Thursday, March 24, 2011
Everywhere I look, someone's life is torn apart, never to be the same again. War, natural disaster, job loss, cancer—it just doesn't seem to end. The times we're living in have become overwhelming. Even those who don't believe in our God can sense this world moaning and crying out for the Redeemer to return.
Christians are called to be overcomers. Not through our own power, but through the power of the blood of Christ. We are never alone. The Holy Spirit promises to help and counsel us, to get us through life—even when it sucks. And every moment we take a breath we are given a chance for a new beginning.
Same with our writing. What might seem difficult...maybe even impossible...today can become something we overcome tomorrow. Even if it means starting over.
Jesus said, "...In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33). How comforting it is to know that despite what the headlines say, despite what difficulty we face in our lives, despite how hard it is to put that next word on paper, our LORD will be there, with us, to help us overcome our circumstances and, if need be, start over.
Monday, March 21, 2011
You’re staring at the computer screen, ransacking your brain for your next sentence, and suddenly a plot for a completely different story pops into your noggin. Strange new characters whisper in your ears while you labor to get old Klaus and Gertrude down off the mountainside before the volcano erupts.
It’s so easy to get swayed by these new project possibilities. I once read a funny piece that compared the allure of a new story idea to meeting a new romantic interest. The temptation to dump your current dimming flame and take up with that hot, new prospect can be overwhelming.
What should we do with these new beginnings that crop up when we need to be focusing on finishing our current novel?
First, be encouraged. You may feel like your brain is an empty paper bag with nothing but a hint of Sesame Chicken wafting around inside it, but creativity lurks amid those dried-up bits of rice. Use that spark of a new story to remind yourself why you write, that you CAN create, and that God has more exciting plans for your writing journey.
Second, write it down. Throw just a few words into a document detailing that mind-blowing plot or those compelling characters. You’ll feel better knowing you’ve put something on a page and can come back to it when the time is right.
Third, get back to work on your WIP. Tell that flirty new beginning that you’ll be in touch soon, then disconnect and get back to business. Because the only thing more exciting than a new beginning is the satisfaction of typing “The End.”
Evangeline Denmark has co-authored two children’s books, The Dragon and the Turtle (Waterbrook Press, 2010) and The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari (Waterbrook Press, 2011) and also writes adult fiction. Evangeline serves as chapter secretary for Worship Write Witness and has only broken up with one of her novels since she began writing in 2006. You can find Evangeline online at www.breathenbreatheout.blogspot.com and www.dragonandturtle.com
Friday, March 18, 2011
I’m like a proud parent, showing off my newborn. I even showed her to the lady at Curves, who sincerely tried to match my enthusiasm, but I could tell she was just being polite.
If you’re a published author, or even simply blessed your project by typing “The End”, you know the feeling. Every story, or article, or poem is a new beginning. It’s that bouncing baby book that you gaze at with wonderment. I created this. What a miracle! It breathes new life into your stagnant career, reminding you that you can do it again, and again.
Oregon Weddings is my eight cover. Inside are stories I had already birthed and had covers of their own when they first came out:
- God Gave the Song – Two people learn how to forgive with the help of a melodious alpaca.
- Crossroads Bay – She seeks a treasure. He seeks her heart.
- Fine, Feathered Friend – An actress afraid of birds enlists the help of a bird trainer afraid of actresses.
But seeing this fresh, new cover brings back the excitement. I’m an author with child, dreaming of what the next one will look like. Holding this infant book in my hands makes me long to see the art on the stories still in my head. It gives me the kick in the pants I need to get them written.
I’m passing out cigars. Want one?
Oregon Weddings is due out in early April. Watch for it in stores or order it online at Amazon!
Kathy Kovach is the ACFW Rocky Mountain Zone Director, and author with Heartsong Presents and Barbour Publishing. She writes Spiritual Truth…With A Giggle, thus proving herself as one of God’s peculiar people. With a passion for story, she dissects movies on her Craft Cinema blog. Read the first chapters of her books at Fiction Finder and visit her at www.KathleenEKovach.com.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
He went to a seminar. Then he went to a couple of good writers group meetings. Then he signed up for a writers retreat. And all of that ignited his passion for writing once again -- investing in his calling as a writer made that calling seem more real, more urgent, more attainable.
Because, let's admit it, there are few things in life as scary as staring at a blank piece of paper or a blank computer screen, waiting for words of inspiration to come flying out of our pen or our fingertips.
Sure, once we get the words flowing, it's easy after that. Getting some positive feedback from a publisher or editor, seeing a deadline in black on white gets the creative juices racing.
But the every day, mundane, mandatory process of writing can wear us down.
Unless we see value in it.
Let me share a parable with you: Our church runs a small food bank ministry each week. When we first began, we didn't ask for any donations, because we had minimal costs, and our church was happy to cover those costs. What we discovered, however, is that when the clients who received food from the food bank went out into the parking lot, they threw away some food items they had received. So, foe example, if an apple had a bruise on it, they threw it away. If the bananas weren't green, in the trash. And we realized that the clients didn't put a value on something they didn't have to pay for. So we started asking for a $2 donation. And people were happy to receive it, and we didn't find food thrown away. Why? Because they had to "pay" for it (although the donation was always voluntary).
