THE CALL TO WRITE

On June 19, just 15 days before the accident that changed our lives, which you can read about on our Grief page, God confirmed that it was time for me to do something that I had been talking about for a long time: write a book. And then I was given what I believe were very specific instructions on what not to do (He knows me so well!):  

1. Research to see if it had been done before

2. Ask anyone's opinion

3. Give up before starting

4. Let somebody else's dream take precedence

    And then I immediately received what I called the C's. I think it is odd and sometimes corny when speakers/pastors speak from outlines where all the topics start with the same letter. Well, that's what I got.

    1. Call

    2. Confirmation

    3. Courage

    4. Completion

    5.

      I heard the Call loud and clear. Then came the Confirmation through several people. I assumed Courage was what it would take to act on the call, but I had no idea just how much courage it would take after the accident.  (When Kelly and Travis chose "Courageous" by Casing Crowns as one of the songs for the funeral, I just sobbed.)  And, of course,  Completion made perfect sense.

      I felt strongly that there were five C's, so I just left number five blank.  It seemed weird, but so did the whole "C" thing.  And then in September, three months later, I believe God gave me the last one: Confidence.

      1. Call

      2. Confirmation

      3. Courage

      4. Completion

      5. Confidence

      At the time, I thought that Confidence should have come before Completion, but I get it now. Writing Little Cabin on the Trail has required me to plead with God for every single page--I could not rely on myself one bit.  And that is why I  have not been able to talk  much about my book before now. I wanted to believe that the words would come, but I had to wait until they did.  I knew that I could never accomplish this task--and I did not want to accomplish this task--if the Lord was not directing my pen.

      Many times along the way, I felt kind of silly when people asked me what my plans were for my book.  Mostly, I just answered, "I don't know."  I still do not know.  I am taking one step at a time--waiting on God's direction.  I know that I am in the Confidence stage, which is very hard for me. In my heart I believe in the message of Little Cabin on the Trail, but putting my writing and my family's stories out there is a little scary! 

      So, if you read the back cover and think you might enjoy it, then go ahead over to Amazon and order a copy or two or three. And then let me know what you think. xoxoxo

      SO YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER

      I never thought of writing as a career choice. I'm kind of sad about that. Sad because, even though I've always enjoyed writing and have lugged around the idea of penning a book for a very long time, I never interpreted that desire as possibly having the potential to be my life's work--my life's calling. And now that I have published a book and am hanging out with other authors who confidently identify themselves as such, I realize how much this writing thing means to me. I realize that my kindred spirits are wordsmiths and storytellers and grammar gals. I just want to sit around the writing table and talk shop.

      Oh, how I wish I had invested more in learning and perfecting the craft when I was younger.

      Sometimes it is futile to ask why, and sometimes it is helpful. Even though I cannot go back and change the course I followed, I still have a course ahead of me, and it is possible to encourage someone else to choose wisely--to heed the call--whether it be to write or to pursue another desire of the heart. 

      I honestly believe that God places a burning passion to do something--to be something--in all of us. Yes, I've known people who seem to be happy just existing, but that does not mean that they are happy or that they, somewhere along the way, did not abandon and accept for lost their hopes and dreams.

      I got to thinking about what kept me from starting my writing "career" sooner, and I kind of think a lot of folks can relate to my roadblocks. And maybe a few of you would be interested in slaying a few of those dragons with me. By the way, they could all fall under the heading of FEAR.

      EXPECTATIONS - If it won't impact many or yield a certain return, then we might as well not waste our time. 

      For years, I was told by many, many people that I should write a book because I could make a fortune. Well, that was the biggest deterrent to my writing career for sure. I was so afraid of not making a fortune--because that is what I came to believe defined success--and disappointing my friends and family that I never wrote the first word. How silly is that in light of God's definition of success.

      When I finally answered the call to write that book with no expectations, leaving the results to God, I felt such a sense of relief.  And even today, I continue to bask in the reality that I actually obeyed God. Of course, I'd love to sell a million books, but only if it is God's will for me to do so. 

      "Christian authors need to be obedient to the call, not driven by the expectations of other of the desire to be known."

      COMPARISON - Someone else has already done it or has done it better than I could do it.

