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Archive for the ‘Called to write’ Category

Discouraged face
Yes, this is not a typo! I didn’t ask if you are a  winning writer.

Of course, what writer doesn’t long to be a winner? Seriously, haven’t you dreamed of becoming a best-selling author with a HUGE following on social media and readers clamoring for your next book?

But I’ve got to be honest with you. The reality is that few writers will become best-selling authors. In fact, a large percentage will become discouraged and quit before they land a book contract.

And yes, we will whine! I know I have. I’ve argued with the Lord. “I’m simply trying to serve You with my writing,” I’ve reminded Him. “And I’ve tried really, really hard to find a publisher. I believe I’m doing what You called me to do. So why aren’t You opening the door to publication?”

During the six year period of trying to find a home for my first book the Lord frequently heard my complaints, my whining. I’m so grateful He enabled me not to give up and for the small publisher who finally took the risk and printed 1,000 copies that eventually all sold.

Back then self-publishing wasn’t an option. It was viewed as vanity publishing. Even if it had been an acceptable way to get into print, it was an option I couldn’t afford.

I believe the Lord has heard the whining and seen the tears of discouraged writers. “For such a time as this” He has provided the technology to make indie publishing possible, affordable, and respectable. No longer does it brand an author as not being good enough to find a real publisher. Instead, going indie is something even best-selling authors are choosing.

Today authors can literally reach the world through the Internet and eBooks. And now, with POD (print on demand) they no longer need to print thousands of copies (at the cost of thousands of dollars) to make the price per book affordable.

While there are reputable companies you can pay to publish your book, the cost is still more than many can afford. That’s why I’ve always advocated the “build a team” and “do-it-yourself” approach.

I am so excited about the opportunities that exist today to get our books into print and about the seminar I’m teaching this coming Saturday, September 23, in Cherry Hill, NJ, as part of the annual Stay Focused Christian Writers Retreat. It’s packed with encouragement and practical info and includes 18 pages of handouts. I’ll be teaching:

Go & Grow, Write & Speak through the Hurts – Our most powerful writing, both nonfiction and fiction, will grow out of our life experiences. I’ll share biblical principles for those times that test and stretch our faith and later become the focus of our writing and speaking ministry.

Discover God’s Plan for Your Ministry – Is God calling you to write an article, story, or book? Who is your audience? What are their needs? How will you reach them? Should you look for a publisher or go indie? What are the advantages and disadvantages of traditional and indie publishing?

You Can Do It! – How to indie publish affordably yet professionally.  Learn why thousands of authors are choosing to go indie to publish books of all genres. More importantly, learn how you can join them and do it too.

Think Big Because You Serve a Big God – How to cut the old tapes, stop listening to the wrong voices, and accomplish what God is calling you to do.

The retreat is being held at the Holiday Inn, 2175 Marlton Pike West, Cherry Hill, NJ, beginning Thursday evening, September 21. I’ll teach the above workshops from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday, September 23. For more info and to register go to https://stayfocusedwritersretreat.com/keynote-speakers/.  I hope to see you there!

stay Focused retreat

 

 

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I’ve often said, “Some of you haven’t suffered enough to be a  really good writer.” Ouch! I know that’s not what they, or you, want to hear, but I also know that it’s out of the crucible of suffering that our writing impacts our readers in ways that writing out of head knowledge, but not heart (and hard) experiences, is unable to do.

I’ve been writing since 1972. (Yikes, that’s 45 years!) Most all of my 1,000 plus sales to Christian periodicals and eight books have been based on personal experience. As my mentor, Anne Sirna, used to tell me, I’ve got great grist for my writing mill because of all the problems I’ve faced. I’d sigh and tell her I didn’t need more problems to write about – that I hadn’t yet written about the last set of problems. (Problems are groupies – yes? It seems we never are confronted with just one problem at a time.)

Romans 5:3-4 (TLB) says,

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us – they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.

I don’t welcome problems, and I don’t pray for patience knowing it will be tested! But I am grateful for all the ways God has proved He is faithful and for the opportunities He has given me to encourage others through writing about what He has taught me in the hard places. It is a joy and a privilege to “pass on to [others] this same help and comfort God has given [me]” (2 Cor. 1:4 TLB).

Stay focused title

I want to encourage you to make the September 21-23 Stay Focused Christian Writers Retreat in Cherry Hill, NJ, a priority. On Saturday I will teach the following workshops:

Go & Grow, Write & Speak through the Hurts
Jesus never promised it would be easy to follow Him, but He has promised always to be with us. Biblical principles for those times that test and stretch our faith and later become the focus of our writing and speaking ministry. Hands-on Q & A.

