Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

The Most Powerful Tool of a Writer

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Lord, reveal and remove my pride. Extend and expand my humility. Amen

A simple prayer but a powerful one. All work for God, whether writing, preaching, praying, parenting, teaching, loving, giving, sharing, all work that we do that bears fruit in the world starts with our humility.

Humility is being humble. The word, humble, comes from the root word, humus, which is soil. Like dirt, we aren’t much without God’s Spirit in us. When we recognize that, we become open to God’s work through us, and His power to do amazing things in the world.

Today, before you come to the keyboard, the office, the breakfast table, the bedroom chair, the classroom, pray for humility. It is a prayer that God loves to answer.

Today, see what God can do through you.

Betsy and Laurie

Ten Definitions of Humility

 

Write With Power

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What power there is in the pen. The power to allow a reader to step into a world of our creating and experience truth, love, revelation, joy.  Or with stories we can take a reader to a place of fear, hate, abuse. Our creator God has made us in His image to create. It’s up to us how we will wield that power. 

  • Light or darkness
  • Love or hate
  • Building up or tearing down

“A farmer went out to sow some seeds . . .”  Jesus begins a story that is layered with meaning but simple.  The reader, even years after the telling, has room to move around in the story.  Jesus loves the reader.

“A man had two sons . . .”  Jesus begins again and our hearts are drawn into the narrative, listening and experiencing, not manipulated and controlled. In humility Jesus creates the world of a story and gives it to us. 

In the best writing the author is invisible. The reader enjoys the story without awareness of the writer’s agenda. The author’s intent and focus as been on the reader, not on himself. 

As writers, storytellers, mothers, fathers, teachers we use words every day. The most powerful words are spoken or written in love and humility.

How will you use your words today?

Betsy and Laurie

 

Want to be a better writer? Take off your shoes.

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Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. Ex. 3:5; Josh. 5:15

Want to be a better writer? Take off your shoes.

 Sometimes when we are writing, the self slips away, out of the chair, gone, but the typing continues.  Then the words on the screen seem to come from a place beyond ourselves, a holy place. In those elusive moments we feel the hands of God take our hands and the result is something beyond our own ability.

 When God appeared to Moses and later to Joshua, He told them the same thing: “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Ex. 3:5; Josh. 5:15).

 Two writers share about this thought:

 So why did God ask them to take off their sandals? I think it was an act of humility, an act of worship. It was a way of acknowledging absolute dependence on God. . . In case you care, one of my idiosyncrasies is that I remove my shoes whenever I’m writing. I do it as a reminder that I need God’s anointing. It reminds me that I am fulfilling a sacred calling.  Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle

 Why should you take off your shoes in the Lord’s presence? Because without shoes you are not going anywhere. You might try to walk, but you will not get very far. . . Barefootedness means immobilization, and so it is a symbol of submission. Being immobile . . . is a prerequisite for all activity, all service. Mike Mason, The Gospel According to Job

Could it make a difference in our writing to take off our shoes? Sometimes our small actions in the physical world can reveal our desire in the spiritual world. We might move into a place of surrender by a small act of submission. 

 Maybe we should all take off our shoes today as we sit down to write.

Try it and let us know what happens.

 Betsy and Laurie

 

 

 

 

Do you wonder if you could write a book?

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Do you ever wonder if you could write a book?
 
One day when we visited a school to talk about writing we learned something from a second grader.  A little guy raised his hand and said, “I can do the stories, I just can’t do the words.”  He captured the struggle that every writer (or wannabe writer) faces.


How do you get the stories out of your head onto the paper?  How do we even have the courage to begin?  Often we write and rewrite stories over and over in our heads, but they never make it to the written page or screen.

The following scripture passages were important to us over our years of writing and we wanted to share some of what we learned.

Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11
Don’t get ahead of God.  If we think we have to write a whole book we can become paralyzed and overwhelmed.  But what if we just have to write one paragraph, or one page.  We can do that.  Can we trust God for the rest?

We had written children’s books for twenty years before we decided to attempt our first book for adults. They are sooo long.  We wondered if we could write a novel of more than 64 pages. 

In the wilderness the Hebrew people received manna, just enough for each day.  Why would we expect God to act differently with us?  When we are faithful to show up and do our part, he gives us just what we need for that day, or hour, or fifteen minutes.

When we looked at it that way, we were able to move forward.  Faith matters in writing.

Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them. Jeremiah 15:19
Write from your heart, not what you think people will like or expect from you.  When we changed genres it surprised some people.  We heard a lot of opposition.  “But you could sell another children’s book.”  We chose what we thought God wanted us to write and we had to fight to keep from “turning” to the crowd.  One agent heard about what we were writing and told us to write a Christian romance series, “because you can sell it”.  God calls us to write the words that He gives us, not what we can sell or what we think people want to hear.  Someone else may be called to write that romance series, but not us.
I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Nehemiah 6:3

  
Commit to the work.  It is VERY easy to get distracted.  How do you carve out time to write?  We started writing during naptime.  Our kid’s naptimes!  It is amazing how productive you can be when you know you only have an hour to work.  We also learned to put writing on the calendar. It helped us to say no to other things when it was scheduled in black and white.  Each time we say yes to one thing we say no to another.

My tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
 

 Have confidence.  Do you have the confidence to begin?  If you have read this far then God has called you to write.  He has already equipped you and is ready to use you to write His words.  What do you need to do to cooperate with Him?

 For us, the confidence to write comes from God.  We cover our writing in prayer and have a prayer team praying for our writing.  We love this quote by Corrie Ten Boom:

“It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability, that counts.”

