Friday, February 15, 2013

The Master Creator at Work in our Work


Janet here. I write for God so naturally I talk to Him about my career. When I’ve been most discouraged, He’s given me a contest final or win, a reader’s encouraging review, a Bible verse to claim. Countless times in countless ways He’s helped me do what He’s called me to do.

Often in amazing, practical ways like the times God’s provided specific help writing His stories. Snippets of dialogue, new aspects of my characters I hadn’t seen, plot elements that raise the stakes, twists and turns have sprung into my head and taken me by surprise.  

To give you an example: One morning out of the blue the following popped into my mind: When you’ve been married to a polecat, it takes a while to get rid of the stench.

I was startled by that sentence and what it meant but I immediately wrote it down verbatim, figuring God had sent it so I needed to pay attention.

As I looked at that sentence several things became evident. I believed this statement came from a woman. A woman who had been married to a polecat. For those of you who don’t know what a polecat is, in my area polecat refers to a skunk. But this skunk wasn’t the four-legged, white stripe down the back variety. No, this skunk was a two-legged brute. Definitely not hero material. With divorce unacceptable at Love Inspired Historical that meant this woman was widowed. I didn’t know how her husband had died, but I sure knew she wasn’t grieving. :-) I also knew this wounded woman would not fall for another man any time soon. I wondered why she’d married this creep and suspected confidence in her judgment had been shaken. 

That one sentence became my next story. I’m not one of those writers with stories fighting to get out of their heads and onto the page. I often struggle to find my next idea. Yet God just handed this one over. How cool is that?

I asked the Seekers if they’d had similar experiences where God gave them guidance with their careers, or support when they needed it most, or a seed of a story, even a full blown manuscript.
Ruthy Logan Herne shared her experience with a God-given story:
My dear, young friend Lisa had just found out she had breast cancer. A few of us decided to do a "Pink Garden" for her and she agreed...so we dug up and prepared a pretty plot in their yard. As I turned into the Garden Center for flowers, I was totally surrounded by "Pink". It was their Breast Cancer Awareness Day and as I looked around, the story for "The Lawman's Second Chance" flooded me. I saw a young woman whose husband didn't stand by her, and I could see Lisa running the family farm garden center and fighting a public battle to raise breast cancer awareness. The whole story was there, in my mind, the widower with kids whose wife was taken home to God vs. the woman whose husband left her to fight cancer alone. I called Lisa and Jeff, got their permission, went home and wrote the proposal for May's release "The Lawman's Second Chance".
Great to see how God gets His stories told. Thanks Ruthy! 
Julie Lessman relayed this experience:

One of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had as an author was when I was writing my fifth book, A Heart Revealed. You see, this is a love story about a friendship that slowly ripens into romantic love between the hero and a heroine who was abused and battered by her husband. Only problem is—the rat husband is still alive back in Ireland. As an author who thrives on surprise endings, I didn’t want to do the obvious, so one autumn day I’m sitting on my lower deck brainstorming when I looked up into the sky and said, “God—you are the God of creativity and you have an ending for me that I just know will blow everybody way. Would you mind sharing it with me, please?” As God is my witness, within ten seconds, an idea fluttered into my brain like those scarlet and gold leaves that were fluttering all around me. The idea was SO masterful and SO genius, that I literally jolted straight up in the chair and started laughing, knowing that I could have never come up with anything like that on my own. And do you know that to this day, no one has guessed the ending so far? Now that’s the kind of brainstorming partner you want!

Thanks, Julie, for the wonderful example of our Creator providing exactly the creativity you needed.

Mary Connealy shared this:

I belonged to RWA for a few years before I even heard of Christian Fiction. You have to remember that this was before wide spread emailing and Google and internet in every home.

I lived a long way from a bookstore even and if there were Christian bookstores they were few and far between. I just didn’t know Christian fiction existed. And I’d read Janette Oke, too, it just never occurred to me to look at the spine for a publisher. So, I was reading my monthly RWR magazine and there was this little story about ACFW. It was in its infancy then, but I hunted it up and joined and it opened this whole world for me. All my books I’d written weren’t Christian fiction but they were all sweet romances with heroes and heroines who conducted themselves with Christian principles that were just unspoken. To have them say aloud what they were living was so simple. And I found all these Christian publishers to pitch to. It changed everything. I feel like God had me writing for a line of publishing long before it existed.

Thanks, Mary, for sharing how God gets us where we need to be to write for Him.

