Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ Category

pixabay.com

Accuracy is important in all areas of life for many reasons. We want, I assume, to represent our thoughts, actions, and written words with reliability; to communicate with precision and correctness. In other words, say what we mean and mean what we say.

Attention to accuracy in life implies integrity.

 

The first four verses of the gospel of Luke (NIV) read this way: 1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of things you have been taught.” [I love http://www.biblegateway.com]

pixabay.com

Luke was determined to share only the truth with his readers. With the help of God’s Spirit, he listened, recalled eyewitness accounts, investigated, researched, and organized. He did this for two reasons:

* He wanted his readers to get the message as it was meant to be transmitted and understood.

* He was a servant of the word and strove to glorify the Lord.

For writers, especially those of us who write from a Christian worldview, accuracy is doubly important. If our facts aren’t correct and well-represented, our readers will not trust the underlying spiritual takeaway values we wish to leave behind.

It’s critical to be credible.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Thanks to Dianne J. Wilson for granting me permission to share her blog on my site. It previously appeared on the International Christian Fiction Writers blog on January 21, 2017…

I’m writing this devotion 10.5 hours away from home. Why? Because this week my eldest kiddo started university. It is truly the most bizarre concept… pack up all her things, drive for a day, dump her and all her packed things off.

And.Then.Leave.Her.

Wait, WHAT?

Every instinct is screaming against this foreign concept. Since the first day a crying pink bundle landed in my arms, my job has been to Be There, Mop Tears, Hug When Life Sucks, Cook Food, Clean The Dirty Dishes, Wash Dirty Clothes, Help, Listen, Love. Now I have to leave her and drive 10,5 hours in the opposite direction. That’s over 1000 kilometers, not that anyone is counting. If you need me, I’ll be over in the corner sobbing.

Driving away from Stellenbosch without her is going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’ve bought tissues.

Wow. As her mom and dad, Scott and I are thinking of everything she may need so that when we leave town, she’ll be able to do what we brought her all this way to do. She is here for a purpose and we are providing access to everything she needs to make sure she can get on with it.

All this sounds familiar though, doesn’t it?

Jesus felt the same when He left us humans after living with us for a while. But, in His usual perfect way, He had a plan. And what a plan it was! John 14:18 tells us that He didn’t leave us as orphans, but sent Holy Spirit to be with us. If you read 2 Peter 1:3, you’ll know that He has provided all things for life and godliness. And just as I can’t wait for the first holiday when she gets to come home (and man, you can be sure her room will be ready!) Jesus is longing for the day we get to be reunited with Him too. He has already got the place all spiffied up for us. It’s all there in John 14:3.

But do you know what would break my heart?  If my girl chooses not to use the bookshop account and struggles without textbooks for the year. If she chooses not to use the chemist facilities when her allergies get bad. If she doesn’t use the cash we put in her bank for food and clothes.

Sounds crazy, right? But many of us struggle daily with things that Jesus has made provision for. I want to spend this year combing through my Bible and figuring out everything that He has provided.  Then I want to access it and use it lavishly for myself and for those around me.

Knowing how I feel about my kiddo, I’m pretty sure it will delight His heart.

7756237Dianne J. Wilson writes novels from her hometown in East London, South Africa, where she lives with her husband and three daughters. She has just signed a three book contract for a YA series, Spirit Walker, with Pelican / Watershed.

Finding Mia is available from AmazonPelican / Harbourlight, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.

Shackles is available as a free ebook from Amazon & Smashwords.

Find her on FacebookTwitter and her sporadic blog Doodles.

Read Full Post »

One year ago, I decided to make the leap into independent publishing. Here are some of the things I have learned, in no particular order, along with a few tips:id-100355999

  1. I am capable of launching my own publishing company, including the various forms and fees required. (Print copies of documents so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time, so says experience.)
  1. I am capable of editing, formatting and creating covers for my books. I have carried out each step. However, if I wish to maintain my sanity and the quality I desire, I know I cannot do all these things myself all the time (kudos to those of you who can, and I know a few of you).

img_1237An Aside: I thought of an analogy this morning as my husband and I sat at breakfast contemplating a few upcoming renovations to our home. Three years ago, we transformed our attached garage into an office/guest room (it was too small for our vehicle). We, mostly my husband, did all the work. I helped where I could, including taping and mudding seams and corners after the drywall was up. I can do mudding, but I’m quite bad at it. I don’t ever want to do mudding again. The end result looks better if someone more skilled and patient does it. Just like I can do book covers and formatting, but it’s better for all concerned if I let someone more skilled do those jobs.

