colors and textures. 

Could be...this will be the day inspiration flows through you like sunshine through fall leaves.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hurricane Writing

For marriage, words can be the most powerful advantage or disadvantage.  We all know how a sweet compliment from our spouse can make our day.  We also know how a disagreement over breakfast can ruin our day.

For parenting, words can be the most powerful trainer in your child's life.  It's been proven that it takes 10 compliments or praises from a parent to cancel out one negative statement.

Words are powerful.  Words can also impact groups and nations.  In 1946 Frank Capra directed the movie "It's a Wonderful Life."  He adapted it from a screenplay by Goodrich and Hackett.  If you haven't seen it, it's a must!  The moral of the movie is that no one is an island.  Everyone has an influence over someone else.  Because of that, suicide is never an option and neither is wishing you were dead.  All of us can go back and find a "good" reason for our life.  No matter how tragic the events of our life, there was some point where something we said or did changed the course of another person's life.  That's why our actions matter.  That's why our lives matter.  We cause change to those around us.  Anytime this movie played the theatrical owners receive letters from people who were contemplating suicide and change their minds because of the movie.  The year it was released, thousands sent in letters.  There have been thousands more since then. 

I was thrilled to have another article published on line by Marriage Partnership and (a division of Christianity Today).  The article was titled, Does Faith Hide Marital Abuse? and it was an explanation of how scripture can be twisted to keep victims in abusive marriages. 

This article has once again taught me that all writers must be concerned about their holy calling.  We must continue to write even when storms swirl around us.  We must push even when everything seems to be stamped with rejection.  Even when it seems we make more mistakes than we should, we must keep writing.  God can't use our words unless we continue to produce words!

Early in the comments on my article a woman admitted that she was contemplating suicide.  Several readers responded to her and so did I.  Just yesterday she posted that she had decided not to commit suicide.  I cried and prayed for her for hours.  I was thrilled that she had found hope in the words I used.

Here's my hope for you.  Anyone writing that article could have been used by God.  It's not's writing stuff that we know God can use.  It's addressing the problems we see and using whatever form we like.   Perhaps you use fiction better than poems.  Whatever way is best for you - address the issues and write!

Writing has been painful for me lately.  My 82-year old mother fell and broke her foot.  I had to drive to Georgia and bring her here.  She can't use crutches and I have to take care of her completely.  She has dementia and Obsessive Compulsive disorder plus several immune diseases.  It's been difficult for the last six weeks.  Last Tuesday, my son when back to Georgia to get my 78 year old Dad.  They both will be here until after Christmas.  There's a lot to do for both of them.  And...Ron still is without work, bla, bla, bla....

After talking with Jim Denney and Barbara Curtis I decided that perhaps God was teaching me a difficult lesson.  Perhaps he wanted me to learn how to write in a Hurricane.  I pushed to write the article for Marriage Partnership and to work on others.  I'm still pushing to finish a book.  A minute here, an hour there, stay up late, get up early, miss that function, sneak away from mother all adds up to producing another piece of writing.

Please don't believe Satan's evil words.  When he says, "You can't do that.  Put it off.  It's too hard.  You just don't have time." - get back in his face and scream...."I'LL MAKE TIME". 

I'm friends with someone who was a fantastic writer.  He had several things published and could have had a prominent career.  Unfortunately he let his daily life come before his writing.  He used day to day life as an excuse for not producing.  He's now very ill and may lose his life.  He still talks about the book he wanted to write and the things he could have done.  How sad for him and for the world that his time is gone and those ideas will never be shared with others.

Your writing is important.  God can use you.  Don't let the little things - or even the big things in life keep you from being used by God.  Who knows, you may save a life or even a country!

God loves you and has called you to write,


Thursday, October 7, 2010

This is so true! Thanks Rodney Atkins!

I don't usually post family things on this blog.....but this is so true.  Get out your kleenex and be prepared to get on your knees. 

God loves you and has called you to write,


Saturday, October 2, 2010

We all have a part to play....

Two weeks ago my husband and I drove to Georgia to get my mother.  She is 82 and had broken her foot.  Dad at 78 is not able to care for her.  I knew it was going to demand a lot of my time but chose to make sure this was a "sharing" and "loving" time for us both.  We have been reading and praying together and it's been a sweet time that I will always remember.

Today we started an older book of Max Lucado's.  I thought of all of you while we were reading.  As authors we work hard to perfect our craft....and yet we also know that without God's inspiration every word we use is nothing more than dribble.  I hope you enjoy the following excerpt from Max Lucado's book When God Whispers Your Name. 

