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

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


November 1st is National Author's Day

In 1928 Nellie Verne Burt McPherson was president of the Bement Illinois Women's Club.  She is recognized as the originator of the National Author's Day. 

McPherson was a teacher and avid writer.  She wrote a fan letter to the fiction writer Irving Bacheller explaining how much she enjoyed the story “Eben Hoden’s Last Day A’Fishin”.

Bacheller sent her an autographed copy of another story.  McPherson decided to show her appreciation by electing for a National Author’s day to honor American writers. The National Author’s Day was recognized by the Department of Commerce in 1949.

Isn't that great!  Now you can celebrate Mother's Day, Father's Day, Thanksgiving're own personal work day.

I'm so proud of you!

God loves you and has called you to write!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Lord is my Shepherd...

When I wrote the last post I had finished talking with three different editors who were very discouraged.  I was dealing with my own problems and about as discouraged as I've ever been.

Understand please... that the kind of discouragement I'm talking about isn't the kind that keeps you from working or distracts you so much that you can't write. I continued to press on and meet my daily writing goals. The type of discouragement I felt was like the little black cloud that seemed to hang over Charlie Brown.  I had heard so much negative talk and had so many personal problems that writing was a chore. For the first time in my writing career, I wasn't excited about putting words on paper.  I still had the ideas, still had the thoughts...I just didn't have the desire to write.

I'm feeling better now.  My personal problems haven't disappeared.  In fact, they have probably intensified.  So why am I feeling better?  Check out my Family Tracks blog to see what I've been doing the last two months.  It's very exciting.  Yet, I've discovered that acquiring a lot of exciting writing possibilities isn't why I'm feeling better. 

I found out what I crave and need in this profession is interaction with people who are going through the same situations I have.  My Dad is a minister and in our denomination we used to have a thing called, "Testimony Services".  Every so often on a Sunday evening, Dad would open with "Testimonies".  He would pray a simple prayer and then sit down.  One by one people in the audience would stand and share something they were going through and give a short "testimony" about how God was helping them cope.  Sometimes they were funny or sometimes they made you cry.  Sometimes they were short and sometimes Dad would have to stand by the pulpit and give his comments to hopefully shorten the process. 

I remember one older woman (in her 80's) that always gave the exact same testimony.  She would use a cane to stand.  She would steady herself and then smile.  "The Lord is my shepherd and that's all I want."  She would look around the room to be sure she had been heard.  Then as if it were an Amen, she would tap her cane loudly and sit down. 

As I talked with other authors and professionals this month, I began to understand how important "Testimonies" are.  By sharing my feelings, I learned what other - more successful authors have done to fight those same feelings.  If you are discouraged or having a difficult time with your writing - reach out to other writers.  Share your concerns with them and be open to their wisdom.  When we stand together and share our Testimonies, we will be stronger and our tasks will be lighter. 

And yes....we will all come to understand that "The Lord is our shepherd and that's all we want."

If you have a writing testimony you would like to share, please send it to  I would be happy to post it.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Friday, June 17, 2011

Don't give up!

Since I last posted, I've been working with several authors and publishers. It seems we all need to cling to Galatians 6:9.

"And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint."

It is hard to maintain our writing tempo when we feel sorrow, pain, stress or we just plain feel persecuted. It doesn't matter if it's coming from Satan or another person or even if it's just a part of life. Going through trials or difficult situations can cause us to lose our "passion and heart" for writing. We still care. We still want to help. We still feel the desire to make a difference. Yet, something is wrong. We lack the "spirit" that once drove our passion. We feel like we are hydroplaning. In other words we are moving through our normal routine but in that routine we feel helplessly out of control.

As I've told my friends, we all need to cling to the verse that I've quoted over and over these last few months. "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you." Isaiah 43:2.

In other words....don't be afraid! Hold God's hand and push through the darkness. Put one foot in front of the other and keep going.

It's also important to surround yourself with encouragement. Read your Bible, listen to good music, read an inspirational book. Center your mind on the fact that "With God all things are possible!" The more we can quote that to ourselves, the better our chances of actually believing it.