  1. Excellent and reasonably priced services are available to help indie authors in areas where we don’t feel competent, or where we can’t manage it all time-wise. Some of these skilled people may already be in our circle of friends/acquaintances. Trading skills is a mutually beneficial arrangement.
  1. Marketing remains my pianissimo (as opposed to my forte). I must continue to ask, read, search, learn. Again, there are people who are good at this, trained, willing to help. I need to reach out.
  1. I love the flexibility and the control that indie publishing offers. I decide the order of projects on my to-do list. I decide on the cover, the size, the interior design, et cetera, together with those I’ve asked to assist me.
  1. I am ultimately responsible for the outcomes, for my promises to my readers, for deadlines.
  1. A Reminder: As a Christian author, I am not my own boss. God is. That adds a much higher lever of accountability to my writing life.
  1. A human accountability partner who knows my writing, at least some of my personal situation, and my overall goals, is an immeasurable asset. We can pray for and support each another.
  1. I must continue to learn, to review, to experiment, to observe, to ask.
  1. I must continue to write so I have something to publish. I must learn balance.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13.

Tips in a Nutshell:

— Pray for wisdom, guidance and strength daily (or moment by moment)

— Do what you can

— Ask for help when you can’t

— Trade skills

— Count the costs, make a budget, treat this writing like a calling/career/vocation

If you are a self / indie published author, what are some of the things you have learned about the process? I’d love to hear from you.

Read Full Post »

I read Violet Nesdoly‘s guest post on Novel Rocket on January 17th and thought it so well worded that I asked her if I could post it on my blog. She kindly gave her permission, so here it is. Many thanks to you, Violet.

 

Probably unlike most of you, I am a reluctant novelist. I did not imagine stories and tell them to my dolls as a kid. My writing genres of choice are articles, blog posts, devotionals, and poetry. Yes, I’ve written and published a few stories but writing fiction has never come easily or naturally to me.

However, there was one story that ate away at my consciousness for years. I finally caved and wrote it as a NaNoWriMo project in November 2009 and published it in 2012. That, I told myself, was going to be it for fiction.

Except that people keep asking, when is your next book coming out? So I started thinking sequel and dreaming and researching… As I got down to work, there was a click of rightness. But there was also a lot of apprehension. Having been through the process once, I know how much work it is to plan and write a novel-length story and that the writing is only the beginning.

I have, in the two years that I’ve been nibbling away at this, often allowed myself interruptions. Then, when it was time to get back to work, I’ve prayed, “Lord, is this really what you want me to do? A novel is, after all, just entertainment. Couldn’t you give me something less frivolous and more important to write?”

I was praying like that again a few days into the new year when I was back at my desk facing my binder of research notes, looking through my Scrivener file of character summaries, and reviewing my stapled sheets of plot ideas. As before, I got no other answer but “You have your assignment. Now get busy.”

A few days later I was praying the day’s Scripture prayers from A Watchman’s Guide to Praying God’s Promises. In the guide author Dick Eastman emphasizes the importance of prayer for our society and its influencers. He names seven main ones that he calls “Mountains of Influence”: Religion, Family & Marriage, Education, Business, Government, Media, and Arts and Entertainment (including Sports). The seventh day of each month is devoted to prayer for Arts and Entertainment with Scripture verses and suggested prayers.

On January 7th, then, I found myself reading and praying this: “Lord, you are the creator of all things, and you have made us in your image so that we are creative like you. Today I pray that your Spirit would fill and inspire the arts and entertainment industries so that the things we create and celebrate would reflect your beauty and purity. Let creativity lead the world back to you the creator…”

And then I heard some strong words:

Violet, entertainment is a huge influence, a mountain of influence in your society. Do not trivialize this work I give you. It is not frivolous or unimportant. Instead of praying for a different job, pray that you would do this one well; that your words would be light on the path to Me in the realm of entertainment. 