My wife loves antiques.  I don't.  (I find them a bit old.)  But because I love my wife, I occasionally find myself guiding three children through an antique store while Denalyn shops.
Such is the price of love.
The secret to survival in a shop of relics is to find a chair and an old book and settle down for the long haul.  That's what I did yesterday.  After cautioning the kids to look with their eyes and not with their hands, I sat down in a overstuffed rocker with some Life magazines from the fifties.
That's when I heard the music.  Piano Music.  Beautiful music.  Vintage Rogers and Hammerstein.  The hills were alive with the sound of someone's skill at the keyboard.
I turned to see who was playing, but couldn't see anyone.  I stood and walked closer.  A small group of listeners had gathered at the old upright piano.  Between the furniture I could see the small back of the pianist.  Why, it's only a child!  With a few more steps I could see her hair.  Short, blonde, and cute like...My heart, it's Andrea!
Our seven-year-old was at the piano, her hands racing up and down the keyboard.  I was stunned.  What gift of heaven is this that she can play in such a way?  Must be a time-released gene she got from my side of the family.  But as I drew closer, I saw the real reason.  Andrea was "playing" a player piano.  She wasn't making the music; she was following it.  She wasn't commanding the keyboard; she was trying to keep up with it.  Though it appeared she was playing the song, in reality, she was only trying to keep up with one already written.  When a key would dip, her hands would dash.
Oh, but if you could have seen her little face, delighted with laughter!  Eyes dancing as would her feet had she been able to stand and play at the same time.
I could see why she was so happy.  She sat down to attempt "chopsticks" but instead played "The Sound of Music."  What's more, she couldn't fail.  One greater than she was dictating the sound.  Andrea was free to play as much as she wanted, knowing the music would never suffer.
It's no wonder she rejoiced.  She had every reason to.  And so do we.
Hasn't God promised the same to us?  We sit at the keyboard, willing to play the only song we know, only to discover a new song.  A sublime song.  And nobody is more surprised than we are when our meager efforts are converted into melodious moments.
You have one, you know, a song all your own.  Each of us does.  The only question is, will you play it?
By the way, as I watched Andrea "play" that day in the antique store I observed a couple of things.
I noticed the piano got all the credit.  The gathered crowd appreciated Andrea's efforts, but they knew the real source of the music.  when God works, the same is true.  We may applaud the disciple, but no one knows better than the disciple who really deserves the praise.
But that doesn't keep the disciple from sitting at the bench.  It sure didn't keep Andrea from sitting at the piano.  Why?  Because she knew she couldn't fail.  Even though she didn't understand how it worked, she knew it did.
So she sat at the keyboard - and had the time of her life. 
Even though you may not understand how God works, you know he does.
So go ahead.  Pull up a bench, take your seat at the piano, and play.

As Writers we need to pray for heavenly inspiration and intervention.  As authors we know that He needs our willing hands to pen the words that He knows will inspire readers into action.  We also know that the work ends when we refuse to make the time and effort to be His willing hands.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Monday, September 27, 2010

Help Get the word out!!!

As writer's we are called to get the truth to every living creature!  When there's a storm coming it is our job to let people know about it.  The following is a post I wrote on my other two blogs.  I hope that you will find a way to pass this discussion on and to get as many people talking about it as possible.  Let me know if you are inspired to write something about this.  I would like to know your thoughts.

Why would anyone want to have children now?

Our country is in chaos! Our world is on the verge of another world war! Murder, drugs, crime - it's all over America and the world. Why would any young couple want to have children now?

What if your child will be the person God had designed to bring this country back to Him? What if your child was destined to be the next Billy Graham or the next great gospel singer or the mother of the minister that would show millions to Christ? What if your child was God's pick for the president of the United States in 2040? What if your child is one of many that will join together to fight against the loss of our religious freedoms? Maybe she's to be the next great missionary and will have the powerful words that will change millions of muslims or atheists or buddist or whatever to God. What if your child may face danger....but his/her heroic acts will destroy the next Hitler?

"But Debbie, is it fair to bring a child into a life where he may suffer?"

"Suffering is a part of life. We all suffer in many ways. The only thing that makes our measly little lives count is that we Overcome suffering and that we get through those hard times with grace and with honor and with dignity. Avoiding pain while others suffer is the coward's way out. It's sad that even if your child isn't've still made him a coward. You've made the choice for him."

"I'm not making that choice just because I don't want to see him suffer!"

"Yes, you are. You are saying to the world that your bloodline has nothing to offer. You couldn't possibly have a child that would be a strong hero or that would offer ideas and plans for a better future. Your only hope is that you give your child an easy enough time so he wouldn't have to work hard. You have said to the world and more importantly to God that you will not allow your future child the opportunity to be a major player in God's plan? Do you have that right?"

