I’ve Gone and Done it for 2019

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I’ve finally went and done it. Done something I hadn’t planned on doing and avoided for years. Something to encourage me through 2019.  I dropped the new year’s resolution thing long ago. We all know we break those by February, a few hangers-on by summer.  I’m slow to comply and resistant to making promises I may not keep. The latest craze that has caught on over the last decade is a word for the year. I didn’t take that too seriously either. I lumped it in with writing down everything you eat before you start a diet. Not something I want to do. This year I can’t help it. I  believe I have my word for 2019. It’s BRAVE.

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Not the kind of brave that requires swords or donating a kidney. Instead this next year I will be brave enough to be who I am. I will not compromise my faith. I will finish the two novels I need to by bravely stealing time each day to get my word count done.

It takes bravery to say no to stuff I shouldn’t be wasting as much time on -like TV. Saying No to things others should be doing for themselves.  Saying no to other’s ideas of how I should be spending my time.

I’ll need bravery to continue to market myself. I’d rather help others get noticed. But I must be willing to put myself out there more. Bravery will hold me up as I continue to learn new ways to market and arrange more venues to sell books.

 

As a mom and grandmother, I often give over my time to others. Bravery puts guilt aside. Without guilt plaguing me I’ll take time for myself and enjoy it.

I’m looking forward to seeing how brave plays out in my life in 2019.

What is your word for the year?

If you’ve not subscribe to jubilee Writer why not start out the year with me. I’ve got some wonderful authors guesting on my blog this year. And I’ll give you periodic updates on how brave I’m being. I always try to provide helpful writerly information and book reviews. 

 

Andrea Merrell Shares: Is There Room in the Writing World for You?

Although this blog was posted on The Write Editing before Christmas I feel Andrea Merrell’s insights are spot on as we enter the New Year. A career in Writing is a difficult journey and as 2018 closes it’s easy to get discouraged and doubtful. I hope you find Andrea’s words as inspiring as I did.

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Is There Room in the Writing World for You?

By Andrea Merrell

It’s hard to know for sure how Mary must have felt the night she was about to give birth to the Savior of the world. Weary, cold, most likely hungry, and going into labor she was surely ready to climb off that donkey and crawl into a soft, warm bed.

But the only words she heard over and over were “no room.”

I can only imagine the other words she heard that night. “Sorry. Filled up. You should have gotten here earlier. Come back another time.” She might have even been told “our rooms are reserved for frequent, high-profile guests.” An earful of discouragement.

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At times we might face that same discouragement as writers—especially after a long journey of conferences, critique groups, appointments, classes, devouring books on the craft … and rejections.

 

No room. Sorry, that category is filled up. You should have submitted your proposal earlier. Come back another time after you rewrite your novel or come up with a new story. Your genre is not quite what we’re looking for at the moment. Yes, we have spots open, but they’re reserved for our high-profile, well-known authors.

That’s when the Enemy fills our mind with thoughts like: I might as well give up. What’s the point? I’m tired of trying. God must not have called me to do this after all. Maybe He’s even forgotten about me.

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That’s when the fight-or-flight instinct kicks in. We either go into hiding or fight for what we want. We might shut down our computers and quit or try to break down the door that has been closed to us. Either way, it’s a waiting game.

 

So, what should we do while we’re waiting? Just keep on, as they say, keepin’ on. Do what God has called us to do. We should never be tempted to try and promote ourselves. That’s God’s job, and He takes it seriously. He’s also very good at it. We need to look to Him for acceptance and approval, find our significance and self-worth in our relationship with Him. One pastor says, “In God’s kingdom you don’t achieve success on your own, you receive it from God. Let others compete and compare. Just stay faithful in what God’s given you to do—and when the time is right … He’ll come and get you.”

I love that statement “He’ll come and get you.” Just like He came after David as the young shepherd was tending sheep, doing the job he was given to do, while his brothers were striving to be Israel’s next king. God had a plan. He knew exactly where David was and how to find him. When the time was right, God sent for him.

The truth is in God’s kingdom there’s always enough room—for all of us. When we belong to and work for the Creator of the universe, the Master of Creativity, there is never a shortage of opportunities. The venue you have in mind may not be the one He has reserved for you, but it’s there with your name on it—not someone with more notoriety.

As a child of God, He has a plan and purpose for you and for your writing. He knows exactly where you are and how to find you. Trust Him for His perfect timing. He will open doors of opportunity that no one else can. There is more than enough room in the writing world—for you!

 

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(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I loved the encouragement Andrea brings to my writer’s heart. It is hard to soldier on in our calling as Writers when doors are closing all around. And even when publishers doors open wide and we feel at last we’ve arrive our own lack of confidence can sabatoga our career goals. I’m starting 2019  with a commitment to renew my trust in the Savior to guide me through the next twelve months as I continue to write, allowing him to be in charge.

 

 

Visual Inspiration for the Writer’s life

 

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The custom framing was worth the price to remind me I need to continue this writing journey.

 

The writer’s life is a rollercoaster of emotions. We are on a high when our book gets published. A low when our sales are down, or we get a one-star review. We worry our next book won’t be as good as our last. We fear rejects and being a one hit wonder. Anxiety overwhelms us with marketing and putting ourselves out there.

