Today I am so honored to have a best-selling author on my blog. I hope her story inspires you to keep pressing in as a writer. And for those of you who are looking for something to help with stress you might try one of her devotionals. I’m getting ahead of myself. Debora Coty, welcome. Share a bit about your writing journey with us.
I was late to the writing party. I started writing professionally at age 45 when my youngest chick was about to fly the coop. At the time, I was a career occupational therapist (36 years) and piano teacher (25+ years) but felt like something was missing. I was supposed to be doing something else. Just couldn’t put my finger on it …
As I sat in a dentist’s office one day in 2002, praying about what that could possibly be, I reached down and picked up a magazine, then randomly opened it to a writing contest. A light bulb went on inside my head and I heard a still, small voice whisper to my heart: “It’s time.” I knew exactly what it meant. It’s time to chase the dream Papa God put in my heart as a kid: to write for His glory.
One enormous caveat: at the time I hadn’t written anything more than Christmas newsletters and medical charts for 25 years. So I took crash courses in grammar, punctuation, and creative writing, then found a mentor – a friend of a friend who had some experience in magazine publication.
My original goal was to have three magazine articles published during my lifetime. Largely due to my mentor’s input in helping me not look amateurish, I had ten published that first year.
Then I progressed to a newspaper column (which I still write today – kind of a Christian Erma Bombeck slice of life column). Then … books!
My first two books were YA historical fiction, and the third was a combination how-to/devotional for aspiring writers – all three were published with a small press in South Carolina (Descriptions and titles of all my books can be found at my website www.DeboraCoty.com).
I was then able to land an agent, who opened the door to bigger traditional presses and better contracts, where I switched genres to women’s inspirational humor.
Now, 15-ish years later (don’t do the math), I’ve been incredibly blessed with over 200 published articles and 40 books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series, which has sold over 1.3 million books (and counting) in multiple languages worldwide.
I love how God grabs our attention in unexpected ways to show us His will. It is inspiring. So Debora, what is your latest published project?
The final two books in the Too Blessed to be Stressed series will come out within the next six months. Too Blessed to be Stressed: 3-Minute Devotional Journal for Women will release this December; Too Blessed to be Stressed: Devotions for Morning and Evening will release in February, 2021. And the original Too Blessed to be Stressed chapter book (which I call the “Mama book” because it birthed all the other “Baby Blessings” in the series) will be released in a lovely new slim-line edition this November.
What inspired you to write your Too Blessed books?
As with all successful nonfiction books, a societal “felt need” was first recognized: stress management. In this case I realized that women were seeking simple, doable tools to help them handle the massive stress they’re under these days, and practical encouragement to live their faith out loud through the fray.
My Too Blessed to be Stressed books are tailored to the needs of crazy-busy women – short chapters, applicable take-aways, pertinent scripture, lots of LOLs, and relevant (and often entertaining) real life stores to make memorable points.
I learned to specialize in sharing biblical truth gift-wrapped in humor.
Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?
Two, actually. My longtime favorite go-to scripture has been Phil. 4:6-7 NASB: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, through supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Much of my Too Blessed to be Stressed material has come from my intensive study and life-application of this scripture.
As for my writing journey, my heart-sung praise passage in recent years has become Eph. 3:20-21 (NASB): “To Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all that we ask or think, according to His power that works within us, to Him be the glory … forever and ever. Amen,” (emphasis mine).
I certainly never saw the label, “bestseller” coming, or the lovely writing awards with which I’ve been blessed. But I’ve always been a firm believer that if He wills it, He fulfills it … against all odds. And Papa God definitely has – exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all that I could ever ask or think, all through HIS power that works within me.
And if He can do that for me – an almost-over-the-hill, nonwriting hick from the sticks – He can surely do it for you, too.
My next question is one of my favorites If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing, what would that be?
Stop! Stop limiting your potential by fear, low expectations, or lack of energy.
- Go ahead, boldly submit that piece! You won’t hit any baskets you never shoot.
- If Papa God gave you the assignment to write, He’ll use your gifts and abilities. Now give Him something to work with.
- “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak,” (Isaiah 40:29). That means you.
All writers are encouraged to read. What is your favorite genre to read for fun?
My enjoyment of reading women’s inspirational humor is what prompted me to start writing it in the first place. I was then working two jobs, mothering, wifing (that really should be a word), and was heavily involved in ministry at my church. I asked Papa God for more hours in the day to get everything done. He sent me menopause. Then I had half the stinkin’ night to write too. I found that thanks to menopausal insomnia, I waxed most hilarious around 2 a.m.
I also enjoy becoming immersed in a good faith-based suspense novel or cozy mystery.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I’ve tried coffeehouses, as many of my writer buds prefer, but honestly, I’m far too distractible to make it work for me. [Squirrel??? Squirrrreeel?!!!]
I do better holed up in my writing cave (fam’s term for my home office), with a single sunny window capturing an inspiring view of my Creator’s beautiful handiwork, surrounded by happy memories via family photos and mementos galore, and motivational scriptures and quotes taped all over my computer desk. (Example from Corrie ten Boom: “Attempt something so BIG that unless God intervenes, it is sure to fail” – this was pretty much the only reason I finally tackled my 365-day devo, Too Blessed to be Stressed: Inspiration for Every Day, after I had fearfully turned down the project for two years).
Upbeat. Yep, I need upbeat vibes … and quiet. And chocolate. HEAPS of chocolate. My secret desk drawer stash currently holds three gigantic Cadbury bars (with almonds – breakfast of champs) and a bag of Dove mini’s (dark chocolate and mint swirl). There might be half a Snickers bar tucked behind the lamp too.
I call myself a choco-athlete, the step beyond chocoholic. I exercise just so I can eat more chocolate.
How can readers connect with you?
I love to have new friends join our fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) via my free e-newsletter and Too Blessed to be Stressed blog. Subscribe to both at my website www.DeboraCoty.com. Hugs!
More about Debora:
Debora M. Coty is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of over 200 articles and 40 books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series, with more than 1.3 books sold in multiple languages worldwide. Debora was an orthopedic occupational therapist for 36 years and has been teaching piano for 30 years and counting. She adores swatting a tennis ball around a court, mountain hiking and beach biking. She lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband of 40+ years and 5 precocious grandpals who live nearby. Join Deb and her fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.
Other links to engage with Debora:
We have a giveaway of her latest book Too Blessed to Be Stressed: a 3-minute devotions for Women. Just comment on this post and your name will be put in a drawing. Debora will contact the winner for contact information.