Monday, November 1, 2021

How I Became an Author

Happy National Author's Day to all authors 
who battle with words
 so readers can sit on them, 
mull over and understand, 
be encouraged and filled with hope, and
 their world becomes a sweeter place.

My journey as an author is not typical. 
I never gave a thought to writing a story for the public to read.
I did keep journals though, in obedience to 

Psalm 102:18
"Write this down for the next generation 
so people not yet born will praise God."

Hiding my words in a file cabinet,
 I hoped one day they would be discovered by 
my grandchildren and
 their grandchildren and 
people not yet born will
know of my faith in Christ.

One Sunday my husband Dan preached a sermon on the 
Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14:30).
In that parable, 
the master is angry at the lazy servant who buried his talents.
While Dan preached, God spoke to my heart,

  What good are all your writings doing buried in your file cabinet if no one reads them? 

I knew I was to write a book, but 
how do you write a book?

You write! Spiritual thoughts entered my mind and I wrote. Long before blogs or social media, my writing piled up in my file drawer. With no idea where to go from here, I waited on God's direction.

He lead me to Montrose Bible Conference to check out a retreat center for a marriage seminar Dan and I were planning. There on the table I noticed a brochure advertising the Montrose Christian Writer's Conference (MCWC). A writer's conference? Who knew? I didn't! Dan urged me to attend and the following summer I sat as a student at the Montrose Christian Writer's Conference.

Step by step, God unfolded my writing career. I share with you how God took me through stumbles and great strides.  

1.Start writing! You won't be published if you don't write.

2. Attend a writer's conference and learn the writing/publishing/marketing business. Keep attending conferences where you create a network of editors, agents, publishers, other writers who will encourage you on your journey.

3. Read books on writing. My favorites are On Writing Well by William Zinsser and Elements of Style by E. B. White and William Strunk Jr.

4. Publish a magazine article. I brought one of my devotionals to my first writer's conference and showed it to the editor of Salvation Army's War Cry. "I want this. I'll buy it." Her words rang shock and joy in my heart. 

5. Publish in a compilation. Gloria Clover attended Montrose Christian Writer's Conference as a member of the faculty. She published a sweet book titled Penned From the Heart which was a compilation from various authors. I showed her fifteen of my devotionals and she published all fifteen.

6. Write from your heart. I knew I was to write, but I didn't know what I was to write. A faculty member at MCWC said "Write what you are passionate about." I laughed and realized I was passionate about relaxing in my bath and being a good mother.  

7. Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Moms was published a few years later. (Publication with a traditional publication company can take years to produce. Be prepared to wait.) Within months, Splashes of Serenity was in all the Family Christian book stores. 

8. When your first book sells well, publishers want another book. A sequel, Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives, was published. I love this book, but it never got off the ground. Within weeks of publication, the publisher retired and Drained Wives was never promoted. Be prepared for some heartbreak as an author. Drained Wives remains one of my favorite books. I still hear from wives and husbands whose marriages were changed when they read our marriage story in Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives. 

9. People who read Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives urged me to write more on marriage. I thought I was done with writing (after the disappointment of Drained Wives), but  God wasn't done with me. Words, stories, chapter titles filled my head and would not leave. You writers know the feeling. I had to write We All Married Idiots: Three Things You Will Never Change About Your Marriage and Ten Things You Can. Wow! What a book! I had a publisher who worked hard and believed in me and in Idiots. Ha! He could relate! 

 Within days of publication I heard from an International Worker in South America who read  Idiots on her kindle and asked if she could translate it into Spanish.

Soon, International Workers from Bosnia/Herzegovina asked if they could translate We All Married Idiots into Bosnian. What a delight and a surprise seeing this work help marriages around the world. 

10. Leukemia! God gave me another surprise! He continues to fill me with hope, purpose, ministry, and words as I travel with cancer. Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo: A Hopeful Response to a Hard Reality shares the lessons God taught me on my cancer journey. What joy hearing from other cancer patients the hope and peace they discover within the pages of Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo.

Will I write another book? Only if the Lord leads. When words begin replacing sleep, and I am miserable until I get the words on paper, then I know God has another book in the works.    

Thank you, dear readers, for your prayers, love, and support. Thank you for writing reviews and for sharing my posts on social media. My only goal is to glorify God, to live a Holy life, to be obedient to His will, and to share Christ with the world. You partner with me in that endeavor and I am thankful for you. 

Happy Reader's Day to you from this Happy Author!


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