Reminders

We all need to wrap ourselves in positive reminders. For me, it was custom framing my Serious Writer 1st place for Fiction Award. It’s not the Selah, Carol or Christy but I’m still pleased with it and it’s reminder, I am a writer. I’ll look at it and be encouraged. I’ve framed other award certificates as reminders. But I need to hang them on the wall.  Yes, I’ll admit it, they aren’t hanging in my office. (Sliding them in a drawer or a folder because they aren’t 1st place or have no trophy or medal connect with them is pointless.)  All of these awards need a place of visual prominence.  As a group they’ll inspire me to go for the gold in the future.

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I love seeing 5-star reviews. I don’t read the 1-star reviews because they only instill doubt. Atta girls and compliments on my social media from fans and fellow-writers are so appreciated. Often I see them when my heart is in a dark place and words aren’t coming.

When people respond in the comment section on my blog, it’s encouraging. I need to know the time it takes to write these posts has value to my readers.

It’s human nature

I believe most writers feel the same.  If they say they don’t need accolades and don’t care what other think about their writing then they must do it for a hobby or they are lying. It’s human nature to want praise.

Praise is not a daily thing. Neither are 5-star reviews or awards. But having proof of my accomplishments in a place to view when my heart feels heavy over some aspect of my writing career helps. I’m reminded I can do this.

I lift my heart

For me the reminder causes me to take another step to bring me out of a negative place. I thank God for the gift of words he’s given me. I pray for his peace and confidence and seek his direction for my next project. And I thank him for the lovely encouragement he bestowed on me through these awards.

What visual aid keeps you focused on your goal to complete your next writing project?

 

 

Reflecting on a weekend writer’s retreat

How about a mini-conference?

This past weekend was my local Word Weavers’ retreat, titled Cultivate. Attendees got a taste of what a writer’s conference is like without taking a week off or spending a lot of money.

Everyone left at the end of the sessions rejuvenated and encouraged.

 

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Erin Curtis, President of Word Weavers, Aurora,IL chapter gives opening address.

 

Writers are a lonely breed because other people don’t understand us. We wonder sometimes if this writing journey is worth it. But get a group of us together and we come to life.

No one thinks our love of words is peculiar. We discuss our characters and plots like they are real people and events. Friendships are renewed, and new ones forged.

Add a couple of workshops with Ginger Kolbaba and Rowena Kuo then finish with a critique session, and you’ve got a day of inspiration to recharge the wordsmith in all of us.

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Ginger Kolbaba. Author and Speaker shared her expertise

More than once I heard attendees tell me how at-peace it felt to be there. They didn’t know there were groups like ours. One woman said she was so surprised others liked her work. Sharing our word babies with anyone besides our mother can be daunting.

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Rowena Kuo, CEO of Brimstone Publishing taught a session

Retreats and conferences help writers realize they are not alone in their pursuit of publication. They have comrades-in-arms to battle discouragement.  Registration, breaks, and lunch serve as opportunities to build a network, and in the classes we learn what we didn’t know or had forgotten about our craft.

It’s a wonderful thing.

 

 

Share your small retreat experience. I’d love to hear about it.

 

The Magic of Belle Isle Inspires Writers

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Often when I watch a movie I find some excellent take-way value. After watching Magic of Belle Isle I found a treasure. The main character, Monte Wildhorn, an author whose passion for writing died with his wife is taken to Belle Isle by his nephew(under protest) in hopes of rekindling it.  Monte has no intention of ever writing again. Alcohol and the dog that came with the home areh is only companions. That changes when he meets his neighbors, the O’Neals. A single mother with three girls who disturb his grumpy existence. Ten-year old Finn (short for Finnegan) O’Neal offers to pay Monte to teach her to imagine. Charlotte O’Neal’s piano playing lifts his soul and Fin’s determination to understand how to write a story inspires him. He finds his muse again.

The scene that captured my writer’s heart and reminded me why I write took place between Finn and Wildhorn. He points down the road and asks her what she sees.

“Nothing.”

“Try harder –tell me what you don’t see.”

The quizzical look on her face is priceless.

Later Finn understands as she looks out the window toward the beach. Monte again asks her what she doesn’t see. This time she weaves a tale about a girl being pursued by a man.  Her imagination is ignited as she adds to the tale. The girl tricks the villain into going into the cellar where she slams the cellar door and secures it with a broom until the police arrive. Finn explains that she and a neighbor boy like to hide in the cellar.

Monte commends her imagination and using what she knows.

These two points are priceless. Writing about what you don’t see and writing what you know.

Writing what you know

Recently I have been reading Eva Marie Everson’s Cedar Keys Series. Eva has vacationed in Cedar Keys on several occasions. The setting is so familiar to her that the character movements feel natural.

Brandilyn Collins experienced Lyme disease and from that wrote the suspense thriller Over the Edge drawing from her own experience battling the disease.

Jerry Jenkins grew up around law enforcement. His father was chief of police. This experience makes his Precinct 11 series so believable.

Use your imagination to write what you don’t see

Seeing the unseen comes naturally to those with vivid imaginations. A painter captures the light on canvas, the sculpture sees a figure in flawed marble.  A writer sees a stranger lurking in the shadows of a pleasant tree-lined street.

Like Monte I wasn’t feeling in a writing mood.  I found my muse again as I watched Monte rekindle his through his association with the O’Neal family.  As my mind pondered the insights I was gaining from Magic of Belle Isle I was inspired to write this blog post.

What inspires you?