Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Are you too old? Too young?

My writer friend, Jan Christiansen, and I attended a mini-conference on Saturday with Literary Agent Steve Laube. He was an amazing communicator, and so encouraging. As a writer we need to attend all the conferences and workshops we can. As in any craft, writing is an ongoing learning process! Rules change, genre popularity comes and goes, and we need to stay atop these things.

During question time, one question I asked Steve Laube is do agents and publishers hesitate to sign on older clients. Obviously in any field, people are looking for longevity in anyone they sign with.

Steve Laube encouraged me so much with his answer, and then he addressed it again in his next blog post. Age is just a number, was the title of his post. Which leads me to a question: How old or how young are you? Do you let your age intimidate you from pursuing your dream, your passion?

You are never too young or too old. If God instilled it in you, it’s up to you to make it happen. He will help you, but He won’t make it happen for you. He’ll open doors, His spirit will encourage you, but you have to do the work.

Guess what? You can do this!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Those Pesky Judges' Score Sheets

Contests and judges score sheets! I entered a Christian writing contest and got notified that I was a finalist in my genre, Romantic Suspense, for my entry ‘A Lily Among Thorns.’  My first set of judges score sheets included three sets. Out of the three sets, one gave me high scores and remarks were very positive. Another one’s score was medium range. Then one had relatively low scores.

I devoured them all. I want to improve, be a better writer. Did I feel defensive sometimes? You betcha! Writing is our creative baby. Don’t call my baby ugly or intellectually challenged. Besides, it’s okay to feel defensive as long as we don’t allow it to stymie our creative juices.

It is the intent of the enemy of our soul, that deceitful devil, to get us to concentrate on the negative things—so much so that we fail to hear the voice of God, and ignore the Holy Spirit’s gentle nudging.  Use negative criticism to improve your skills and talents, whatever that may be.

When I got the score sheets from the final judge, an editor from Harlequin, that said I won for my category, Romantic Suspense, I devoured them. It cost $25 to enter the contest, and in my estimation, receiving all four sets of judges’ scores is well worth the investment. These are professionals who looked over my work and provided me with feedback.

I took all the advice and suggestions these experts had to give and went back and made changes to my manuscript.  I feel good about it. In fact, I feel awesomely blessed.

Keep your heart open to critiques, and tell yourself that it’s God’s way of helping you on your writing journey.  As we commit our endeavors to the Lord, he brings these things our way. Trust Him, and believe in yourself. God does!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Getting Motivated After The Holidays

Ugh! Bah-humbug! I love, love, love the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, but trying to get back into the groove (am I dating myself using that word?) has been difficult. That scripture in the Bible “The spirit is willing but the flesh (body) is weak” (Matt. 26:41), sure describes what I have been experiencing.

Writing, like anything, is an endeavor where we need to give ourselves a push periodically. Even if you LOVE to write, you’ll encounter this at times. Let’s face it, we can always justify not doing something with the excuse that we had so many other things to do. And with me, that is true. Very, very true!

My characters in my WIP-'s-currents novels--I’m working on, become so real to me during the whole writing process. But like real people, if I don’t see or talk to them for awhile, they tend to fade from the forefront of my thoughts. It’s almost like we need to get reacquainted again.

So here is my public declaration to: Jonah and Lilyth, Josiah and Leah, Lola and Jeremy, and Jeff and Leola (the only non-fiction ms I’m working on), I know who you are. I haven’t completely forgotten you. I promise that I will visit you this week and frequently thereafter. At least I will for sure with Jonah and Lilyth, and Jeff and Leola. But I haven’t forgotten the rest of you.
Is she working on four different novels you may ask. Glad you did ask. Yes, I am.
I can do this!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Writing Despite Critism

It seems we spend our lives chasing dreams and goals and purposes. I always wanted to write, but it wasn’t until I was sixty years old that writing became a burning, driving force inside me.

As a beginning writer, or for some seasoned authors, we seek affirmation that writing is truly what we should be doing. We pour our hearts out on paper (or in our computer), and sit back and expect the praise to roll in. Why wouldn’t it? We feel called to write, so obviously our gifting and talent should be apparent to everyone.

I found it’s much like learning to walk. We got the basics down. We can get from point A to point B. But simply because we can walk doesn’t mean we’re capable of running a marathon, or walking to a car, climbing in and driving off.  Toddlers can’t do any of those things yet.

I’ve learned you have to be willing to take criticism, correction, and accept that some may not like what you write, or even your writing style. To be successful, you have to determine that you will take all that-- the good and the bad--and learn from it, and not let it ruin you.

That’s easier said than done, especially if your personality is like mine: a people-pleaser.  I agonize whenever I think someone doesn’t like me, or finds fault with something I do. I wished, desperately wish sometimes, that I wasn’t like that.

I have to constantly remind myself of who I am in Christ. When I doubted my ability as a writer, God spoke to me. He said, “Who are you? Are you who others say you are, or are you who I say you are?”

That’s enough encouragement for me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 As A Writer

“T’was the night before Christmas…” And then Christmas was over and done.  I hope everyone enjoyed the season--that it was filled with love, laughter, loved ones, and remembering the Reason for the Season is Jesus.

Now that the New year, 2013, is upon us and then all those pesky resolutions start appearing.  I always make resolutions---that get broken.  So my resolutions for 2013 are:

**Lose weight (my all-time most used one). **Eat healthier. **Exercise more. **Read the Bible more. **Pray more. ** Finish all the novels I’ve started (4 of them). **Get published by a traditional publisher. **Write, write, write, write (you get the idea).  **Push the sales on my book Like A Cedar In Lebanon (I haven’t really done much with that other than creating a Facebook Author Page)

But the most important thing I am determined to do in 2013 as a writer, or otherwise, is to press into God like never before, to lay my head on His chest and hear His heartbeat, to be enveloped in His presence. I want to see people through His eyes.

God bless you one and all! May 2013 bring all your hopes and dreams to fruition.