I am convinced that there are powers at work in the supernatural world that are trying to discourage God's people. Not only must we continue the fight to keep God's church encouraged...we must be encouraged in our own work. We are God's voice. We are God's hands. Don't give up! Keep working and soon....very will reap the rewards of a disciplined and dedicated life.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Friday, May 20, 2011

Does Pain influence your writing?

I am pleased that so many authors are finding their way to this blog.  Many of you have shared the blackest fears your are facing.  I understand completely.  Authors are strange people and we need all the emotional help we can find. 

That statement was not a criticism.  Authors must twist and turn every thought we have.  We must look at situations and problems in a different way.  We don't have the luxury of "spouting off" (although some do).  If we take our job seriously, we must be logical and analytical.  We need to find the little details and shine a bright light on them.  Most people don't look for hidden meanings, wooded bunny trails and possible dire consequences.  Authors are the voices that yell into the darkness -"Hey yawl!  I found a new trail and I think it's gonna be a good one!"

People follow authors and that's a huge responsibility.  We know that we have the potential to change the world - or at least our little part of it.  That responsibility weighs heavy on "good" authors minds and often pain comes along for the ride.  That pain is both good and bad.  Like fire - it can help us light the way and inspire our readers to move forward.  Also like fire - out of control pain can devastate the reputation and productivity of an author.

Let me explain. 

It is part of an author's job to keep up with the news so our writing will be fresh, contemporary and help our readers to either escape the problems of today or find new ways to deal with those problems. 

Authors have to face rejection letters, weeks and often months without a paycheck, criticism from so called friends, attacks from strangers who don't know anything about our research or point of view, mounds of research and that cluttered desk that calls in the night - clean me, write me, answer all your e-mails.  Our mind is constantly rumbling with ideas because we know that we are only as good as our next sale.  Even when the desperately needed check arrives - at that moment we are unemployed again.  Add to that the fact that we don't sit in some ivory tower waiting for a waitress to bring food or a maid to clean our home and you will find the breeding ground for excuses.  Nope, we are not a privileged group.  We also deal with all the personal issues of health, family, finances and faith - juggling our lives in the same way non-writers do.  About the time we are inspired and pounding those keys at our computer....mother calls and needs to go see the doctor - immediately!  Susie calls from school to say she forgot the notebook for her class project and without it she will get a failing grade.  The pastor calls wanting to know if you will take soup to a sick shut-in. 

Finally at 10pm you sit down to write in peace and suddenly you are overwhelmed with pain.  I personally don't like to call it depression.  I'm not convinced that properly describes what I feel.  Instead, when I think about the news - I feel pain.  It's a sense of loss that others just can't see the truth.  I see where certain philosophies lead and I know that individuals are about to walk off a cliff.  That hurts me!  It pains me to know that evil is so busy influencing the world.  It feels as though devious people who only want to make a buck - have no problem leading innocent readers down a dark and evil path.  I don't understand how some people sleep at night.  How they can write such obviously wrong things and then get on TV and try to defend them.  I hurt for their readers. 

For me....that pain leads to sorrow and to prayer.  I beg God to show me how to have a greater influence.  I lift teary eyes to heaven sobbing for God to lift my burden.  I feel so alone, overwhelmed and just not capable of finishing my task.  And that pain influences my writing.  How?  Either I pound the keys with anger - which thank goodness I never share those writings:)  or...I am so discouraged/careful that my writing lacks power and inspiration.

It's at that point that I have to ask God to help me find middle ground.  I can't allow my circumstances to keep me from writing.  I can't allow the tidal wave of other's pain to weigh me down and keep me avoiding the door to my office.  I have to shake it off.  Not with an "I don't care" attitude, but rather with the knowledge that I am laying those problems at the feet of Jesus and asking..."Can you watch these for me, while I do the writing you've called me to do?" 

I have to take a walk, listen to a song or a writers class, exercise or just call a friend.  I have to remind myself that for this moment everything is okay and the most important thing I can do is write the words God is placing in my mind. 

I'm not the Savior of the world - God is.  Looking for instant results, crowd pleasing words or the next best seller isn't my job.  My job is to accept the Holy Calling of Writing and do the work God has placed before me.  If I do that...then I am pleasing to the one person that really matters - God.

