Got an idea?

 All I had was an idea and God. 

Those were the words from the event coordinator of an author festival I recently participated in.  Although the coordinator shared she only had three months to organize the event with a zero budget, the event ended up being a success because she believed in the idea God had given her and moved forward in making it come alive.

That’s what God wants us to do too. For daily he gives us a plethora of writing ideas. But rather than moving forward with the ideas we receive, we sometimes allow our fears to stop us in our tracks until we have perfect conditions. We may wait until we have the perfect time to write. We may wait until we have the perfect place to write or we may wait until we have the perfect skills to write. But just as the young woman offered her event in spite of imperfect conditions, we are called to launch out and begin the journey to write for publication even when our conditions aren’t perfect. For in the end, all it really takes to get started is a great idea and a great God.

Sharing the journey,

Jeanine

Writer to Master: Father,  You’ve given me an idea for a writing project. May I believe in myself and have faith in you to believe it’s enough to get started on my journey to write for publication. Amen.

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Will you trust me?

Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.  Jeremiah 17:7, NLT

Because I work with a number of people around the same age as I am at a new part-time job I recently started, the inevitable question that usually arises during our conversation is:  Are you retired? Is this a second job for you?

And my answer is always no. For although many of my colleagues have retired and are using the part-time job they have as supplemental income, I am not. I am working because I have to work, even as I approach my retirement years.

I confess it’s discouraging I’m not where my colleagues are financially as I approach my retirement years, but I still believe I did the right thing twenty-three years ago when I took a step of faith and gave up my career to prepare for a career as a Christian writer. I still believe I did the right thing when I withdrew all of my monies from my retirement account to sustain me as I prepared for my writing ministry. And just as God has taken care of me through the years while I prepared for my writing ministry, I know he’ll take care of me as I approach my retirement years. Better than any retirement plan I could ever have.

Is God calling you to step away from an existing career to prepare for a  career as a Christian writer, but your retirement account is not where you’d like it to be if you go? Then trust God to fill in the gaps, for as you step out in obedience to live your writing calling, he promises to take care of you too along the way!

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

Writer to Writer:   How are you learning to trust God to provide for your overall needs as you prepare to write for Christian publication?

Master to Writer: My child, I am calling you out to write for my kingdom. Will you trust me to take care of you along the way?

 

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It’s a different world

When I took my daughter to begin her first semester of college, after helping her get settled into her dorm room, praying for her safety and planting a butterfly kiss on her cheek, I left her with the following words, paraphrased from the opening song of a TV show we enjoyed watching:

“Here’s a chance to make it,
If you focus on your goals.
If they dish it, you can take it,
Just remember you’ve been told
It’s a different world,
Then where you come from”

Excerpt:  A Different world theme song: Lyrics by Stu Gardner, Dawn Lewis, and Bill Cosby

Like the different world of college my daughter was soon to enter, it’s also a different world you’ll enter when you begin the journey of writing for publication. And beginning this new journey will require certain adjustments and character traits on your part if you’re going to succeed. It will require you to adjust your current schedule to make writing a priority. It will require you to develop a habit of writing regularly to practice your craft. It will require you get whatever training is necessary to improve your craft, and it will require you to develop the tough skin needed to accept constructive criticism to improve your writings for publication.

Like entering college, you’ll be challenged like never before as you enter the different world of writing for publication, but if you’ll remember to stay focused on your reasons for being there, you can make it in this different world.

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

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The pruning process

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit and he prunes the branches that bear fruit so they will produce more. John 15:1-2, NLT

Did you know that one of the benefits of pruning a fruit tree is so that it can produce more fruit? Not only are the dead limbs cut off when they aren’t producing fruit to promote better health, but the Gardner also prunes those branches that are producing fruit so they can produce more. Ultimately, pruning promotes an increase in fruit production.

Like a good gardener, our heavenly father will also periodically look at the branches on the “trees”  of our lives to see what type of fruit we are producing. And if he sees a branch in our life that is producing fruit, he may prune it to ultimately produce more.  