I hope you will watch this terrifying video and tell all your friends about it. The best way to conquer any country or any religion is quietly - by simply over populating them with another culture. God have mercy on us! While we play church and go about our selfish lives....the enemy creeps closer. you hate muslims?  Asolutely NOT!  But...I do think their religion or cult or whatever you want to call it is a threat to freedom of religion and other social freedoms.  They believe that they have a right to kill infidels and they define that as anyone who is not muslim.  When they enter a country it is not with the intent to blend in but rather to force their lifestyle and opinions on others.  That is the danger.  I have a link in the sidebar that will take you to a website Islam - Religion of peace? that will not only explain what they believe but will also list the ways they intend to carry out their missions.  The most striking thing for me was to learn that they believe in lying.  Lying to the infidel is not only taught it is rewarded.

I simply think we need to be informed and we need to be pro-active.  I can't be the frog that thinks he's soaking in a nice hot tub only to find out too late that he's being boiled to death! 
God loves you and has called you to write,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Practice for a heavy load....

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time

How do you build a skyscraper?  One brick at a time

How do you become successful?  One step at a time

How can you carry a personal heavy load and still manage to write?  I practice....

We moved to Ohio around 20 years ago.  We bought a lovely home that had a lot of room.  It had a nice yard and a very special bonus.  It had two apple trees.  The one in the front was in full bloom when we looked at the house.  The one in the back had a few blooms on it.  Since I had tried to cultivate an apple tree at our last house, I was excited to be the proud owner of two healthy apple trees. 

Unfortunately, their fruit wasn't that good.  The apples were very small.  The backyard tree looked a bit battered, the apples had brown spots and the fruit was too tart to eat.  We managed to use a few of them to combine with other apples and make cider - but most of the fruit was never used.   The front yard was a little better.  We made apple sauce and used some of the fruit for pies - but it was so pitted with bad spots that the yield was very small. 

We talked about spraying the trees and having someone look at them but life was busy and we never seem to get it done.

Last year we had a company fertilize and work on our grass.  The wonderful side effect was that the trees exploded with fruit.  The bad spots were better and the taste was better.  In fact, the front tree had so much fruit that one of the branches broke. 

This year the same explosion of fruit began.  With my daughter's wedding and all the preliminary things to do, we didn't have time to cultivate the trees.  After returning from her wedding we noticed that the tree in the back was so laden with fruit that two large branches were bent to the ground.  It didn't take long for us to hear a large crack.....and then another.  We used 2 x 4's to hold the branches up enough to allow the fruit to continue to mature. 

I took pictures of the tree and wondered.  Why would doing the thing you were created to do cause you to break?  These trees had always produced fruit.  It may not have been edible or the best....but it was fruit.  Why break now?  Was the tree just too old?  Or...maybe just maybe, the limbs had everything necessary to produce excellent fruit but the limb itself was not strong enough to support excellent fruit in large quantities.

Isn't that like life?  Have you ever watched someone go from obscurity to abundant success and then break from the pressure or lose their personal life because they were went wild with success?  Even when we are on the receiving end of blessings - if we aren't ready....if we haven't practiced or prepared - we will break. 

Pressure doesn't know the difference between good stuff and bad stuff.  If we have practiced handling all the stuff that's thrown at us along the way, it won't be hard to handle.....a larger career.....more demands.....constant movement......concentrating even during a personal storm.....keeping up with deadlines.....knowing when to say no or when to get involved.

For those of us that still consider our writing careers in the "beginning" stages - I would suggest that you take a look at all the stresses in your life.  Don't see them as deterrents to a writing career.  Instead, see them as a chance to practice being a writer in all circumstances.  See them as a chance to see how well you can work or survive under pressure.  Use your current circumstances to build a life of commitment to your work.  Learn how to develop the Habit of Writing even when it is under attack or not as pleasurable as you would like.

Then when success comes and your publisher wants you to handle your family, write the second book in your series and go on a marketing tour - you can smile and say...."I'd be happy to.  I can handle that load with ease because I've practiced and I'm ready for the job!"

God loves you and has called you to write,


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Why we do what we do....

This blog is dedicated to the "psychological" health of the writer.  That statement seems like an oxymoron.  Writers do what we do because we've been through some trauma or overwhelming event and we have something to say to the world.  I personally don't understand the popularity of twitter. (Even though I sold an article on it - coming soon!)   I don't really care that Suzie just brushed her hair - unless of course she's my daughter and even then I'd wonder why she's writing about it instead of rushing to meet the bus.

