Friday, December 12, 2014

7.1 Confessions of a Love-Writer

with guest Davalynn Spencer.


Seekerville’s seventh year is slipping from the calendar, but I have just enough time to add my confessional list before 2015 pushes in with a clean slate.

Confession 1: I’ve been known to self-medicate with words.


Do you ever write fiction simply because you want to? Because you enjoy getting into a setting and meeting the characters, “watching” things unfold as if you were in a movie theatre?

As a quasi seat-of-the-pantser, I do. There is a certain freedom in writing with no deadline lurking, no publication dreams pulsing—just creating for the love of creating. In fact, it’s an almost decadent luxury, spending time immersed in a work-for-pleasure endeavor that won’t pay even the smallest of bills.

Last year after submitting the final historical installment in a three-book contract with Love Inspired | Heartsong Presents, I wanted to write a contemporary Christmas story. Just because.

One afternoon on my way home from the college where I teach, I detoured at the local diner/mini-market for a Gummy Bear fix and eased my Subaru into a parking spot. A woman in the car parked facing me sat behind the wheel ranting into her cell-phone. Assuming my best non-stalker pose, I watched while my mind hopped on the Imagination Pony.

Bam. A story. That fast. Not the whole thing, but enough of a start to get me going on the Christmas tale of a young woman running for her life.

Confession 2: Moments like that are way better than teddy-shaped confections.

At home I charged across the white wasteland of a new Word document. Characters sprang up, the story unfolded, and I knew a Christmas romance lay just around the bend of a mountainous Colorado road. Yes, this was exactly the brain break I needed, my reward for making deadline early on the other books. I was having fun.

A few days later my agent called with a request from a publisher looking for historical Christmas-themed novellas. Did I have anything?

Well, no, not really. I was in the middle of revamping a 90,000-word romance burning a hole in my virtual file cabinet. And, of course, mentally eloping with a contemporary Christmas story that was “just for me.”

I couldn’t do it all, I told myself. Stick with the plan, I told myself. One thing at a time. Okay, maybe two.

Confession 3: I didn’t want to share.

I finished the revamp, sent it off, and jumped back into my latest escape. And that’s when I heard the nudge. (Yes, you can hear a nudge.) It said:

“Take that contemporary Christmas story you started and knock it back 150 years.”


Not clever enough to think that up on my own, I pretty much knew where it came from.

Confession 4: Sometimes I forget what I’ve asked for.

One of my long-time prayers has been, “Teach me to write what You will bless.” I want to hear from Him, the master of creative expression. My personal news flash for that day: God doesn’t forget my prayers.

The knock-it-back idea was crazy enough to be fun, so I pulled up my Christmas story, opened a new document, and placed them side-by-side on the computer screen. Then I bumped the story back 150 years as I dropped it into the new document a piece at a time.

Automobiles became horses. The diner/mini-market became the train depot. The back-seat floor of an extended-cab pickup became a dusty tarp in a buckboard. And the chilling blizzard? Well that didn’t change much. Cold is cold.

My typical approach for a new manuscript is to write until I have a good feel for the story, then go back and edit, strengthen chapter hooks and hangers (beginnings and endings) and start a binder.

Confession 5: I am a binder addict.

Binders are right up there with Gummy Bears. They’ve organized my life at every level from teaching to planning my daughter’s wedding (after freaking out when she asked me) to writing fiction. Every manuscript has its own binder with character sketches, notes, a story calendar, and old-school lined paper on which I enter the chapter and page numbers for  each point-of-view character and brief notes on what’s happening in that scene. I like the whole pen-on-paper aspect, though I also have a computer file for each book with sub files for historical research, photos, deleted scenes, proposals, promotional ideas, etc. But I don’t start a binder until I’m into the story and the characters have had a chance to develop organically. By the time my Christmas story stow-away had stowed away, I was binder ready.

Confession 6: I print a fanciful book cover with a “working” title and slip it into the clear plastic sheath on front of the binder.

Mindful of the novella’s designated 15,000 words, I shortened and polished three chapters and then wrote a detailed synopsis—which I really can’t do until I’ve written something. But I must admit, I like synopses much more than I used to. Author Rachel Hauck was right when she said writing a synopsis is simply telling yourself the story, start to finish. This time, it helped me see what I needed to accomplish in a limited amount of space and time.

The following week, I shot the proposal to my agent who submitted it to the publisher … and they bought it.

Honestly, I was more astounded than when I landed the three-book deal because the whole concept was the result of obedience to a directive I found a bit strange.

Confession 7: God’s provision continues to take my breath away.