I love reading novels. I have the utmost respect for many of you whose books I’ve read and perhaps even reviewed. If there’s a purpose for my halting tales, there is so much more for yours. So be encouraged today that your entertaining creations are not trivial or frivolous but important and potentially influential outposts of the Kingdom of God on our society’s mountain of Arts and Entertainment.

Violet Nesdoly

Violet Nesdoly

Violet Nesdoly is a freelance writer and author who lives near Vancouver, B.C. Canada. Her biblical fiction Destiny’s Hands was a finalist in the historical fiction category of the 2013 The Word Awards. Visit her online
.

Read Full Post »

If you’re anything like me, you need some form of motivation to keep you going. 1422211012a83gw
According to Facebook posts, many people use coffee as their drug of choice, maintaining that they cannot operate without it. I admit that if it didn’t affect me so adversely, I’d do the same. Unfortunately, coffee gives me headache, stomachache, dizziness and the shakes, so I only consume it a sip or two at a time, and only rarely.

But there must be other motivational techniques we can employ to reward ourselves as we work at our self-employed creativity.

Most writers I know don’t do it for the money, because the actual returns are often negligible.
1417067088h5ada

So if we don’t do it for the money, why do we slave away at our computer keyboards? For the love of the craft, you may say. And I may be tempted to accept that statement. But that’s a big picture concept. How do we motivate ourselves from day to ordinary day? Similar to Pavlov’s dog, we need regular stimuli in order to perform.

One of my favorite methods for motivation is to regroup. Re-organize. I create charts and lists. In the short run, it may be a subtle form of procrastination, but if I persevere, this exercise helps me to see the big picture, and then break it down into bite-sized (measurable, achievable) pieces.file0001564894818

Another method is to reward myself upon completion of one of the steps toward my larger goal. Since I don’t drink coffee, I choose chocolate. Call it mind over matter, but the natural caffeine content of very dark chocolate does not cause me physical discomfort.

Sorry, I realize this is a serious distraction.

Sorry, I realize this is a serious distraction.

If you like exercise, an hourly break for stretches or a noon-hour bike ride may help to refresh the mind and body. I really do wish this described me, but my daily walk is a hard-won habit.13812056882z870

Perhaps a quick phone call to Mom is what it takes to encourage us. Right, Mom?phone call

Or how about reading a chapter (or two or three…) of one of the books we’re in the middle of?

The best idea I’ve come up with regarding daily, hourly motivation is relatively less action-oriented and considerably more spiritual. I try to remember to speak with the original Creator at the beginning of my day, asking for guidance and inspiration…and the strength to persevere. Then, from time to time throughout the day, possibly at the break times, I (try to remember to) re-focus on Jesus. After all, He is “the God who uses ink.” The “Author and Finisher of our faith.” Who better to motivate me?file000551198693

Since I believe I’ve been called and gifted to write, I need to rely on the giver of the gift to motivate me.

Whatever choice you make, let it motivate you to continue hard at the task of writing. We never know who our words will inspire, encourage, entertain, motivate.

Read Full Post »

Today I’m thankful for fall. That’s an interesting statement considering the fact that I don’t especially like winter, and fall is the signal that the cold months are coming. But I’ve decided not to allow the threat of winter to rob me of the joy of autumn.
fall

It’s been a fine, albeit busy, summer with lots of heat, a fair amount of rain, and happy flowers, trees, crops and grass. We’re still mowing our lawn in the latter half of September, which is very unusual. Everything is still green except the elms, which are staring to turn, and the green ash trees, which are a gorgeous, deep yellow. Since we haven’t experienced a killing frost yet, most of the leaves are still clinging to their branches.

photoMy dear mother, who is an alert 92 ½ years of age (how very thankful I am for her), encourages me to embrace every phase of life, and I think that should be true for the seasons as well. I will let the delicious autumn colors, clean air, lack of bugs and mellow weather surround and bless me. Then I will welcome winter as a break from yard work, from the busyness of the summer, and embrace it’s cold from the confines of my warm home. A time of relative peace and rest.view to east

Which leads me to the fact that I am extremely thankful for my home,

 

 

for the warmth I experience there, both physically and emotionally,

for the security we are blessed with in our country (Let’s pray for our leaders, especially as we head toward the election.),

for family and friends that make my life so rich,

for my church family and pastors that continually bless, support and teach me the truth of the Word of God (Did I mention our small group? What a joy to be part of that collection of friends),

for work and inspiration and connections and situations that take me outside my comfortable existence from time to time.