Discover God’s Plan for Your Ministry
Is God calling you to write an article, story, or book? Who is your audience? What are their needs? How will you reach them? Should you look for a publisher or go indie? What are the advantages and disadvantages of traditional and indie publishing? Hands-on Q & A.

You Can Do It!
How to indie publish affordably yet professionally. Learn why thousands of authors are choosing independent publishing, or indie publishing, to publish books of all genres. And more importantly learn how you can join them and do it too. Hands-on Q & A.

Think Big Because You Serve a Big God
How to cut the old tapes, stop listening to the wrong voices, and accomplish what God is calling you to do.

I hope to see you there!

stay Focused retreat

 

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earth-map-summer-july-87652

July 26-29 I directed the 34th and last Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. It was exhausting yet energizing to be with over 250 conferees and faculty who are seeking to “write, edit, and publish His answer.”

As I opened my online Bible this morning, I was drawn to this verse:

I will praise you everywhere around the world,
in every nation. ~ Psalm 108:3 TLB

Wow! Today it really is possible for the words God calls us to write to reach around the world.

Friends, I want to challenge and encourage you not to miss the opportunities Father is giving us.

  • Are you writing a nonfiction book? You don’t need to wait until your manuscript is finished and published to blog excerpts from it. In fact, a blog can become the foundation for what later becomes a book.
  • Are you writing a novel? Stretch your writing skills by writing short stories for magazines or to serialize on your blog.
  • Are you journaling? Share what Father is teaching you in a blog.

Yes, even though I don’t blog as frequently as I’d like to, I am excited about the opportunities a blog provides for our words to literally reach around the world.

If what you have written is longer than the 300-500 words that is best for a blog, then I encourage you to ask Father if He wants you to go indie with a print-on-demand book and eBook. You do not need to invest thousands of dollars. A wealth of how-to information is available, and Father will provide a team of people to help you if you’ll ask Him.

Traditional publishing is, of course, an option for some. But realize that many publishers work only with literary agents. It takes time to land an agent and for the agent to land a publisher. And then it’s likely to be two years before your book is in print.

I’m not certain we have time to wait. We dare not assume that the doors to print and distribute Christian literature or to freely share our faith on the Internet will always be open.

Now you have every grace and blessing;
every spiritual gift and power for doing his will
are yours during this time of waiting
for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7 TLB

Friends, let’s work while it is yet day, for the night comes when no one can work (John 9:4).
___________________

Check out my “Growing Your Writing Ministry” seminar on CD or MP3. And be watching for “Write His Answer” events in the Philly area and beyond as Father transforms the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference into more frequent and affordable learning opportunities. If you missed our last conference, CDs are available or the entire conference of over 100 sessions can be ordered as MP3 files for only $77. Click here for order form.

 

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crowded beachDuring what’s often called “the lazy, hazy days of summer,” are you making time to seek God’s purpose for you and your writing? Or are you content to lay on the beach and let the clouds float by?

Please don’t misunderstand me. There’s nothing wrong with taking a vacation. I’d sure like one right now. But with the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference only two and a half weeks away, I’ve got more than enough work to fill 12-15 hour days. This isn’t a complaint. It just is what it is.

But whether you’re hard at work or getting a much needed vacation from work, are you aware of the growing darkness around you? Are you seeking Him for how the words He would have you write can make a difference?

In Against the Night, Living in the New Dark Ages published in 1991, Chuck Colson wrote:

against the night

“Dark Age” is a strong term. I recognize that. Yet  in recent  years I’ve had a growing sense of storm clouds gathering on the horizon . . . The forecast is foreboding . . . We scan the horizon with unease.

We sense that things are winding down, that somehow freedom, justice, and order are slipping away. Our great civilization may not yet lie in smoldering ruins, but the enemy is within the gates.

The times seem to smell of sunset. Encroaching darkness casts long shadows across every institution in our land. . . . We do face a crisis in Western culture, and it presents the greatest threat to civilization since the barbarians invaded Rome.

I’m reminded of what Michael Gantt asked in a keynote address in Colorado a number of years ago.

Do you believe, really believe,
that God can use you to make a difference?

While I believe the words we write can impact our culture, just as important is the one person who may be drawn to the Lord through the words we write. And what about the reader who is struggling with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness who we can encourage because we’ve been there?

“Say yes to God: live with purpose,” Kevin Wayne Johnson, GPCWC’s Saturday morning’s keynoter, says. “As God unfolds His purpose for your life, accept it, walk in it, and watch Him unveil the vision and provision that is just for you. Say yes to the assignment with joy.”

I’m praying that you’ll prayerfully consider saying yes to the opportunities the July 26-29 GPCWC offers to “encourage and equip you to write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives.” It’s not too late to register, but after July 10th I can’t guarantee that meals and lodging will be available on campus. But God will make a way if He is calling you to come. Trust Him!