      It most certainly has been done before or said before and maybe even better than I could do it or say it. There really is nothing new under the sun. That reminds me of a Bible verse: 

      Agree with your adversary quickly . . . (Matt. 5:25)

      I have found it best to not argue with the enemy of my soul when I don't have to. I just acknowledge that he may have a point and decide that it is not going to stop me from being obedient. I try to let truth cloaked in negativity fuel my determination instead of allowing it to discourage or paralyze me.

      Honestly, if people had stopped writing because they would never be as eloquent as Shakespeare or as profound as C. S. Lewis, we would never have books like The Cat in the Hat and Anne of Green Gables. Right? We are called at a certain time in history and at a certain place with a message for a specific audience.

      Our circle of influence will never ever mimic another's perfectly. We must concentrate on our people, our tribe, no matter the size, and not worry about who or how God will provide for the other gazillion tribes out there. 

      As I've said before, I had no idea when I started where my writing would take me. I still don't. I just know that I am going to continue to write and not be hindered by the success of others. I will choose to be encouraged by the success of others.

      "Another's success is not your failure."

      ABILITY - I am terrible at grammar and can't spell worth a lick.

      Well, I have some good news for you. It is possible to be called to be a writer and not be called to be a proofreader or editor. That may come as a shock to you. Some of the best writers I know start their sentences with the word ME. Please, don't ever do that, okay? 

       

      And every professional writer I know has hired people to fix stuff like that. The challenge is to learn to write freely without the constraints of perfectionism. I give you permission to do that! Hey, I give myself permission to do that! If you move on into publishing, you can deal with proofing and editing then.

      My specific passion is to encourage people to write from a place of memories in order to preserve their family stories. I think it is a great starting point, even for the aspiring novelist. There is so much to learn about ourselves as writers, the process, and the discipline of writing, but we won't learn any of it if we never even start. 

      I have created a four-week course for those that have been called to write. 

      writing.jpg

      So many people who have read my book have shared that they, too, have always wanted to compile their family stories. Most have also shared that they have no idea where to begin. I didn't either, which is probably why it took me three years to complete. It was grueling to say the least. 

      On the other side of my publishing journey, I just want to be able to take each of you by the hand and walk you to that sacred place where calling and passion is recognized and encouraged to blossom into whatever the Lord has for you. I want you to see your stories come to life on the page, to hold them next to your heart for however long it takes for them to do their work on you, and to eventually allow them to be released to others.

      If you want to communicate value and love, listen to another's stories.

      If you want to feel valued and loved, spend time
      with someone who is willing to listen to yours.

      For four weeks, you will have the opportunity to communicate value and love and to feel valued and loved.


       

       

       

      EIGHT WAYS TO SUPPORT YOUR AUTHOR FRIEND

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      1. Speak words of affirmation. The writing process is hard. The writer spends many hours alone--well, usually alone. Sometimes her friends, Doubt and Discouragement show up. They are like Job's friends. You remember them, don't you?  She needs your encouraging words to keep on keeping on--even after a project is supposedly finished. Marketing can be just as grueling.

      2. Buy her book and read it. She would love to give everyone she knows a book--after all her message is important to her. She even harbors secret feelings of the possibility it could change lives or the world. That cannot happen without sales. And she also needs the money--because she hasn't gotten a paycheck in a long time.

      3. Gift or recommend her book. Yes, you could just loan your book to all your friends and family, but giving one or encouraging others to buy one shows you believe it is worthy of a place on their shelves. 

      4. Leave a review on Amazon or other sites. It's important and necessary for people outside of your friend's immediate circle to buy her book. People really do read reviews, and Amazon notices them, too.

      5. Help get the word out with social media. If you see she shares something on social media, go ahead and repost it. It takes a second, but reminds her that you believe in her project. If you have a blog audience, then offer to host a giveaway and give her a chance to share with your followers. And don't forget to pin relaevant posts and pictures.

      6. Pass along any creative ideas for marketing. It may be hard for your friend to believe in herself. For most authors, it is easier to write than to sell. If you are hit with a clever or genius idea, share it!

      7. Host a small get-together. Your friend needs practice sharing in a safe place. 

      8. Discuss the book with her personally. Your friend would love to know what specifically spoke to you in her book. Mentioning anything in detail will make her heart sing.

      AUTHOR EVENT: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE TRUTH

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      To me, the best part of any event is the staging. I know I should really love the part where I get to talk to people and make the sales, but if I'm being honest, the talking and selling part stresses me out a bit. Well, more than a bit.