But most of all, I’m thankful to God that He’s given me the opportunity to live and love through Him because of what Jesus Christ has done for me by willingly taking the burden of sin and replacing it with forgiveness and unimaginable freedom and peace.

A friend on Facebook recently quoted: “If you have a pulse, you have a purpose.” I’m thankful to say that the One who keeps my heart beating also oversees and guides my purpose in this life.

Happy Fall! Be thankful every day, not just on that long weekend in October.

pumpkingsleaves

Note: I’m also thankful for the terrific photo site called www.morguefile.com, where I find so many of these pictures. “You are allowed to copy, distribute, transmit the work and to adapt the work. Attribution is not required. You are prohibited from using this work in a stand alone manner.”

Read Full Post »

CASE STUDY #1

Geoffrey Deschambeau* is the author of a recently published children’s book that the teacher of a dance class discovered and used to encourage and inspire her young students. However, when parents asked where they could buy the book, no one knew. They couldn’t trace the author or the book title.

CASE STUDY #2

Rebeka McElroy* has written a riveting historical novel set during World War II. It’s titled The Cost of Courage*. Apparently, it’s a great read and well-written. But how would you know that if I hadn’t told you, or if you didn’t believe me?

(*names have been changed)

Case in point: if we want people to read our books, we must make them available through whatever means of promotion are within our reach.

How can we do this?

My short answer: through social media.

newer twitter

 

facebook_linklinkedin

 

 

Yes, there may be a steep learning curve involved. If you’re tempted to skip this blog because you don’t want to put the effort into learning social media, please don’t. My expertise is also limited, but I can learn. My age might well be against me, but I can learn. And if I can learn and benefit from social media, so can you.

Step One — Who Are You?

* Create an author bio –where you were born/lived, early writing inspiration, education/professional experience, publishing credits if any, genre, etc. Write it in third person.

– Begin with a longer version, about 250 words (for website, interviews, social media profiles)

– Whittle it down to 30-50 words (for back cover book bio)

– Edit out everything but the essential facts, to 140 characters (for Twitter)

Step Two — What do you have?

* What is your book about? Write a summary (this is not a synopsis) in three lengths (short, medium, long) for various posting purposes. Check back covers of other books, especially those in the same genre as yours. Try the template in Appendix B of Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell if you need a more structured approach.

Step Three — Where Are You?

You must be traceable. How can people find you?

* Join writing groups, both locally and online

* Attend writing workshops, conferences, readings, launches

* Network with other writers and readers whenever possible

* Create an online presence for you and your books. This is what Social Media is for.

Step Four — Website, etc.

* Ask for help from friends who already have an online presence. Google to learn more.

* Create a website using WordPress or Blogger (my preferences). They provide easy-to-use templates for setting up a simple website. If you have the extra cash, you can hire someone to do this for you.

* Create accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon Author Page, and any others you hear about. Take it one step at a time and practice using each site before moving to another

* Use the book summaries and author bios you prepared earlier for your profile on these sites. Here’s an example from the back cover of my most recent novel:

back cover copy

 

CASE STUDIES

In CASE STUDY #1, Deschambeau’s book found an extremely limited audience willing to buy if the buying was simple. However, at the time of this writing, the author has no website, and the book has not found a home on any social media sites. If we don’t know about it, we can’t buy it.

In CASE STUDY #2, I’m happy to say the author did her legwork and sent out emails, Facebook ads and tweets. She also hosted a book launch to spread the word of her newly released novel. She requested, received and posted positive reviews that followed the book’s appearance on the major bookselling sites. I believe it’s selling well and the actual title and author are Threaten to Undo Us by Rose Seiler Scott.

To conclude, our writing careers require balance. We must be traceable. Our product must be available for purchase. BUT, if we spend all our time on social media, we won’t have time to write. Many prolific authors have people to tend their social media sites, but those of us who can’t afford that must maximize our online time. The matter of greatest importance is to keep producing quality fiction. Otherwise, we will have nothing to promote.

I recently discovered an article online that offers a strong note of caution regarding social media book promotion. I will leave it to you to read and consider HERE. Go for balance.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: