Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sacred Writing Time

The term "Sacred Writing Time" came up during a phone chat with Seekerville friend Edwina. It's something I've always utilized, but never actually named.

Sacred Writing Time:

1. Time devoted specifically for the use of writing.
2. Highly valued or important time for writing.

For those of you who have not considered this concept I recommend beginning with a small amount of time, like an hour.

The location isn't as important as the time itself, your home or your library or the local Starbucks will do.

 Prepare your family and friends.

Put up a sign if you're working at home. Signs set boundaries. Take the sign down when your agreed upon time is over.

I've been using this technique for years!

Caveat: When it comes to Sacred Writing Time you must demand respect if you want to get respect.

If you don’t demand respect for your writing time now, it's fiction to think you'll get it after you sell.

However, that said, the sad truth is that usually it's not family and friends who disrespect the Sacred Writing Time. It's you the writer.

I spent some time mulling over this phenomenon.

Why don't we the writer honor and respect our time, and our art? Ourselves?

1. We feel guilty.  In the words of my friend Stephanie, "Guilt is a useless emotion."

If you utilize the simple inverted pyramid approach to what's important in your life then what do you have to feel guilty about?

Take the pyramid and fill in from top to bottom the most important things in your life.Look at what you've filled in for priorities on the pyramid.  Even if  writing is the last spot on that pyramid, then you should at least give it that much value.That much of your day.

Honor those priorities in that order, and lose the guilt.

 2. We fail to honor writing as a gift from God. It took me a very long time to grasp the concept that my writing was a ministry. (I respect your right to disagree with this concept. You're wrong but I respect your right to disagree.)  

"When I write I honor God."

A simple yet huge concept. Put that over your computer and meditate on it!

3. We fear success as much as we fear failure.  Some of us are so paralyzed by the fear of success and/or failure we are constantly sabotaging our writing and our Sacred Writing Time. Both fear of failure and the fear of success are deeply rooted in feelings of unworthiness. Fear that someone will discover you are really a fraud and not a writer. Fear you just don't measure up. Applicable to both the published and unpublished writer. I could give you a list of ways you sabotage your writing, but I'm very sure you already have the list memorized.

 4. We make excuses.

If we want the dream then we must constantly ask ourselves:

  • What have I done today to make my dream come true?
  • What am I willing to sacrifice to make my dream come true?

Of course there is no set answer. We are all on different paths, at different seasons of our life. But please stop making excuses, instead make plans.

5. We Fail To Protect the Work.  We get so distracted by life that our time, energy and talent is frittered away. When we sit down to write during Sacred Writing Time our mind is focused on anything but writing. (Writing is not about multi-tasking.)

Years ago there was a Jenny Crusie buzz-word in RWA circles, Protect the Work, based on an RWR article. It's still true today. Protect the Work.

In the course of any given twenty-four hour day there is a Sacred Writing Time that is yours and yours alone. I encourage you to find it, RESPECT IT, HONOR IT! 

Respect and honor yourself as well.

Today's free giveaway whether you comment or not is simply these sage words:

 I'd like to remind our friends of Seekerville, that when we post in Seekerville, we're sharing with you one of our most valuable commodities. Time.  When we offer critiques we're sharing that same precious gift.

Seeker authors write books, many work forty-plus hours outside the home or from the home. We have families, and friends and obligations just like you.

This post took up four hours of my time. But I'll do it again next month, as will the other Seekers. And it's not because we want you to buy our books. Seekerville began in 2007. We had collectively six books and the majority of us were still in huts on this island. We began Seekerville to offer you what we wish we had on the journey.

We share because Seekerville believes in you. We hope that YOU believe in you too.

Today is another day of our March Speedbo. 
Find out more about Speedbo and our exciting weekly prizes here.  
Comment today for a chance to win! 
Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.


  1. Thank you for spending the time you do to help us. All of you. It means so much to so many. I don't think any of us could come up with words to adequately say "Thank you" and tell you what you mean to us. And we're mostly writers.

    Thank you for letting us hang out in your abandoned shacks on the island.

    And for letting us sleep in your spare bedrooms and on your couches in town.

    And for giving so selflessly so all of us can someday leave our own personal unpubbed island.

    And for reminding me that "writers write" and I've done very little of that the last few days*. I need to figure out how to make my writing time sacred when my kids are home - like this week on Spring Break.

    Thank you.

    And next time we meet, I'll have cookies.

    *I did get two entries revised and submitted to FFL. The last one with about 3 minutes to spare... So it wasn't JUST "not writing" but 250 words in about 3 days just won't cut it long term either...

  2. You're welcome. But seriously, it's not about the thank you.

    It's about loving yourself as much as we love you.

    Believing in yourself beyond the next rejection!!

  3. Tina, I think the number of friends you have here attests to how much we all appreciate the time you devote to us. You spread your wings wide.

    I'm sure I don't give proper "sacred" consideration to my writing time. I'm retired, and hubby spends good parts of the days outdoors. So I have the house to myself a lot. In other words, I can do what I want when I want. It's wonderful.

    Now to get some more words down.

    The coffee pot's ready to perk.


  4. PS you can click on that map for a real trip down memory lane!

  5. Awww Tina, I'm all verklempt.


    You spoil us.

    I know it's not about the thank you, but sometimes it has to be about the giving thanks and I don't say it often enough.

    Thank you, Seekers, for all that you give of yourselves to help us.

    As for sacred writing time - it's not my family that distracts me. You nailed it. It's me. That dratted lack of confidence. I'm getting better at working despite it though.

    Thanks and hugs, Tina.

  6. All right, I'm rewriting my comment since I went off the deep end and psycho-analyzed myself, no one needs to listen to that--for free anyway.

    But the main point was to thank you for your time, I know how precious time is.

  7. LOL, Melissa. To know you is to love you. Truly, when you first began commenting in Seekerville I didn't quite GET you. Now I do. And if you ever go away I will hunt you down.

    And make you come back.

  8. What does verklempt mean?

    Is this like mushy?

  9. A bonus! Two posts in one day/night. Because your posts are set up for Eastern time, I notice that although I'm on Pacific time, you've already turned the calendar to tomorrow/today.