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Barb Haley Apr 2016A Message from Barb Haley

CCWC & GPCWC Registrar &
Appointments Coordinator

Have you ever felt like giving up on your writing ministry?

Perhaps that’s why you didn’t register for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in May (well 3 FEET of snow definitely impacted registrations) or why you haven’t yet registered for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference or decided to go to any writers conference this year.

Or maybe you are SO majorly busy that you can’t imagine taking several days from your schedule for a conference—especially if you’ve attended one in the past and you’re still not published. Or maybe you just can’t justify spending the money to support a hobby you love, but that—face it—doesn’t promise any financial returns.

I’ve definitely felt the same way a LOT of times. I go to workshops and conferences, get all excited, and … nothing. Either I don’t hear from the faculty member who asked me to send my writing, or I receive a note that says I’m a strong writer, but the piece just doesn’t meet the publishing house’s needs at this moment. Oh, and P.S. (they add) Please don’t give up. I’m sure there’s another publishing house out there who will want to give your manuscript a home.

Ha. So reassuring. Right?

Not.

Well, I was there last fall when I was spending hunks of time on my first novel. What I once loved had turned to a burden. Getting published seemed to rest on my shoulders. Twitter, Facebook, website, blog, etc. Daily deadlines that did nothing to inspire me to keep writing my book.

But what was worse was realizing that if my writing was never published, I was wasting time that could be better spent in some sort of ministry related activity. So I talked to God about it.

“I don’t know what to do, Lord,” I prayed. “I thought You called me to write. The words come easy. Ideas flood my mind. But I don’t want to waste time if I’m not in Your will.”

The answer was immediate. God spoke to my spirit. “Barbie, if the novel you are working on ministers to just one person, will that be enough for all the time you’ve spent working on it?”

Tears flooded my eyes. My Father understood me. Loved me. Heard even the unspoken words of my heart.

“Of course, it would,” I answered. “But it’s not my time I’m concerned about. I love writing. I’m concerned that what I’m doing isn’t what You want me to be doing.”

Again: “If what you are doing ministers to one person, do you think that could be My plan?”

“Oh, yes, Father.”

I thought about the beta copies I’d just sent out to a dozen friends when I finally finished my novel (for the zillionth time-ha!). Many had responded with how the words had touched their hearts. How they could relate to the character’s issues and struggles in her Christian walk. How the answers God gave her spoke to them, the readers.

I thought about the seven devotionals I write each year for piddly-little money. But it’s not about the money. It’s about spreading the gospel.

And I thought about my blog. Every time I post, God seems to use the words to minister to someone. Usually just someone I already know. Not like my readership has blossomed.

But could it be that this is the very audience God desires for me to minister to? Could it be I got so excited about being called to write that I quickly assumed that meant to be in print? In the bookstores?

Or could God be calling me to reach the ones I already know with His love and encouragement? Would that be enough for me? For God?

Okay. I can’t tell you what a release I felt when the truth sank in. God had called me to write. I just needed to take the future results out of the box I’d filed them in and allow God to shape my writing future in any way He deems best. He didn’t call me to publish. He called me to write.

Then God spoke one more time to my heart. He confirmed His call so strongly I will never doubt it again.

But first, let me ask about you. Has God called you to write? Has a lack of “success” blocked you from moving forward? From attending a conference?

Fifteen years I’ve been coming, and you know, I strongly believe all these years of preparation and learning the craft of writing have enabled me to be used by God. To put His words and thoughts on paper. To share what He’s done for me, and what He wants to do for readers.

Lord Get Your NeedleSo I continue. And last year I self-published my first non-fiction book, a set of devotionals: Lord, Get Your Needle—I’m Falling Apart at the Seams. Subtitle: The Emotional Strain of Chronic Pain.

Huge sales? Nope. But many, many confirmations of God using the words to minister to His hurting children. Worth my time and effort? Definitely.

Today, the fact that we can self-publish is HUGE.  In fact, many big-name authors are going this route. Does it take work? Yes. But how exciting to know that we now have an avenue to put our words out there for others.

What did God say to me that cemented His call in my heart?

After I assured Him I was willing to write my whole life for just one person and that I knew He would be pleased, He said, “Good, because that one person is you.”

Oh, my. The love of God overpowered me. For me.

I knew my main character in the novel was much like me. In fact I’d hoped that I could share the lessons God had taught me through the character.

But what I didn’t realize was that in writing—in asking God constantly what He wanted to say to the character next—I was allowing God to speak to my life. The conflict and situations that seemed to spontaneously come to my mind for my character came from the Holy Spirit, and as I worked through them, on my character’s behalf, I worked through them for me. Deep, hidden questions. Wounds. Self-doubts. Painful honesty and surrender.