Dear God,

Help me to do your will today.  Help me to shine a light into this dark and depraved world.  Help me to handle the "situations" of my life with grace while I also find time to follow your Holy Calling.  I ask you today to bless my writing friends.  Help us to unite in the great task of spreading your word.  Bless our efforts and may they join together creating a sea of voices that will overwhelm evil and unite in the acknowledgement that Jesus Christ is Lord. 

Give all of my writing friends a productive and peaceful day....

God loves you and has called you to write,


Sunday, May 1, 2011

A safe encouraging friend

We all know that writing is hard.  Just when you think you are on a roll and the ideas are coming fast and furious - something happens and your creativity comes to a screeching halt. 

Maybe the children are sick or your husband didn't get that raise.  Maybe you receive that dreaded rejection notice or you find out your pastor is leaving.  The worst of all is when an "un-safe" friend whose only read two books in her life decides to tell you all the things she felt was wrong with your last published work.  Her opinion shouldn't be that important and reaches into your life and turns off all your creativity. 

You begin to ask yourself if writing is worth it.  You begin to question if you can complete your goals.  That one little bud of doubt has encouraged an entire garden of fears. 

When you feel this way, you need a drummer.  A friend that will beat the drum of encouragement and keep your eyes focused on your goal.  You need a safe encouraging friend to counterbalance the fears you face.  Every writer should have at least one encouraging friend - outside relative status -  that can keep you motivated.  I am blessed to have several of those types of friends.  Each of them seem to sense when I'm down.  They don't call and keep me on the phone for hours or try to counsel or talk me out of my doldrums.  Instead, they send me a ray of sunshine by e-mail. 

"Thinking of you today.  I love your writing."

"Keep it up Debbie.  I know it must be hard but I love your work."

"I was praying for you.  I know it must be hard working like you do - and most of it for free.  Just want you to know that I appreciate all your writings.  They mean so much to my life."

Each one of those precious friends share in any success I may have.  Their encouragement has kept me going when I wanted to quit.

It's a chilly day with gray clouds and rain.  I'm staring at a desk covered in piles of papers and red important stickers that announce - "Do me first!"  We've just returned from a hard and difficult trip.  I have to have a root canal and dentists scare me.   I was praying for God's strength when I received the following e-mail.

Jeremiah 29:11

"for I know the plans I have for YOU," declares the LORD..."

Never give the devil a ride, he will want to take over the driving.

Dear Woman of God

Be still for a while and praise God for His favor, His grace and His awesomeness

God is able to do the impossible and is always near.   He loves us unconditionally.
Dear God:   This is my friend, whom I love and this is my prayer for her

"Help her live her life to the fullest.  Please promote her and cause her to excel above her expectations.

Help her to shine in the darkest places where it is impossible to love.  Protect her at all times, lift her up when she needs you the most, and let her know when she walks with you, She will always be safe."

Love you Girl!

It is very important that writers cultivate safe and encouraging friends.  Thank you Pat for your encouragement today!  God bless you!

God loves you and has called you to write,


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hard work is important

This blog is about the "soul" of a writer.  It's not my job to teach you how to write...but rather to keep you writing.  Since we all receive those dreaded rejection letters....I thought we should take a moment to laugh and realize that we probably are doing better than we think.  Imagine if the following letter was a proposal for a writing assignment. 


To hoom it mae cunsern,
I waunt to apply for the job what I saw in the paper.
I can Type realee quik wit one finggar and do sum a counting..
I think I am good on the phone and I no I am a pepole person,
Pepole really seam to respond to me well.

I no my spelling is not to good but find that I Offen can get a job thru my persinalety.
My salerery is open so we can discus wat you want to pay me and wat you think that I am werth,
I can start emeditely. Thank you in advanse fore yore anser.


Yore best aplicant so farr.



Now don't you feel better?  At least you know how to use spell check.  As we all know, working hard at your craft does pay off.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Schedule

If you want to be tested on any particular issue....just write it down or announce it to the world and boom!  Testing is bound to come.

The last 2 1/2 weeks have been a blur of illness, legal matters, writing deadlines etc....blah, blah, blah....