Myra Johnson shared this experience:

Two years after winning the Golden Heart and still no book contract! I was so close to giving up that the next disappointment could easily have pushed me over the edge. I wasn't in the best frame of mind to attend the 2007 ACFW conference but I went anyway, determined to put on a brave front and try to enjoy spending time with the many writer friends I'd connected with over the years. But God had other ideas. More than once during that conference, He seemed to know exactly what I needed when I needed it. One huge surprise was having random people tell me God had nudged them to pray for me. Then, a couple of nights into the conference, I had the most vivid dream of my life. I saw myself as a body without a skeleton--the whole framework that held me together was gone. I sensed God telling me that's exactly what I would be like if I gave up His gift of writing. The message of that dream was strong enough to see me through, and before the next ACFW conference I had received my very first book contract, with another one coming only a couple of months later! Now, anytime the ongoing ups and downs of this business start to get me down, I recall the dream and trust all over again in God's plan for my life.

Thanks, Myra, for sharing how God enabled you to keep on keeping on during a particularly difficult time.
Tina Radcliffe shared this:

In June of 2011 I finally realized that my writing career wasn't my writing career. I think up to that point everything about my 'career' was like throwing darts at a target and hoping something would stick. The moment I put Tina's writing on the altar and it became His writing was when I received clarity, direction and peace. I noted the date and the time in my Jesus Calling devotional. But-I also noted three additional dates afterward where I had to again put my career on the altar. We writers are very controlling. I kept taking it back.

Thanks, Tina. Most of us can relate to that struggle. I know I can. We writers are often discouraged when we don’t make the progress we want and forget God’s timing is perfect. Isn’t it great and humbling to see God at work in His plan for our lives?

For a chance to win a copy of The Bride Wore SpursApril 2, 2013 (on pre-order now) share a time when God provided exactly what you needed, perhaps in such a way that He caught you by surprise or blessed you beyond your wildest dreams.

I brought a bountiful buffet of breakfast items: sausage, bacon, ham, scrambled eggs, blueberries, yogurt, tomato juice, raisin toast and pastries. Here's the back cover blurb for The Bride Wore Spurs:


The Cowgirl Takes a Husband

To keep the Texas ranch she loves, Hannah Parrish will wed a man she doesn’t. Cowpokes won’t take orders from a young, single female. But while her exasperating neighbor Matt Walker jokes about her being a mere debutante, Hannah is a rancher to the core. Just like Matt.

“Will you marry me?” It’s a question widowed Matt never intended to ask again. Now spirited Hannah is asking him for a marriage of convenience! Yet whether she’s birthing a calf or caring for a young orphan, the tomboy next door is becoming the partner Matt always hoped for. Now he must convince her the greatest strength comes in trusting your heart to another—and your future to God.…


Grab a plate and let’s chat. 

116 comments:

Helen Gray said...

Here's the coffee to go with your breakfast buffet.

I love these moments.

Year before last my one word was prayer. That's when I began to pray about my writing in new ways. And the effect has been so strong that I've gone back to that word this year.

Helen

Edwina said...

Janet,
Thanks for such an encouraging post! And thanks for such a delish breakfast!

Kathleen Maher said...

What a terrific way to start a morning with such encouraging stories of God's leading. Julie, yours gave me chills! I love it when God speaks so tangibly.
Janet, that writing prompt was surely from the Lord. I can just imagine your creative juices running with that one sentence.
Thanks for a terrific post. Sampling your goodies now. yum!

Susan Codone said...

I've been trained to "give it to God" but I always grab it back too. I think that's why God keeps giving us brand new days so we can keep starting over.

Jackie said...

Good morning.

I love how you all turn to God to brainstorm your stories.

It's amazing how He calls us to write and works with us in different ways.

Have a great day!

Jackie

Debra E. Marvin said...

I love these stories, Janet. I love the fact I can tell you I say 'Thanks Holy Spirit' when the perfect word or phrase or idea comes and you won't all think I'm crazy!
After all, he wrote the world's longest-running, best seller.

those moments are just as special as those days when encouragement comes just when I'm ready to admit this is all a farce and I'm only pretending to be a writer.

That really is a lovely cover!
Have a great weekend, everyone. a LONG weekend for some of you.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi JANET, Wow another day of awwww moments. This week has been great.

Love how that sentence came to your head. And it had to be something for your next story because it certainly wouldn't be something you would say.

OUr God is definitely amazing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

TINA had to laugh when you said you kept taking it back. My problem exactly. LOL

Annie Rains said...

What a wonderful post! I enjoyed it so much this morning. I've had lots of moments like this, where God has without a doubt provided guidance on my writing. Writing is such a solitary business, but it's good to know that it doesn't have to be. God is always there, wanting to be our partner through the process.

Rose said...

Hi Janet,

What an inspiring post to start the day.

Janet Dean said...

Helen, thanks for the coffee! Prayer is the backbone of faith. Love that you found a new way to pray about your writing. Care to share?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Good morning Edwina! Thank you for your sweet words. I love seeing yours and all the special faces that populate Seekerville.

Janet

Sandra Ardoin said...

An inspiring post, Janet. It's easy to get lost in the "when?" or "how?" and forget "Who" has control.

I, too, have found that whenever I start to get down, God finds some way to prod me on.

kaybee said...

Janet, a perfect post to take into the weekend. I learned the hard way not to do it on my own -- or at all if He isn't in it. I am a controlling person and I also write secular nonfiction for a living (I'm a newspaper reporter and also freelance), so it is hard not to apply the same aggressiveness to my Christian work, which is where my heart is. I have a dear critique partner going on 15 years who helps me keep it in perspective, and a godly husband, and now you guys. It is a journey, and one worth taking until He tells me to stop.
Everybody have a great weekend!
Kathy Bailey
Pre-pubbed in New Hampshire

kaybee said...

By-the-by... if any of you are ever in New Hampshire, eastern Vermont, southern Maine or northern Massachusetts (I don't do Rhode Island or Connecticut), send me an e-mail and we can meet up for coffee or tea (for me, Earl Grey in a china cup). Or if you're researching background for NH I can help.
Kathy Bailey

Julie Hilton Steele said...

What a fabulous post for the beginning of Lent.

Thanks for reminding all of us to give our work back to God when we have taken it up again.

Thanks for reminding us that God has plans we don't even know exist for us.

Love that cover. Have you on pre-order for my Kindle but would love a hard copy of the book. Put me in the drawing.

Peace, Julie

Marianne Barkman said...

Oh, Janet, am so excited about The Bride Wore Spurs...am waiting anxiously for my copy! Thanks for the coffee, Helen. Always much appreciated, even at midnight! This post and the comments explain exactly why the novels you write touch the readers hearts. Only He can do it. And since he is the master story teller, why wouldn't He? My heart is lifted. Have a great weekend...

Mitzi

pol said...

Hi Janet, Your writings of how you feel about God and writing was great but adding your friends words too was icing on the cake, loved the post.
everyone just keeps amazing me the way so many wonderful tips and tidbits are brought out and discussed around the table laden with good eats.
If Only everyone in the whole world would be so nice to one another as here in seekerville, we would have a great place to live. I would like to read this book of yours, but then I always want to read any you write, thanks for sharing.
Paula O

Jeanne T said...

Janet, I loved this post and hearing how God has given each of you a crucial "something" to help you write for Him. I confess, Ruthy's story brought tears to my eyes. I love how God works!

For me, I think it's the fact that He gave me the bare bones of a story to begin with. I've always wanted to write, since I was a teen, but I never thought I could do all it takes to write good fiction (creating characters, settings and plots out of your head?!). 2 1/2 years ago, at a couple's retreat, God plopped a vehicle to share a story about a couple who's marriage was faltering. And He gave me the heroine's name. When I talked with an author friend, she encouraged me to write it. So, I began researching the craft of writing and working on my first story.

He's met me in places of need since then, but that first gift is what I always come back to when I'm struggling--God gave ME the story to write. He gives me each story He wants me to write, so that I can write them for His glory.

Terri said...

Janet - this is such an encouraging post. I know in my own writing I had everything planned out, just like I wanted it to work. Funny thing is that hasnt happened. I've had to turn my plan over to God.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Great post and awesome breakfast! Thank you Janet!

Jeanne T, isn't it amazing... The soldier's story for Colonel Brett Stanton was like that too, I stood next to that somber man and just kind of felt his rigid sadness wash over me... but along side the sadness was a huge feeling of "good"...

I believe in spirit-led writing and God's timing... when put together (with the work of my hands) amazing things have happened to me, just like Tina said.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sandra, Susan, Tina... me, too.

Every now and again we THINK we're in charge.

Oops.

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Kathleen! Fun to see how God works in our lives in very practical ways.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Susan, I so relate to taking back my worries. I've always loved the expression, today is the first day of my life. A new start is such a blessing!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Susan, I so relate to taking back my worries. I've always loved the expression, today is the first day of my life. A new start is such a blessing!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Susan, I so relate to taking back my worries. I've always loved the expression, today is the first day of my life. A new start is such a blessing!

Janet

Mary Connealy said...

Good morning. You're all so bright and inspired! Where as I am so sleepy I can barely function.
Bad night of my dratted insomnia

NOT FAIR.

Melanie Dickerson said...

God is so good. I can relate to all those stories. Sometimes He answers our prayers in ways we never could have anticipated, never imagined. I'm so thankful we can go to Him with boldness, with any problem, knowing He cares.

Myra Johnson said...

So much inspiration here, Janet! I love reading about the many ways God has encouraged and inspired each of us. He never fails to come through when we need Him--if only we remain open to His leading.

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Jackie! Isn't God amazing. He's the first and greatest Creator. No one better to turn to for story ideas.

Janet

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Janet, a needful message for me this morning before picking up the writing. Thanks to everyone for sharing their testimony of how God's hand has guided your writing. His promises never fail when all things are turned over to Him. But as some have said, it's so human to take it back again and again. Enjoying the delicious breakfast with Helen's hot coffee. A wonderful long safe weekend to everyone.

