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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Week Twenty: Rhonda Eudaly










This piece is not a devotional based on Scripture, but motivating. ..


Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off


“The greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.” ---Confucius




How great is this quote? Especially for writers. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the writer is the underdog, always fighting an up hill battle for publication. We pour our heart and souls into our writing, and then we may send it out to be critiqued or workshopped. Only to be followed by sweating over the revision process. That’s just to get to the submission stage of writing.


The writing process is undoubtedly the blood and the sweat, but the road to submission is where the tears lie. It takes more persistence, perseverance, and dogged determination than any other part of the writing process. It’s in this stage where writers are knocked down more times than a punch drunk boxer. And this is where we keep rising. Each and every time.


In college, I once heard a statistic that said to be a professional writer, the writer had to either sell something or receive 200 rejections. That’s a lot of getting back up. But the pay off is worth it.


Rejection is never easy to take but is an inevitable part of a writer’s life. All of us have a huge collection of rejection letters,
including the big name authors always on the Best Sellers Lists.
And actually, a writer can use their rejections to plot their career path. Seriously. From the basic photocopied form letter to the actual personal rejection from the editor.


The personal rejections show the greatest growth and the next rung up the writing ladder. However, these falls can hurt
more and be more difficult to rise from. The level of
encouragement or discouragement in these particular rejections depends on numerous factors.


The ones which point out specific problems in the manuscripts can be both helpful and hurtful depending on the editor’s day.
Sometimes one having a particularly bad day will take out his or her frustrations on a poor, unsuspecting manuscript. Others make
the manuscript better. The trick is to keep an objective perspective.


Oh, yeah, right. How does that happen in a completely subjective industry? Well, allow time to be completely childish
about the rejection. Stick out your tongue, call the editor (in the
privacy of your own home and head, of course) names, then put the letter aside for awhile. Then, after emotion’s pass, take a look at it again. See if the rejection provides any specific, useful information. Then it’s try, try again.


One may also get contradictory rejections; i.e., some may love it, others hate it. Or it may go to a dozen or more markets before finding its place. But the writer never knows who may buy it if it never goes out. So, take a note from Confucius and keep getting up. The result could be the glory of a sale.









Rhonda Eudaly is the author of over a dozen short stories and articles. She lives in Arlington, TX with her husband. More details of her work can be found athttp://www.RhondaEudaly.com.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Week Nineteen: Joanne Schulte

A Wordsmith Missionary




“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians. 2:9 (NIV)


When I asked God to give me something more to do for Him, I was convinced He would lead me into using my home as a B and B for traveling missionaries. But God showed me He had other plans for my life. He wanted me to write articles proclaiming His glory, reaching lives for His kingdom.
Why didn’t I think of that?


One of my first articles was accepted immediately. This writing stuff seemed pretty easy so far.
But the Holy Spirit whispered, “It won’t always be this easy.”I could accept those words intellectually, but I had not yet experienced the “R” word. Rejection.

Whereas writing had always been easy and pleasurable for me, now there was more. There was also a passion to write. Never could I have imagined how quickly time would fly while I was at my computer or how slowly time would pass while I endured a writer’s block or waited for word from an editor. The most amazing thing of all was that I could eagerly get out of bed, toss on a bathrobe and immediately begin reworking the same article I had written late the night before.


I didn’t use to be this way before I started writing.


I was beginning to resemble the guy in the comic strip who works at home on his computer in his bathrobe, losing all track of time, totally unaware of the world around him.
Even my checkbook reflected “the new me.”  Entries revealed money spent for computer paper and ink cartridges, writer’s magazines and annual conferences.


What is happening to me, Lord?


I’ve also made a new group of friends, people I’ve only known a short time, but with whom I feel very close. We see each other often, e-mail frequently, and communicate in a strange language. Our vocabulary contains the words “tweak” and “critique,” “SASE” and “query.” Overhearing this, one might suspect we are “not of this world,” but have our heads in “the heavenlies.” Could it be true?


I am continually reminded my way is not God’s way. His answers to my prayers are always so much better than anything I could ever imagine. No longer do I think of hosting missionaries in my home. For I too have become a missionary, a “wordsmith missionary.” No, I don’t risk life and limb to reach the lost. I only suffer blurry eyes, aching back, and poor wages. In years to come it will not matter if I have written while wearing my bathrobe or that I have now met the “R” word time and time again.


There is another “R” word. Reward, and my reward awaits me in heaven someday. In the meantime only one thing matters. That is: if by sharing God’s message on the printed page, my writing touches at least one life for God’s kingdom.


Thank you, Lord, for answering my prayer and allowing me to be a wordsmith missionary for You.








Joanne Wright Schulte began writing for the Lord in 2002 and just recently has begun a speaking ministry too. Her work has appeared in many publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She enjoys, music, reading, writing and speaking.


 


Sunday, February 09, 2014

Week Eighteen: Brandy S. Brow

Protocol




“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it  is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:13-15  (NKJV)




I write daily to keep my commitments and meet deadlines, but every time I sit at the computer, I’m enticed by e-mail and the desire to visit Web sites I rarely get to visit because I’m so busy. To avoid succumbing to temptation, I usually make myself write my daily devotion so it’s done before I hit my send/receive button, my main Internet connection prompt.


The key word here, though, is “usually.” One day I didn’t heed normal protocol. My mom called and asked me to look up a Web page for her. It sounded quick enough to do right away, and I figured connecting to the Internet with my Web browser instead of e-mail would be enough to avert temptation. Once connected, though, I thought, “I’ll just download e-mail real quick. It’ll only take a minute.” Sure enough, I was right.

It only took a minute, a minute for desire to give birth to sin. Two hours later I had used all my writing time and was kicking myself for not having my devotion done. I should have known to keep protocol, the thing God gave me to overcome my computer temptations. I hoped the next time I would be wiser to wait until after I had done my duties before doing a favor for someone.


It’s so easy to use good things as excuses for doing what we want. And it so often gets us in trouble: Our sins sneak up on us because, like my desire to do e-mail and Web browse, they aren’t sins in themselves. The problems come when we try to fulfill our desires when we should be doing something else. So be careful the next time a good thing gives you reason to put aside your commitments or rearrange priorities. A careful, prayerful check will probably reveal you can do both while keeping priorities in line.


Father, please forgive us when we allow disruptions in the priorities you set for us. Help us stick to protocol and thereby avoid temptation.
Thank You. 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