       PRE-EVENT SET-UP ON THE PORCH

      PRE-EVENT SET-UP ON THE PORCH

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      I learned a lot from doing my first author event, and most of it was not about how to decorate a tent. I think I got that--judging by all the positive comments.  And that did not surprise me since my one and only true talent is being clever, which you would know if you read my book

      ae4.jpeg

      Yes, I can shop the house and come up with curtains, tablecloths, old chairs, a vintage chalkboard, and some pillows. Collecting stuff, just like collecting family memories, comes easily to me. What has eluded me over my almost 60 years is the ability to collect moments of acceptance that could translate into confidence. I'm still working on that. Yes, even at my age, I have not given up the dream of one day being confident in myself, my work, and my calling.

      ae5.jpeg

      If only it was as easy as taking apart some skirts and making a valance. If only it was as easy as wrapping up some books in old maps. If only.

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      Why is it that I can gather all the great reviews and hang them on a bed spring for all to see, but I cannot hang them on my heart? Why is it so hard to believe that God believes in me and has ordained my message for such a time as this?

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      Why can't I believe that I am lovely or that I have written lovely words?

      ae11.jpeg

      I don't really know the answers to those questions. What I do know is that I will continue to take the next step and the next one and the next one, cherishing the positive words being spoken into my life, believing that there will be a moment when they will, in fact, tip the scale. 

      ae12.jpeg

      On the purely practical side, here is what I did right:

      1. tent decorating
      2. fresh flowers
      3. pre-wrapped, signed books (sold 10 of them)
      4. had my daughter's art booth next to mine for moral support and company
      5. had a friend sit and chat (Thank you, Edie@lifeingrace!)
      6. dressed to communicate my style of writing

      Here's what I need to do better with next time:

      1. have a larger sign outside the tent
      2. have an opening line to get people talking
      3. have photos taken of me talking to visitors
      4. let my in-person personality reflect my writing
      5. believe that my work is worth $10 (really?  worth two cups of coffee? seems easy enough!)

      I FINISHED MY BOOK!

      CABIN.jpg

      On June 19, just 15 days before the accident that changed our lives, which you can read about on our Grief page, God confirmed that it was time for me to do something that I had been talking about for a long time: write a book. And then I was given what I believe were very specific instructions on what not to do (He knows me so well!):  

      1.Research to see if it had been done before

      2. Ask anyone's opinion

      3. Give up before starting

      4. Let somebody else's dream take precedence

        And then I immediately received what I called the C's. I think it is odd and sometimes corny when speakers/pastors speak from outlines where all the topics start with the same letter. Well, that's what I got.

        1. Call

        2. Confirmation

        3. Courage

        4. Completion

        5.

          I heard the Call loud and clear. Then came the Confirmation through several people. I assumed Courage was what it would take to act on the call, but I had no idea just how much courage it would take after the accident.  (When Kelly and Travis chose "Courageous" by Casing Crowns as one of the songs for the funeral, I just sobbed.)  And, of course,  Completion made perfect sense.

          I felt strongly that there were five C's, so I just left number five blank.  It seemed weird, but so did the whole "C" thing.  And then in September, three months later, I believe God gave me the last one: Confidence.

          1. Call

          2. Confirmation

          3. Courage

          4. Completion

          5. Confidence

          At the time, I thought that Confidence should have come before Completion, but I get it now.  Writing Little Cabin on the Trail has required me to plead with God for every single page--I could not rely on myself one bit.  And that is why I  have not been able to talk  much about my book before now. I wanted to believe that the words would come, but I had to wait until they did.  I knew that I could never accomplish this task--and I did not want to accomplish this task--if the Lord was not directing my pen.

          Many times along the way, I felt kind of silly when people asked me what my plans were for my book.  Mostly, I just answered, "I don't know."  I still do not know.  I am taking one step at a time--waiting on God's direction.  I know that I am in the Confidence stage, which is very hard for me. In my heart I believe in the message of Little Cabin on the Trail, but putting my writing and my family's stories out there is a little scary! 

          So, if you read the back cover and think you might enjoy it, then go ahead over to Amazon and order a copy or two or three. And then let me know what you think. xoxoxo

          BACKBOOK.jpg