Janet Dean said...

Debra, love how you described the Bible! I thank Him, too, for that nudge. I look for those every day, not just with my writing. I hear Him more when I can be still, but honestly, that's not easy for a chatter like me.

Glad you like the cover. The Harlequin Art Department does a great job. I loved when they nail the small details like the roses!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Sandra, I had the exact same reaction since I don't think in polecat terms. LOL

I think God honors our attempt to leave the future in His hands, even when we struggle to leave it there. And too often grab it back. As if we can do anything about it. LOL I'm thankful His love doesn't depend on what I do!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Annie! God is the perfect writing partner. He only asks for 10% of the proceeds.:-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Rose! Fun to share how we've seen God at work.

Janet

Tina Radcliffe said...

Here's an interesting post script. With the story I am working on I had a subplot in my mind. Wasn't sure if it would work.

That day a kid was soliciting door to door. I don't even usually answer the door. But I did and we chatted, and he happened to be involved in the subject matter for my subplot. Thus providing me with a lot of information.

How's that for God in action.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Sandra A! The Who makes all the difference. I always get excited about a new story and have fun writing the first three chapters, then I start losing my confidence that I can get my vision onto the page. When that happens, I need to take the focus off me and onto Him.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Kathy, perfectly said! This is a journey and God is walking with us. It's tough to let go and let God, especially when that contract seems a long way off. But that can change fast! We've seen that here in Seekerville.

You are a sweetheart to offer research help with NH. I'd love to sit down with you for some Earl Gray, my favorite tea, in a china cup! Maybe one day...

Janet

Mary Connealy said...

VINCE!!!!
You're coming to see the cranes?
I have ALWAYS wanted to do that. It's supposed to be epic.
Sandhills Cranes and Whooping Cranes migrate through Nebraska and it's quite a show.

Grand Island is so far from me. Which is why I've never gone.

Omaha's a fair distance from Grand Island, too. Much too far to go for Lithuanian Torte. (although it's a world class dessert)Lithuanian Apricot Torte from the Lithuanian Bakery in Omaha is, to me undeniably, the best food in the world.

Mary Connealy said...

Also I'm dieting




☺ ☺ ☻ ¶ ▲
Just experimenting, looking for a FROWNING face to go with the diet!

Janet Dean said...

Julie, you probably have no idea what an encouragement you've been to me. I remember your first review that verified my faith stories mattered to readers. I had no idea then that we would hang out together in Seekerville and even get to meet. Five stars are great, but the knowledge that some element of my story blessed a reader is what keeps me going.

Janet

Pepper said...

Oh wow, I LOVE these 'inspired' snippets of creativity.
YAY!
Janet, what a great way to spur me into my own writing thoughts for the weekend.

I love it when God just sends the scent of story to you, allows it to be savored for a little while, and THEN you get to taste...and devour it. LOVE!! (sorry for those dieters out there...me included :-)

One of my favorite stories started with a very clear picture in my mind of an American woman tripping over her purse in Heathrow International Airport and landing on a man. The entire scene came to me while I was washing dishes and praying.

God has a great sense of humor and delights in sparking that creativity in His kids :-)

Thanks for the reminder, Janet!

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Marianne!

Marianne said: And since he is the master story teller, why wouldn't He? My heart is lifted.

You have lifted my heart too! Jesus taught with stories. And is calling us writers to do the same. What a great God!

Janet

Pepper said...

Jeanne T and Ruthy,
I had one of those moments with my historical romance. I met a beautiful nurse who had been abused by her father. We became friends. One day, while I was praying with her, this plot emerged in my spirit.
A book of healing.

Who knew that it wasn't my friend who would heal the most from the story...but me :-)

Janet Dean said...

Marianne, forgot to thank you for your excitement for the release of The Bride Wore Spurs! I'm excited too! My author copies have arrived. I love holding that new book in my hands!

Janet

Helen Gray said...

Janet,

The biggest thing about my prayers were that I asked God to lead me to write stories that would honor Him and made that my focus.

And I go to Him for the "little" things. For instance, when I get stuck on a scene and don't know how I should handle it--or end it--I will quit for the day, go to bed, and pray about it. Last night was such an instance. I didn't know how to finish the scene I was working on. So I went to bed praying about it. Within minutes bits of thoughts and visions came to me. This morning I'm ready to finish that scene.

I know it sounds terribly simplistic. Guess I'm just simple. :)

Helen

Janet Dean said...

Paula O, thanks bunches for your sweet encouraging words and for picturing Seekerville as a safe harmonious place for readers and writers to share with each other, our thoughts and lots of great food.

Hugs, Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jeanne T! Thanks for sharing how God set you on the path to write for Him! I love that He gave your heroine a name. Jesus always made encounters personal. A name makes a character real and we get to create her to reveal God's truths. Pretty special, isn't it?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Terri! No better place for your story to be! Sometimes I'm amazed that when something tricky comes up, or the story sags, that I don't go first to God and talk it over with Him. Would save a lot of head banging. LOL

Janet

Debby Giusti said...