    I like the reminder that my writing is a gift from God that I must use to the fullest of my ability - not bury or apologize for. I like the idea of Sacred Writing Time, starting the time with prayer, committing it to the Giver of the gift, much like the earlier-in-the-day devotional time.
    I have no excuse not to have that protected time--my time is "my own" to arrange as I choose.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. Verklempt? I think it's similar to discombobulated.

    You hit the nail on the head, Tina! I don't know how much time I spend on all 5 of your points!

    But then I come to Seekerville and get inspired all over again.

    I'm setting a pot of hot chocolate on the buffet for the late nighters - it may be warm where you are, but it' still a bit chilly here in the north!

  11. I know it's not about the thanks.

    But we still don't say it enough.

    So thank you.

    And I went through a bit of the self-doubt-y stuff this afternoon. Not horribly so - or well, the same as always but very time compressed. Didn't last too long.

    I'd like to think it's because I'm growing, but I'm not so sure ;).

    Really... It wasn't BAD news by any stretch. Just not what I was hoping for. But there were others hoping for the same thing. And I'm so happy for and proud of them. :D

    And now I'm going to take a deep breath, print out a copy of my MS and offer it to my MIL tomorrow. She's been borrowing lots of books lately and has been asking about it so I'm going to offer it. Not sure if it's her 'thing' or not but...

    Trust me. This is a huge step in the whole 'I'm a real author' thing.

  12. [I should mention that I do have a pretty wonderful MIL so very supportive even if she's never read a word.]

  13. Hi Tina:

    I just love the phrase, “Protect the Work”. It makes me think of a Dallas episode where the young son is asking for his father to respect him and the father snaps back:

    “You don’t ask for respect! You earn it!”

    Kids are always testing new rules to see if you are going to enforce them. You’ve got to protect the work.

    You also have to ‘use it or lose it’. If your protected hour is x am to x+ 60 minutes, then you need to be writing during that time or you won’t earn respect for your time.

    In a way, I don’t think people fear success.
    What they fear is change.
    Protect the work.
    Prepare for change.

    Scared time belongs to God.
    Doing God’s work is a scared mission.
    For Christian writers, writing is that mission.

    Thanks for all you do.
    You lead by example.
    All your respect has been earned.


  14. You let your MIL read your stuff? Or does MIL mean something else.

    Wow, you are a brave woman.

  15. Vince!! You get it.

    I never doubted you for a moment.

    You always get it.

  16. This Seekerville community is a special place. I don't know anywhere else quite like it on the Internet. Following the publishing endeavours and careers of the Seekers has provided invaluable tips, advice and encouragement.

    While it may not be about a "thank you", I hope you realize how much all this means to us who are still reaching for our dreams. I certainly appreciate the commitment you have to this blog, and the time you give up to write the posts and monitor comments to help keep us nourished on the journey.

    Like Helen, my hubby is retired and I usually have an abundance of writing time. I don't always make good use of it, but I'm thankful that when I do dive into my writing I can stay immersed for however long I choose. Yes, I know I'm blessed. (I also agree with you that when God makes his gift of writing known to us, we should accept it as a ministry, and treat it accordingly. Thanks for the reminder.)

  17. Oh so well said Carol. I know of several times Seekerville and those who make it are the training wheels on this crazy ride. I live alone so I don't have to hang a sign but when the day comes I do, I've got a wooden sword to back it up.
    I mean really, you guys KNOW that I have a wooden gladiator training sword, right? :-p
    Praise Jesus, a 3,646 word day yesterday. A new word count record for me in a single day. I'm now at 45% of my Speedbo goal and 81% of the MS word count. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that I will have written TWO books now. I feel SOOO writerly to have pushed through the distractions, managed the obstacles, and climbing out of being behind 5K words by day seven, LOL, thanks to all the encouragement and advice from everyone this month.

  18. Thank you Seekers! You are trailblazers, encouragers, and truth-tellers.

    And I love this post! I struggle with thinking I have to reach a certain level of success before I am allowed to "protect the work" and not feel guilty and all the things you mentioned. Yet when I focus on God's call in my heart, I'm reminded that how others view what I do doesn't matter.

    Thank you for another great morning message . . .

  19. Hahahaha! I've spent too much time on facebook because I kept trying to LIKE this post and these comments!

    Stating the obvious here but I WOULD NOT have finished a single book without Seekerville. I WOULD NOT have learned to query, write a synopsis or hug rejections.

    I also would not have a signed with an agent or signed a contract.

    Seekerville is part of my sacred writing time and I make it a top priority.

  20. In my younger years, my writing time was sacred....SACRED!! Now that I'm married and I have a kid, and been promoted a few times at my job, my head is so frazzled that it's hard to my MYSELF value my writing time. I've been working on the same proposal for months - if it'd been ten years ago, that thing would've been out, circulating to publishers. Kinda sad when you think about it! :-(

  21. AWESOME post. I'm about to make mine. I've been remiss. Heh.
    I need to buy one of those signs and just hang it on my forehead, since my "office" is the couch. lol

  22. Like everyone else, I did get a little choked up reading your post, Tina.

    I head to Seekerville first thing most days because I need to start the day reminding myself writing is ministry when you put it in God's hands.

    I find myself writing in the morning because, like exercise, if I don't get it done, it won't get done. But I am now writing again in the evening without any prodding because it is indeed sacred time. Writing has become a priority in my life again.

    I am not going to add up the months, um, years it has taken to get to this point. Thankfully you all have put up with me!

    Peace and thanks, Julie

  23. Sacred writing're so right, Tina.

    And I especially loved:
    "When I write I honor God."

    A new way to look at writing. Honoring God. Beautiful.

    I realized a year or so ago that writing was my ministry, which allows me to put it up on the top of my pyramid. If it were just a me-thing, I would be spending my time elsewhere. Not that I don't want to write and need to write. But knowing that my MISSION is to write, that one of my stories may touch a life and that God wants that life touched makes all the difference. That keeps me plugging along, giving up things that would be nice to do so that I CAN do the thing that I've been called to do...and that's write.

    Plus, as you mentioned, I'm also honoring God. Lovely!

  24. I agree with Debby, Tina. Thank you for the reminder that when I write I honor God. That takes away the guilt since I tend to think of writing as "me" time.

    Happy Thursday, Seekerville.

    As for verklempt - I've always heard it used to mean choked up. It was from an old Saturday Night Live skit. I think it's a Jewish/Hebrew word. Not positive on that.

  25. Looked up Verklempt - a Yiddish word that means overcome with emotion.

  26. I'd like to point out that if you average out her time, Tina spends WAY more than four hours a week on Seekerville projects ... I would venture to say it's probably closer to 10 to 15 hours a week or more. For that, I and the other Seekers want to publicly thank Tina for all the hard work and effort she puts into Seekerville. Truly ... nobody gives of herself more!!

    Sacred writing time is a matter of respect ... for you, your writing and the God who expects you to use it for His glory!

    Go, get 'em, guys!!


  27. Tina, you say it like it is. Love that. Each one of us must decide what we'll do with the time given us. Whether we'll use it or lose it. Cause there's no getting time back.

    Thanks for all you do for all of us!


  28. Powerful powerful words here... From you Tina and all the prior posters.

    Well stated one and all. Not much to add. (You're shocked, I know.)

    THANK YOU for letting May and me be part of Seekerville. We love ya! Special sniffs and greetings from May. She's been cracking the Speedbo whip. Wshew. Tough taskmaster!

  29. Thank you so much for sharing your time and wisdom with us. I also leave having learned something useful or feel encouraged to carry on.
    Thanks for all you do!

  30. MIL is mother-in-law.

    And there's a binder on the chair with all the other books I brought up for her to look through.

    My MIL is wonderfully supportive. She's not quite a fairy tale MIL but she's not too terribly far off either. I'm gonna offer it and we'll see if she takes it. She asks questions about it and my writing and stuff all the time.

    Last night we were talking about Colleen Coble's Blue Moon Promise [I loaned it to her] and she asked about my work and how it was going and all and I just have this feeling that I think she'd like to read one of mine but doesn't want to ask because she doesn't know if it's okay too.

    Even if she doesn't like it, she'll be supportive, you know? Not like some people I know/know of who are just mean about it.

    And now... time to go give tests. I love test days ;).

  31. Seriously, I've spent most of my life not believing in myself out loud. By that I mean I haven't had the courage of my convictions to believe beyond my 'inside self'. That gradually changed when I discovered Seekerville. How could I not have been touched by your collective sincerity, encouragement, cajoling, intimidation tactics :-) and sheer spreading of good will. God bless you all for that and yes, your writing talent is definitely a ministry and you have ministered to me in abundance.

  32. Morning Tina, Well said.

    I have a Miss Piggy doorknob hanger that dh bought me. On her apron it says "Go away I'm very busy"

    Not that he always pays attention to it. LOL

    Nancy, great going.

    Seeker friends should know that our time spent here in Seekerville ministers to us as much if not more than our friends. As Tina pointed out, we are happy to give out info we all wanted back in the day and couldn't find. And hey, these posts are reminders to ourselves.

    Thanks Tina for the reminder that we are writing for God.

  33. Tina, first of all, thank you so much to all the Seekers. Keeping this blog up and running takes valuable time. I appreciate your ministry of encouragement and sharing your wisdom abour writing, as I'm certain many others here do too.

    I so appreciated your post today. I've been pretty good at getting up at o'dark hundred and carving out an hour (usually) first thing in the mornings to write. I've made it a goal to make other times in my day when I can write.

    When I read your thoughts on "fear" I was pretty sure you'd sneaked into my thoughts and read them. I struggle with feeling like a genuine writer. Thanks for your words and encouragements.

    PS Thanks for telling me to respect the time I devote to writing. I'm creating a sign today for my project/computer room. :)

  34. This is why I love Tina. Because she knows me inside out, upside down and backwards.

    And loves me just the way I am.


    This wasn't just about ME?????

    It could have been. Guilt niggles me too often. Sometimes I'm strong enough to control it.

    Other times?

    It controls me.

    I hate that.

    Carol, you know what? You might just be a spits and spurts writer. A lot of writers are like that. They make HUGE use of the time when they have it, then life interrupts and they feel a little caught out. Shaken. Like they need a 'fix'...

    But your hard work will pay off. It will. And don't you hate that time with kids pulls you. God only gives us so many kids and finite time...

    But kids (even the bratty ones) are just precious bundles.

    Except when they think you're dumb.

    Brats. You hang in there with love and hugs and dreams. It all comes together.

  35. Thank you very much, Tina, for the reminder that our writing belongs to God. I do my very best to remember that and and to regularly lay it at His feet and thank him for the amazing way He brought the Seekers together almost 7 years ago. I do NOT believe I'd be published now if it weren't for the prayers, support, and kicks in the fanny from my Seeker Sisters--and especially from my very own Tina "Dr. Phil" Radcliffe who posed that memorable question -- IS IS WORKING? -- that helped me switch gears.

    So I need to continue to honor my own "sacred writing time."

  36. Amen on all accounts. I used to be good about keeping writing time sacred. Right now life has flipped me inside out, but it's time to get back on track.

    As for Speedbo--I'm working on my WIP when I can. Today I realized half the month is over and I still have about 20K words to write to finish. I WILL finish this novel this month.

    Perhaps is a good day to once again turn off the phones and disappear during the writing block that I've set aside for myself.

  37. Great suggestions in here, Tina! I think you hit everything I've ever felt, both good and bad, about fitting writing into my real-life time. Once I got the right balance, though, it was easier to make it a routine.

  38. Charity, it is definitely time for you! Do it! Do it! Do it!

  39. Ha! Carol, I am a weekend warrior. Not ashamed of it. With my schedule that is me. No use fighting it. But every single errand gets done on during the week so I can honor that weekend writing.

  40. WOW, NANCY K!!!

    Serious, WOW. Congratulations on that word count.

  41. Cecelia, so glad to see you here this am!

    It is so difficult to master the day job/writing job thing. I struggle there as well.

    Yet. We have to carve out that time for the job of our heart or we will never be at peace.

