Posts Tagged ‘writing tips’

Publishing: How Long Does it Take?


There’s a time for every purpose under heaven.

 Ecclesiastes 3:1

“We have an offer on The Shepherd’s Song.”

The email from Greg Johnson came early one morning in November .  Betsy read it first and almost sprained her ankle getting to the phone to call Laurie. Laurie was on a trip with her husband and was bolted awake by the news.

Breathlessly we called family and friends.  After years of writing for children our first adult novel had been accepted for publication.   As we shared the news a question came up:

 How long did it take you?

That’s hard to answer.  We have been around writing and publishing all our lives.  We read manuscripts as children and have both written and published for 25 years. We have had years of life experiences that were important for the writing of the book.  So how long did it take?

There’s a story told about Pablo Picasso.

A woman approached Picasso with a piece of paper and asked him to sketch something on it. He did and as he handed the paper back he said, “That will cost you $10,000.”  The woman was appalled, “You took just five minutes to do the sketch.  Isn’t $10,000 a lot for five minutes of work?” Picasso replied, “The sketch may have taken me five minutes, but the learning took me 30 years.” 

All of us are preparing for the next thing that God has for us whether we realize it or not.  We can often look back with new understanding and see how God has used our experiences, both good and bad, to train us.  We are impatient, but when the time comes we can say, “Ohhhh, now I understand.”

Have you ever looked back and seen God working in your life to prepare you for what was coming?  Did you ever doubt His timing?

Laurie and Betsy
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Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

1 Corinthians 13:12

Don’t Give Up!

tulip in solitude

tulip in solitude (Photo credit: contemplative imaging)

“Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not waiting passively until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient, we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.”   Henri Nouwen

Why is waiting so hard? Waiting is a part of life and a big part of the writing life.  Am I always waiting for the next thing or am I living fully in this moment?  How can I learn to trust God with the times of uncertainty when I don’t know the outcome?

How do you persevere through times of waiting?

Laurie and Betsy

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:24-25

Are You Afraid to Write?

Flower photo

Flower photo (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

Anais Nin

Why do we fear writing? I have a friend who writes beautiful poetry and hides it in a box under her bed.  There is in each of us a desire to be known that is in conflict with a fear of being known.

I read one time that flowering in a plant is not optional.  It is a survival mechanism.  Plants that do not flower die without giving life.

If you are a writer you are called to share.  If you are not a writer you are still called to share.

Our stories connect us and give life to the next generation.

“I not only have my secrets, I am my secrets. And you are yours. Our secrets are human secrets, and our trusting each other enough to share them with each other has much to do with the secret of what it means to be human.” 
— Frederick Buechner

Be bold. Share your stories today.

What’s under your bed?

Laurie and Betsy

Writing Sisters

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5: 14-16

Writing with Collaboration

Three-strand twisted natural fibre rope

Three-strand twisted natural fibre rope (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other?  They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.”  The Pursuit of God  A. W. Tozer

A cord of three strands is not easily broken

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Writing can be a solitary experience but writing to be read involves community.  Community means collaboration.  For us collaboration comes in the writing process, two writing one book. Collaboration also comes in working with a writing group, an agent, an editor, a publisher, a book designer, an illustrator and book seller, even a reader.

 Writing involves community.

For us, we had to have unity in faith to have unity on the page.  In collaboration there will be differences of opinion, which are good and bring growth and depth to the work.  It is in the resolution of the disagreements that our faith is exercised. We decided that we would never go forward in any area of writing or publishing without agreement.  We begin each writing session with prayer and are constantly submitting the work to God.

 Staying in harmony with God keeps us in harmony with each other.  As we constantly try to align our work with God’s will we align ourselves with each other.

Who is a part of your writing community?  How do you stay on same page?

Laurie and Betsy

If you would like to follow along the progress our book, The Shepherd’s Song, and be part of our prayer support you can sign up here:
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Something New: A Contract!


Watch! I’m about to carry out something new! And now it’s springing up— don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the wilderness and paths in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

Why are we so happy? We’re signing a book contract! After years of publishing children’s books we are publishing our first adult novel, The Shepherd’s Song. The publisher: Simon & Schuster’s Howard Books. Many thanks to our agent, Greg Johnson at WordServe Literary Group.  We are excited! Time for the happy dance! Stay tuned …

If you would like to follow along the progress of the book and be part of our prayer support you can sign up here:
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Thanks to our online writing community for support and encouragement.  We continue to share the journey!

Laurie and Betsy

Writing Sisters

Writing: Are We There Yet?


Trust in the LORD with all your heart 
and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways acknowledge him, 
and he will direct your paths.  Proverbs 3, 5-6

The first book is finished and published but soon euphoria gives way to doubt.  What is next?

You make the New York Times Best Seller List.  Can you do it again?

You celebrate a great review.  What if the next book fails?

There is a hopelessness that descends when we begin to think that anything is ever finished in this life.  

Joy in writing comes when we learn to accept the goodness in the process.  The journey of a writing life comes with growth and creativity, relationships, successes and failures.  It is about  the long haul.

It is about the road – not the destination.

Enjoy this day of writing.

Laurie and Betsy

The Writing Sisters

“This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness,

not health, but healing,

not being, but becoming,

not rest, but exercise.

We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it,

the process is not yet finished, but it is going on,

this is not the end, but it is the road.

All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.”

Martin Luther


True Art

Vincent Van Gogh-L'Arlésienne

Vincent Van Gogh-L’Arlésienne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



“The more I think it over the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”


Vincent Van Gogh


A Monday Prayer for Writers

Prayer Space.JPG

Prayer Space.JPG (Photo credit: bhsher)

Oh source of my inspiration, teach me to extend toward all living that fascinated, unsentimental, loving and all-pardoning interest which I feel for the characters I create.

May I become identified with all humanity, as I identify myself with these imaginary persons.

May my life become my art and my art my life.  


Christopher Isherwood 1940

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