Loved the stories of God's inspiration that were shared in this blog. Oh, that God! He's amazing.

I must have had my head in deadline sand went you sent out the call for input, Janet.

Shame on me! Good for everyone else who shared part of their writing journey.

Must read the comments. Bet there will be more stories that touch my heart.

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Ruthy! And thanks for sharing your amazing inspiration for Lisa's story. I know it will touch hearts.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Sorry for the sleepless night, Mary! Did you get some great story ideas while you tossed and turned?

Janet

Lyndee H said...

What an inspiring post to finish this week of love. Thank you, Janet and all.

I've been a freelance writer since 1999, and I've watched my jobs dry up and flit away as the internet and newspapers changed formats. Out of frustration, I interviewed for traditional jobs, and tossed out a prayer for God to show me which one to take. Over several months I received job offers, but none of them met the criteria that I was looking for so I kept turning them down. Then I heard the voice - that's because writing is your career! DUH.

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Melanie! Love that you mentioned we can go to God with boldness. He's never too busy to listen.

Janet

Susan Anne Mason said...

Janet,

I love that story! I don't have anything as specific, but I know that every time I get discouraged, almost thinking I will quit, some tidbit of encouragement comes my way that keeps me going! Sometimes a contest final, sometimes it's a Seekerville angel giving me a nudge! :)

Love the cover and premise of your new book!

Cheers,
Sue
sbmason at sympatico dot ca

Janet Dean said...

Hi Myra! We can think big when God is our resource. No point in having puny dreams. :-)

Janet

elainemanders.com said...

All these comments on inspiration reminded me of an unusual experience. I'd given up writing for 10 years and was golfing with my husband when I got tired and lay down on a little hill, looking up at an incredibly blue sky. I'd been watching the Universe Series at the time and asked this question. "If a man had everything except God what type of woman could reach him?" The answer came to me so quickly I knew it came from God. A woman who truly walks in the Spirit. The word Truly snagged by attention. (sorry, it's an ly word.) So I started a search through the Bible to see what a woman (or anyone) would do who truly walks in the Spirit, and felt all the old beliefs and traditions fall away. It literally changed my life...and one of those stories that just comes to you, came, so I wrote it.

Andrea Strong said...

God lead me into writing - or I should say 'is leading' since I haven't quite yet made a habit of following him into it - gently at first, then with a splash.

I heard a song one day, a song I knew well and loved ("Give My Love to Rose" by Johnny Cash), and the idea for a story came into my head. That story idea grew, a little at a time for a few years, but I never had any real ambition to write it. It was kinda like a toy I pulled out and played with once in a while. Then one Sunday I listened as my husband preached a sermon about Moses and his stick, and all that God had done with them. My husband asked, "What's your stick? What do you have that you can give to God?" So I sat in my pew and prayed, "God what is my stick?" As clear as if he was sitting next to me in the pew, I heard "Give My Love to Rose" (which is the title I had given my story, that I never really intended to write).

That was years ago, somewhere between 3 and 5, but I can't really remember the date (I should have written it down like Tina did). Since that time, God has given me inspiration for several other stories, some connected to GMLTR, others not.

Two and a half years ago, I found Seekerville. Then I joined ACFW, and started talking to other writers about writing. And I've started that novel 4 or 5 times, but I've never truly developed the discipline necessary for the actual writing of the novel.

Most recently, my husband preached another sermon. You can play with sin for a while, but eventually it will catch up to you. What I heard was God saying, "You can ignore my leading for a while, but before long, I'm really gonna whip you!" That got my attention. I had a talk with my husband about this leading on my life, and gained his blessing. Until now, he has been mostly unsupportive, which was my main excuse for procrastinating.

Now that I've lost my main excuse, I realize, I'm scared.

I know this is a story that needs to be told. I know God wants me to tell it. I'm just not convinced I can. Now I really need to work on trusting Him. In my heart I know He knows better than I do, but my head is having a hard time catching up.

Whew! Sorry for the long answer!

I suppose you can tell I found this post particularly inspiring.

I would love to win a copy of your newest release, Janet!

andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

Janet Dean said...

Excellent reminder, Pat! Ask and you shall receive. Knock and the door shall be opened to you are favorite promises of mine.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Wow, Tina! Love how God provided exactly what you needed from that young man at the door. Talk about turning the tables... LOL Did you buy what he was selling?:-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Mary, love the sandhill cranes, the herons, all those giant birds that are so fun to watch.

Your diet made me frown too. Diets are no fun! ((:(( I believe in eating more when I'm trying to lose weight. Small frequent meals that keep me happy yet don't add a lot of calories. When I diet all I can think about is food.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Pepper! I'm grinning at your heroine tripping over her purse and slamming the hero to the ground. LOL What a cute meet!!!