  42. Julie, your comment choked me up.

    I am so delighted you are writing because I want to hold your book in my hands in my jammies as you did for me.

  43. Let me add my thank you to the others. Seekerville is included in my "Sacred Writing Time."

    Tina, I'm so glad someone agrees that writing can honor God.

  44. Verklempt it is then. You and Ruthy can be our Yiddish experts. LOL.

  45. Tossing May a biscuit.

    My favorite spy!

  46. If you believe in you, then that makes 14 of us. The Seekers and you.

    That's and entire fan club rooting for you!

    We're also monitoring those chocolate breaks btw.

  47. Well, Bridgett, it took me a long time to figure that one out.

    But now I know, that I know. that I know.

  48. Thanks Tina for this post. You guys at Seekerville are so fantastic. I am SO thrilled that I found you early in my writing career. I think your wonderful and informative posts have saved me so much learning time. I learned VERY quickly from Seekerville just how much is involved in actually writing a novel. Yes I was shocked, but posts like this one show me that if you put a priority on your dreams, they can happen! So I've been able to move on past the paralizing shock :)

    I have been on a roll with Speedbo! I was amazed to discover how much writing I can do once I actually started allocating Sacred Writing Time (though I didn't know it was called that until today!). I have two periods in my day where the writing can happen. Either during my bubby's nap (eldest can watch a DVD for an hour), or in the evening after their bedtime. My aim is to write for an hour in either one of those time slots. If I've had a bad night with the kids, I nap with my bubby, so I've got energy to write in the evening.

    A big thing I've done that has helped get the writing time in is I've stopped accepting most playdate invitations! My kids don't care for them, and it takes me so much effort to get them there and back, it adds unnecessary exhaustion to my days. I'm much happier with our less active social life. Let's face it, I'm really an introvert at heart, so staying at home and writing is much more enjoyable :)

    Have a fun day seekers, this Aussie is WAYYY past bedtime. Oh wait ... nope ... that's the baby again ...

  49. You know Ruthy - I think I am like that. I don't want to be but I am. I want to be a daily slow and steady wins the race but... maybe I'm more sprint and collapse.

    And I am spending plenty of time with my kiddos this week when I'm not working, but I do still need to figure out when to get some work done or the summer will be shot. Weekends are out for big writing sessions [usually] so weekdays it is...

    And instead of writing while I'm giving a test, I'm gonna be a good girl and grade everything that was just turned in so I can play later ;).

  50. Oh, Helen, your post really touched me. I've given up my personal play dates. I'm an introvert. Why do I keep trying to swim upstream.

    Yes. Occasionally I plan to meet friends for a meal, but now I set boundaries. I have two jobs. As do you. I can't do it all.

    Nor do I want to.

  51. BY THE WAY!!!

    Remember this week's Speedbo prizes. Let us know if you are up for them.


    March 17:
    Tina Radcliffe critique
    Myra Johnson critique
    Cara Lynn James critique
    Julie Lessman Chat
    Janet Dean synopsis critique

  52. McDonald's did not give me Dr. Pepper. Again.


    I'm in for all the giveaways, Tina.

  53. Wow, Tina! I think I've just had a "come to Jesus meeting"!

    It is true. We have to respect our writing and insist on respect from our families. Or at least ignore their snide comments. LOL

    I really do feel like I'm honoring God when I write. I have had some wonderful, heart-stoppingly encouraging emails from readers who assured me that my books made a difference to them in a very positive way, so I know I'm not just doing something meaningless when I write. However, I think I also need to realize that cleaning my house is honoring to God, too! LOL I need a little balance. Praying for balance! And a maid! God, please give me a maid! And perfect children!!! (Yes, I am in the throes of parenting a teen and a 10-yr-old who might as well be a teen. I need prayers, so when you make a note saying "When I write I honor God" please also make one that says "Pray for Melanie. She needs all the prayers she can get.")

    Anyway ... thanks for this awesome post, Tina! It is up to us to decide to use our time for the good of mankind. ;-)

  54. See, at my house, cleaning is not honoring God.

    There are only two of us. I tidy as I pray. That's good enough.

    Plus it's important to give household pets chores.

    Charlie picks up rubber bands and Jesse takes care of crumbs. Good ot have trained cats.

  55. Hi MaryC:

    ‘Verklempt’ is Yiddish?

    All this time I thought it was a Ruthian neologism. Oy vey!


  56. Tina, I love all the points you made in this post. Especially the one about writing being a ministry. It's easy to forget and either feel guilty for spending all that time in front of the computer, or let the ministry aspects fade into self focus. As someone else mentioned in their comment, I think we might also feel guilty if we're not a published author who's getting paid to spend time writing. But if we put it in the context of ministry, then it changes things; because a lot of people actively minister/volunteer for things without receiving a paycheck. They do it as unto the Lord, because that's what He's called them to.

    Anyway, I can't seem to leave short comments, so I'll try and stop before this turns into a short story. Oh, and I really do appreciate Seekerville and all you do to make it such a fabulous place to visit. It's an awesome, encouraging, welcoming, spot that I'm so glad to have discovered. Many blessing to you and all those who contribute of your time, effort, and talents each day!

    K, I'm really, truly, done now. Pushing the keyboard away... :)

  57. Classical Quote of the Day

    “Beware the ‘Ides of March’”

    Does life foreshadow itself?

  58. Christina, thank you. I agree with everything in your short story. :)

  59. ooh, I forgot today was the Ides O March.

    But not et, tu, Vincente!!

  60. Welcome to Katelyn W. Our 117th Speedbo participant!

  61. Tina,

    Thank you for these great words. I think you just gave all writers PERMISSION to write! And to let go of the guilt. Why do we do that to ourselves?

    I love the concept of honoring God with our work. That makes it seem so much more important than the 'hobby' everyone thinks it is.

    I'm ever so grateful for you (Tina) hunting me down when I was a GH finalist in 2008. I remember getting an email with the subject "I FOUND YOU" and I thought "who the heck is this and why is she looking for me??" LOL. Best thing that happened to me!

    Carol, I'm sorry you got discouraged yesterday and I think I know why. Send me an email so we can 'chat'! sbmason at sympatico dot ca. I'll be home later today.