Everyone has those issues.  Some popular authors have worked on their schedules long enough that they seem to take those issues in stride.  Lately I've felt like a Texas Cowboy trying to herd thousands of cows without any help.  I crack the whip on one end and get that area in line only to have to rush to the opposite end and crack the whip there.

I DO HAVE GOOD NEWS.......the more I work with my schedule, the easier it gets to say no to some things and to stay in line with my goals.

Here's what I'm doing now.

1.  I'm being good to myself.  NO more guilt.  You see...I love people and I hate the thought that they might think I don't care or that I'm putting them off.  Often that's meant that I've had to stop my writing in order to accommodate their needs.  Of course, I would never tell someone in an emergency that I couldn't stop...but I'm redefining emergency.  I'm giving myself permission to say no to things like, "Do you have a minute to talk?"  That's a one talks for just a minute. 

I'm learning to say, "I'm in the middle of writing.  This will take me about an hour.  Can I call you back then?  I really must meet this deadline."  Most people are willing to wait and it's giving me a little more freedom to stay on task during the day.  In fact, just last week that philosophy helped me stay on task and sell another article.  That's just cool!

2.  I'm trying to set actual work hours.  I imagine this "boss" in my head that insists that I meet my writing goals for the day no matter what.  I've even imagined that I had to call in sick.  My boss (I've named him GW) asked if I couldn't just come in and make a few notes for him.  I pushed my aching arm and sat at my desk and did the one finger typing thing - all because GW needed me.  I know....sounds like one of those flaky psycho tricks....but it has helped.  I'm getting my head in line with the knowledge I've always known - writing is a business and you must have some structure for it to work.

3.  I've made a list of every writing project I feel is important enough to complete.  That list is sitting by my monitor.  It's my goal for the month and for the year.  I have to admit that at first it was discouraging and overwhelming.  But when I added the following it became an exciting encouragement.

4.  Every morning I begin my day by praying over my list.  I ask God to give me the energy and the "expertise" to know how to accomplish those goals.  Knowing that I have a partner in this helps me to stay focused and to know where to go for strength when I'm tired.

5.  My plan today is to make a list of the things I have accomplished in my writing career.  Every time I'm discouraged I plan to go over the list for a quick look back at the things I have accomplished! 

Please write and let me know what you are doing to stick to your schedule.  I would love to share those thoughts with others.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Is it possible for any author to follow a schedule?

Over the course of my writing career I've made hundreds of schedules.  I've written them out, plugged them into computer programs, used sticky notes, tried to keep it in my head and left messages all over the house.  I've used calendars, lists, notecards and e-mails.  I've written everything down, prioritized and edited until only two items remained.  I've tried to think ahead, think behind and not think at all.

I'm frustrated and sick of the whole process.  Yet, I understand that without some type of structure...without some type of schedule - my writing will never be produced.  Why is it necessary to talk about schedules here?  After all, aren't you supposed to be writing about my mental frustrations as a writer? 

If you can't produce and you can't tame your will always be depressed about your writing because you can't sell something you don't have finished!  It's important to your mental state of mind that we work on a schedule so you can get on with your writing.

Please understand that I don't evade my work.  I love my work and avoiding it isn't something that I ever think about doing.  But...there's always someone, something or some problem that seems so pressing that it pushes and pushes until my writing time is cut down to only a few minutes.  It's at that point that I have to choose between my books or my blogs or that great new article for some magazine.  If only I could spend an entire day writing. my working outside the home friends says...."If only I could have one Saturday or week-end a month to devote completely to my writing."

As authors we must have that quiet alone time to write.  If we are to produce the work that God has called us to do....we must have time to do it.  The only way to make that time is to schedule.  But how?

Yesterday I had planned to tell you exactly how I was going to do it.  I had new plans and I was sure they would work.  Yesterday was no different than any other.  I tried to write and my arm just wouldn't cooperate.  I tried to get my arm settled down and had to take two phone calls.  "Debbie!"  Ron called with an emergency that just wouldn't wait.  My pitiful schedule was ruined....again.  I sat at my desk and cried.  "Lord please help me.  I need a plan."  The thought came to me that I've always started my plans by writing down what I wanted to do.  But...I've never investigated what I actually do during any one day. 

