Sandra here and as promised I have two surprises for you today.
Do you remember Martha Alderson, the Plot Whisperer? She just sent me a copy of her new book, THE PLOT WHISPERER BOOK OF WRITING PROMPTS. It is filled with easy exercises to get you writing. I will be giving away a copy of this book to one lucky commenter.
So are you ready for Speedbo? Only three days to go.
And just in time I have a guest today with words of encouragement and cheer. I met Jo Russell last fall at the Society of Southwestern Authors Wrangling for Writing conference in Tucson. This conference is always fun because it includes every genre, so you meet lots of interesting people.
|Jo and Sandra at SSA writing for Wrangling Conference|
Jo and I were both teachers, retired from teaching and followed a calling to write. Jo has written a lovely devotional that offers words of encouragement. She has generously offered copies of Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? to five commenters today. These words of encouragement are just in time to get you through the tough days of SPEEDBO.
Welcome Jo and have fun in Seekerville today.
Never Give Up! Keep Writing!
By Jo Russell February 26, 2013
At one time, *Emily was only one of five female generals in the U.S. Army. That involved persistence in an uphill climb over prejudice and obstacles, but she proved her excellence at supervising the R.O.T.C. program [Reserve Officers Training Core]. The Army then sent her to a training location where soldiers’ performance fell short of preparing professionals for wartime.
The officer in charge of the troops explained to her in detail, “The men are handicapped. They come from impoverished homes. They don’t have an education or previous military experience, and they didn’t have any R.O.T.C. The fact they are disadvantaged shows itself in our training efforts.”
“I certainly understand that,” General Emily replied, “because I, myself, am handicapped.”
The officer was puzzled. He had not noticed a limp or any other visible handicap when the confident leader had entered his office. “Handicapped?” he repeated.
“That’s right. I am a woman, and I never had R.O.T.C.”
Her iron will prevailed along with an expectation of higher standards. The troops shaped up.
You’re not alone!
Overcoming handicaps, challenges, and attitudes applies to all professions. When it comes to the writing profession, a writer may feel he or she is facing challenges alone. But that is not so. Visualize that Jesus is with you, as he promises, “…I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” [Matthew 28:20 NIV]. Fuel up for inspirational/spiritual writing with whatever works for you: time with God, prayer, or Bible study.
Change how you look at obstacles.
Challenges are part of life. Conquering them gives you a sense of accomplishment. It builds confidence in what you and God can do together! Problems and new situations are constant, but no matter what, God will help you over or through them! Tuck this promise into your heart, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” [Proverbs 16:3].
Set achievable goals
You have to know where you are going so you know when you get there.
Since using goal charts written out on a regular basis, I’ve had articles spanning many subjects and in many magazines, anthologies, and a devotional book, Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? as well as a humorous weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.
Examples of annual and weekly goal charts follow.
Yearly Goals in 6 areas to encourage a balanced life
Dates: from ______________to ________________
Daily Goals: Professional Week ________________Year__________________
Daily Goals: Home/Social projects
Never give up! Keep writing!
My writing career began over forty years ago with a humorous travel-type story I sent in to a slick national magazine with a large circulation. Imagine my surprise when I received a check a few weeks later which totaled about a half-month’s salary! I did what every self-respecting woman does with a windfall as I cried aloud, “I’m going shopping!” After that, I became a regular contributor to a number of special interest magazines.
But I cite the advice of never giving up because I did. Twice. I have since learned why it is so important for all of us Christian writers to persist with goals, a close relationship with God and using the talent he gave you and me. Keep writing!
After the birth of my twin sons, I found myself transformed from a pregnant married woman with a job to an unemployed single mother of diaper-clad infants. As I struggled with motherhood and sleep deprivation, my mind was active, but my pen wasn’t. I had given up. The only tangible evidence of writing was journaling: telling it how it was on a day-to-day basis; being real. It was full of struggle, tears, heartache and victory.
However, journaling can be a pot of gold. It can stockpile experiences that touch hearts and lives: the hope that in spite of obstacles, one can win!
No one ever died from too much genuine encouragement
Revisit experiences to share because sharing may help others. Keep writing!
As my sons grew to be independent and I became a mere irritation on the home front, I began to write for publications much more frequently.
The boys packed to leave home claiming, “I bet you can hardly wait for us to move out!” With the two of them leaving doors standing open, leaving behind the smell of sweaty track shirts, socks, and an icebox full of freezer burn, all I can say is, “No comment!” It was great material for humor.
A short time later, the family foundation collapsed with the death of my mom and an entire generation. In close succession, I had to handle two estates. Life happens. Keep writing!
As I received some windfall funds, I began to rationalize, “What good is writing, when it brings so little in such spread-out payments?” I stopped writing. But not for long.
What are we to do with our talent? “Use it or lose it,” is the cry of fitness enthusiasts everywhere encouraging us to use our muscles. The same applies to us as writers exercising our minds, talent, and ideas. Keep writing!
Think carefully on the parable Jesus himself told of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Today, the word “talent” has evolved into meaning a skill or ability. In New Testament times, a talent was 130 pounds of silver.
The master gave the first servant was given one talent was given about $90,000 value; the second about $180,000., and the third, five talents at about $450,000. After a long time, the master returned. The servant with five talents invested it and now had about $900,000. The one with two netted about $362,000. . The last still had $90,000. He was afraid, so he had buried his one hundred thirty pounds of silver in a good-sized hole.
To the servant who buried his talent, the master gave him a tongue-lashing and handed the talent to the richer of his other servants. To two servants who doubled their investment, he said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”
We must keep writing. As servants of God, we must invest what he has given us and trust in the results. Someday, we will stand before him. If we invested our talent as He would wish, we can expect him to say,
“Well done, my good and faithful servant!” It doesn’t get any better than that!
*true story, name changed
[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from Amazon.com and her website (http://www.button-to-god.com) as well as speaking engagements. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]
Be sure and check the Weekend Edition for Winners