Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Confessions of a Writer: Nearly Six Years into the Journey

This past Sunday, our Pastor preached a sermon entitled, Confessions of a Disciple: Nearly 40 years into the Journey. Highly recommend listening. Here’s the audio link.
Wow, these confessions were so real, and raw. His transparency was like a gift. We as Christians live messy lives as we work to live out real faith in real life. Sometimes others like Pastors or Best-Selling Authors seem to have arrived—got it all together, but that’s not the case. 

So, as a gift to fellow writers starting out, here are my confessions nearly six years into the journey as a writer.

1: If I wrote when I was inspired, the project would never get finished. 

Most, if not a great majority of things in life require discipline—an intentional action repeated on a consistent basis. 

I make a writing schedule and stick with it until one of the kiddos gets sick, or the back porch roof starts to cave in, or an after school practice or program takes precedence. I’m learning to apply an Army Wife Motto to my writing life: roll with it. If my schedule gets out of whack, I find the time I can write. 

Oh how I wish I had 4 or 5 hours of sheer uninterrupted time to write when I wasn’t exhausted from a day of adult-ing, but then again, I may be prone to wonder from the page and end up sucked into Pinterest or Facebook, or something else equally and wonderfully distracting. 

The point is, I’m learning to set writing goals to keep me on track.  Even going as far as to set a timer for 90 minutes, 4 times a week, and bust my chops to get in 1,500 words each session…which leads me to the next confession:

2: Embrace grace when goals go unmet.

There are some days when I don’t get a single word written. Ugh, that’s another confession that stands on its own. 

Sometimes life happens in the strangest of ways and sucks up your day. The oddest, most unpredictable things can occur...quite peculiar, really.

And then there's just the day to day conflicts. I work part time, take care of my kiddos, juggle their schedules with mine and my hubby’s, volunteer, teach Sunday school, lead a writers group, cook, clean, market, blog…yikes, I need some chocolate just thinking about it all. 

But God reminds me of who I am. I’m His. And I can plan and schedule all I want, but each novel is His, and He will give me the grace, and strength to finish…even if there’s a day or a week when I haven’t typed a single word.

And that leads me to my next confession: 

3: Prioritizing time is a challenge but a necessity.

Yes, I set writing goals. Yes, I carve out and prioritize that writing time, but my first priority, even before family, is God.  Perhaps strange for some to hear, but it’s a way of life that works well for our family, and a multitude of other followers of Christ.

It’s almost become routine to wake up before the family and spend that time reading the Bible, praying, and listening. It’s a routine I like, and crave. It’s become a priority. 

That priority extends into the way I live, how I treat others, how I spend my money, and how I spend my time.  And I need daily reminders, helpful nudges from God to keep Him first. Family second. Friends third. Writing fourth. 

It’s a struggle, not gonna lie, but I remember that writing is just a part of my life, a good part, but not the whole. 

4: There’s more fear involved in the writing process than what I ever imagined. 

It hangs out beside my desk, in the corner, sometimes on my shoulder. It takes me a bit to acknowledge the fear…that my first draft is going to be probably the worst thing I’ve ever written…that I will probably get some bad reviews…that some people may never like a single thing I write…that I don’t have what it takes to be a writer. 

Fear acknowledged, then swallowed, because I know that fear doesn’t come from God. So, I press forward and write anyway, because I’m writing for another reason, and that reason is more powerful than a bit of fear hanging around.

And the last confession:

5: The first draft is gonna be terrible.

Ugh, I can’t stand this confession because I don’t want to embrace it. I want to write the perfect novel the first time. 

To help assuage my little writer heart, I asked MANY, MANY, MA NY other authors light years ahead of me in experience about their first drafts. Every single one of them either laughed, rolled their eyes, or grimaced, each stating there’s was terrible. Good news for the rest of us writers! 

But, after guidance, input, rewrites, and edits, that raw rough copy becomes a polished novel worth the struggles. Even better news!

So keep going, fellow writer! I pray these confessions help encourage you in your writing journey.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Angels Among Us: A Christmas Short Story Collection

Indeed, God's Angels are among us! 