I’m convinced the Master Creator enjoys surprising us with plot twists in our everyday lives as much as authors enjoy surprising their fictional characters. The big difference in God’s manuscript—surprises are always for our benefit. And that might not mean publication. Maybe the benefit is personal growth, new perspective, strengthened faith, or simply being in His presence.

Former Thomas Nelson fiction publisher Allen Arnold led a workshop at the 2014 Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference on The Heart of the Storyteller. His bottom line? Intimacy with God. Write with Him. Create with Him, enjoy being with Him.

When I trust God enough to enjoy His presence, I realize that the author of my faith knows what He’s doing. Even if it doesn’t make sense to me at the moment.

That one bump-it-back step of faith became The Snowbound Bride and led to a June 2015 sequel, The Columbine Bride. I love surprises.



Confession 7.1: Writing for the love of it has given me some of my best stories.

For me, writing because I love it offers a no-holds-barred bliss, an emotional reprieve that reminds me why I write in the first place.

What do you do simply for the love of it?




Davalynn Spencer writes cowboy romance, a skill she’s honed since marrying a professional rodeo bullfighter and raising another. Her most recent title is “The Snowbound Bride,” one of twelve historical novellas in Barbour’s collection, The 12 Brides of Christmas. She is represented by Linda S. Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency and makes her home on Colorado’s Front Range with her handsome cowboy and their Queensland heeler named Blue. Connect with Davalynn on her website, Facebook page, Goodreads, and Twitter.





Today, Davalynn is giving away an e-copy of her novella, The Snowbound Bride to one commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition!



On the run from a heartless uncle, Arabella Taube hides in Nate Horne’s buckboard just as a blizzard sweeps into Colorado. Can she find her way out of the storm—physically and emotionally—or will the handsome mountain horseman steal her heart?

124 comments:

Helen Gray said...

Simply for the love of it, I play the piano.

Thanks for giving us a look into your writing life.

Coffee's brewing!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Davalynn!And your name comes from????


I love this post and have read it four times already.

What do I do for the love of it?

Take naps?

Hmm, I feel bad..since I started writing I have cut most of everything else out of my life.

This is a wake up call.

Marianne Barkman said...

What do I do for myself? Read, read, read. Though now to feed my addiction I blog for books so I seldom do that. My therapist says I need to do something for myself. I'll read.

Heidi Robbins said...

I read simply for the love of it! Also running, camping, and tickling my baby just to hear her gut-laugh :)

Lyndee H said...

HI Davalynn,
I love your unique name! I'm sure there's a story behind it!

This is a great post. Like Tina, I've reread it and found something different each time.

What do I do for the love of it? More like the love of them. I am a few Pomeranian short of a hoard (I have four) and I really enjoy time with them, brushing, bathing, grooming, even cutting their nails, lol. Then there's snuggling in my lap, playing with toys and taking walks. I guess they've evolved into my sole hobby. Well, the 'hobby' that I do every day. I sometimes paint or scrapbook, but the dogs take the bulk of my free time and I don't mind it at all! They reciprocate plenty.

Keli Gwyn said...

I enjoyed your post, Davalynn. You have a real way with words.

What I do just for the love of it is organize. Yeah, I know. Doesn't sound like fun to some, but for me it's a blast. I mean what's not to love about a pantry filled with cans right side up, labels facing front, in rows so straight they'd make a drill sergeant happy? Or a closet with all the sweaters, blouses and tops separated by color and sleeve length?

If only my organizational bent didn't fail me in my office. Why it grows piles when I'm not looking is beyond me. I plan to spend some time over the holidays getting it back in shape. And, yes, I'll have fun doing so. =)

Cindy W. said...

The one thing I do just for the love of it is read. Whenever I get a chance I read. I also enjoy spending quiet time with my husband. Just sitting next to him gives me energy and strength.

Thank you for your post Davalynn.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tina. Tina. Tina.

This is not a wake-up call if you LOVE WRITING....

This is permission to do it for the love of it, even if you weren't getting paid. Which you are, by the way. This obnoxious New Yorker refuses to feel the least bit guilty for living my dream after decades of working to make other people's dreams a reality.

THIS IS THE BEST, COOLEST TIME!!! Busy, yes.

BUT IT IS THE BEST, COOLEST TIME!!!! I'm having the time of my life and I love it sooooo much!!!! Remember Ben Franklin's "Plenty of time for rest in the grave!" :)

Davalynn, great name! Love it!!! And Tina's right, this is a fun, great post and I've had similar stories tumble into my lap...