Most writers read a lot!  We love those 300 page books.  We love the smell and the touch of a favorite novel or the comfort of a worn non-fiction.  We drum our fingers on the desk while we chew on a subject, tear it apart and hopefully have each little piece figured out.

We are no different from our readers.  Life can be just as demanding and often just as painful as it is for anyone else.  When life hits full force robs a writer of peace and creativity it also hurts our work.  I recently had another one of those hurricane months.  I wrote my dear friend Jim Denny and asked for writing help.

"I feel like someone painted a bulls eye on my back.  I sit at my computer and instead of it being something that I feels like a huge weight.  For the first time in my writing career I find myself sitting at the computer wishing I was somewhere else....anywhere else....  What should I do?"

Jim is the author of hundreds of books and articles.  I love his book Quit your day job!  It has been a featured book in the sidebar since this blog was created.  Be sure and check out all his books.  He's a talented author. I took Jim's class during the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Conference.  His class literally changed my writing style.  To receive such an informational return e-mail from him was not only exciting, but seemed to bump me out of my slump.  I asked him if I could also share it with you.  I hope it helps.

Hi, Debbie—

So sorry to hear what you've been going through. I was thinking I've had a tough year (bad economy is squashing my industry, among other things), but I sure haven't had a near-death experience or a job loss in the family! I'm sending up a prayer for you and your husband right now.

I'm rarely excited about the writing process. Like you, I do love to write, but the engine never wants to turn over in the morning. I just sit down by habit, and try to lose myself in the process. I reread and edit some of the previous day's writing or do some other writing-related chore. Soon I'm writing without really thinking about the fact that I'm writing. Habit is the main thing.

There is one thing that gets me excited about writing, and that is reading my favorite writers. When I read good writing, the kind I read just for the joy of it, it makes me want to write. I don't know if that will work for you, but sometimes I will read a short story or an article by a writer talking about the writing process, and that will get me charged up.

I'm not sure I ever successfully block out the emotions of life. For example, if something makes me angry or depressed, the most immediate effect is that those emotions will keep me from writing. You can't be creative when there is emotional crosstalk in the brain.

But after some prayer, reflection, reading the Psalms, and taking a few minutes to recover from the emotional hit, I try to USE that emotion to fuel my writing. When I'm angry, I pound the keyboard or shout at my voice dictation software.

So, if possible, USE the emotions, don't try to shut them out. Write what's real. Write about what you are going through as a way of getting through it. Not necessarily as a way to write something that would help someone else, but just to process it with brutal honesty (maybe C.S. Lewis's A Grief Observed would be a model for this approach). Getting a saleable article or book out it might be a byproduct, but that's not the goal. The goal is just to unleash the honest and creative engine within you.

I remember having to write my Timebenders science-fantasy books for kids right after 9/11, and that was tough. I had writer friends who said they just stopped writing for weeks or months after 9/11. I didn't have that luxury, because I was on a very tight deadline. So I pushed through it and tried to use my emotional turmoil to add depth and feeling to the writing.

Also, don't feel you have to write in a straight line, chapter 1, then 2, then 3 or whatever. Write the section that appeals to you at this very moment. If you can't write whole chapters or articles, write patches. You can stitch it all together later, but just keep writing, and write what you are really passionate about. Getting those sections accomplished will increase your positive feelings, and will cause your love of writing to reignite.

Check out this article:

I identify with a lot of what this writer says. You may, too.

Also you might want to try the "Write or Die" writing software. You can test-drive it online at:

It forces you to write quickly and uncritically by setting off alarms if you pause too long in the writing process. If you try it, let me know what you think. I bought the desktop version, which is only $10. I use it for producing raw, first-draft fiction. I like to set it to the lowest, least-threatening settings and write in 20-minute stretches.
Hope something in all this was helpful.

God bless you,
Jim Denney

Ahhhh.....that helped so much!  I took his advice and I'm writing again. 

You can find a wonderful interview with Jim that gives even more insight into his writing at Absolute Write

His personal website is

God loves you and has called you to write,


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Who cares?

Being an author is a difficult life. You have to want to write more than anything else in the world. If you feel "called" to be an author....the difficult life becomes more complicated.

Very few authors are hermits. Hermits do not make good authors. As authors we need to be out there - observing and living life. Authentic writing stems from the fact that we are in the trenches with everyone else.

While everyone else can concentrate 100% on their families, their jobs and their external relationships - authors are often distracted. The average Joe can put his life into categories. For example, the norm is to eat breakfast with the family, go to work while they go to school etc.., come home and spend time with the family, spend time with friends on the week-end and spend time at church on Sunday. Each area of his life has a category.

