Saturday, December 31, 2016

From Dawn to Dusk: A Writer’s Guide to Recognizing God’s Presence in the Wait

Time ticks on, yet the metaphorical doors leading to answered prayers remain closed, and the hallway between opportunities stretches as far as the eye can see. What else can be done but wait, hope and pray? How can God be actively at work within a place of stillness?
When I speak at schools and other venues, I often tell people my job is to be rejected. I give thousands of hours to a pixelated stack of white pages on an illuminated computer screen. I pour my heart and soul into each sentence, yet I spend as much time waiting for a YES from publishers and accepting countless NOs as I do composing a novel. I’m on a thousand-hour coffee date with possibilities that may or may not become my reality.
Life is a hallway of locked doors. No matter how much someone knocks, unless it is God’s will, the panels will stay sealed and act as protective barriers between the sovereign plan and one’s desires. Some doors never open; those that might have been concealed from sight or kept from consideration unlock at unpredictable moments.
Opportunities come in fleeting gasps, subtle whispers and screeches of celebration. They’re delivered in blinks and extensive spans. They come when we ache for them, when we least expect them.
Rejection is a large portion of my job, but God-glorified waiting is a lifestyle I have accepted, applied. God-glorified waiting is an attitude of surrender, a faith in His promise to open doors—it is a life of knocking and being content in whichever threshold becomes available.
Waiting is not a passive verb.
God is not bound by time.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
Our lives are caged into a block of linear years. We exist in a timeline, but God surpasses chronology. He does not abide by the earthy rules that hold our bodies captive. He works beyond seconds, hours and days. If we have asked Him to be Lord of our lives, we have been adopted into His master plan where nothing can happen too early or too late.
The timelessness of God is a truth we can cling to as we wait for His doors to unlock.
God is not bound by dreams.
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10:36
God cares for the desires of our hearts. He does not toy with us, give dreams and not fulfill His promises. If we are divinely called to a destination, He will pave the path.
Our dreams cannot build parameters around God’s power. He has the ability to change our hearts, replace desires with burning passions. He can do immeasurably more with us when we walk the hallway of life, knock and ask for His guidance.
God is not bound by choices.
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14
Salvation through Jesus Christ is the ultimate open door—it makes available to us God’s perfect plan. Grace declares victory over the choices we make, and God’s will prevails.

Waiting is a state of motion where God can reveal His truth and mold our hearts. We must be sure to recognize His voice in the perceived stillness, listen to Him above all else and dwell within the comfort of communication with Him.
Dreams can be fulfilled while walking down a hallway.

Saturday, December 24, 2016


Merry Christmas!

As 2016 draws to an end, I’d like to offer a brief reflection on two topics often involved in New Year’s resolutions: time management and entrepreneurship. Included below are some simple tips to help 2017 be your best year.

1.      Complete your work one step at a time.

When faced with a project, one often becomes overwhelmed and resorts to procrastination. To avoid time-wasting, divide the project into small tasks that can be completed in a short amount of time. The feeling of progress will keep you focused and motivated.

2.      Prioritize.

There will be times when you’re forced to juggle many tasks. Inspect your deadlines, see which job needs to be completed first and focus your complete attention on it. By prioritizing, you are less likely to experience last minute stress.

3.      Find what organizational tool works best for you.

My public relations friends have high-tech planners and complex organizational systems. I have a basic calendar and rely on my daily sticky note to-do list to keep myself on track. Although my method is unorthodox, it works for me. Figure out a way to organize your tasks without causing yourself panic.

Time management is an ever-going process. However, knowing how to manage your days opens the door to pursuing dreams and business ventures. To prepare yourself for such endeavors . . .

1.      Think about the future.

Write down your dreams, where you envision yourself in ten years.

2.      Make a plan.

People often dream about the future but refrain from creating a strategic plan to help them achieve their goals. Once you know where you want to go, make a map to get you there.

3.      Complete the plan one step at a time.

As you can see, time management goes hand-in-hand with entrepreneurship. Well managed time leads to broad possibilities.

Although my tips are simple, they revolutionize productivity.

Thank you for making 2016 a terrific year! I’m excited for all God has in store for 2017.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Five Steps To Falling In Love With Your Story

Books live within their own pages, bleed an invisible intimacy that connects with readers in powerful, unexplainable ways. The publishing industry feared extinction when new forms of entertainment became available to the public, but they soon discovered consumers treasured the ability to indulge in an individualistic experience catered specifically to their personal desires, interests—an experience different for each person. eBooks also presented concern for publishers. However, even with lower book costs, consumers preferred the tangibility of paperbacks, the physical bond.

Readers fall in love with books, characters and new worlds.

Writers must fall in love with their own work because, as I mentioned above, books bleed an invisible intimacy that first stems from the writer before it can affect a reader.

I’ve undergone months and months of rewriting, editing, probing the innermost parts of my creation. There have been times I have wanted to kill off my characters and spend the remaining word-count lecturing on my book’s meaning, yet I have continued to fight through the work because I believe the book says something important—it may resonate a valuable lesson to readers.

The writing process is long and turbulent. Without a personal connection and belief in the story’s importance, a writer will “throw in the towel” and trash their manuscript.

Love, life, writing—they are all the same. They require determination, a futuristic mindset and belief in the end goal. They involve relationships . . .

And relationships, the ones that change us, are worth fighting to keep.

Fellow writers, I understand preparing to write a book can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider when developing plot, characters, etc., most of which I will not cover in this post. However, I will offer you five steps to help you fall in love with your story.

1.      Believe In Your Message.

You have the unique opportunity to capture readers’ attention for hours. Use that time you have with them to say something important. If you believe your book could help someone, change perspective, make a needed statement, you are more likely to reach the “finish line.”

2.      Write For Yourself.

I have met many individuals who tell me they want to be authors. What they do not realize is publishing is the product of writing a book worth reading.

Write the book you would want to buy, read and showcase on your shelf. Write the book you would love so much, you wouldn’t care if another person laid eyes on it.

Loving your story will create an urgency that increases your motivation.

3.      Weave Yourself Into The Pages

Find a common ground between you and your characters. Add elements of yourself to the setting, conflict, etc. Although the book shouldn’t convey you to the public, it should reflect parts of you.

Just think—you wouldn’t grab coffee with someone polar opposite to you (that would make for awkward silence and an overall uncomfortable situation).

4.      Extend Expression

Writing projects a story, but there is more to a character’s life than what survives edits. Have fun with your world-building. Create a storyboard, illustrate scenes from your book and incorporate your work into other artistic mediums. Be your own biggest fan!


5.      Believe In God’s Plan For Your Life

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Galatians 6:4-5 says, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”

If God has called you to write, you will discover the ability to write.