Distractions when writing is one of the greatest challenges for a new or struggling author. Pretty colors. Cleaning the oven. Organizing your closets. The strangest distractions can seem important when ideas aren’t flowing. Or perhaps the more visible success of fellow writers has you in a bit of a funk.
Snap out of it!
Regain your focus. Remember what your purpose is. Revisit the reason you decided to sit at the keyboard in the first place.
Take a break if you need it. Read this post if you’d like. But get back to work. You’ll be glad that you did.
Hey friends! I’m speaking in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on November 5th for the 2nd Annual Keystone Christian Fiction Writers’ Conference! If you’re in the area, come and spend the day with us. It’s going to be fun, informative and hopefully inspiring. I would love to have you stop by my class and share some time with me there. Agents from Hartline Agency will be there. Jeanette Windle is the Keynote and other published authors will be there to share their knowledge and support.
I always thought being a Christian fiction writer was the next thing to sainthood. Not only did the author write the most entertaining story possible, but they also left the reader with a message. Their story had a purpose.
When I decided to write fiction I struggled with all the criteria I felt I needed to meet. Would my story be believable? Could I show Christ like I wanted to? Would my words sound preachy? I stressed over my fears for months until I remembered a simple quote from Mark Twain that set me free.
“Write what you know.”
I am a Christian. I live a Christian life because of my love for Christ. I strive to do good, but so often fail. I know what it means to live in a fallen world. I know heartache and other emotions—sorrow, joy, fear, disappointment, struggle with vengeance—all the makings of a great novel.
So I write what I know.
Nowadays my challenge has changed. Writing has taken on a different meaning. I need to be selective in sharing what I know. What experiences do I know that could connect with readers? What emotions can I express on the page that would connect with a reader to pull from them their own emotions? Sorrow? Joy? Disappointment? Struggle with vengeance?
I still read novels by others so I can learn more about my craft. I go to writers conferences to sharpen my skills as well as participate in critique groups to stay connected with like-minded people.
But I always come back to what I know.
I challenge you to do the same. Attend this fall’s writers conference. Connect with fellow writers on Facebook and share your ideas. And write what you know. You’ll be a blessing to others when you do.
How many times have we questioned why sand has been kicked in our face on the Beach of Life? Circumstances doesn’t go as planned … we suffer an incredible loss … our words get twisted then used against us. We stomp our foot and scream to God, “This is not fair! Where are you, Father? Why don’t you make this right?”
But we hear nothing back—radio silence from our Heavenly Father. What do we do? We want to roll up our sleeves and fix things. We know exactly what we’d do to fix things. But Scriptures begin to come to mind: “Never will I leave you nor forsake you,” “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” “In all your ways submit to God, and he will make your paths straight.”
August 1983 The cool air and the long rays of morning sun greeted the three of us as we traveled the long driveway. It took everything in me not to start crying.
“Today’s a great day!” I said, with too much pep in my voice. I wanted to make sure I told him all he needed to know for this special day. “You’ll meet new people and it’ll be terrific!”
We continued to walk, hand in hand as we always had in the past. He stopped, looked up into my eye, and with a sober voice, “It is a great day, right, Mommy?”
Little Sis skipped along singing Great day, It’s gonna be a great day … She had no idea the somberness of this moment. But how could she? How could she know what it felt like to lose a baby into an Unknown World?
People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.But Jesus called the children to him and said,“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little childwill never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17
I recently read a Facebook post that made me cringe. A woman was ranting about how she was tired of people being so self-absorbed, they actually brought their children with them when they visited her favorite Starbucks. “They have no consideration for others,” she went on. “All I want to do is enjoy my coffee in peace and quiet. Is that asking too much?” I leaned back and said to myself, “Been there, I get you sister,” until I realized how self-absorbed I was by thinking that way.
There’s nothing wrong with looking forward to appreciating a great cup of coffee in a stress-free atmosphere, but, dear friends, there are so many more important things in life.
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:11 – 12
Elijah—a powerhouse for God—experienced one of the greatest stories of the Old Testament. He was invited to see God. But he had to experience destruction before he heard God’s voice.
Isn’t that how Life turns for us? When life’s winds and storms fill our world, we call out to see the power of God. Somewhere in our heart we hope He’s greater than our current storm.
Would you be bold enough to challenge God with your life? Helen Bancroft did in Lori Roeleveld’s, Red Pen Redemption.
It’s a story of Helen’s self-justification and self-indulgence. She is both hero and villain. I loved her and hated her. I wanted to reach through the pages and shake her by her shoulders, then I wanted to hug her close to protect her. Ironically, it wasn’t until I was closing into the end of the story that I realized I had seen myself—my own life—reflected in parts of this story.
Roeleveld’s use of scripture soothed, guided, and enticed me as a reader. She also expertly offered example after example how Helen tried to look God in the proverbial face, only to blink and turn away. Just as I had tried in the past, and if you dare to read this, you may see yourself, too.
I rarely give five stars ratings. I think five-stars are reserved for mothers to give their children. But this book has what it takes to change lives. A tall order for a piece of fiction. Lori Roeleveld’s, Red Pen Redemption is slated to be a beloved Christmas Season staple for years to come.
J. G. Gilbert & Robin Gilbert Luftig at Lake Lavine, MI, Summer 1958
Even though my family of origin was pretty dysfunctional, one of my favorite pastimes when I’m feeling a bit low is to remember stories about my dad and how he honored my feelings and held them close to his heart.
I always jumped at the chance to be with Dad in his room—the Gun Room. It was a treat to steal away with him when he went upstairs to his room. He kept guns, cameras, family photos and film equipment, and special sentimental pieces from his childhood there. I am certain he kept us out for our own protection when it came to the guns. We were all told the only time we were allowed to go in there by ourselves was if the house was on fire and we could safely get the family’s 8mm films out and save them from being destroyed. Other than that, the Gun Room was strictly off limits. Whenever I saw him in there, I would beg to join him. And he always obliged. While he worked away on whatever project he was concentrating on, I looked around his private sanctuary with marvel. I would fold my arms behind my back holding tightly on to my wrists, just to make sure I did not touch anything. I did not want to run the risk of inadvertently grabbing for something and causing harm.