    Congrats to everyone who are doing so fantastic with Speedbo. My MIL is visiting so I'm writing in 15 minute spurts when she's napping! She, too, is so supportive of my writing (even though she hates romance! LOL)- much more supportive than my own mother or even my husband who just keeps saying "Show me the money." (You see why I need Seekerville!)

    It's a beautiful spring-like day here - very unusual for March but I'll take it! Have a great one!


  62. Susan, I had someone dear to me keep telling me,

    Don't get your hopes up.

    But "Faith IS the evidence of things hoped for."

    I believed. I believe in you too.

  63. Commisseration email sent, Sue ;).

  64. Aww, thanks Tina!

    And thanks for answering so quick, Carol. Will get it in a couple of hours!

    Back to work!


  65. I recently read an article about women in prison - women who have come to Christ during their incarceration and pass copies of Christian novels around to keep each other encouraged. Stories of grace, forgiveness, trust, and what a Christian life can look like in the world keeps them going and hoping.

    I've been wrestling with the guilt - spending so much time on something for "me" - having so much fun talking to my imaginary friends - concentrating on how my writing satisfies my own desires - that I had forgotten that when you do something for God's glory, He USES it for His glory.

    And then Tina's thought-provoking post...ah yes, it all fits together.

    Now to some of that protected writing time!

  66. You are so right, Tina - I need to Find the Time, Make the Time and Honor the Time -- and I promise to do month LOL!

    Seriously I have been working my tail off getting The Wordsmith Journal's new site, etc ready for April 1st & doing promo/marketing that I put writing off for weekends only -- but I'm almost caught up and when I do, I'm going to set aside at least 1 hr EACH DAY to write!

    Feel free to email & keep me accountable.

    Thanks for this great advice and THANKS to ALL Seekerville authors who share so much with us.

    Good luck & God's blessing EVERYONE!


  67. Seekerville took me from someone who thought of writing as a fictional dream (comparable to being an astronaut) to someone who entered her first contest in Feb. and is working on her first MS. I am forever grateful for all I have learned here!

  68. Thanks, Tina!
    Well, I did win a synopsis crit last week which I'm really excited about but if I could snag a page crit too, then I'd be all ready for contests =)
    This WIP (about to be a completed MS, woohoo) is a historical romance about a blind heroine and her seeing-eye slave. The log line, at least right now, is She must trust him to be her eyes, and he must trust God to save them both.

  69. TINA - You're making me a bit fretful for the community here.

    "I didn't quite GET you. Now I do."

    Whatever I am, I do so apologize that I'm Contagious!

    Perhaps instead of ever bringing food to the buffet, I should bring hospital masks and hand sanitizing gel. ;P

    And I'm always up for prizes, it's pretty much a given.

  70. I had a notion that I think applies here.

    If any of you knew me....REALLY KNEW've know I'm the most average person who ever lived.

    I'm not kidding. I can be funny in person and I made an effort but by natural state is silence. I like to be alone. I live inside my head to a disturbing degree, daydreaming. I've always been like this.

    I raised four children, stay at home mom. I went to college but not a fancy college and I didn't break much ground there.

    Married to one man. I moved once since I was married, to a house 1/4 of a mile down the hill that had the same floor plan as the house I moved out of.

    I just am not interesting or lively or exciting or nuthin'.

    The fact that I've got a book published, yes even after 23 books, still almost staggers me. I never ever ever ever take it for granted.

    When Tina says we feel unworthy that strikes a chord. I am busy working on SPEEDBO right now, book #2 in a new series and I had this NOTION last week as I was worrying about the new series......

    Maybe it'll be okay....without a year for revision. Heaven knows I used to have years and years and years to revise.

    I turn in every book wishing I could have done more. wishing I could revise one more time.

    The self-doubt is just ... I think ... part and parcel of being a writer. Such a solitary occupation. All inside your own head...and let's face it, we all have a vivid imagination, required for a writer.

    Anyway, I'm on a tangent, but Tina, your post was wonderful and wise.

    Just like you, sweetie. God bless you.

  71. Oh Tina, you spoke to my heart today--on ALL points. I think that is one of the main reasons I love Seekerville. You ladies speak to my heart, encouraging me, motivating me, and helping me to get past ME and my hangups.

    I have thought long and hard about writing being a ministry. It is not what I thought when I started. I just wanted to write fun stories that could bring joy to readers. The more I write, the more I see God's touch, God's whisper through my writing. I love that!

    CAROL!!! I absolutely thought the roles would be reversed for us. Seriously. So hugs from me!!! You are awesome and won't be hanging out in those abandoned huts on Unpubbed Island for much longer!

  72. THanks for spending your 4 hours to give us such GREAT advice! I completely agree that our writing is a gift from God and that we honor him by what we write. He gave us the talent, after all!

    Great suggestion to post a sign. Maybe we should have one on the door and one on our PCs as well - to remind us that this is sacred writing time. Think I'll start that now.

    Thanks again for your gift and great suggestions!

  73. You have a plan, Pamela. That's what counts!

  74. Woot! for you, Donna!!

    Way to go!! No guts. No glory.

    No risk. No reward.

  75. Mary, made me weepy. I have to go bang my head against the wall.

    Stop it, Connealy.

    By the way I roomed with Mary for our Tulsa book signing.

    She is scary silent. Focused. The world drops away.

  76. Sherrinda, what was that secret conversation between you and Carol?

    Susan as well.

    Okay, what's going on in writerdom?

  77. Whoa, Nancy K. What a powerful log line!!!

  78. I am the sign queen at my house.

    I rotate signs on my office that say.


    Prayer Time.

    Writing In Progress.

  79. Mary...I love this.
    Married to one man. I moved once since I was married, to a house 1/4 of a mile down the hill that had the same floor plan as the house I moved out of.

    Sounds like a character in a book.

    The closest I get to sacred writing time is when I go into the kitchen to set the timer on my oven for 20 minutes. I yell at whoever is nearby not to bother me unless it's an emergency. Most of the time they listen.

