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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Week Twenty-Nine: Bridget Gazlay


Every Successful Writer


 “Every successful writer starts out as a ‘nobody.’”—Anonymous

 I’ve always loved writing, but I never really thought about writing
for publication, just something to do for fun in my spare time. I
figured only famous authors could make it in the writing world. I,
on the other hand, was not a famous author, and would probably
never gain acceptance in this field.

That’s what I thought of writing anyway, until I heard these
words: “Every successful writer starts out as a ‘nobody.’ What a
revelation. It never crossed my mind that even the most famous of
authors started out unrecognizable. Most authors don’t start out
writing best sellers and hits; they start out at the bottom and work
their way up, just like me. If ordinary people can become
extraordinary authors, so could I.

After that, I decided if an opportunity arose for me to use my
writing talents and skills to glorify God, I would take it. That life
changing moment was many years ago. Since then, I’ve had several
articles published in magazines, a craft book published, my testimony
featured on several web sites, and I’ve written over 200 devotionals.

Most of these writing accomplishments are not extraordinary
by any means, but they are a start. The most exciting thing is that
my writing skills are used by God to encourage others. Ephesians
4: 29 is my writing theme verse, and it says, “Do not let any
unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is
helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may
benefit those who listen.” I don’t need to be famous or on the best
seller list for God to use me in someone else’s life. I like to think of
each writing opportunity as an assignment from God. Each
writing assignment is more experience. Not only am I gaining more
notoriety, but I am gaining precious skills that will be with me for a
lifetime. I may not be famous, but I am more than a “nobody.”




Bridget resides in the beautiful West Michigan where she works full time as a Business & Finance Specialist. When she has a free moment, she likes to write, create fabric art, sing, and lead Bible studies. She struggles with several illnesses but doesn’t let that hold her down too much.

 Bridget’s prayer is that all who come across her writing or fabric art would see that she allows God’s creation to be her inspiration. For more information about Bridget, visit www.uniquelyfabric.com.



Monday, April 21, 2014

Week Twenty-Eight: Staci Stallings

And The Greatest of These is Love




In the end three things shall last, faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.” –1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)




All writers know the faith it takes to put words on paper. They’ve seen the faith required to search for the right word, the right nugget of truth that will mark their work as top-notch. Ultimately, they know the gut-wrenching faith it takes to turn theirwritten baby over to someone who might reject it outright.


They know hope too. Even after they’ve been kicked to the curb by agents, who probably didn’t even read the first sentence of a query, after a few days of chocolate and Kleenexes, hope surges again. Maybe the next editor will love it, buy it, publish it, and send it to be included next to John Grisham’s on the front table of every bookstore in the country. Don’t deny it. You know that hope is real.


One element, however, sometimes gets lost when faith and hope begin to emerge in our writing journey. That element is love. Sure, we love it, or we wouldn’t stress ourselves out to learn how to do it better, to find someone to publish it, and to put ourselves on the chopping block of rejection time and again. It’s almost a given that we love it. The problem is we forget that we love it.


As a character who loves music in one of my books says, “You know me, I’d play for the squirrels if they’d listen.”


Too often the longer we write, the less we remember what we love about it. Our focus shifts from writing for love to writing so others will love what we’ve written.


When we write for the love of it, every frustrating moment is an exhilarating challenge. Shaping the ephemerally picturesque stories in our minds into something coherent and fluid is like no other experience. The very act of putting that last piece of our word puzzle into place has no equal.


Remember the journals you kept, the poems you wrote, the short stories that are still tucked away in some old notebook. You wrote those not to gain love but because they were burning a hole in your soul to be put on paper.


Then you began writing not for love but to gain love. You became convinced you had to twist your writing to meet what others believe is marketable or publishable. And so you let your love for writing morph into wanting your writing to be loved… sometimes at all costs. You twisted yourself into a pretzel, learning perfect grammar, point of view, the “correct” way to write a marketable manuscript.


Learning and growing in your writing is one thing, but when
that gets so tangled in the rules you forget why you started in the first place, that is something altogether different. Love is the key to writing real. As the Bible says so eloquently:


In the end three things shall last, faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

It’s a lesson every writer should take to heart.