I had a purse incident. Didn't trip over it, but the bottle of water inside it my purse leaked. I was in a waiting room with water around my feet. I left a trail when I took it to the bathroom to dump. Talk about embarrassing.

Janet

Jan Drexler said...

Andrea - I love how you've seen God leading you! Your comment reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, "you can wrestle with your Maker, but you know you just won't win." (from a Rich Millins song? Maybe...)

We can say no to God's call for only so long, but He'll have us doing what He intends eventually :)

Janet Dean said...

Oh, Pepper, what a blessing God provided with the story He gave you. A scene in The Bride Wore Spurs provided healing from the grief of loss. Not that grief ever leaves us, but there's beauty in the release that scene gave me.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Thanks for sharing with us, Helen. You're not simple. God's plan is simple. He wants to be in every facet of our lives. You simply invite Him in and He honors that.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Debby, you've been busy, girl! I love your writers prayer! Not to late to share your God inspired story ideas or career decisions.

Janet

Jan Drexler said...

Janet, loved your post.

There are so many ways God's hand has been leading me. When my forced retirement from homeschooling was looming (those darn kids insisted on growing up!), I prayed that God would give me something useful to do for Him - and His response was this call to write, to fulfill my childhood dream.

I said I'd give it two years.

That's so laughable, isn't it? No one goes from zero words to published in two years!

I was so naive....

So I joined ACFW, found Seekerville (yay!), met all of you wonderful peeps, and wrote.

Well, God must have known I wouldn't be patient. He only let me wait 20 months before I signed my first contract.

I wasn't expecting to be published. I was expecting to give it the two years my husband and I agreed on, and then find a job somewhere that would help pay the bills.

God taught me to set my expectations aside and let Him take care of the details.

Now we'll see what He teaches me as I work toward my second contract!


Looking forward to that polecat book :)

Janet Dean said...

Lyndee, you had listening ears. I hope you're finding the writing jobs you need!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Sue! I'm so thankful that God encourages us when we need it most! And delighted that God has used Seekerville to provide support. We're in this journey together No matter where we are on the path, we have others to cheer us on, an invaluable blessing.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Elaine, thanks for sharing your life changing meeting with God on that hill. Wow, what a fabulous example of God at work in our lives and in our writing!

Janet

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

OOOOH, once again, Janet - exactly what I need today! :)

Thank each of you for sharing...
(and Tina, I can SO relate... Oh dear, May the persistent IS my four-footed mirror.)

It took me about 4 years to write May's first story, May on the Way, How I Become a K9 Spy. I struggled along with it off and on for months until it seemed God started waking me up with ideas during normal people's sleep time.

I continue to keep a notebook by the bed and the tiny book light purchased from a Seekerville gift card win! (Helps keep DH sleeping. Good thing that most times I don't awaken him.)

YUMMY breakfast, Janet. Thank you! No time to read comments now I'm sorry to say... be back later!

Mary Connealy said...

btw Janet I love the polecat/stench line. FUNNY and so true. What a great jumping off spot for a book idea.

Audra Harders said...

Great, great post, Janet! I could listen to "come to Jesus" stories all day long : )

We all have our doubts and insecurities, don't we? I guess it's status quo in any creative endeavor. But when God is on your side, who can be against you???

(Hmmm, I think the Bible said that a bit better than I did, LOL!)

Thanks for sharing, Janet!

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

OK WAIT... I have no discipline and skimmed up a few comments.

Vince & Mary, (and anyone else who was talking about it)

We're sending the sandhills your way. They are OVER OUR HOUSE YESTERDAY & TODAY!!!

Wonder if they would mind being carrier cranes? We could message!
(OK - THERE'S an idea... I might just need for my WIP!)

When we moved here in 2001, DH and I wondered what that SOUND was...
We thought it much like the opening scene in the 2nd Jurassic Park. I continue to wonder if they used sandhill vocals for the sound track!

Mary Connealy said...

I had one nice strong idea come through.
My current heroine, who is named TINA :) is always quoting her curmudgeonly old aunt who raised her.
So I thought of a good line and scene to go with it last night when TINA gets held hostage and clobbers her assailant with....I'm thinking a broom handle maybe.

I'll know more when I write it.
But the line is:

A woman has to know how to take care of herself.

Janet Dean said...

Andrea, you're on an amazing journey that God has set you on and your husband has give his blessing to.