What a joy it was to join together with Kim and Darlene, two fantastic authors, to bring these fictitious stories to life! Truly an honor to join forces with these talented ladies.

I've never written a Christmas themed story, nor ever considered doing so until the offer came...and then my mind went berserk with ideas, scenarios etc.  Of course I wanted it to have a military-ish theme...that's kinda part of my writer thing. So, after several brainstorming sessions, and hair-pulling (exaggerating a bit), it came together.

My tale, Brighter than a Bronze Star, follows Zander, a warrior angel embarked on a mission far from his comfort zone and in close proximity to the mortal world. Lives are at stake, dark forces swarm around, and Zander must not fail even when God's orders are unclear, and difficult to obey.

Along the way, you'll meet Judah, an Army medic questioning his life path, and Claire, a young editor addicted to work to keep past hurts from catching up to her.

Will Zander succeed in his mission, or will the enemy prevail? Will Judah find his path or continue to wonder aimlessly? Will Claire discover the strength she needs to let go and move forward, or remain captive to her hurt?

This Christmas, angels are among us in the most unique way! Enjoy these three short stories for .99 on Amazon, or FREE on Kobo.

Merry Christmas, Dear Reader!

Other books from Hannah Conway:



Thursday, December 3, 2015

Christmas: It's All About the Message

Welcome Dear Readers! Today we welcome our Special Guest Blogger Ann Knopp! Welcome, Ann!! Thank you for sharing with us today.

Christmas is all about the Message

All throughout the Bible God spoke and things happened.  He created the world with just His words, and it came into being.  He spoke to Noah and told him to build a gigantic boat in the middle of a desert region, and he did it.  And God was faithful to save.  He told Abraham to go to a land he’d never been.  Abraham went. No questions asked. Just went.  God promised him a future filled with generations of people, and God is continuing to fulfill that promise. Now Moses did do a little complaining, or making excuses, why it was not the best idea for him to lead God’s people out of Egypt, but in the end, he went as well.  

God was faithful to deliver all them (Noah, Abraham, & Moses).  On and on throughout history, God would speak, and God’s people would obey.  They didn’t have the Bible because essentially they were living the Bible one moment at a time so we could have a manual to follow today.
Then one day, God did an amazing thing.  He told His Son, Jesus, to go to the world.  He went (knowing what He was going to have to do once He got here).  Jesus was God’s ultimate plan to be the Savior to a dark and dying world.  When Jesus began His ministry, He found 12 men that were going about their daily routine and He said, “Come, follow Me.”  We find him ‘going.’ He went into the world, just like God asked, and so did the disciples. They dropped everything and followed.  

Click to Tweet Quote
Click to Tweet Quote
Then Jesus’ ultimate purpose for coming was revealed.  Jesus was in the garden, and He was praying, and asked God to take the “cup” or burden of death on the cross from Him.  God didn’t, but Jesus went faithfully.  God essentially said “Go,” and Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross for our sins.  Because of Him going, we have a direct path to God, and we can come to Him whenever we want.

God’s faithfulness, and our fully trusting in God, go hand in hand.  Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”   

He didn’t say, go if you want to, or whenever you’re ready, meander on your way.  He said “Go!”   

We have a purpose.   Our job is to spread the gospel that has faithfully been lived out by men and women throughout the years to everyone we meet.  

Christmas is the best time of year to share this message because Jesus IS the message of Christmas.  It says so right in the name.  Tell people the true meaning of Christmas, and live out your purpose during this season, and every day of the year.  God will be glorified through you!

About Ann:

My name is Ann Knopp.  I am a pastor’s wife and mother of two teenage boys who love to play basketball and run.  I truly have a desire to minister to women wherever God allows and the places to minister have been increasing over the last year.  God called me to write but not only to write but to share with whoever will listen.  I pray that the devotional that I have written will encourage you to share His message with whoever you meet throughout not only the Christmas season but throughout the year.  God bless!

Connect with Ann:
Email: ukknopp@comcast.net
Facebook: Ann Luck Knopp