How marvelous! What a blessing! And congratulations on being included in such a fun collection! Go, you!!!!

I brought thumbprint cookies (some with sour cherry jam, some with raspberry preserves) and eggnog to toast the weekend! I have to clean tomorrow, we're having a party Sunday for family... and youse know I'm not big on cleaning because I'd rather write.

But I've got to give it a lick and a promise, at least!

Davalynn, welcome to Seekerville!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I might have SPEWED when I read Keli Gwyn's comment.....

Gwynster, that should have come with a WARNING LABEL to not sip your 5:00 AM coffee as reading, LOL!

This is from Ruthy whose fall/winter clothes are still in BINS in the spare room because she hasn't found/made time to sort what fits (another sigh) or iron.

Plenty of time for ironing in the grave??? LAUGHING!!!

Jessica Nelson said...

Binders!? That's funny! :-) Sweet post, Davalynn. I love those moments where we're transported into a new idea/character/life. They're the best.

Beautiful cover too. :-) I read for the love of it. LOL Sometimes I laugh just because.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Davalynn. Your post radiated with hope and joy. Thanks for sharing! God is the Master Creator. Love when He gives me a spark of an idea. I used to do binders. I must try that again. The only thing I couldn't relate to was gummy bears. I don't get that when there's chocolate. But they are cute.

Janet

Kelly Bridgewater said...

I simply cross-stitch for the love it. During Christmas, my projects are displayed through the house. I made individual cross-stitch stocking and a tree skirt mingled in with the landscapes and images of Santa on the wall. Merry Christmas!

Rhonda Starnes said...

I enjoyed reading your wonderful post, Davalynn. To me one of the best things about being a writer is people watching and making up stories. It's been a while since I've done anything just for the love of it. Thanks for the reminder that we must do what we love.

Ruthy, I know you were talking to Tina, but I needed the reminder, too. I've let life get in the way, and as a result, I'm too tired to write at the end of the day. Over the course of this school year (with a revise and resubmit needing attention), I've found excuse after excuse not to write. And I've slowly lost sight of my goal to become a published author. Dang it! This has been a life time goal! And I'm letting it slip away with every day that I don't put words on paper. I've had the career that helped pay the bills while we raised two beautiful children, but now it's my time. Time to get published and see my name on the bookshelf.

Rose said...

Hi Davalynn!

Great to see you here on Seekerville.

I sew and write for the love of it.

No need to enter me in the drawing, I have my copy of The Snowbound Bride. It's next in my TBR pile!

Wishing you continued writing success.

Jill Weatherholt said...

Hi Davalynn! What a beautiful name! I loved reading about the transformation of your story...from cars to horses, that's awesome.
I too write for the love of it. Thankfully, I have a full-time job, so I don't depend on my writing for income. I just do it because it makes me happy.
Oh, binders...I love them especially in bright colors. I love all things office supply. I can spend hours in Staples or Office Depot.
If only there was a store that sold Ruthy's energy, I'd be set. :)

Tina Radcliffe said...

Well I take naps with my cat and I love my cat. So I will consider this a good thing as it means I have slowed down to smell the roses a tad bit. So yes, it's all good.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Look at all the people I haven't seen in a while who have come out to play! Jessica! My buddy Rhonda!

Happy Friday, ladies.

Jackie said...

Davalynn,

Everywhere I've stopped this week, I've seen you. I hope you're having a fun time.

Thanks for sharing your 7.1 tips and reminding us to find time to have fun.

Tina Radcliffe said...

We're holding your feet to the fire Rhonda. Get that resubmit done and turned in. YOU ARE THIS CLOSE. Get a move on!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Kelly, you needlepoint? Wow, and Christmas stockings. You could make a killing on Etsy.com

Audra Harders said...

Davalynn! Another Colorado Front Range inhabitant! Where are you? I'm in Longmont where it is going to be 60 degrees today! Crazy warm for December!

"Teach me to write what You will bless." I'm tacking this to the corkboard over my computer. The adventure of writing is always so much more fun when God fills our heads with stories.

So fun to have you here in Seekerville today! I love all the novellas in this holiday series!!!!

Audra Harders said...

Much like everyone else, I've read this post a couple of times already and will print it out. Truly inspired : )

I love to crochet and make jewelry. Very comforting and mindless. I've got to be careful though and only use the hobbies for break otherwise they get in the way of tasks to be done!!!

Audra Harders said...

Keli, organizing? Really? OMG, the good Lord forgot to include that component in my genetic makeup, LOL!!