Being scared, well, that's normal. At least for me. Scared of failure. Scared of deadlines. Scared of opening that vein and bleeding on the page, of failing God when my writing doesn't measure up to my vision for my story. The good news, failing is okay. We learn the most from our failures. And just doing it in obedience is a huge step. Proud of you.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jan! Wow, two years is fast! You left me--a lot of us--in your dust. I gave it 10 years. I sold in 9. God knows when we're ready, though I thought I was ready sooner. :-) A good reminder that each of our journeys is personalized just for us.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi KC! Smart to keep notepad, pen and book light ready at all times for those God given snippets. I'm guessing most of us relate. Why do ideas come in the middle of the night? Guess the creative part of our brains works best when we're asleep.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Mary! Polecat stench is not humorous in my story. Would be in yours. I can envision your heroine holding a gun to some hapless hero's head who'd dared to give her the eye. LOL

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hey, Audra, you said it just fine! We need to stand tall. God has our backs!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

KC, I'm giggling at the image of those sandhill cranes flying over your house with their loud and scary calls! The males can really raise a ruckus over a lady friend and parents are very protective of their babies.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Great line, Mary! A broom is pretty tame for your heroines. :-) How about a whip? LOL

Janet

Digging for Pearls said...

I must be a softie at heart. I cried all the way through each of your stories of how God has moved in your lives with your writing.

My story started at a lighthouse in Georgia. I was visiting a dear friend and she took me to see a lighthouse. It wasn't until we climbed the MANY spiral steps to the top that I realized how afraid of heights I am, especially when we step out onto the catwalk at the very top.

But I need to go back in my story. The month leading up to my visit with my friend was one of the lowest times in my life. I believe I was close to an emotional breakdown because of a circumstance in my life. Throughout the month I had been praying for God's peace and joy, and also direction for my life. I've always loved writing and had written a couple novels, a nonfiction book, and several Bible studies - all unpublished. I cried out to God to show me what He wanted to do with my writing. All that month - no answer.

Okay, fast forward to my stepping out on the catwalk, scared to death of the height and clinging to the wall behind me. As I gazed at the horizon and ocean (too afraid to look down, you know), God gave me the idea for not one, but three different novels. I'll never forget that moment.

I went home and wrote one of those stories. The other two are still in my brain. :) For now, that story is in a drawer, waiting the proper time.

Since then God led me to another story to tell. It's one that has stirred an editor's interest, so much so that I'm in my second set of revisions for her - no contract yet, but God willing...someday.

Thanks for the wonderful post Janet. I can't wait to read your new book. It looks great. :)

Blessings,
Jodie Wolfe

Walt Mussell said...

I have a story that dates back to college. I was doing a math problem that had vexed me and I couldn't get the right answer. It was hot in the fraternity dining room, so the celing fans were turnig, trying to keep some form of air movement in the room.

I took a bathroom break. When I came back, I relaized that somehow the pages on my textbook had flipped. The way to do the problem was staring me in the face.

Sherida Stewart said...

Mmmmm, love raisin toast!

Thanks to all for these God directed writing thoughts. Mine came when I was working on a short story contest entry, trying to work out how a character would know where a necklace was hidden. While riding in the car daydreaming....not even thinking about the story, God sent the right idea. It was simple, but it worked and made the story richer. (And I won the contest--an amazing blessing!)

Ruth Blodgett said...

Pepper, yes, that is it exactly. Healing comes from within and without and those blessings of the Holy Spirit are such beautiful nudges!

I love that story, Peps.

Janet Dean said...

Jodie, God is good and provides, especially when we cry out to Him. I'm excited that you've gotten an editor's interest in the second story God gave you and proud of you for following through with her suggestions! Not everyone does.

I love lighthouses and visit all I can. I don't always climb them. It's a real workout and scary at the top. But worth it when I do.

Janet

Walt Mussell said...

This is off-topic, but I thought I would mention it.

I was in a LI chat earlier. The editors kept talking about the opportunity for those wanting to submit LIS.

Janet Dean said...

Walt, smiling at God turning those pages for you! Math isn't my strength. I'd prefer Him just closing the book. LOL

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Sherida! Making good raisin toast isn't a given. It's easy to burn but warm bread doesn't do it. There's my picky side showing. LOL

Amazing how God plants those seeds in our fertile minds for a perfect solution! Congratulations on the contest win!!!!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hey Walt, thanks for the reminder. Love Inspired Suspense is seeking stories!! No better time to submit! I'll look for a link.

Janet

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, JANET, I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post -- SOOO inspiring and encouraging and just what I needed today, so THANK YOU!!

The polecat sentence God dropped in your brain made me smile, Janet -- how fun!!

Myra, I still remember you telling me that dream, so hearing it again gives me warm chills.

Ruthy, I amazed how you can pull into a nursery and get an idea. You have SUCH a fertile mind, my friend!!

Mary, you have come soooo far, my friend, and ACFW has played such a huge role in that, as it has for each of us. I shudder to think where I would be without that incredible organization!! It truly is an extension of God's help to anyone He calls to write for Him.

Tina ... so glad I'm not the only one who has to keep putting my writing on the altar!! :) We authors are soooo very good at tug-of-war with God, that's for darn sure. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Kav said...

