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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Week Forty-Six: Erik R. Van Asch

Burning The Bacon


“Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, `Write all the words I have spoken to you in a book.’” Jeremiah 30:2 (NAS)


I like to daydream. Actually sometimes I think it is a compulsive obsessive behavior, because when I should focus on work, family or the bacon that is starting to burn, I instead find myself mentally drifting in another world. Many times this other world is spent communing with the Lord as I share my desires and dreams and occasionally listen to what he has to say in return.


In times like these the Lord will often reveal truths about life, about others or about myself. I tend to walk away (or continue to stand there in a daze) with a bit of knowledge and insight that is refreshing, challenging and encouraging. Unfortunately, too often the epiphany will fade as I rescue the bacon from cremation and hearken to the call of hungry kids wanting extra servings of the now crunchy meat combined with requests for Saturday morning cartoons.

In an effort to hold on to these “words of the Lord,” I’ve found it helps to keep a journal. The challenge at first required overcoming the misconception that journals (a.k.a. diaries) were only kept by eight year old girls. As a young writer and father of four, I found that journaling is a wonderful place to capture thoughts, feelings, reflections, revelations, record events, doodle and draft out writing projects.


A journal provides a constant source of material to draw ideas and inspiration from, which has cured my writer’s block. Also, through writing my own thoughts and dreams I’m able to apply this practice to my fictional characters, which makes them more whole and less one dimensional. Nowadays I keep my journal close. Thus, when I find myself daydreaming and the Lord speaks to me, I’m now not so quick to forget the wonders he so graciously chooses to reveal to me. Unfortunately for my household, I still can’t help but burn the bacon.




Erik R. Van Asch loves to write poetry and speculative fiction. He lives in California with his wife of over twenty years and their four kids: Ethan, Conner, Brayden and Kaya.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Week Forty-Five: Cheryl Davis

Remember What it is All About


“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.”  Ephesians 5:15 (NIV)


I have been insulted, ogled, shunned, won an award for best Historical novel, received some glowing reviews (and one strange review preoccupied with sex), made to sit beside a grown man in a beaver suit and even offered a sales job. I think I have experienced everything but success in my adventure to sell my inspirational, historical novel. But there have been a few bright moments in my adventure into the world of the published author.


At one book signing I became keenly aware of the stare of a middle-aged man leaning on a cane. When there was no one at my table, he came over and asked about my book. We chatted some. He told me about his illness. Then we began to discuss some very profound issues: God, family, divorce, kids, death.


I realized this solemn man, with such hard lines etched in his face (I doubt he had smiled in a very long time) was purposefully
challenging my beliefs. He was trying to make me angry and seemed
openly surprised when he failed at his mission.


He became quiet and pretended to read a page out of my book. I think he was taking his time to ponder all that I had said. He suddenly put the book down and turned to leave. He instantly
turned around and came back to my table full of unsold books. “Thanks.” And he smiled. He struggled to speak. “Yeah, thanks for talking to me.” I do not know what I might have said to have elicited such an intense response in him. Even though I only sold a dozen books that day, I still consider that book signing a great triumph. I had reached another human being. After all, that is what I am trying to accomplish as a writer.


Cheryl Anderson Davis, born in Atlanta, adds local flavor to her stories. Her Revolutionary War novel, HOPE IS CONSTANT, won Treble Heart Books Best Historical Book. SOUTHERN COMPLICATIONS is about the Reconstruction Era in Georgia.



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Week Forty-Four: Brandy S Brow

Worthy of Our Confidence




“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh...” Philippians 3:1-3 (NKJV)

My writing skills have changed a lot in the last twelve years.
I understand how to focus and slant articles for magazines. I can
craft a query letter that gets accepted. I know how to meet word counts and deadlines, avoid grammatical errors, and write characters that come alive in stories with essential conflict. Yes,


I’ve come a long way since my suntanned dog story, which flopped harder than a belly-smacker all those years ago. But as my skills develop, I find it tempting to have confidence in them.


Philippians 3:1-3 warns about this. Just because writing comes
a lot easier than it used to, that doesn’t mean it can or should be my confidence. Placing trust in anything other than God invites disaster, and I would be wise to remember although I worked to increase my abilities, it was God who made it all possible.


As we become more proficient writers, let us remember to place our trust in God alone instead of making him compete with our skills. Imagine if we didn’t? Our writing might be empty or we might fall flat. But even worse, the One who gifted us would be shortchanged and we’d suffer eternal consequences. God deserves all of our thanks and is worthy of our confidence. Let’s give it to Him.


Father, thank you for sharpening our writing abilities. We look at them today as a reason to rejoice and place all our confidence
in You, not them.


Bless You, Lord. Amen.


Brandy S. Brow lives in Vermont with her husband and seven children. She enjoys entertaining, teaching, and encouraging through the written word, and loves to help writers via freelance editing and mentorship. www.brandybrow.com

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Week Forty-Three: Gail Gaymer Martin

A Perfect Model

“The most beautiful painting can never capture the beauty of this world, and my best writing will never compare to the Word of God, but I trust God to inspire my creations – whatever they may be, and that my writing will be used for His purpose.” Colossians 3:12 - 14. (NIV)




Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Though these verses are perfect for us as a life model, they also apply to writers. Each of these attributes lend themselves to our careers as we write stories that touch people’s lives. We show compassion, gentleness and understanding to our characters and their journey and trials. We must be patient and forgiving with ourselves, editors, and readers who may reject or criticize.

When we succeed, we do it with humility, praising God for His blessings. We write for love: love of God, love of the readers, and love of the stories we tell. And as we all know, writers are bound together in unity with the same passion for writing and sharing the Good News of our Savior.