Such was the case with my former career. For just when I was at the apex of doing the good work I felt God had called me to do in my career, one day I heard God whisper in my ear that it was time to go.  Although I initially resisted the call to give up my career, in time I came to realize it was because God was pruning me. He wanted to cut back this particular branch in my life because he wanted to produce more fruit through me in another career- the career of  Christian writing. And cutting back would allow me to prepare to produce more fruit in the next career he had for me.

Are you hearing the call to cut back in a particular area of your life to prepare for the writing ministry God has given you? Then consider it part of your pruning process!

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

 Responding to God’s call to write: In what area of your life is God asking you to cut back so you can prepare to write for publication? Write down your plan of action of how you will cut back in this area today.

 

 

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How do you see the land?

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Caleb tried to encourage the people as they stood before Moses:  “Let’s go at once to take the land. We can certainly conquer it.”  But the other men who had explored the land with him answered: “The land we explored will swallow up any who go to live there, for all the people are giants.”  Numbers 13: 30-32, NLT

The time had arrived. I had studied my craft, attended numerous writing conferences to learn how to write and publish professionally, and I had self-published three books. I felt I was ready to take the next step – to pitch my next book idea to a Christian agent to see if he or she would be interested in marketing my manuscript to a traditional Christian publisher.

But knowing the difficulty that lied ahead securing an agent, I wondered: Was I being realistic? Would I find an agent who would be interested in representing me as a Christian author, or should I just continue the route of self-publishing my next manuscript?

Before the people of Israel entered their Promised land, twelve spies were sent to explore it. Although all of the spies saw the same land, only two of them returned with a positive report.

What made the difference? It was about how they saw the land. For while ten of them saw a land filled with giants they did not believe they could conquer,  two of them saw giants they believed they could conquer.

When you enter the land of writing for publication, expect to see some giants there. You may find a giant of doubt that will cause you to question your writing skills and whether they are good enough to submit your work for publication. You may find a giant of fear waiting to scare the confidence right out of you to publish your book. You may find the giant of rejection waiting to stamp out every effort you make when you submit your work for publication, and you may encounter the giant of discouragement waiting to invade your psyche when it takes longer than expected to find a publisher. These “giants”, are not to be discounted, for they are very real challenges you will face daily as you seek to write for publication. How can you conquer the giants you may encounter? By viewing them the same way the two spies did – able to conquer with the help of the Lord.

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

Responding to God’s call to write:  What giants do you expect to see when you enter the land of writing for publication? How are you planning right now to conquer your giants?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Writing to make disciples

 

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Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the son and the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19, 20, NLT

I’m always excited to hear when my Pastor puts emphasis on our congregation going outside of the walls of our church to share the good news of Jesus Christ, for it’s just a reminder of our primary purpose as Christians – to go and make disciples.

Did you know that your primary purpose as a Christian writer is also to go and make disciples? For you are called to write words to help others know about the good news of Jesus Christ. You are called to write words to let others know about his compassion, love and concern for others. You are called to write words to let others know of the wonderful plan God has for their lives when they choose to place their faith and trust in him. You are called to write to let others know of his desire to heal them from their deepest hurts and their deepest wounds.

Christian author Marlene Bagnull states: “While we may never never go more than a few hundred miles from our homes, our written words can go around the world and make a difference for all eternity”.

Are you ready to use your written words today to make a difference for eternity? Then go, write and make disciples!

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

Responding to God’s call to write:

As you reflect on the great commission found in Matthew 28:19-20, in what ways is God wanting to use you today to write to make disciples? Post your answer on my blog. I enjoy hearing from you!

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Ouch!

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening-it is painful! But afterward, there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:1, NLT

I was so excited.  After spending hours combing through pictures for my cover, choosing the right devotions for my manuscript and uploading my content to my self-publisher,  I was finally ready to publish another manuscript to sell the general public.

Until I showed it my writing mentor.  After she shared her feedback and offered a list of recommendations for improvement, all the joy I felt inside about my new manuscript quickly turned into pain.