Heidi, keep tickling that baby. Nothing is sweeter than baby belly laughs : )

AND, I've got to admit, Office Depot is my favorite store, hands-down, LOL! Anyone else have "gift certificate to office supply store" on their Christmas list??

Eileen Barnes said...

I wish, I wish, I wish I loved organizing. Hate it. But, I love being organized; does that count? The idea of letting God bless my work is something that I discovered at this site. Thank you lovely women who have taught me to turn it to HIM. My favorite 'just for the love of it' is mentally writing stories while I take a walk or lay in bed before I rise in the morning. Sadly, those bits and pieces of fiction don't usually end up on paper.

AND, as a side-note, I live in Colorado too! Loveland (not the ski resort). Do you think God has a special love for this state?

Tina Radcliffe said...

Eileen Barnes!!! Missing you, young lady.

I have learned that when God drops those nuggets of story in my spirit to RUN, not walk to the computer and quickly write them down. Then you can save them in a file for the future. THOSE ARE GOLD NUGGETS FROM HEAVEN. Gather them!!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Davalynn is a cowgirl too. She writes for cowboy magazines. So jealous.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Rhonda.... This is for you and everyone else who needs it...

But mostly for you!

You've hit the nail on the head. You see the problem. And it's not selfish, I laugh at anyone who tells me that pursuing this goal/dream/aspiration is SELFISH (even before I was published...) because golly gosh darn it, I knew I'd invested my time, my joy and my work ethic to raising great kids...

And folks who make you feel guilty (and I'm going to point a finger at husbands because that's often the case) need to shush.

Those that say something can't or shouldn't get done need to get out of the way of the folks doing it. :)

Dust our ashes.... Light new fires... And write.

Go for it. If you need pep talks, e-mail me! I love to boss people around!!! :) You are so blessed and talented... SO is this R&R for school or is this for a publisher? And while I know it can be difficult to switch from clinical/non-fiction writing to fiction/romance/fantasy, it can also be amazingly therapeutic! Let's do this together, my friend!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Naps with cats are allowed and encouraged. Some of my BEST BRAINIAC moments come as I'm just waking up.

SLEEPING BODY/BRAIN AT WORK

Tina, that's perfect!!! Kiss Charlie for me.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I'm ashamed of my lack of office organization. But I do have my map of "Gray's Glen", Washington on the wall so I can refer to it as I write book 2!!!! :) That's pretty darned organized for me!

I will not let anyone upstairs this weekend.

Hear that, family? DOWNSTAIRS OR BEWARE!!!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Wow! I'm in Colorado. Morning ritual: start a fire, do devos, walk the dog. I should have gotten up at four!

I'm thrilled to see all the comments and I want to address each one.

Helen - I too love playing the piano. Good for you. Thanks for stopping by.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Oh, please, I think I have proved with details photographs, that my office wins the disaster of the year contest. This is why God created doors.

No small children or animals were harmed in the chaos of my office. And there is chocolate hidden in there somewhere.

A messy office is the sign of a genius. I rest my case.

Jeanne T said...

Davalynn, I loved reading your post. It's so fun to hear how this story came to be. :)

And I LOVE your prayer, “Teach me to write what You will bless.” I think I'm going to have to adopt that when I sit down to write.

Your confessions made me smile. I'm a binder girl too. :)

Tina Radcliffe said...

Start a fire, walk the dog, devos. I miss Colorado. 17 years south of Denver in Littleton.

Sniff.

How's the weather over there in God's country today?

Davalyn Spencer said...

Tina, thanks for reading. Naps? Amen, sista. Makes me want to take back whining about all those naps when I was a toddler. Not that I can remember, but I'm sure I did.

My name - well, Dad wanted to name me Davy Lee and Mom threatened to divorce him, so they compromised. His name was David.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Marianne, I love your addiction! Read. Yes!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Heidi - don't you love that gut-laugh? I've never known what to call it, but you nailed it. My grandbaby does that.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Lyndee - you don't have a hoard, you have a herd, and a cute one at that. Lots of love there.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Okay, Keli, you can come to my house any time and organize your little heart out! Love it. I know there must be a deep sense of satisfaction in there somewhere, but I can never seem to find it in all the clutter.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Cindy - I think there's a romance novel in your comment. Wonderful.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Ruth - thanks for the welcome! Thumbprint cookies? Oh, yeah, but make mine chocolate, please.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Thanks, Jessica. Laughing is contagious. What a great gift to give away for 'the love of it.'

Tina Radcliffe said...