  80. The Great Expectations results came in:

    First ~ The Centurion by by Tina Leonard
    Second ~ The Heir of Stainsby Hall by Susan Mason
    Third ~ The Lady's Masquerade by Sherrinda Ketchersid
    Fourth ~ Suburban Straightjacket by Carol Moncado

    That's what is in writerdom today. :)

  81. Tina, hugs and thanks for the great post. So much of what you said resonated for me.

    Particularly the reminder that writing is my ministry. I write for God, but I'd never thought of it as a ministry. That elevates this time spent even more.

    Taking a page from Jenny Crusie, I'm moving from "Protect the Work" to Protect the Ministry!

    Blessings to all of you generous Seekerville residents who sacrifice time and energy to cheer us off that unpubbed island.

  82. Yep. That's it. :D

    So very very proud of you two ladies! [I don't THINK I know Tina L but I know some of you Seekers do...]

    There's an ABA author in our big group office here at school and she just sent me an email about Harlequin Heartwarming. Sounds like it's Love Inspired but without the "Inspired" [no explicitely religious stuff]. Does anyone know anything about this line? I've read their guidelines and think I may have something that fits but I'm not quite sure and since it's new, don't know who to ask :p.

    All my first class grades are done. So I can get to my "Sacred Writing Time" earlier later :D.

  83. OMG you guys are AMAZING!!!


    I have never ever been able to final in that contest.


  84. Tina Leonard writes for Harlequin, American I believe.

  85. Connie Queen. I am loving your technique.

  86. I've been hearing about the Heartwarming Line but haven't had time to check it out.

    Maybe someone else can step in here.

  87. i believe writing blog posts such as these are also ministry & must be seen as service to God. and as a servant of God there is no option but to serve - to respond to God's call.

    no negatives.
    our very words are to give LIFE ~ if they truly reflect Christ. they are to build up just as we are called to build up one another.

    what a great opportunity we have to use the gift of speaking life into another through hearing God's message then sharing it. by whatever means is placed within our reach...

    blessings on your writing today :)

  88. Yes, Tina Leonard is a very prolific Harlequin author - which threw me for a loop when I saw the finalists. I didn't realize published authors were able to submit to the contest.

    So I kinda suspected she would win! She's got 40 books published and a contract for 7 more I think.

    Anyways, I am thrilled to be second! And congrats to Carol and Sherrinda because I really thought I'd be 4th!



  89. Mary,

    Your words about worthiness struck a chord with me because I know a lot of us struggle with that.

    Funny enough, Worthiness is a theme in a lot of my stories!

    Repeat : You are worthy!!


  90. You three nailed the contest!!!

    WAY TO GO!!!

  91. Thank you! I was so thrilled to have finaled with two Seekrville friends! That made it all the more fun!

  92. Woo Hoo! Wonderful results on Great Expectations!

    We have some WRITERS in the house!

  93. Hi Mary:

    They say that wisdom is common sense in an uncommon amount. I think talent is being average in an uncommon amount, too.

    You wrote:

    “I like to be alone. I live inside my head to a disturbing degree, daydreaming.”

    Besides sounding like a perfect soulmate, you have described just about every genius in history.

    The Bible says something about ‘by their fruits they will be known’…

    Eastern philosophers say that ‘we see what is behind our eyes’.

    The psychologists say that the reason we may feel inadequate is that we 'see' all our defects from the inside where we can’t miss any but when looking at other people most of their defects are hidden.

    Judge yourself from the outside in as other people do and you will have a truer picture relative to the rest of humanity.

    Just as there is a sacred time, there is also a sacret space -- and that is your soul.

    Think about this: is the best way to 'see and know' a great painting through the lens of a microscope or from the distance that the painting was designed to be seen from?

    OMG! Here I am philosophizing when I really need to be finishing the last pieces of my RPP book. I think I may be suffering from some of that ‘fear of success’ that Tina was talking about. (I just wonder how much success there is to fear?)

    I think I’ll get back to work and face my fears.


    P.S. Congrats to Carol & Sherrinda – I hope you are not too fearful to write on. : )

  94. That all sounds so nice, Vince. Wise.

    The trouble is, most people think I'm crazy.

  95. Tina sez I'm scary silent, but I was probably just napping.

  96. Plus, I'd have talked more if Ruthy would have ever given me a chance.

  97. Totally Off Topic, Maybe

    If Julie Lessman’s “A Heart Revealed” were a movie, Charity would win best supporting actress. She just stole the show. She could have her own “Murder She Wrote” show. : )


    P.S. I hope this is comment 100!

  98. Yay Susan, Sherrinda, and Carol! Nice job all!

  99. Oh, Tina:

    I’m trying too but you put that ‘fear of success’ into my head. Now that though is spinning around and around knocking all the other thoughts into the abyss.

    I’m Unity.
    That’s why I always try to think in positive affirmations.

    But then, I can be bought. For enough success, I can face any fears.

    FDR said we have nothing to fear but fear itself. But that’s the problem!

    Fear itself is awesome! It’s like the Devil himself!

    Caesar said, “I tell you what to fear not what I fear for always I am Caesar.”

    I’m not sure that helps. Caesar didn't fear the soothsayer. : (



  100. Must break in and celebrate. I hit 10,000 words today. That is 10K total but I am thrilled.

    It has taken me two weeks to get here but I noticed

    -I can physically write longer each day.

    -I am willing to stop when needed and not feel guilty.

    -I am having such a good time, I don't care if I have to do SPEEDBO at a snail's pace. In fact, this experience is a good exercise in pacing and not worrying about how much and how fast I used to write.


    84 degrees here so I am buying a round of lemonade and ice tea for all.

    Jan, thanks for sharing the article about women who are incarcerated. Made me think.

    Mary Connealy, being married to one man and having four children immediately takes you out of the average category. If I could just live in your head for one day!

    Peace and thanks again, Julie

  101. In the words of St Paul, I thank God for you daily. Every time I read a Seeker post, I thank Him that there are so many wonderful folks reaching out to help us struggling stragglers along on the journey. If you all had been around the first time I tried to make it as a writer, I might have been up there with you, reaching out to help the next bunch along. But it's never too late, and I thank Him for that too.

