Thursday, March 27, 2014

Praying Scripture Over Your Writing

I love how God reminds us of his faithfulness to us. When I pray, I always quote scriptures of promise that goes along with whatever particular thing I’m praying about. Didn’t Jesus himself quote scripture at Satan when Satan was trying to tempt him after his 40 day fast?  If Jesus did it, then we definitely need to. If you aren’t currently utilizing scripture in your prayer time, I encourage you to do so.

As it pertains to my writing career – or lack of one, depending on how you look at it – these are some scriptures I use:
John 14:13-14 (NIV) 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it

James 5:16 (NIV) 16………The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Psalm 84:11 (ESV) 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Ephesians 3:20 (NIV) 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

Psalm 37:4 (NIV) 4 Take delight in the Lord,  and he will give you the desires of your heart

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

We all go through slumps, dry times, times of discouragement and doubt. That’s what makes us human. I have been praying a lot lately – more than I normally do – about this season of my life, asking God if writing is what I’m really supposed to be doing. He sent several reminders within the past few days that writing is what is ordained for my life at this time.

Be encouraged, dear friend. God knows exactly where you’re at and what He desires for your life right now. Be confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. (Philippians 1:6) He is faithful.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Show Me The Money!

Like many couples, my husband and I often struggle financially. I retired in 2011, although I was young and healthy enough to still work. **uh, cough, could! I consider 62 young enough** My husband works hard, but in the construction line of business he’s in, if he doesn’t work, he doesn’t make money.

My SS check every month isn’t that much. I do some selling on eBay and Amazon, but the bottom line is that I don’t contribute much to our income. I was so zealous to be retired and finally devote my time to writing, but let’s face it. For many writers, it’s not very lucrative. Truthfully, most of the time, we spend more in our pursuit of writing than we bring in.

Recently I have felt the pressure in my lack of ability to contribute more to our income. It has made me question my quest in writing. As a Christian writer, I’ve heard so many say, “It’s not about the money as long as we bless and minister to others with our writing.”

Well, okay, BUT! Does the Christian plumber, fireman, doctor, nurse, or store manager say that? We can bless and minster to others with our writing without being made to feel guilty because we expect or hope to receive monetary recompense. There is nothing wrong with that!

So, where does that leave me right now? I’m not sure. I am praying and asking God for guidance. I love being retired. I love having time for just me. It seems like I’ve taken care of others, and looked after everyone else since I was sixteen years old. I was a wife and mother then. But I’ve asked God the last few days if I need to be looking for a part time job.

I’m just being real. I don’t have an answer right now, but I serve the One who does. In the meantime, I’ll write and write and write because I love it. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

If My Fiction Characters Were On Facebook

I love developing characters in fiction writing. I know, I know, I’ve said that before but it’s true. The only thing you, the reader, will ever know about my characters is what I share. Even in a biography or memoir, you only truly know facts about the person that the writer reveals.

Recently Facebook celebrated its 10 year anniversary. They provided a link where you could view your personal FB history: posts, likes, pictures, comments, etc.  As I viewed mine, my reaction was: This is important enough to me to put on Facebook.

It got me to thinking, if my characters were on FB, what would it reveal to others about them. BUT, more importantly, those of you on FB, what does your FB reveal about you. If a person never met you, if your FB was the only evidence to your character, what would it reveal about you?

I have almost 700 FB friends. Sometimes I scratch my head over what some people share. For drama lovers, it’s a virtual paradise. It truly is a glimpse into a person’s psyche. Names/initials have been changed, but here goes.

R always posts about how she’s angry with someone: the mechanic, store clerk, her kids’ teachers neighbors, etc. Every day! Sometimes more than once a day. My advice – lighten up. You’re going to get an ulcer.

M always posts scripture, or inspirational quotes. Every day. I like that. Numerous people do this, also.

K always has some physical ailment. Always!  I wonder how someone can have so much wrong with them and still be alive. They are not an invalid or bedridden. My thought: This person needs the attention. 

A is always ranting and raving about someone or something, even her co-workers. This is not someone I care to hang out with.

B posts every little thing her kids do throughout the day: where they go, what they say, what they eat, what they’re wearing, etc. At least 10 times a day. This is a mother who never gets out. Well, except for doctor or other appointments for kids, which she thinks we all need to know about.

F always post negative things. It’s always a “Woe is me, guess what’s wrong in my life now?” Bless her heart! Find some joy in life, honey. Believe me, it’s there. No wonder things are bad when you only see the negative. 

C posts about food every day, throughout the day. I know for a fact she has an eating disorder. She hardly eats and is obsessed with weight gain. But if you read her FB posts, she eats delicious food throughout the day. It’s a smoke screen.

P posts about how blessed she is with amazing family, friends and co-workers. She shares all the activities she does with these wonderful people. Every day, sometimes more than once, she shares something about these amazing people who love her and love to hang out with her. I know her, and she is a sweet, caring, fun person. So? Is she trying to convince or reassure herself that she’s worthy?

S shares political posts repeatedly throughout the day. How can we say we're a Christian, yet post such hate-filled things? We can have conservative, God-pleasing views, but not spew hate. What does that say to the world? I believe in standing for truth and what's right, but not when the motive is pure hatred.

Truthfully, most people are well-balanced. Or balanced enough. Facebook is a small window of what’s important in their lives. But, a word of caution. What does your FB posts say about you?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Writing Christian Fiction

As a Christian writer, particularly a writer of Christian romance fiction and Christian romantic suspense fiction, I bring an inspirational (inspirational sounds so much nicer than religious) slant to everything I write. Don’t misunderstand, I have written a few things that aren’t Christian in nature, but wholesome none-the-less.

I have a number of writer friends on Facebook. I use the term “friend” lightly because some I’ve never even met. Anyway, there have been a number of posts lately from these Christian writer friends about religious, political and current event issues. And, in case you didn’t know this, Christians disagree on a variety of religious and biblical issues.

Did I hear a gasp? Just kidding. Most people already know that, and sadly, it is that very thing that liberals and the media love to point out. When we argue with each other, it discredits the very thing we seek to defend. I’m not talking about friendly debate. I’m talking about vicious ranting and name calling.

Where am I going with this, you may be asking yourself. The answer is simple. When I write Christian or inspirational fiction, my slant will be what I know, what I’ve lived, what I’ve experienced. And that, dear friends, is where controversy can arise.

One of those writer friends on Facebook posted recently, “What are you giving up for Lent?”  I’ve never practiced Lent in my denomination. Because I haven’t, that in no way negates the observation of Lent. It’s a beautiful tool to get Christ followers to take the focus off themselves and onto Christ.

So, whatever your particular slant is on religion or Christianity, as you write, let it simply glorify God. And don’t allow yourself to get sucked into debate and arguments on scripture, religious beliefs and practice if in doing so, you’ve done more harm than good.