Chocolate thumbprint cookies. Using chocolate hazelnut spread. GENIUS!@!!!!!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Janet - yeah, I get you. Chocolate. But it gets on the steering wheel when I drive, so I opt for my number two: Gummy Bears. Thanks for the welcome!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Kelly - I did a lot of cross stitch when I was first married and absolutely loved it. Very relaxing.

Keli Gwyn said...

Ruthy, I'm sorry to have started your day with an unplanned shower. I do feel a need to clarify. I like organizing. I do not like cleaning. The two are vastly different. Thus, you would have to bypass all the clutter to find my pantry or the master bedroom closet. While order might reign behind the cupboard and closet doors, disorder is often the order of the day elsewhere. Writing is just so much more fun than housework. Anyone else agree?

Audra, I love office supply stores, too. They have so many cool organizational tools. After reading Davalynn's excellent post I'm thinking color-coded binders for each of my stories are in order. =)

Davalyn Spencer said...

Rhonda - I've been in your shoes. Was a crime-beat reporter for years. Taught middle school. Was too tired to write at night. Then doors opened, and as they creaked, I heard the still small voice: 'how serious are you?' Fifty words first thing in the morning is writing. Taking a notepad and pencil to the bathroom is writing. Whatever it takes to get the words out of you and on paper/screen is worth it. A very creative friend once told me that each person has a measure of creativity for the day, and if they use it up on one thing, there isn't any left for anything else. I have found her observation to be correct in my life. That's why I wrote only nonfiction during my journalism years. My heart was in fiction, but my well was dry after pouring out all day. I encourage you not to give up on your dream. You may have to fight for it, but don't let it die.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Thanks for stopping by, Rose. I hope you enjoy The Snowbound Bride.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Jill - amen! I could so do an Office Depot party!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Jackie - so good to see you here, too. This is my first trip to Seekerville and it's a blast.

Sherri Shackelford said...

Your story sounds wonderful! I have definitely mocked up covers, and I also keep a binder for each book :)

Davalyn Spencer said...

Audra - yea, Front Range! I'm in Canon City, southwest of Colorado Springs in what I call the Pineapple Pocket. Not exactly a banana belt because the area is a notch in the range. But, yes, warm. Warmer than other parts of the Rockies but we still get our share of snow. So glad you're enjoying all the novellas in The 12 Brides collection.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Eileen - between you and me, I think God vacations here. And I like your idea of walking and putting together a story. My husband and I used to travel a lot when he was rodeoing. We'd be hauling down a highway somewhere and he'd look at the vehicle next to us and make up something about that person's life. It was so much fun. Gets the writerly wheels rolling.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Thanks, Jeanne. I can (and have) written a lot. Tons. Stacks over the years. But I want to write what He will bless, so I need Him to teach me how. Sometimes it means waiting. Ugh. I've always considered wait to be a four-letter word, but so is love. Thanks for stopping by.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Tina - Colorado gets in your blood, doesn't it. I knew it was home when I first landed here from California. Today it's a balmy 43 degrees. Which means I don't need a coat. Sounds crazy, I know, but dry cold is way different than wet cold. As I'm sure you know!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Thanks, Sherri. There's a real sense of power in that cover/binder thing, isn't there?

Debby Giusti said...

Devalyn,

Love how God planted the seed that grew into your historical novella! Isn't He wonderful! And you listened and obeyed. Then He blessed your "Yes!" Thanks for sharing.

While writing my last story, a character popped into my head--one I hadn't thought of previously--and she needed a name. I typed in the first name that came to mind, but it was a bit unusual, and I considered changing it to something more common. Instead, I pushed on with the story. Near the end, that unusual name provided a turning point I hadn't expected. Love those beautiful surprises God has for our writing.

BTW, I use binders but have never created a mock-up cover. Such a great idea that I'll use on the next story.

So glad you could be with us today, Davalyn!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Ruth - in your comment to Rhonda you mentioned the therapeutic affect of writing fiction. Absolutely. I defer to Confession No. 1: I self-medicate with words. People have said they read for escape. I often write for escape...into a world where I have control over what happens unlike the world in which I live. There is something extremely therapeutic in that.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Debby - yes, God is full of surprises, and I'm so glad! But names? Sometimes I feel the names I come up with are the most boring in the world. How cool that He gave you an unusual name for your character. Don't you think authors enjoy the surprises in their stories just as much as readers do?

Davalyn Spencer said...

Ruth - I smile at your comment about ironing. My mama taught me well. But seriously - what happened to tossing the wrinkled clothing into the dryer with a wet towel? Works for me.

DebH said...

LOVE hearing about how the Snowbound Bride came to be. way cool.

just for fun? I like to animate characters I draw. Unfortunately, this is time consuming. I end up writing flash fiction instead because that is my other "just for fun" thing.