There’s nothing to fear!  Those stories that are in our heads were put there by God and He will be faithful to give us the words we need.

We would love to hear your thoughts about these passages.  Do you have another scripture passage that has been meaningful to you in your writing? 

Betsy and Laurie

Surrendering

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 According to Merriam-Webster surrender means:  to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed. to give the control or use of (something) to someone else.

One morning in a coffee shop in Madison Georgia we met to discuss our next writing project and faced a moment of surrender.  Not a waving the white flag kind of moment but a sinking into the acceptance of God’s will.  Were we going to be all in for God with our writing?  In our faith journey we must reach that point of no return with God, “to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc.”

After writing children’s books for twenty years – writing hard, striving pushing, promoting – the success was good and sweet.  Just the letters from children alone were worth the effort.  When we started The Shepherd’s Song we had never written a book for adults – all our manuscripts had been less than 100 pages long.  All of our contacts in publishing were in the children’s world.  Writing a book for adults seemed a little ill-advised and crazy.

We had written down the title. We had discussed the idea. We fought it at first.  But the idea sat before us on a piece of paper on the table of the coffee shop. Beside the paper an open Bible turned to Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Ps 23:1

 The very words that prompted our idea challenged us as writers.  Could we believe God’s promises in the psalm?  Sometimes our first reaction to a calling from God is fear and resistance. “We can’t”  ”We have never”  “There’s no way”  We said all those things but as we let go of our resistance and surrendered to the idea, the fear was replaced by excitement.

Try to give your agenda to God. Keep saying, ‘Your will be done, not mine.’ Give every part of your heart and your time to God and let God tell you what to do, where to go, when and how to respond. God does not want you to destroy yourself. Exhaustion, burnout, and depression are not signs that you are doing God’s will. God is gentle and loving. God desires to give you a deep sense of safety in God’s love. Once you have allowed yourself to experience that love fully, you will be better able to discern who you are being sent to in God’s name.  Henri Nouwen

By the next day we had each completed drafts of one of the first stories of the book. When we surrender we can let go of fear and accept any outcome. 

In the surrender of any work there is a moment of fear, a moment of resistance, then a moment of relinquishing and finally the excitement and joy and peace.  We have that peace as we move forward in our work trusting God and surrendering to His will. Surrender removes the fear of failure.

 Can you relate to this issue of surrender?  Where do you struggle with it?

Betsy and Laurie

Shared first on Julie Arduini’s blog.

Finding An Agent

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After twenty years of writing for children we felt called to make a change. We had not needed an agent before. Twenty years ago you could still have a manuscript read by a publisher without an agent, especially in the world of children’s books. Once we had a relationship with a publishing house we didn’t feel the need. Now that we were writing a book for adults, The Shepherd’s Song, and we were writing about our faith – the rules had changed. We needed an agent – but how could we find the right one?

Today we are on Vonda Skelton’s blog sharing 10 things we learned about finding an agent on our quest to write and publish The Shepherd’s Song.  read more

Betsy and Laurie

Surrender and Writing

reading-1919.jpg!xlMediumTry to give your agenda to God. Keep saying, ‘Your will be done, not mine.’ Give every part of your heart and your time to God and let God tell you what to do, where to go, when and how to respond. God does not want you to destroy yourself. Exhaustion, burnout, and depression are not signs that you are doing God’s will. God is gentle and loving. God desires to give you a deep sense of safety in God’s love. Once you have allowed yourself to experience that love fully, you will be better able to discern who you are being sent to in God’s name.  Henri J. M. Nouwen

We are sharing about surrender today on Julie Arduini’s blog.

According to Merriam-Webster surrender means:  to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed. : to give the control or use of (something) to someone else.

 How do we surrender our work to God?

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

by Duffey Myers

How Two Readers Became Writers

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Most writers are also readers. We are no different – we have always loved books.  Our first library was the book mobile, a truck packed with books that came through our neighborhood once a week.  Our most memorable library growing up in West Virginia was in the basement of the fire station. Our mother, writer and reader that she is, always made a great effort to put books into our hands.
Some of our childhood favorites had a direct impact on us and prepared us to become writers. We are telling about our favorites on Wanda’s blog:

Do you have a favorite childhood book?

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

 by Duffey Myers

Can I Write a Book? How?

421757_445458705496710_347777754_nCan I Write a Book?  How?

 We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.  Psalm 78:4

 One day when we visited a school to talk about writing we learned something from a second grader. A little guy raised his hand and said.  “I can do the stories, I just can’t do the words.”  He captured the struggle that every writer (or wannabe writer) faces.

How do you get the stories out of your head onto the paper?  How do we even have the courage to begin?  Often we write and rewrite stories over and over in our heads, but they never make it to the written page or screen.

Today at  Blogs by Christian Women we are sharing some scripture passages that were important to us over our years of writing and some of what we learned on the road to publication. read more

Here’s the link.

Betsy and Laurie

By Duffey Myers

http://www.WritingSisters.com

The Best Writing Advice

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What is the best writing advice that you’ve ever heard?

We had to really think to answer Novel Rocket’s question.  What would you say?

Join us here to explore the process of writing – the where, why, how, who and when.   Today we are kicking off our blog tour with an interview on Novel Rocket. We’ll share:

  • How growing up as daughters of a writer shaped us.
  • How we balance writing time with family time.
  • Our best writing secrets.
  • Surprises we encountered while writing The Shepherd’s Song.

And of course:

  • The best writing advice we’ve ever heard!

Here’s the link:  The Writing Sisters on Novel Rocket

See you over there.

Betsy and Laurie

By Duffey Myers

http://www.WritingSisters.com

 

 

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