Gail Gaymer Martin: God has amazed me. I became a freelance writer in 1995 after retiring from public education. I began writing fiction in 1997, and sold to Barbour publishing in 1998. After my second book with them, I sold my first novel to Steeple Hill in 1999.  I have 55 published novels with 4 million books in print, some having received national awards. Some of my books have been translated into nineteen foreign languages. I hope my amazing career helps people realize that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. With God, anything is possible. Visit my web site at www.gailgaymermartin.com Please share your comments below. I’d love to hear from you. If you are a writer, please visit my blog Writing Fiction Right at www.writingright-martin.blogspot.com



Sunday, August 03, 2014

Week Forty-Two: Andrea Boeshaar

                            Chapter Four:   Success And Sustenance




Working A "Real" Job


"Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’” John 20:21 (NIV)


Many authors are called to write for a living. For them, it’s a viable, full-time job. But for some of us, writing is a side business or part-time ministry, which we’d love to do full-time except our “real” jobs seem to get in the way.


At times I find myself feeling resentful that I’ve been called back into the workforce, and I whine and complain about it to my Heavenly Father. “Can’t I quit this job and write full-time like so- and-so does?”


“You know that’s impossible, my child. There are bills to pay and I’ve called you to help your family. Besides, think of the lost souls you work with everyday. You are the salt of the earth...you
are the light of the world.”
 

“But I don’t want to be salt and light. I just want to write full time.”


At this point, I imagine God chuckling at the irony of my statement. “My child, how can you have an effective writing ministry
if you are unwilling to heed my call to reach the precious souls you work with everyday?



I’m humbled, but not subdued. “Couldn’t I just give my coworkers one of my novels and then give my two weeks’ notice?”


It’s then the Savior’s words ring in my ears. “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
Jesus Christ went willingly to the cross. Is it really too much for me to work at a “real” job while I work at my writing? Hardly!







Andrea Boeshaar is a published author of both fiction and nonfiction. She is also a certified Christian life coach. For more information on Andrea, visit her website at: www.andreaboeshaar.com



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week Forty-One: Tina L Scott

Try Not To Panic Over Intermittent Paychecks




“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”Matthew 6:25,26,27,33-34 (NIV)


One of the single hardest things for me to get used to as a freelancer is the feast or famine nature of the business. Some months I get several new clients and former clients come back to me with new assignments. Other months my phone doesn’t ring, my email brings nothing but spam and it’s easy to panic. How will I pay my bills this month, Lord? What am I going to do if I don’t have money in the checking account to pay the mortgage next week?


I try to budget, try to anticipate income probability for the coming months based on sound logic without being overly optimistic, and try not to make too many impulse purchases. But time and time again I come up short. There’s too much month left at the end of the money. How does one cope with the financial uncertainty and the pressure and stress of being self-employed, freelancing, or as I like to call it, overworked and underpaid?


Quite frankly, I don’t cope so well. It’s nerve wracking to always wonder where your next meal ticket will come from, how you’re going to pay for your daughter’s new shoes so she can join the track team with all her friends, and if you’re being overindulgent by treating yourself to cafĂ© latte with a friend.


Building a freelance writing business is about so much more than just writing. It’s about advertising and marketing, accounts payable and accounts receivable (and there are usually a lot more of the former than the latter), customer relations, networking; vision and goal setting; organizing and filing; and a whole lot more, and then it’s finally about writing. It’s hard enough to multi-task to the extent necessary, treat each client like they are special, maintain your sense of creativity, stay sane, and get a reasonable amount of sleep, without even thinking about your household expenses.
That’s where God comes in. When I just don’t have the answers, I turn to this favorite Bible verse and try to calm down.


I reason with my irrational self that God loves me far more than a
flock of birds, so He will also provide for me. I remind myself I do not have to worry; God told me so, and that worrying doesn’t help a thing. I stop and listen: for His voice to His word. And I start to trust the Creator of the Universe to supply all my needs, even though it goes against the logic of worldly thinking. I place my trust in Him, and I decide to exercise my faith in Him. Then I pray. And I sing songs of joy and praise and thanksgiving. I get lost in the music and the spiritual experience. I simply bask in the glow of His love for me, and I know everything will work out somehow, someway.


And do you know what? It always does.






Tina L. Scott is a full-time professional photographer who now writes in her spare time. She is married with two children and one granddaughter and lives in Merrill, Wisconsin. www.photographybytina.com.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Week Forty: Nancy Richardson











Remedy For Deadlines and Pressure



“But those who wait on the Lord, shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)





When the pressure is on. The story is due. The words are few. Then it is time to wait on the Lord. Here it says, “...those who wait on the Lord, shall renew their strength.”


You have been struggling to even write one more word. But then as you wait and take time with the Lord and wait on Him Words come. The words flow once again. It’s back, the inspiration. The thoughts come so swiftly you can not get them down quick enough. You are eager to write, eager to finish. You possess desire to share with others. The deadline is no longer tiresome because you know the source of your strength comes from Him.


Can you not feel yourself soaring as the eagle? A flight into the sky. Thoughts soaring right and left until you find yourself already inspired to write the next book. The ideas are fresh. The plot is daring. Hang on, the Lord is about to take you higher. For this is where the eagle flies.


Oh, the joy of waiting on the Lord. Oh, the freedom of not being weary. Oh, the feeling of not fainting. The pressure is no longer a problem. Why? Because you chose to wait on the Lord.






Nancy DuBose Richardson is a born-again follower of Jesus Christ and is living in Camden, Arkansas with my husband and one child, the last of six, left at home. After teaching Sunday School class for many years she wrote and self published a 30 day devotional called "Seek First.." for her class and friends. Currently, she is working on another devotional series called "At the Kitchen Table", and one dealing with choices which is yet to be titled.