Davalyn Spencer said...

DebH - animating your characters? Wow, what a fun thing to be able to do. I can't draw anything but bath water and conclusions. Good for you!

DebH said...

p.s. Colorado native currently transplanted on the east coast. Traded mountains for ocean, still not sure if that was a good trade.

longing to get back to Colorado. Have brothers in Frederick and Gill (east of Greeley). Mom still lives in Denver. *sigh*

Colorado is the BEST state, imho.

Davalyn Spencer said...

DebH - Colorado is hard to let go of. I lived in Greeley years ago - graduated from UNC. But the ocean? Best place I've seen for mountains and ocean is Oregon and Washington. Gorgeous.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I concur with Mess + Office = Genius

We are in alliance and allegiance against the neatniks.

Keli Gwyn, you are not INCLUDED even though I really suspect you have a "neat" gene.

Sigh.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ruthy runs to try thumbprint cookies with Nutella.

Because how could that be bad?

Myra Johnson said...

Welcome, Davalynn!

“Teach me to write what You will bless.” -- LOVE THIS!!!

Thanks for your inspiring words today!

Terri said...

Love this post! I need to focus more on listening to what The Lord wants written instead of what Terri wants written.

Thanks for sharing!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Thank you, Myra, for stopping by. So glad you were blessed!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Thank you, Terri. Yes - we all need to do this, and not just in writing! Sometimes I just want to plow through, then look over my shoulder and say, "Oh, yeah, God. This way." Ha!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Okay Ruth and Tina - confession number 8: I've never tried Nutella. Dare I?

Becky said...

I love how your story "came" to you! I love seeing how God works things out. I'm always coming up with stories to go with things I see!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Becky - good for you. Now run to a pencil and paper/computer/chalk board and write!

Missy Tippens said...

Davalynn, welcome!! I LOVED this quote: “Teach me to write what You will bless.”

I'm stealing that! :)

Also, I love your idea of printing your own imagined cover and slipping it in the binder. I need to try that!! :) Thanks for sharing these great insights. You've really spoken to me today.

Missy Tippens said...

Tina, your use your Ninja, making coffee drinks and smoothies for the love of it! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Heidi, there's nothing like a baby's belly laugh! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, Janet, you need to learn to appreciate Gummi Bears! I can eat a whole bag if I'm not careful. I love them. Love gummi Lifesavers a lot too.

(Hope my dentist isn't reading this.) :)

Julie Lessman said...

DAVALYNN!! What a WONDERFUL post, beautifully written. Just from today's blog, I can see that I LOVE your writing style, so I will definitely have to check it out.

You said, "“Teach me to write what You will bless.”

LOVE this prayer and ashamed to admit I've never prayed it before. In fact, when I first read it, I blinked and then blinked again. Talk about a fresh perspective!! I continually pray for His anointing on my writing, of course, but this is the first time I realized it also helps to pray for His direction as to WHAT to write (i.e. what He will bless because it's His idea, not yours).

Thanks for the great insight, and isn't Allen Arnold absolutely THE BEST when it comes to the spiritual perspective in our writing????

Hugs,
Julie

Missy Tippens said...

Rhonda, good for you! I'm glad you're back at it. You can do this.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Amen, Jules. This was profound.

"“Teach me to write what You will bless.”

Tina Radcliffe said...

True, I Ninja for the love of it..or food.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Missy - thank you so much! Steal away - it's all His, and it's so fun to find inspiration in another writer's habits. That's one of the great things about this site - there is so much opportunity for sharing and encouragement.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Thank you so much, Julie, for your encouraging words. The Lord's faithfulness continues to take my breath away.

Davalyn Spencer said...

I am truly touched by responses to the prayer. I have played on worship teams for years, and in spite of God's gifts I prayed (usually due to nerves!) "Teach us to play and sing for Your glory." That prayer transferred to my writing after I sold a contemporary cowboy romance and was promptly asked to write a historical series. What? The prayer popped up like a submerged beach ball. I needed Him to teach me how to write what He had apparently ordained for me to write. And I still do.

Jan Drexler said...

Hi Davalynn! Great post!

I do so many things for the love of it - especially writing. My husband continued to call it my "hobby" until I pointed out that the IRS doesn't consider it a hobby :)

But I have a friend who has raised six children while working with her husband through his medical degree and career. Their children are now all adults and her husband's career is on solid ground. Whenever someone asks her what she does, she responds, "Whatever I want."

