Friday, January 31, 2014

The 2014 Writer's Institute

Opening emails with a subject line titled Writer's Institute is like offering candy to a child. Irresistible! Last year's experience was overwhelming, exciting, scary, and amazing. It was a step into the unknown, a venture into the rapid waters of the writing and publishing world. I'm hoping to go again this year, but finances at this point aren't looking as if they'll allow it. However, if it doesn't happen, so be it. I'll be disappointed, but I do have a Plan B.

Plan B is to specifically set aside a few days to myself for writing. Whether I stay home, go to the library, or hide out a friend's house, Plan B will still serve a purpose, though with a slightly different emphasis than Plan A. Either way, I know I'll benefit. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

The ugly truth about writing

I may love to write, but that doesn't mean I'm disciplined enough to do it consistently, daily, or without resistance. My son's death, and the resultant realization that life is far too short, was the catalyst for me to actively pursue becoming a published author. It was motivation to take action, but even motivation isn't enough when it comes to writing. Motivation wanes and excuses creep in. There has to be a sustaining power, an ultimate reason for writing.

My sustaining power is the LORD. He is the reason I write. He compels me to tell my story. Yet, I am not the author of my story. He is. And though He is the one writing it, I am the one telling it. The question then becomes, "How well will I tell it?"

Excuses run rampant for any endeavor. For writer's, it usually has something to do with time. Or lack thereof. And ideas. Or lack thereof. And discipline. Or lack thereof. Hence, the photo for today's post.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A necessary madness

Some people have a passion for shopping. I don't get it. I literally wait until there is absolutely no other choice before I will leave the house to go shopping. Shopping is torture to me. There are also people who run. I don't get it. I absolutely am convinced that I will never understand the mind of a runner. Running is torture to me. Though I walk on my treadmill daily, I loathe it. I don't think I will ever like it. I do it because it's necessary. It's the same with shopping. 

Writing, however, I love. I "get" grammar, and is a daily visit. If I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing. The pressure to get thoughts out of my head builds and builds until it explodes, spewing out onto the paper computer screen. I'm not nearly as disciplined as I should be, but the quote above completely describes me. How about you? Have you got a necessary madness? I'd love to hear about it. Unless it's shopping. Or running.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Because I earned it

On Sunday, I received a very nice rejection letter email for my manuscript Wordilicious. It was a long shot, anyway, because this particular publishing company only publishes two books a year. I didn't have any grand delusions that I would somehow be an exception or that I am just that good of a writer. These are the times I am thankful I am a realist! I have so very much to learn yet about this craft and about the entire process of entering the book publishing industry. However, I'm glad I submitted it. Fear will no longer stop me from going after my dreams. If I'm anything, I'm tenacious. Just ask my mother.

Tenacity isn't found in strength alone, however. The body and spirit grow weary. Will power isn't enough, and even passion burns out. Tenacity needs support, and support is a chameleon. Many times, it's arrayed in colorful resources. Other times, it reflects the bright hue of encouragement. Often, it's clothed in the heart-warming color of hope. Tenacity is ugly without support and short-lived. The wonderful thing about support is that it transforms and enables tenacity to achieve its dreams.

I've been supported in surprising ways, thus far, in this process. I never dreamt I'd be able to attend a writer's conference or find a critique group, but I found tremendous support in both. Neither did I anticipate fortitude from strangers or encouragement from other bloggers. The latest surprising area of support came through PineCone Research, of all things. I've completed surveys for a few years now. I save my points and allow them to accumulate until I have enough to cash in and purchase coveted items. One such coveted item is a membership to SCBWI. The endless amount of surveys I had to complete and the long wait to save up enough to purchase was worth it! I earned it, and I'm looking forward to receiving great support from SCBWI as I continue on the road to becoming a published author.

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year's Resolutions? Uh-uh.

I don't do New Year's resolutions, and, out of curiosity, I did a web search (Ok - "Googled") and found this bit of interesting information. It would appear, by this, that I am part of the 38% of Americans who never make New Year's resolutions. (I always liked to be different, so maybe that explains it.) However, it's more likely due to the fact that only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions. Good intentions, for me, have never been reason enough to do (or not do) something. Furthermore, I tend to be a realist. I know myself all too well and don't like to set myself up for failure.

Another reason I don't do resolutions is because I think we typically make them in our own strength. We are well-intended, to be sure, but I believe the reason for failure comes because we have relied on our own strength rather than God's. I believe motivation has to be internal. Success comes when the motivating factor doesn't depend on outside circumstances or strength. I don't believe it has to do with how much determination or will-power one has or doesn't have, either. For me, it comes down to conviction of the Holy Spirit and reliance upon God. Two verses come to mind when I think of New Year's resolutions: Col. 3:17 "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord..." and Zechariah 4:6 " ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord..." 

New Year's resolutions aren't a bad thing. In fact, most are quite noble. But I want my focus every day of the year to be on what's necessary, which is loving God and obeying Christ. (Luke 10:38-42) When I do that, then I can rest in knowing that those resolutions will be achieved through His strength and will. May this new year of 2014 be blessed with an ever-increasing knowledge of Christ!