Hum....So, today I started by writing down the hours and plugging in my day - as it happened.  I'm hoping that this will give me an idea of how many times I'm interrupted and for what reason.  Then perhaps I'll be able to either schedule around them or find a way to move those things to another slot and make way for more writing. 

I have an idea of what Today looked like.  Tomorrow I'll document my day again but...I'll also try to move around 30 minutes here or there and see if I can work within the confines of the sort of schedule already in place.

Wish me luck!

Let me know how you plan your days.

God loves you and has called you to write.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Distractions can destroy an Author's productivity

"I'm gonna write a book....."

"I've got a great idea for an article...."

"I know I could be a great writer if...."

I've often felt sorry for people who have wonderful ideas but can't seem to produce the work.  In fact....just between you and me....there have been times when I've wondered if I should go over and stand in their line.  It seems when I feel the most inspired to "produce" that's when I'm also the most distracted.  Someone calls, another person begs for help, an emergency e-mail pops up or my wonderful handsome husband announces he wants to take me to lunch. 

None of those are bad....but when added together they can rob an author of the time needed to produce.  Successful authors must have quality "butt in chair" time in order to produce good work. 

There are a lot of great books that deal with time management.  There are books just on time management and books that get specific with special plans for authors.  My favorite is the book by Jim Denny, Quit your day job!   It's a wonderful book that covers all the bases.  In Chapter two he helps the reader determine if he's serious about being an author.  He asks the question, "Do you write at least an hour a day, every day?"  How can you call yourself a writer if you are not writing at least an hour a day in your spare time?  He then goes on to say, If you can't find time to write, make time.  Get up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later.  If you're not writing an hour a day, you haven't developed the discipline and focus to write full time.

Sounds pretty harsh and yet he's absolutely right.  Many people often have desires and dreams, but in reality they don't have the drive or passion to make those dreams come true. 

Now before you get upset and start praying for me to wake up tomorrow with a thousand wrinkles - having unfulfilled desires isn't a bad thing.  Sometimes those dreams can carry us through tough times or help us face an unfulfilled life with the hope that maybe will all fall into place.  No one is knocking the fact that you do have dreams.

But...if you are ready to make those dreams a reality, then the reality is that you will have to design a schedule, stick to it and produce the work.  There's just no way around that fact. 

When I was younger I dreamed of playing the piano.  I loved piano players.  What fun to plop down and instantly create all sorts of tunes that would take listeners on a journey through their emotions.  Unfortunately for me, I didn't have the talent or the drive to make my hands learn the necessary steps.  As a teen I remember talking to a young classical pianist.  She could play Bach and Beethoven and transition to jazz and pop.  I leaned on the upright piano in the choir hall and dreamed out loud.  "I would give anything if I could play like you."  She smiled back and said..."I did."

If you want to be a writer and to serve God with your talents, you can find a way.  It's not impossible.  It won't cost much....just everything you have."

All this week we will go through the process of finding time to write.  Join me as I plan my schedule and get down to business.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Friday, February 18, 2011

Fun Video #2

Yesterday I told you about my arm and included a fun video with some famous authors.   Some of you wanted to know more about my arm.  You can find information about this... On the mend .... at my Family Tracks blog. 

Since I had a tough morning at therapy...let's have another laugh from Angela Hunt, Robin Hatcher, Terri Blackstock, Carolyne Aarsen and Kristin Billerbeck.

You guys are just cool!

God loves you and has called you to write,


Thursday, February 17, 2011

On the mend and anxious to write...

Thank you for all your prayers.  My arm is doing much better.  I have a condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.  Over 20 years ago a doctor threatened to amputate my arm because he couldn't get the problem resolved.  So....anytime my arm acts up, I'm nervous. 