I love that. Whenever you see me during the day, I'm probably doing "whatever I want." And that's usually writing :)

Davalyn Spencer said...

Jan - wonderful: Whatever I want. What a place to be! And I'm with you - right now it's writing.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Fabulous post! I love your binder idea, and I'm almost there myself! I've got the binder ready but still haven't organized the 'stuff' inside.

One day, I'll be fully organized!

Thanks, Davalyn! I'd love to win a copy of your novella.

Cheers,
Sue

Ruth Logan Herne said...

NO NUTELLA?????

Is Colorado a different planet, mayhap????

My boys were distance runners. A couple of them loved Nutella. Hazelnut and chocolate.... Oh, Davalynn-of-the-pretty-name, you must try this wondrous thing.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Oh, and if anyone feels like 'blog-hopping', I'm over at Lena Nelson Dooley's blog today, highlighting my second romance that released last Friday! It's called "A Christian Writer's World".
I'd love some friendly faces!
Cheers,
Sue

Susan Anne Mason said...

Oops, the blog is A Christian Writer's World. My book is called "Wayward Hearts". LOL.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Thanks for stopping by, Susan. And good luck with your binder. But if you want to be truly organized, you need to check in with Keli Gwyn. I hear she's got it down!

Davalyn Spencer said...

LOL, Ruth - I promise to give Nutella a try!

Courtney Phillips said...

I do love to write. So I do that for fun. And read, of course. And cook, especially if I'm craving something specific.

That's awesome that you were able to sell that story after reworking it to be historical.

I'm still pre-pubbed, and I love hearing how people have sold.
:)

Digging for Pearls said...

I loved reading your journey how you wrote the Snowbound Bride, especially because I'm reading it right now.

I also had tried out for that same title, but I know it was in God's timing for my answer to be 'no' and your answer to be 'yes'.

Great analogy of writing for the love of it.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Courtney - so glad to hear you were encouraged by today's post. Do not stop pressing on to your dream of writing. I need to press on a little more in the kitchen/cooking department, but that's not one of those things I do 'for the love of it.' And now that I've been inspired by Nutella, who knows what I'll come up with!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Digging - thanks for reading. I don't always understand God's timing, but that's okay. All we really need to know is that we can trust Him.

Chill N said...

Oh my gosh, I'm among binder-holics and office supply aficionados -- home at last!

I never thought about mock-up covers for the binders, though, Davalyn. I'm going to do that simply for the love of it.

The transformation of your just-for-me contemporary into a historical we all will get to read was fun to read.

Nancy C

Davalyn Spencer said...

Nancy C - you made me laugh. Binder-holics. Yes!

Natalie Monk said...

Hi, Davalynn! What a beautiful and inspiring post!

I love crochet. And writing new blurbs for books I review. :) And music. I love picking up new Disney pieces and playing them on the piano. Just for fun. :)

When my current project is over and I nail down the synopsis and first pages of book #3, I'm thinking of trying a novella. Kind of daunting, since I don't know if I can condense that much, but that would be a 'just for fun' project. I'd definitely be going back through the Seekerville archives to see how to do that one. :) Ooooooh, this post makes me excited to try it!

Thanks for sharing this story with us, Davalynn!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Natalie - so happy to fan the novella flame! You can do it, just condense. My daughter is a big Disney fan, too. Gotta love those sound tracks.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I can sing a lot of Frozen. And Enchanted.

I'm possibly disturbed.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Ruth - I love Frozen. Haven't tried singing it, but have decided to grow my hair out again. I know, I know, I'm no longer twenty, but my hubby always did like that long braid.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Great post Davalynn, Thanks for joining us in Seekerville today. It is always fun to hear another's journey. Our Lord does love variety. smile

For the love of it, I love to talk to the Lord, hike, play pickleball and swim.

Have fun and thanks again.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Keli, They say a sign of a creative person is a messy office. So be thankful. smile

That's what I do. lol

Missy Tippens said...

Natalie, I found writing the novella fun. It wasn't as short as I feared it would be. I felt I had room to put in everything I wanted (mine was about 21k words). Have fun with it!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Thank you, Sandra. I'm certainly enjoying the day here. You sound very active - a good thing for a writer.

Rhonda Starnes said...

Tina - I feel the heat on my toes! Kinda feels good on this cold, windy day. Thanks for being so encouraging! I've been so busy with work that I've even let my visits to Seekerville slide. That can't happen, again.

Ruthy - The revisions are on my Killer Voices entry for Love Inspired Suspense. I received the R&R in August, right at the start of the school year. Christmas Break starts one week from today, and my goal is to write every day and hit send by the time I return to school on Jan. 5th. I'm very blessed to have a family that encourages my writing, so they will be understanding when I take time out of the busy holiday season to write.