An author's life is much different. While we are eating breakfast with the family, we scribble a funny saying on a napkin. While we are at work we scribble thoughts on a notepad. If you are a full time writer, we are thinking of family and friends so we have something to write about. In the evening while spending time with the family we have a notepad close by for those moments of inspiration. Watching TV can cause us to write furiously. Going out with friends sparks a great conversation that must be recorded.....and on and on and on.

In other words....we are constantly working and looking for that nugget of gold that will lead to an article or book that just might inspire our readers.

Have you ever been enjoying the company of friends only to realize you haven't heard the last few statements because you were thinking about your article?

On a discouraging day I wondered, who cares? Why does it matter so much? What if I don't write that book....will the world just crumble? I'm driving myself nuts over something that might not matter.

I prayed most of the day and finally asked God to give me a scripture. I thought about the passage in John where Jesus asked Peter three times, "Do you truly love me, more than these?" (John 21:15-19)

I turned to that passage and read beyond that situation. Peter was looking at John and wondering if he was going to live forever. Then my eyes centered on verse 24. I'm not a great theologian so maybe this means something different but on that day - it spoke volumes to me.

John 21:24

This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

What a wonderful goal for an author - To be God's recorder. To be trusted with the truth. To be counted on for accuracy, compassion, strength, passion, inspiration and a host of other virtues. How exciting to be the person who keeps it straight for all those busy people with compartmentalized lives.

Are you an author that the world can count on? Are you diligently "recording" life and pointing to truth?

God loves you and has called you to write,


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wasn't that mistake great!

Perhaps writing is the only craft where we can make mistakes with Joy!

I was fretting over my writing when a dear friend stepped in for an intervention.  "Don't worry so much about being perfect.  Instead, use a notebook to record all your mistakes."

I swiped at a tear forming in the corner of my eye.  "Why would I want to record my failures?"

"They aren't failures if you use them as a training tool for improvement.  You are a smart gal.  If you make a mistake once....are you going to make it again?"

I thought about it for a moment.  All the mistakes I'd made when I first started writing have diminished because of the new thought process I use that filters everything through checkpoints.  "Hum....I guess you are right.  I don't make the mistakes I once made."  It didn't take long for me to roll my eyes and continue...."Now I make new ones."

"Yes, but once they go in your notebook they will become tools for learning and probably mistakes of the past.  How else are you going to grow?"

I smiled.  I hugged her neck.  And today I checked my notebook.  It includes a lot of mistakes....that I don't make anymore.

I hope you will take your negatives and turn them into positive writing tools.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Calling all big mouths!

The Oil spill in the gulf......

Sharia law in Michigan.....

The Role of the church.....

Children losing their innocence....

The Divorce rate.....


The loss of American Christianity and the hope of the world......

So many topics and so little time....

I'm only one person.  I spend 6-8 hours a day writing.  While I love my job (most of the time) some days I get so tired of writing I just want to get away.  For me, that's when frustration and writer's block sets in.  Yet, there's so much to say and so much to do that I wonder if I can do it all.

Nope, I can't do it all.  The world needs you.  We need your input, your knowledge, your wisdom, your viewpoint.  Unfortunately, many new writers want to give up by saying, "That topic was covered by Today's Christian Woman.  That topic was covered by Glenn Beck.  I can't add anything to it.  I agree with them, but who cares what I think."

I want to scream when I hear that point of view.  Your thoughts are needed.  You will reach people I can't.  We need everyone in the world using every talent they have.  Your writing is important.  If you don't feel like you are polished enough for publishers....start a blog.  Write your thoughts down and save them to a disk.  Get a pad and use the old pen and paper routine.  But for the sake of our children....write, record, document, share!

The following video cause me to ask a new question.  What do you think this country would be like today if no one had recorded the founding of this country?  What if there were no stories about Paul Revere?  What if there was no record of George Washington, no writings from Ben Franklin, no history of the Revolution?  How would our children have developed over the last 200 plus years?  How would injustice increased? 

We need all the big mouths we can find!  Voice your opinion, share your thoughts, document the facts and let the whole world know.....

I hope after you watch this video you will get busy writing!  We need all the writers we can find!

God loves you and has called you to write,


Monday, June 21, 2010

Get out your Map!

I'm sure every traveler at one time or another has looked at another person and demanded, "Where's the map?"  Getting lost isn't fun and wasting time feels even worse. 

I wonder if sometimes we apply the "Aren't we there yet!" mentality to our writing.  It's important to produce work quickly.  It's not cost productive to write one magazine article a year or produce one book every ten years.  In order to consider yourself part of the writing industry - you need to be writing.  Right?