However, I have a wonderful doctor who feels we can fix the arm with therapy and avoid the problems connected with surgery.  Unfortunately, it eliminated my ability to write for a while.  It will take time for me to work up to being as productive as I have been. patient.  I'm anxious to get back to writing and my idea notebook is overflowing.  Today, I thought I would leave you with a little fun.  Angela Hunt recommended a YouTube video about writing.  After listening to the interview, I wondered if Angela had anything on  YouTube.  I'm not an Internet social bug by any means.  But...wouldn't it be wonderful - I thought - if I could hear her teach on line....perhaps at a writer's conference.  I typed in her name and found several Angela Hunts.  To my delight there were a couple of videos of her....but to my surprise it wasn't what I thought. 

I laughed....and laughed....and finally did a chair dance at my own desk.  Hope you enjoy the following video of the wonderful life we writer's enjoy.  Thank you Angela Hunt, Robin Hatcher, Terri Blackstock, Carolyn Aarsen and Kristin Billerbeck.....

God loves you and has called you to write,


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Definition of an Christian author

Authors are a strange group of people.

We are constantly unemployed – and okay with that. We are only as good as our last article or book and we are constantly striving toward the next one.

We brag about being our own boss yet we are the worst task masters around. We skip the party or the family gathering because we must submit our latest ramblings. We are up all hours of the night trying to capture at moment of inspiration and tie it to paper before it's forgotten.  After all, that could be the one thought that’s accepted.  It could be the one thought that touches another human or changes the course of history.  It could be the one writing that springs a new movement into life. 

At family functions we hold our purse close knowing that if we experience a great thought, pen and paper is close at hand. We work all the time.  Every moment is an opportunity for insight.  Every action can lead to an Epiphany.  Every social situation can provide material for our work.  While we experience the joy and love of our family and friends - the mind is always on, always writing, always searching for a story within the situation.

We try to see the world from all sides.  We participate in a weird sort of hopping dance as we delicately try not to be captured by the knotty problems that connect the opposing sides. Like investigators of a spiders web, we avoid the glue that might attach us to the very problem we are investigating.

We are the voice of reason, the instigators and the comforters. We can be fun, sad, serious, excited, angry and compassionate – all at the same time. We are the voice that expresses the good in life and illuminates the bad.

We are the voice of the people. We cry for the victim, we march for those in slavery and we sing for the victorious. 

We are overwhelmed by duty.  Our readers are constantly in our minds - floating through our work - crying for help - in desperate need of comfort or insight or information.  We are consumed with the quest for truth and the need to bring that truth to people everywhere.  We desire truth in our own lives and in our personal convictions and social interactions.  The worst thing you can do to an author is "lie" to them.  It's an unforgivable act.  We crave knowledge, insight and most of all universal truth.

With so much going on in our heads, we are not always easy to live with or easy to talk to....yet, there is no deeper love than the love of an author.  That love expands with every story, every situation, every person we meet. 

This great dedication to our work starts at the feet of Jesus.  We know that while we may suffer for our opinions or for shining that bright light on truth....we are fulfilling the call of our Heavenly Father.  It is from that perspective that we find meaning that others miss.  It is from His framework and His wisdom and His strength that we ultimately can provide answers that work.

We are driven by a Heavenly force and that makes our work the most important thing we can do in life.  When we allow that force to bleed through us and into our writing - we are fulfilled!

God loves you and has called you to write,


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Debbie Macomber - a friend and great encouragement

A good writer is also a good reader.  Attend any writing class and you will hear those words.  I constantly feel like I'm behind on my reading.  Maybe it's because I always have a stack of good books that I know I'll get to sometime....but just haven't had time. 

We were all laughing too hard to make a good picture!
Debbie Jansen and Debbie Macomber
A few days ago I decided to move Debbie Macomber's book Knit Together up to the top. I sat at lunch with her a few years ago at the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference.  What a joy!  She was so encouraging and a lot of fun to be with.  We laughed....we talked....and we cried.  I can still hear her saying, "We have the same name and that makes us forever friends!  Don't listen to the negative voices Debbie.  They just don't matter.  Follow your heart and your dream.  Don't give up."

I have an MP3 recording of her talks.  When I'm especially down I'll pull them out and drink in her inspiring words.  Talk about someone who had all the odds stacked against her....Debbie had an uphill climb.  Yet, she kept trying and kept pushing and now she's one of the biggest selling authors out there. 

Her book, Knit Together describes her challenges and her journey to success.  I hope you will purchase her book.  I promise you it will be a great source of strength for those challenging days that every writer faces. 