  • A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, #1 Best Selling Christian author, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including: Staci's Internet "Home": http://www.stacistallings.net.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week Twenty-Seven: Cheryl Wolverton

No Burden


“This is love, not that we had loved God, but that he had loved us, and sent his Son to be as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 (NIV)




This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. We get so caught up in today’s world about what others are saying, what we hear from the television or what we hear in every day chatting with friends. The world is filled with me-first or if I want this then everyone else should bow down and give me that. Tolerance is the key today to functioning without being lambasted. If you have an opinion that isn’t considered tolerant of everyone and every idea out there, you’re labeled intolerant.


It can be a heavy burden, especially to a writer when he or she is trying to paint a picture of God’s love. But we can go back to this verse and be reminded that what is really important is God’s love. God’s love was presented to us before we even knew He loved us. So really, if we’re focused on God’s love and sharing that love with others, it doesn’t matter how the world changes, what others say, what we see on TV because ultimately, God loves us and sent His Son as an offering for our sins.


You can have absolute peace in life’s turmoil when you think about that. I mean, seriously, God loves you so much that He sent His son. What does it matter if someone comes to you and tells you that you’re intolerant and your book is narrow because it presents God as the only way to life? Does it matter when someone tells you that you aren’t being friendly because you refuse to go to a bar where your work is having a party? You’re being intolerant of others.


In these circumstances you remind yourself of what it all is really about. It’s not about us, but about what God did for us.


And we can smile.  I ask you today to consider this and when you feel burdened down by life or by others, remind yourself what God did for you and it’ll help lift that heavy burden from your heart.









Cheryl Wolverton lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with Steve, her husband of over 24  years and her two children. For fun, the family likes to play cards, roller blade together, walk along the levee of the Mississippi River and especially visit anything that has to do with science, including stargazing. For info about her books, visit her at www.cherylwolverton.com

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Week Twenty-Six: John Westervelt

Only A Letter Writer


“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.”
------2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (NAS)





Those were simpler days. The year was 1954. Nelda and I, newlyweds from Oklahoma, set up housekeeping in New Jersey where I would work for Bell Telephone Laboratories.  Long distance telephoning was only for funerals, so I wrote my mother one week and Nelda’s the next. Nelda wrote the other mother. The weekly letters continued after moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Nelda’s mother has sent me a letter each week for fifty years.


Let me share a part of my June 26, 1994 letter to my daughter, sister, and mother-in-law.
Sunday June 19, 1994--
 



Dear Mary Kim, Harriette, and Mom,


On Tuesday I attended the Tulsa Christian Writers’ Club. First time guests are asked to tell something about themselves and what they write. On my first visit last fall I said, “I write a weekly letter.” At the spring Writers’ Conference my answer to similar questions was, “I am a student of writing.”
Regularly the club has a writing contest for members present at the meeting. The contest theme handed out at this meeting is “That’s What Friends Are For.” This week I wrote about Nelda’s untimely death. To meet the 600 word limit, I cut fat, followed by muscle, and finally I scraped bones. Should I win or place then I could be a real writer.



My condition of “only a letter-writer” prompts a story.
The year was 50 AD. Two mothers from Tarsus met for the first time in many years.



“Abigail, so good to see you. It has been a long time and we
were such good friends when our boys were students together at the synagogue. Tell me about your family. I remember your son always won the school’s writing contests. He seemed so gifted. Has he used his gift professionally?”



“Hannah, you know he was a good boy and a natural leader. However, I have been disappointed on two counts. One, he never married so I have no grandson. And secondly, he has written nothing noteworthy. Oh, Paul has written some letters which he tells me are read by the churches he has started.”


Love, Dad, John.


My story, “My Best Friend,” won first place in the contest, so I became a writer. This story is on www.jwestervelt.com. “My Best Friend” can be found under Heartwarming Stories, year 1995.





John C. Westervelt of Tulsa, Oklahoma has published a book about his boyhood in the 1930s. He is a volunteer at his churchs weekday preschool.