Yes and no.  If you'll allow me to switch metaphors - we all want our writing to be spiced with passion.  We crave to hear the words...."That moved me to tears"  or "That changed me forever".  We want all our words to be flavorful steak but instead too much of it is just mashed potatoes. 

I've written a lot of mashed potatoes.  The words are on the paper, they have all the major points and I've even sprinkled them with a little salt, pepper and butter.....but they still lack the passion that would elevate it to more than a side dish.

That's when I take a walk, turn on some music or pray for guidance.  Sometimes this helps and sometimes the mashed potatoes continue to lay in their lumpy status.

I talked with a dear friend last week who is being criticized for not writing on a regular basis.  Apparently the attacks (though by well meaning friends and family) have caused her to stop talking about being a writer.  She's even thinking of giving up completely. 

What a terrible shame!  She's an insightful person with a great talent.  And....the world needs what she has to say.  She is fighting a debilitating disease and could comfort thousands who are in pain. 

My suggestion:  Writing is not a destination, it's a journey.  Some people have the talent, finances and time to produce mounds of great information (steak) in a relative short amount of time. That's great. 

Luke 12:48   From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

It's important to remember that everyone's talent is different and we all travel different roads.  While we all need to enter the world of writing with gusto, I also believe God allows us to go through difficult training that will take our writing to the next level.  If we ignore that training the results can be disastrous to our writing skills. 

Some writers are allowed to sit by the lake, enjoy the view and cook steak all day long.  Other writers are climbing steep mountains and feel as though they are hanging on cliffs.  Some are in the desert where their head aches from the lack of stimulating refreshment.  What we need to remember is that God does not leave us in those valleys, hanging on a cliff or baking in the desert. 

Writing want-a-bees fight with internal demons, low finances, busy schedules that don't include writing time, rejections, uncertainty and low self-esteem.  Within the want-a-be lies the diamond that God purposely put in place.  It's not quite ready and it needs a little more time, but when the timing is right and it's discovered it will out shine anything that was produced during the "training" period. 

When the writer emerges from their training, they can produce the steak a lonely reader needs to survive.  The writer who survived the desert will produce water for the dying soul.  The writer who finally made it off the rocky cliff will produce meat that strengthens the weary saint. 

Before the want-a-be begins to produce the talent the master has put within him, he must struggle through his own mountain or heated desert.  He must work, and wait.  He must wait and work.  Until finally....his map shows a different road.  Finally he has the experience coupled with God's inspiration to turn down the path that leads to the lake. 

No one can tell you when it's time to sit by the lake and produce - no one but God.  Don't listen to others.  Listen to God.

Don't give up.  Please don't give up.  Keep working and trying and waiting for God to say..."Get out your map and turn this way.  I'm waiting to bless you and the time is now."

God loves you and has called you to write,


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I have potential.....right?

Last Monday the doctor removed my cast!  I am so excited to finally be free of that form fitting, heavy, hard contraption.  I was sure my freedom would make it easy to get back to work.  After all, my calendar is full of big red x's as I waited for this day.  

Not so fast!  I haven't reached freedom yet.  The doctor removed the cast and replaced it with a boot that is tighter, more restrictive and twice as heavy.  I've been instructed to ease into walking by daily adding 20 pounds of pressure until my entire weight is on that foot.  "This may be a painful process since we did so much work on your foot..."  Smile - show teeth -write on patient's chart.  "So I'm going to send you to therapy."

He was doing the smiling....not me.  I am very grateful for all he's done and I know this is the right procedure, but I am tired and want to be done with this.  I don't want to lug around a 50 pound boot, spend two hours a day going to and from therapy and another three weeks dealing with pain and swelling.  I want this part to be over as well.  I want to get on with the good stuff like buying cute little shoes.  Why does this have to be so hard?

Do you feel like that about your writing?  You work a little on what you think is important and you pray over it for a good month.  Finally, you ask God for strength and courage.  You let a writing friend see it or you send it to an editor and it comes back dripping in red ink.  At the top in big letters are the words...."YOU HAVE POTENTIAL....KEEP WORKING!"  Your eyes center on those words and your heart skips a beat as you take in the meaning.....I HAVE POTENTIAL!  Sounds great.  Feels great.  I HAVE POTENTIAL!

It's time to get supper on the table so you put the manuscript on the steps to take to your office.  After supper you read those words again as you proudly march up the steps.  I HAVE POTENTIAL.  It feels good to be appreciated.  You gently lay the papers on your desk and take your seat to make this your best work.

POV is lightly written in the margin on the first page.  As you flip through the pages POV gets bigger and bolder with every page.  By the last page she has written it five different times.  SP seems to dominate every paragraph.  On the first page she's written "Consult the Chicago Manual of Style = CMS".  CMS is on every page at least five times.  At this point you slump back in your chair.  You twirl around and face a bookcase hoping to stop the tears that are flooding your eyes. 