    I've had to put the writing on hiatus temporarily while I get my life and the lives entrusted to me back on track. Looking forward to reentering the race with renewed vigor in a month or so.

  102. Mary I love your description of an average person:

    "I like to be alone. I live inside my head to a disturbing degree, daydreaming. I've always been like this."

    I'm an introvert living in a house of extroverts. My favorite time of the day is bed time when the tvs go off and everyone goes to sleep. FINALLY I get to spend some quality time with the people in my head.

  103. Congrats to the Great Expectations winners!!!

  104. Amen to every word your blessed little heart heaped on us.

  105. How humbling your gift of time and words are to me.

    Here I am, accessing a post on plotstorming by Cheryl Wyatt, that first posted in December 2008.

    What a resource Seekerville has become to me. And to think that you probably have more belief in me than I have in myself....*sniff!*

    Thank you for sharing your time and lessons learned. I've not commented all month because I've been writingwritingwriting. But I had to thank you for this!

  106. Awe, thanks from all the Seekers, EC and Pamela.

    Tina Radcliffe

  107. Jamie's so funny that you love the quiet.
    How many times do we stand over a sleeping child, marveling at how beautiful and peaceful they are. Loving them so fiercely.

    but are they really more beautiful when they're asleep or is the quiet just so blissful they SEEM more beautiful?

  108. Jamie - I'd be too afraid of getting shot if I lived in Mary's head!

    Mine is set up something like a pinchinko machine - I'm not sure my imaginary friends like it in there so that's why they're always trying to get out.

    MIL read the prologue and first chapter while she was here at the house today and said she really enjoyed it. She wasn't going to take it with her because she was afraid it was my only copy.

    Um... no. There's about a million others even if a bunch of them are electronic :D.

    SO honored to be in that list with Sue and Sherrinda! Did go through a brief 'last out of the top 4' phase but it didn't last long. I was quite proud of how long it didn't last :D.

    And now back to work...

  109. Thanks Tina, and Seekerville, for your time, your shared knowledge and your encouragement.

    I believe in me...mostly. I can honestly say my belief in me as a writer has grown as a result of my involvement with Seekerville. Because watching you leave the island one-by-one let me know it can be done.

    Because interacting with many of you offline, receiving words of encouragement and at times needed feedback, has bolstered my confidence.

    Because when I've been at or near a low point, Seekerville is one of the first places I know I can go to get a pick me up. You've never let me down.

    Thank you.

  110. Patricia, I am personally going to put you on that boat from the island to the mainland WHEN the time comes. Soon. VERY VERY SOON!!

  111. Oh, and duh, that was from me.

    Tina Radcliffe

  112. Carol, the hero in my currant wip gets shot in the prologue LOL I love westerns.

  113. /chomp chomp/

    Thank you for the biscuit Miss Tina. You're our fave drill sergeant!!! MWAH!!!

  114. I finally made it here! My little guy had major dental work today, so I've been away from the computer most of the day.

    BUT! While I was waiting, I wrote with pen and paper and accomplished 846 words for SpeedBo!!!

    I hope to get more in. My strength is very low - I'm just not feeling well. I don't know why. It's the Lyme, of course, but I don't remember the last time I felt like this. I usually can tell why I feel how I feel, but this time I'm in the dark.

    Great post, Tina! I love and appreciate you Seeker Gals so much! Thanks for all the time and energy you pour into us. :-) (((Hugs))) for each of you!

  115. Tina,

    Great post.

    Leave it me to look at Sacred Writing time and read it Scared Writing Time first...


    I have to agree wholeheartedly. Writing, and using your gift for the Lord is important.

    Maybe that's why one feels so out of sorts when they don't.

    It is important to set aside that time and realize it is a mission. And even get stingy with it.

    People hear fiction and writer and they multiply it to mean you're really not doing anything. I had people tell me I should be down at the church.

    Or writing stories about Christian people who had done something wonderful with their lives for the Lord or gone on some mission trip.

    Meaning what I did wasn't worthy. But it is. And thank you for the reminder, Tina.


    Tina P.

  116. k, trying to scroll through the comments and got sidetracked by the GREAT EXPECTATIONS results!! Holy smokes!

    I can't believe you THREE finaled in that! I didn't do well in FFL at all. I just couldn't get it. LOVE that you guys write so sharp that you got that contest!

  117. Thank you for believing in us, Seekers. : ) We DO appreciate your time, specific comments, your personal experiences, the books you write and recipes you share, the critiques you giveaway and encouragement you offer.

    I printed all 84 pages (though far from finished it may be) of my WIP last night, bought a red ink pen, and I’m going to work on getting those few chapters together so I can MOVE ON. Why is it that I can see it in my head, but have a hard time putting it on paper? At any rate, I’m happy to be working on it.



  118. I started a reply to something 9 hours ago...



  119. NANCY, great job! I can see the flames spewing from your keyboard. I want to read a certain scene recently penned…

    Congrats to you Great Expectations winners! I entered, but alas, did not final. Was ONE point away from being eligible. More’s the pity. BUT, I got some great feedback, so the effort was not wasted.

  120. My children can't read yet so I don't think putting a sign on the door will work at my home, but I completely agree with you. There has to be a time during the day that is yours to do with what you love. I am struggling to find and keep that time. Your post has motivated me though to try harder.

    Thank you so much for all the time you put into this post to help other writers.

  121. To say it simply, I love Seekerville and all the knowledge and tips that are imparted to us here. I do appreciate each and every one of you and the time you spend sharing with us all. I also appreciate the other Seekerville villagers.

    Thank you and may God richly bless you all!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  122. Speedbo Report

    C O M P L E T E D

    RPP Book – First Draft

    Table of Contents (295 words)

    Epilogue (1252 words)

    The Book Ends, The Story Continues, A New POV for Creating The Best “Reading Experience”

    Appendices (50 words)
    (These can only be compiled after research finished and the completion of the second draft.)

    Reminiscent of the ending of Glynna Kaye’s “High Country Hearts”

    – I’m Happy Dancing!

    (You just have to read it.:))

    Now I get to edit the second draft of my fiction story. 55,000 words.

    Good luck and keep on keeping on.

    Oh, but first I have a lot of ‘work’ work to do.