And if you aren't sure you want to pursue a full writing dream....get the book anyway.  It will encourage your life no matter what dream you have.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Are you afraid?

A lot of new writers I know are afraid. It’s an underlying thought in all their conversations.

“I have this great idea. Not that anyone will want to read it…..but I really want to tackle this subject.”

“I know God has called me to do this. I have thoughts that I know didn’t come from me. No one is going to like what I have to say, but someday….I know God wants me to say it.”

“I want to write about that but I’m no expert on the subject. I guess I better leave that to someone else.”

And then there’s the fear that so debilitates that they can’t write without approval. Those young writers who can’t even write a comment to this blog or any other for that matter – all because they are afraid that they might not say it right or that they might be attacked or that they just might make a mistake.

Fear can totally eliminate your HOLY CALLING. Fear has far reaching tentacles and can infiltrate every area of your life. Fear can and most of the time will attack your “inspiration” with a vengeance. Why are we so fearful? You can’t watch TV for more than 15 minutes without being bombarded with subliminal fear. Humor has gone from being situational or slap stick to being a complete emotional destruction of one of the weaker characters. And the worst of all is the thought that someone in the media will find out about something you’ve said and will hold you up to public ridicule.

Commercials are worse. We are bombarded with the fact that the only way we deserve anything that’s being shown is if we are beautiful, popular and smelling sweet. Those who are overweight with bad breath, wrinkles and bad hair – those people don’t deserve respect or any of the fun stuff. And if even if you are one of the beautiful people….try saying something stupid and O’Riley will label you a pinhead.

Add to that the way the news sensationalizes anyone trying to do something good. If they decide they don’t like the message, they will attack the messenger. They will be more diligent than the CIA at tracking down something bad about your life. “Why are you writing this book? When you were three you were a spoiled brat.”

Man!  Why would anyone ever want to speak up? Only the most courageous of all will stand up during a confrontation and take on the resident bully!

Writers must be courageous! Writers must take on the battles of truth, Christianity, love, parenting, greed, politics etc….

We start the arguments that lead others into fighting the war! What a responsibility. That responsibility includes understanding your craft enough to know how to create a desire to eliminate evil without inciting deep seeded anger.  While I believe there is a way to speak out and not incite violence, why would anyone want to blow the whistle on evil and risk the chance of being attacked?

Because it must be done! The world needs your voice! God asked you to speak up and you must!

I don’t have time to learn all there is to know about computers….I have to trust computer techs to know what they need to know so I can trust them with my precious computer. Likewise…I don’t have the time to become a doctor. I have to trust my doctor to use his expertise to keep me healthy.

Whatever God has called you to write about….the world needs to know your views so they can make an intelligent decision on what to do. This country has been and hopefully will continue to be the best country in the world – mainly because we have free speech.

Please don’t take that free speech lightly. If you allow fear to keep you silent, that’s the same as hiding your light under a bushel. Remember the old song This little light of mine?

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel, no! I’m gonna let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel, no! I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

If God has given you a message to deliver, you must follow through. You can’t allow family, friends or even the media stop your message. You must speak up against evil. While we still have free speech, you must have the courage to speak.

I didn’t and it made me miserable. For years I was tied in knots worrying that someone would be negative about what I had to say. It took years of prayer and study of God’s word to finally bring me to the point that I no longer care about the negative statements of others. What I do care about is doing God’s will and being logical about the issues of life. What I do care about is responding properly to social issues.

And guess what? I’ve had less negative statements since I developed a determined attitude. While there are less negative statements….there are also more positive ones. That tells me that God will protect and lead as we follow His will. How wonderful!

What are you waiting on?

God loves you and has called you to write,


Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy New Year????

My parents (age 78 and 82) live in Georgia. I'm an only child and I live in Ohio.  My children are scattered.  One in Illinois, one here in Ohio and one in Arizona.  We were/are extremely close but it's getting harder and harder to have everyone meet here at the same time.