Like the painful feedback I received about my new manuscript, receiving negative feedback about your manuscript can also be painful, especially when you’ve spent hours writing what you thought was a great one.  Although painful, remember the intent of the feedback is never to hurt you but to help you improve your writings. Go ahead and cry if you need to, but after you’ve dried your eyes, get to work incorporating the changes recommended to improve your manuscript, then submit it again until you finally hear your editor say:  “____, your manuscript is ready for publication!”

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

Responding to God’s call to write:  If you haven’t already done so, locate and join a writing critique group in your local area, based on your genre, to help you hone your writing craft and get you ready to submit your work for Christian publication.

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He won’t forget!

God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward his name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.  Hebrews 6:20, NLT

I plan to return to the workforce soon because my finances require me to do so. But I can’t help but wonder as I prepare to return:  “Has God forgotten all of the time, energy and work I’ve invested into my writing ministry since I’ve been home, and the time I’ve invested in ministering to other writers?

The Bible says that God never forgets his faithful ones. For example, God didn’t forget Noah after he faithfully built the ark. God didn’t forget Abraham after he was told to leave his homeland for another.  And God didn’t forget Rahab when she was told to hang a scarlet rope over a wall when the Israelites destroyed Canaan.

It seems counterintuitive to return to work when my desire for so long has been to write on a full-time basis. But I believe God will not forget the work I’ve done while home and how I’ve sought to help others through my writing ministry. For He is a just God and in his own time and way, I know he’ll bring me home again.

Responding to God’s call to write:

How are you dealing with those times when you think God has forgotten the time and labor you’ve invested in your writing ministry, especially when you feel like you”re moving backward rather than forward on your journey to write for Christian publication?

 

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Is it time to change your name?

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What’ s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram; now you will be known as Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. Genesis 17: 5, NLT

Did you know that when  God changed a person’s name, it was usually to establish a new identity? According to:  www.gotquestions.org/name-change.html, God changed Abram’s “high father” name to “Abraham,” “father of a multitude” (Genesis 17:5) and his wife’s name from “Sarai,” “my princess,” to “Sarah,” “mother of nations” (Genesis 17:15).  God changed Jacob’s “supplanter” name to “Israel,” “having power with God” (Genesis 32:28). He changed Simon’s “God has heard” name to “Peter,” “rock” (John 1:42).

Did you know God also wants to change your name? For after he calls you to write for ministry and Christian publication, he immediately begins to form a new identity within you. An identity which includes writing to share the nuggets of biblical truth found only in his holy Word. An identity which includes writing to inform, instruct, comfort, encourage, and to help heal the hurts of mankind. An identity which includes writing to spread the gospel of hope and salvation found only through his son, Jesus Christ.

Are you preparing today to embrace the new identity God is forming within you? Then get ready for your name to change from aspiring writer to Christian author!

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

Responding to God’s call to write:  How are you preparing yourself today for your new identity as a Christian author? Post your comments on my blog. I enjoy hearing from you!

 

 

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The Comeback kid

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead. I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus Philippians 3:13, 14

A story is told about a football player who received the Comeback Player Of The Year Award. The outstanding football player made a mistake in his past that cost him jail time, but after being released from prison, he was given another chance to play football. Because of his efforts to forget his past and move forward with his life again, he was voted by his peers as the comeback player of the year.

The apostle Paul also had some mistakes in his past. He tormented the early Christians and held the coats of those who stoned Stephen, the first Christian martyr. But instead of focusing on his past, he made a decision to put it behind him and move forward with the new plan and purpose God had for his life. After focusing his energies on his future instead of his past, Paul became one of the greatest missionaries of all time.

As an aspiring writer, are you beating yourself up because you didn’t accomplish all that you set out to accomplish in 2017? Now that 2018 is here, it’s time to forgive yourself and put your past behind you. How? By remembering the plans God has for you as his Christan writer and striving to reach them by setting the writing goals you’d like to accomplish this year. In spite of your past, it’s not too late to recover and make 2018 your best writing year yet!

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

Responding to God’s call to write:  If you haven’t already done so, take time to write out your goals for how you plan to make 2018 your best writing year yet!

 

 

 

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