If we don't see a value in our writing, we might tend to "throw" it away -- we'll find reasons not to attend a meeting, we'll find excuses not to write, we'll allow distractions to take us away from our calling.
Investing in your writing career is one way to ignite your passion to write. Remembering how excited you were about your story when you first started writing will inspire you to sit and write. And if you aren't sure you're writing the story you need to tell, sit down and make a few notes that will identify the story that is burning you up on the inside as it waits to be written.
Beginning again, again, is no sin. There is no shame in admitting you got side-tracked, but now you are back on the road again. Setting aside your current work and starting a new one is not the same as quitting -- you are just going to write the story that you should have started with.
Is something holding you back from beginning again, again? Tell it to go away. Nicely, of course. Tell it to come back after you've finished with this book, this story, this poem, this song.
All writers will, at times, face a brick wall of reasons why they can't write. And even if you can't write all day, for an afternoon, an hour even -- find fifteen minutes in your day and at least think about your project.
New beginnings are all around us at this time of the year. Today, right now, is the best time to begin. So sit, write, make notes, don't worry about how much you have left -- count your words from today, right now, and put them in the plus column of how much closer you are to the end.
And then, when you reach the end, begin again, again. And again. And if you haven't signed up for the writers retreat in April with Cecil Murphey as keynote speaker, you need to do that. Check out the details on www.acfwcolorado.com. You will definitely be ready to begin again, again after that.
Monday, March 14, 2011
My dad would say in a cheery voice.
As I shuffled into the kitchen, my first thought was, How can anyone be cheery so early in the morning? Then I would try to think if this was some special day I had forgotten. I would grunt, then say, “Tuesday?” Hoping it was indeed Tuesday.
And in his cheery voice he would say, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
I would groan not believing I fell for that one again! I heard this saying from my dad more times than I cared to count growing and never appreciated it.
When I was older, married, and with children of my own, I realized my dad was saying that today is a fresh start, make the most of it. Don’t worry about yesterday and the past. Today is a new beginning.
The song Morning Has Broken from the 70’s came to mind as I was thinking about new beginnings and this being the first day of the rest of our life.
God made that first morning and He gives us each new morning.
“What is today?”
“The first day of the rest of your life.”
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Contact: Jill Hups, vice president, HIS Writers (north Denver chapter of ACFW)
CECIL MURPHEY COMING TO COLORADO APRIL 8-9, 2011
NY Times Bestselling Author and International Christian Speaker to talk on “Knowing God,
Knowing Yourself: An Invitation to Daily Discovery”
Cecil "Cec" Murphey, The Man Behind the Words, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s
fourth annual ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Colorado retreat, to be held at the
Ponderosa Conference and Retreat center in Larkspur, Colorado.
As a NY Times bestselling author and Christian international speaker, Cec has authored or cowritten more than one hundred books that have been translated into more than 40 languages and have sold millions of copies, including the bestseller, 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper). His newest book, Knowing God, Knowing Myself, released December 2010, will be the theme of this year's retreat.
Cecil has also written hundreds of articles that have appeared in a variety of publications. His
passion is to stimulate people's minds and nourish their souls. Since 1984, he has been using his writing and speaking to help him accomplish those goals.
Join us as Cec teaches on Knowing God, Knowing Myself, and let him lead you into a deeper
awareness of God's presence, startle you out of common spiritual reflections, and take you on an uncommon path of daily self-discovery and Christ-centered insights.
For more information and to register, go to www.acfwcolorado.com/acfwcoloretreat.
ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) of Colorado
Serving Christian Fiction Writers Throughout the Rockies
* * * * * *
This event is sponsored by ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) of Colorado.
You do not need to be member of ACFW in order to attend this event.
Visit us on the web at www.acfwcolorado.com
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
New beginnings. There's nothing like them.
But sometimes we let the past cloud our new beginnings. I was given a new beginning this week, but it took a few days for me to believe it, embrace it, and celebrate it. Why? The pain of the past was so close that my emotions couldn't catch up to the hope of the future.
God has something to say about that:
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland."
Isaiah 43:18 - 19 (NIV)
This little Scripture has popped up over and over in my life the last few years, a reminder to me that God is all about taking the barren and making it fruitful. I can choose to hand over Him the dry, dusty crumbles of the past, forgetting the barren places, the hurtful places, the hopeless feelings. Instead I can choose to believe He is doing a new thing.
Creation reminds us of God's character of trustworthy newness. Every single day God does a new thing, offering a fresh start as the sun peeks over the horizon and pours forth its warm, golden rays, beginning a day that has never yet been lived. The ecstatic little birds start to sing and their joyful worship songs fill the air as they welcome daylight--and new beginnings.
May I learn to do the same.