Determined to become a better writer you slap your hand on your desk and take another look.  There are so many abbreviations that you have to Google "editor's marks" in order to understand what she's saying.  The negative comments seem so strong that you begin to wonder if "YOU HAVE POTENTIAL" is code for "Don't quit your day job".  You can't take much more so you shuffle off to bed.

A week goes by without a single sentence being changed.  You spend another week working on your daughter's birthday party.  You promised to help with a choir concert at church, your son needs someone to help car pool to little league, you need a vacation....and on...and on life goes. 

Two months have passed and the manuscript that had so much potential is now at the bottom of a mail pile.  Once in a while you move some of the mail just so you can see the words, "YOU HAVE POTENTIAL".  You smile.  It was a nice idea.  It's too bad it didn't work out.

From time to time people ask you if you are still writing.  You smile, nod and turn away.  Too bad it didn't work out.

I think we all have experienced avoidance in our writing journey.  It's hard to take negative comments and still push through and get the writing done.  But if we are to be all that God called us to be we have to understand that just like my foot or any task that's hard, if we push on - it will be worth it.  I just don't think I could live with myself if I stopped.  How could I face the future knowing that perhaps one more push and I would be in the winners circle?

God loves you and has called you to write,


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Don't listen to the voices!

Recovery time and being confined to bed provides a lot of time to think.  Sometimes that's good....but sometimes those voices seem to swirl around me.

I'm not crazy. least not clinically.  We all hear voices from time to time.  Those thoughts that highlight the slightly untruths until beads of perspiration dance across our forehead and our stomach is invaded with little men in pointy hats and spike shoes. 

"What makes you think you can write?"
"No one reads your stuff."
"You haven't sold in a while because you aren't good."
"You'll never make it, why don't you get a real job?"
"Wait till that new article comes out and then everyone will know for sure that you aren't a writer."

I was suffering through one of those times last night and instead of crying I grabbed my iPod.  I listened to Debbie Maycomber's lectures from Mt. Hermon 2008.  She began by telling everyone her writing story.  She's dyslexic, had financial troubles along the way and is a very creative speller. 

Her lecture ended with the plea to not listen to the voices.  "If I had listened to all those voices that said:
Debbie's such a nice little girl but she'll never amount to anything.
Throw that manuscript away, it can't be fixed.
You'll never be a real writer......I wouldn't have had the great life that writing has provided!"

If she had listened to all those voices she wouldn't have kept trying and she would have missed the pleasure of being on every best seller list, of selling over a million copies of the book that an editor said to throw away, and the joy of knowing that she IS a great writer.

Don't listen to the voices!  Instead, shake them off.  Go for a walk (wish I could).  Listen to an inspiring talk or read an inspiring message. 

Now get busy and be all that God has called you to be!

God loves you and has called you to write!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Writer's overload block

I'm sure there's not a writer alive that hasn't experienced writer's block.  We all face the white screen hoping that some mystical transition will take place and in a white cloud of smoke - pulizer prize winning words will appear.

I'm wondering though if some of you have experienced writer's overload block.  That's when my agent likes the proposal but thinks it drops off here and there and needs some punching up.  "Can you check all 40,000 words against the Chicago Manuel of style and make sure chapters 3, 5 and 8 don't drag as much as they do."

"Sure I can do that."  I respond in my brightest voice.

It's only days later when I stare at the mountain of work and wonder if I'll ever be able to complete the necessary fixes.  My head hurts and I wonder why I ever started this project in the first place.  Sound familiar? 

A lot of famous people have the same problem. 

Dorothy Parker is quoted with "I hate to write.  I love to have written."  Many writers have used this quote to express their frustrations with writing.

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. ~George Orwell, "Why I Write," 1947

Being an author is having angels whisper in your ear - and devils, too. ~Graycie Harmon

A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. ~Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades, 1947

One ought only to write when one leaves a piece of one's own flesh in the inkpot, each time one dips one's pen. ~Leo Tolstoy

If I'm trying to sleep, the ideas won't stop. If I'm trying to write, there appears a barren nothingness. ~Carrie Latet

Writing is a struggle against silence. ~Carlos Fuentes

Every writer I know has trouble writing. ~Joseph Heller

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler

Today, I'm plowing into my book and taking it one word at a time.  Just like the old saying how do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  Today, I'm biting at my manuscript. 

Huff....Puff...stare into space....

I'll leave you with the best quote of all.