Beautiful post, Janet. It really hit home to me why inspirational fiction is so...well inspirational. Y'all are living it!

I would have to say that Seekerville has definitely been an instrument in God's hand as far as encouraging and rewarding me. I get goosebumps just thinking about all my 'ahhhh' moments.

Janet Dean said...

Julie, isn't it great how posts much like devotionals, seem to be written just for us when we need them most?

Historical facts or events have led me to those "what ifs" that trigger stories. But this is the first time God's given me a story in the form of a sentence!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Good afternoon, Kav! Thanks for your lovely words about the impact Seekerville has had in your life.
I could say the same. I've learned a lot here. Found new friends here. Been blessed in countless ways.

Janet

CatMom said...

Great post today, Janet! (I had to miss yesterday and am late joining in today, but SO glad I stopped by). Reading these different authors' experiences gave me goosebumps--the good kind. It is so amazing how the Lord works in lives. ~ Before attending my first conference, I'd hoped to meet Deb Raney and Tamera Alexander, because they were some of the very first authors I'd "discovered" in Christian fiction. I attended my very first ACFW Conference in 2008, I didn't know a soul there, and at first felt like a little kid at a brand-new school, LOL. At the first meal that Thursday, I sat at a dinner table, surrounded by strangers. There were still 2 empty seats across from me at the table, and right before the meal 2 lovely ladies sat there. Deborah Raney and Tamera Alexander! I introduced myself and told them how much I LOVE their writing, but to my dismay I was CRYING! They were soooo very sweet to me, and now I consider both ladies friends. ~ All of this to say I knew for certain the Lord had worked that out for me, and I was so thankful. ~ Hugs, Patti Jo

CatMom said...

p.s. Meant to also add that your book cover is beautiful, Janet! Please add my name to the drawing. ~ Hugs, PJ

Mary Cline said...

So, so, so needed this today. Thank you for the post and the comments.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Clari Dees...you've created a icon monster with Mary Connealy.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Walt,love that story!!!!!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Oh, Jodie, how beautiful your story is.

And Catmom, I did a little aweee at your crying.

Tina Radcliffe said...

So Andrea, we can now officially HOUND you to finish the book/s. Hurrah!!!

Janet Dean said...

Patty Jo, your story gave me goose bumps! Thanks for sharing. It's not easy to go to a conference without knowing a soul.

Your desire to meet Deb and Tamera makes me think of Debbie Macomber's list of people she wants to meet. And the amazing way God brought those meetings about.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Mary C! I think we all have days like you're feeling. Glad the post helped!

Hugs, Janet

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Patti Jo! Delighted you love The Bride Wore Spurs' cover!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Did Vince comment? Did Clari Dees? I don't see their comments. Is Yahoo acting up?

Janet

karenk said...

love this article ;)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Jenny Blake said...

Im late posting.
enjoyed the post. I love the pole cat comment. Oh I knew a pole cat was scum of the earth didn't realise it was a skunk.


Cindy W. said...

I loved the post today Janet. I read it this morning but didn't have time to comment so I came back tonight to read your post again. I love to hear God stories. He just amazes me on how He works in our lives when we let him. My stories aren't with writing but they easily could become a story. It is so amazing how when we Let Go and Let God, magnificent things happen.

I would love to be entered to win a copy of your new book Janet.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Janet Dean said...

Hi Karen K! Thanks for stopping by and for your interest in The Bride Wore Spurs.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jenny! Good to know that you get my meaning for polecat. Can't wait to use that line in my story, but the time isn't right yet.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Good evening, Cindy W! You're right! If we compiled all the stories of the many ways God works in our lives, we'd soon fill a book, lots of books.

Thanks for your interest in The Bride Wore Spurs.

Janet

Mary Preston said...

In so many ways. I'd read a book compiled of all the stories. Inspirational.

Kayleen said...

Hi Janet!
God led me to the Ft Wayne Christian Writers Club many years ago. One night Jim Watkins who many people know as a great author/editor quickly provided a suggestion for a title for a magazine article I was working on. That was so helpful to me to know friends would help and that I might someday be able to think of ideas like that on my own.

Cindy Regnier said...

Thanks for the delicious breakfast. Not feeling so well so the virtual eggs really hit the spot. I love the Polecat story. I also especially liked Julie's episode of a God-given ending. I've had moments where I wrote something into my story with no apparent purpose only to find out that in the end, it was integral and tied everything together. Only God can do that. Relying on Him now for a BIG challenge ahead.

Ginger Solomon said...

I wanted to let each one of you know that I appreciate Seekerville. Your honesty, humor, and helpfulness blesses me every time a blog lands in my e-mail.

God plopped a verse in my heart a few months back. I was feeling inadequate in the writing world--so much to learn and so little time.

Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."

It touched me and reminded me that God has a timetable all His own and I just need to do what he's called me to do--write the stories. The rest is in His control. And so I write and wait.

In His time.

Blessings.