    O duty,
    Why couldn't.
    Thou be.
    A cutie?



    *Ogden Nash. There was a time when only the letters O.N. were needed on his poems. : (

  123. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
    RAGE ON, MAN!!!!!

  124. VINCE! I'm so totally proud of you!!! Way to go! Looks like I need to get back at it. 846 words while at the dentist office this morning. My doc is now open and waiting. So, off I go! :D

  125. Congrats to the GE folks and Vince. And we are only half way through the month. Wow.

    Peace, Julie

  126. Cindy W-thank you so much for the kind words.

    Tina Radclfife

  127. Whitney!!!! WAY TO GO YOU WRITER YOU!!!

    Tina Radcliffe

  128. Awe, Cindy, thanks for the kind words!!

    Tina Radcliffe.

  129. Whitney!! WAY TO GO YOU WRITER U!!

    Tina Radcliffe

  130. This is seriously the most encouraging place. Thanks for being people who fill my sails.

    CAROL - okay, so if we're in the abandoned shacks on unpublished island, does that make this kind of like LOST? Because THAT would be awesome. Maybe Richard or Locke (pre-crazy, of course) couldn stop by. A girl can dream.

    And yes, writers write. I need sacred time, wait, I have it, but I fall into the class who don't honor my time. That will change.

  131. This is so timely. I got off track with Speedbo this week and honestly have no worthy excuse. I should have made time. Looking forward to getting back into the WIP.

    Thank you so much for this post, Tina!

  132. Jess - one of my first comments on Seekerville was something about how those islands on the main blog page looked awfully familiar...

    I just wanna hang out with Hurley and ride in the bus. Or maybe with Rose and Bernard.

    Or maybe I need to break out my DVDs soon... ;)

    As long as there's no smoke monster on this particular island, it's all good.

    Captain Jack does come by from time to time though...

  133. Just from the sheer number of comments, this really struck a chord with many - including me! thank you for 'allowing' me this privilege - setting aside 'sacred writing time'. Love it!

  134. Tina, it depends on how messy your house is whether cleaning is honoring to God or not!!! LOL!

    But that's just a theory, not theology.

    (Hey, I like that! I think I will use that again! It's not theology, it's just a theory!) Okay, it's late and I've had a hard day. LOL

  135. So well written, Tina.
    And the bit about fearing success...yep, I'm there.

  136. WOW, Tina - - another post I really needed to read at just the right time - - thank you! And another KEEPER POST to keep by my computer. ~ I don't want to repeat what others have already said, but I HAVE to say a sincere THANK YOU to you and all the wonderful Seekers for giving of yourselves to all of us. (sheesh! That probably didn't even make sense...been working on my WIP almost allll day...with "breaks" now and then to clean litter boxes, LOL). Anyway, you all are wonderful AND you make us FEEL wonderful! Lots of hugs, Patti Jo

  137. CatMOM!!!!

    Woot for you as well.

    Way to go!!



  139. I totally agree with Mary. I use Vince's RPP posts when I edit.

  140. Pepper, good to SEEE U. Did you move yet?

  141. Oh, Tina, the last two sentences or your post absolutely made my day! Thank you.

    Nancy C

  142. Thanks, Nancy! And it's even TRUE!!!!

  143. By the way Carol. Two entries to FFL is pretty darn GO GET 'EM.


  144. Oh, I'm definitely in for any of the Speedbo prizes -- how cool would that be?

    And Nancy K, congrats on that 45% of your goal. By the way, I like your first name :-)

    Nancy C

  145. Oh, ladies, congratulations on the Great Expectations results!

    About published authors entering, memory is they can enter but can't be published or contracted in the category they enter.

    Now that I think about it, congratulations to anyone who enters any contest ... it's a major step on the writing journey :-)

    Nancy C

  146. Thanks, Tina :D.

    We'll see how it goes...

    Also found out Tracey Bateman is holding a workshop near me next month. Have already told her I'm coming - now to find someone to watch the kiddos for a couple hours...

  147. T H A N K S

    Thanks to everyone who has been encouraging me. I can say that without a doubt that without Speedbo my RPP book would still be a dream I planed to write someday.

    Speedbo allowed me to write nonfiction. It let me publicly commit to a deadline and provided the incentive to meet that deadline.

    A lot can still be done.
    Everyone who checks in with some progress, helps everyone else.

    The next challenge is to edit my 55,000 word romantic comedy. This is to get the novel in shape to show other people. The idea is to have a manuscript I can polish and layer with all the ingredients we have been learning about here a Seekerville.

    I look forward to having my turn to congratulate each of you as you give your own completion report!

    As they say on Star Trek, “Make it so.”


  148. Hi Mary & Tina:

    I will do what you suggest to market RPP. I’ve given 3,000 three hour seminars and love to speak in public. I saw James Scott Bell give his talk on his book and the LOCK system and he’s a real pro. I know how to do this part.

    I’ll be looking for conferences to give my talk. Dallas would be great. : )

    Thanks again for your encouragement.


  149. Wow - so many congrats here - all winners... and a SpeedBo completion!


    Ok - back to mine.
    Y'all are getting me geared up!

  150. Tina, Thank you from the bottom of my heart - not only for that fantastic phone conversation we had - but for this article and all that you and all the Seekers do to help us along. I found my sacred writing time, but you are right - I sabotage my own writing time. Thanks for the article to get me back on track!
    Blessings & Hugs, Edwina

  151. Got to love the sharing & caring.

  152. Hi Mary:

    It is probably too late for you to see this but I just saw what you wrote yesterday this morning and I’m still smiling. : ) : ) : )

    You wrote:

    “The trouble is, most people think I'm crazy.”

    Being thought to be crazy is one of the classic signs of genius! For centuries people could not be sure if someone was a genius or not so they just called both the crazy and the genius: “touched” ( by the hand of God) and left it at that.

    I think the genius part of you keeps sabotaging the part that claims to be average. Let me tell you, the genius part is not going to lose. : )


  153. ah, Vince, thank you.
    Genius, huh?

    I need to print this up and show it to my husband.

  154. This is wonderful. I needed it today. Thank you!