Ink on paper is as beautiful to me as flowers on the mountains; God composes, why shouldn't we? ~Terri Guillemets

God loves you and has called you to write,


Monday, March 15, 2010

On the mend....

I've spent the last month learning a lot about medical issues and the power of God.  I had to have massive reconstructive surgery on my foot.  For weeks before the surgery I planned ways I could continue to work while in recovery.  I moved my computer into the bedroom and practiced how to place the pillows so I could elevate my foot and still work. 

I am slightly claustrophobic and therefore was nervous about the cast.  To occupy my mind and keep me concentrating on other things, I lined up a lot of work to do.  I felt confident going into the surgery that I was prepared and that this would actually make me stronger. 

Ahhh.....but I didn't consult God about what He wanted me to learn.  Isn't that always the way?  We try to plan and direct the show ourselves - when in reality God wants us to step aside and let Him show us a new path.

2 Cor. 12: 9-10

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Are you like me?  Do you want to plan everything about your writing career?  Do you want to do such a great job that you can offer it up to God by saying, "Look, I did this all by myself and now I've decided to give it to you." 

We think that by doing all the right things that somehow we are gaining God's approval.  When in actuality he wants this journey to be a "joint" effort.  He wants to be part of the process.  He doesn't want or need our success.  What he does want is a relationship and to be a part of the process.

There were complications after surgery.  After coming home I found I couldn't take the pain medicine and we spent another week trying to find something that would ease the enormous pain.  Just four days after I was home, Ron called to let me know he was losing his job.  I spent hours crying and days looking at a dormant computer and wondering if I would ever write again. 

Finally....I gave it up.  Finally, I hit bottom and realized that I can't do anything without God's help.  Finally, I admitted my writing was worthless without his input. 

In my despair and bottomless pit of pain - God showed up.  He touched me and within hours the tears were dry and the pain was bearable.  Please allow me to change one word in this verse...

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in YOUR weakness."

I can't promise that I've once and for all learned my lesson.  My nature is to plan and that's just part of what I do, but I hope that the next time I face a difficult situation I'll turn first to the Savior and ask, "What would you have me do this time?"

God loves you and has called you to write,


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Experience Life....

When my children were small I liked to read their compositions.  They were full of wisdom, dreams and yes....fantasy. 

I say fantasy because when you read words like "I won't ever do...."  or "I know my life will..."  your heart breaks because you know the time will come when "they will do" or "Their life won't be what they envisioned". 

I made a decision not to burst those bubbles.  Children need to feel positive and empowered.  It's not a parent's job to keep them down - life issues will handle that extremely well.  Instead, it is our job to give them wings. 
Over the last few months I've been gripped in the process of experiencing life's attacks on my own personal wings.  It seems I've been thrown every road block possible.  I've had to take the time to re-evaluate, spend time with God and redirect my efforts. 

In the process I've learned something deeper.  I've learned that it's not the wings that make us's the struggle to build the wings that make us powerful. 

I once heard a story of a lady who had a big window over her sink.  One spring she looked in the corner and saw a cocoon.  For days, every time she washed dishes - she watched a butterfly struggle to get out of his cocoon.  She prayed for the butterfly.  She tapped on her window thinking it would inspire the butterfly.  She even tried to push a little food near the cocoon thinking it might be hungry.  Every time she watched, the butterfly seemed to work and work but very little was done. 

When only two small strands still blocked the entryway, her compassion got the better of her.  The lady took a pair of scissors and snipped the two strings.  Thinking she was now part of the process she was excited when the butterfly drifted out of the cocoon and landed on her porch.  She giggled with pride and waited for it to fly.  The butterfly fluttered his wings for a few minutes and then became very still.  The lady tip toed into her kitchen hoping to finally see him fly away.  Within 20 minutes he dropped over and died.

She was heartbroken.  She called a friend who sent her deeper into tears.  "By cutting the strings you sealed his death.  There's a special liquid that must cover the wings in order for the butterfly to be able to fly.  It's squeezing through the narrow opening that pushes that liquid from the body and onto the wings.  By making the process easier, the wings weren't coated and the butterfly couldn't fly."

As writer's, God has challenged us to make a difference in this world.  We are called to explain, instruct and inspire.  We can't share our wisdom with the world until we have also been through the fire.  We must explain our own lives.  We must follow the instructions for our own lives.  We must fight our way through the darkest tunnel until we find our own inspiration.  Only then can we turn and shout with confidence, "Listen to's what I've learned."

No matter what you are facing today or how bleak the road determined to "Experience Life" so you can turn and share it with others.  Be careful not to wish it away or to refuse to learn from God.  Pay attention and try to learn all you can from your own experiences.  That is our holy calling.  That is our mission.

God loves you and has called you to write,