For the past twenty years I've had my parents come up for Thanksgiving and stay until New Years.  It gave them a special time to experience a lot of quality time with all of us.  It was nice being together when the children were young and as they moved into the work force - it was helpful to have one place for everyone to gather.  It also gave me peace of mind to know that my parents wouldn't be alone on a major holiday. 

Was it a challenge at times?  Of course.  Were there times when it interrupted our normal schedules?  Yes.  I was cooking more, celebrating more, concerned about more people and were they okay get the idea.

Looking back I wouldn't change those times for anything.  It was a special gift that I could give to my parents and to my children. 

But now....I see problems and a need to formulate a new plan.  My parents have multiple illnesses and special needs that require more interaction from me.  Fulfilling those needs means less time to write.  My adult children have needs and that can also take away from my writing schedule.

Some of this truly is my fault!  I was a stay at home mom who wrapped herself around her family.  I was the go to person and I served my family with great pride.  My commitment to family is a huge part of my resume and my ability to be a "mommy detective".  Then...God called.  He placed within me a desire to use my writing talents to share my knowledge and research with others.  My family wasn't/isn't doing anything wrong - they love and appreciate me and I want to serve them.  They are proud of my work and encourage me to continue. But how do I make the transition from total involvement to creating a place for my writing?

Here's the problem.  Being with them and taking care of my family is the right thing to do.  Yet...even the right thing to do may cause damage to the calling God has placed in my life.  Damage can be as strong as a complete rejection of what needs to be done or it can be as simple as procrastination in favor of daily disturbances.

It's as if I'm standing in the middle of a field with my family all around me.  It's proper and right that I take care of them.  Amie needs this.  Jamie wants that.  My parents need this and Ken is calling for advice.  I look up to see Ron on the outside of this circle of love patiently waiting for his turn.  His sad eyes look at me as if to say, "I'm waiting.  I know you are busy, but I hope you will have time for me."

Suddenly on the edge of this field I see Jesus.  He has a big package in his hand.  It has a bright red bow on top and bold black letters across the side, "Debbie's Writing".

I want both.  I want to serve my family and yet I want the gift God has for me.  I realize that he is not going to bring the gift to me.  I have to walk away from the normal - loving - situation I'm in and walk toward the package.  It's not going to come to me and stand in line waiting for my attention.  I have to make the time to walk toward my gift.  I have to consciously make the effort every day to open and protect and cultivate that gift.

Sound familiar? 

Every popular author I've talked to admits they have this problem.  It's nothing new.  Just like the selfish and mean who fight for your attention - the ordinary, absolutely good things will also fight for your attention.

If we are to change this world, if we are to following our Holy calling, if we are to get the work done - we must find a way to handle this issue. 

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas season with your family.  I hope that you had a great start to a Happy New Year. 

I believe it's time to get busy and "be about our Father's work".  With only a mere 7 days of "Happy New Year", while Congresswoman Giffords was getting back to work - evil attacked with a vengeance.  You may have watched the news like I did and cried. I was horrified that a nine year old girl had to endure that horrible situation.  Then when I read about her life Christian Taylor Green  - I was reduced again to tears. You may have shook your head in horror and prayed for all the victims. also may have listened to some views and shook your head in amazement at the ignorance of their rantings.  What to do?  What to do?

WRITE....Go to your computers and write.  Write the truth.  Write with compassion and strength and the knowledge that you have answers that others don't.  Be verbal.  Be strong.  Be filled with the Holy Calling God has given you.  You must write and be part of the conversation.

Ephesians 5:15

"Be very careful, then how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."

This world is evil and I'm afraid that in many ways I have not been wise.  I've been so busy being good to those I love that I've sacrificed a portion of my calling. I want to make changes, but how? 

#1  The first thing we should always do is take our problems to God.  I'm going to spend time everyday praying for God to give me wisdom on what area's I need to change in order to have more time for my work.  I think I give a lot of time to my work now....but the reality is that I could do more. 

#2  I have made schedules before but when they don't work - I quit.  Just because my schedule is interrupted doesn't mean I should be unstructured.

I hope you will join me today in prayer.  Prayer about God's will for your life and prayer about how to structure your life for optimum work.  Let me know if you have insight into these issues.  What changes do you need to make in order for God to use your work to it's fullest?

God loves you and has called you to write,