Davalynn - Thank you for the encouraging words. I teach 7th grade. Unfortunately, it's not just been the job that has hindered me recently. I think, if I'm totally honest, it has been a case of forgetting why I write. Adding the revisions to my already busy to do list made the writing more of a chore, when in reality it's my passion. I just needed the reminder that it isn't work when you're doing what you love.

Sandy Smith said...

Reading is definitely what I most love to do. Therefore, I would love to be entered into the drawing for The Snowbound Bride.

I was interested in your comments about the binder. I am just starting a novel and have a binder to begin the process. I need to keep everything intact at the beginning.

Davalyn Spencer said...

So glad to hear that, Rhonda. When we write 'for the love of it,' that makes all the difference. I pray you'll have a lovingly productive Christmas break!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Good plan, Sandy. That's one of the reasons I love my binders. The pockets hold all my little scraps of paper that I grab and scribble on when inspiration hits, plus all the other information is easily accessible. Congratulations on your beginning!

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Hi Davalynn! (Love your name, BTW). Wonderful post. I LOVE your mantra "Teach me to write what You will bless." Such a great encouragement to seek Him first in our writing, as well as our daily lives.

Please don't include me in the drawing. I just wanted to stop by and say how much I loved your post. Have a great day and a blessed Christmas season!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie. So glad you enjoyed the post. Have a wonderful Christmas.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Rhonda, don't let the revisions scare/worry/bum you out.

Honestly, my first revision letter I kind of caught my breath... But once I'd done a couple, oh my stars, it was EASY... Not always welcome, LOL, but I kind of put on the editor hat and viewed it from their vantage point. AND... once they were buying the books, I figured it was their entity and I was the catalyst.

So not every "Ruthy" book is how I envisioned it, but they've been so well received and I've learned so much that it was well worth it!

And yes, when I start revisions I like a few days of quiet time. A weekend or just something to give me enough time (I work full time, too) to make me feel like I've got my toes in the water!

Go for it! I can't wait to hear you e-mail me and say "I'm done!!! And I lived!!!!" :)

Tina Radcliffe said...

Of course there is Nutella in Colorado. King Sooper's has it. If you can't find it, we can mail you some. :)

Davalyn Spencer said...

Awesome, Tina! I will definitely hunt it down in our City Market here in Canon City. They are a sister store to King Sooper. Christmas treats, here I come! (I think I'm going to have to write this little gem into my next contemporary.)

Valri said...

I love to watch the rain, simply for the love of it! I live in Oregon so it rains a lot but I grew up in Calif. so it didn't rain very much. I have always loved rain though!!!!

Carolyn Chambers Clark said...

Great name! Just snoopy, but is your father David and your mother Lynn?

Loved your ideas about being with God.

Put me in the running for a copy of your new book.

Robin Mason said...

well then, how much of your post could I have written!!! "Confession 1: I’ve been known to self-medicate with words." and from mine own bio: "I began writing as a self-prescribed therapy in 1995..." #'s 5 & 6, yes, and yes! really, nearly all of it could be me - except the not wanting to share part and the gummy [ICK] bears!!
Merry Christmas Davalynn! thanks for a glimpse into your world!!
ps - what's the story with the lady in the parking lot? what ever happened to her???

Davalyn Spencer said...

Valri, if you like rain, then you picked the right state! I know what you mean, though. There's something soothing about it, like a hug from God.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Carolyn - yes, my dad's name was David, but Mom wasn't Lynn. Her name was as unusual as mine: Clotile.

Davalyn Spencer said...

LOL Robin. Don't you love it when you discover other writers with the same idiosyncrasies? (I love the way that word has cras(z)ies in it.)

And I'm so glad to hear you're interested in what happened to the lady in the parking lot. She'll be in a future book.

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

A lovely and heartfelt post, Davalynn. Most of those confessions strike home with me on some level. I use index cards, collect other office supplies, etc. I have a large file cabinet with binders containing copies of everything that's on my computer. My sons tell me to move out of the Dark Ages. Gradually, I'm catching up with the present day.
A blessed Christmas.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Pat - I so relate with the 'Dark Ages' idea of having a hard copy. I've seen too many computers crash and burn and files lost, so I save and backup every way I can.

Chris Bailey said...

I feel certain you won't mind if I appropriate your prayer. "Teach me to write what You will bless.” That's powerful. Thank you.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Chris - by all means, please do. He is the author of our craft.