I’m a new creation because of what I experienced as I wrote. The truth I searched for on behalf of my main character has set me free on so many levels. Glory be to God!

So, before this email becomes a book, I want to encourage you to register for the July 26-29 Philly conference. Marlene says there is a small amount of scholarship money still available and she is MORE than willing to work with you on time payments. We don’t want you to miss out.

Come spend time in the presence of God. Hear His voice and allow Him to rekindle the flame under your writing ministry and passion. Join with other writers and discover that friendship and support we all crave and need. Listen and improve your writing skills. Allow God to prepare you for what He has in mind for your future. For your world of influence.

Love in Christ!

Barb Haley
2017 GPCWC Registrar/Appointments Coordinator

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

P.S. from Marlene – Thank You, Father, for speaking so powerfully to Barb and giving her the gift of words to share her story with us.

Of course, we’d love for you to register for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. I’ve extended the early registration date through JUNE 30. Plus, you’ll receive an additional free 15-minute appointment. That’s a total of five if you register for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. But if the date and location don’t work for you (the conference is in a Philly suburb and near the east/west PA Turnpike and I95), check out the other summer conferences on the Christian Manuscript Submissions website.

And if you have a book manuscript you’ve been unable to place with a traditional publisher, do pray about indie publishing. Sarah Bolme, director of the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), is teaching the continuing session, “You Can Indie Publish and Market Your Book,” at the Philly conference. You’ll gain the knowledge and tools you need to publish and market your own book affordably. Topics will include: three things to do before you publish your book; preparing your manuscript; DIY publishing; obtaining book reviews; and marketing, the essential ingredient. CDs of when Sarah taught this in May at the Colorado conference are available. You’ll find the link to order them at http://colorado.writehisanswer.com.

The most important thing you need to do? Pray! And invite several friends to become part of a prayer team and to hold you accountable to do what Father is calling you to do.

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golden egg
Okay, it’s yellow not gold. And it’s really not an egg, but it is egg-shaped and it did hold eggs that have now hatched. I don’t know how many baby birds are inside, but they sure make a lot of noise. And they keep Mom and Dad really busy with their need to be fed.

I’m fascinated as I watch their parents fly in and out of the nest with morsels of food. They don’t appear to grow weary or annoyed by the needs they must meet. Their life’s focus is to care for their young until they are strong enough to be pushed out of the nest.

The instincts God has placed within His creatures amaze me. They simply do what they were created to do.

What about us? Father has given us the gift of emotions and the freedom to choose how we will respond to the needs around us. His Word encourages us to:

Feed the flock of God; care for it willingly,
not grudgingly;
not for what you will get out of it
but because you are eager to serve the Lord.
1 Peter 5:2 TLB

Father, I pray for myself and for those You have called to “write Your answer.” Help us to focus not on what we will get but on what we can give. Show us how to write words to meet the needs of our readers. Give us strength to persevere when we question whether we’re really making a difference.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

  • Do you long to find editors and agents that are hungry for the “food” you have prepared?
  • Have you written a book but don’t know how to get it published?
  • Do you have a book in print that is not selling?
  • Are you faithfully writing a blog but getting few visitors?

The Colorado and Greater Philly “Write His Answer” conferences provide the help you need.

CDs of the May 17-20 Colorado Christian Writers Conference are available. Click here for the order form

And it’s not too late to register for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.  I’ve extended the early registration date to JUNE 30. In addition, everyone who registers through June 30 will receive an additional free 15-minute appointment. For those who come all three days (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday), that’s FIVE appointments.  Come two days and you get FOUR appointments, and one day and get THREE appointments.

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I’m a slow learner? What about you? Do you often find yourself going around the same not-so-merry merry-go-round needing to relearn lessons that you thought you had learned, even mastered?

The past several days have been challenging, to say the least.

With the Colorado Christian Writers Conference only a week away, as always I’m racing to get everything ready in the midst of

  • Glitches I didn’t anticipate and can’t easily fix. But HE IS FAITHFUL!
  • Unwelcome surprises like the tick that made a home in my ear for over two days. And yes, it was a deer tick – the kind that causes Lyme’s Disease. I’ve gotten an anti-biotic from the doctor. And I’m trusting that HE IS FAITHUL.
  • Details that are overwhelming and that must be nailed down – like lodging, picking up faculty from the airport, assigning classrooms, preparing the packet and daily schedule . . . But Father isn’t overwhelmed. HE IS FAITHFUL.
  • Exhaustion and a weak knee that has given out on me twice in the last month making it first impossible and then very painful to walk. Today I got a hinged knee brace that I’m trusting will help because HE IS FAITHFUL. (Yes, this year’s conference will literally be more of a “faith walk” then usual.)

His faithful promises are my armor  (Psalm 91:4 TLB). Yours, too, if you choose to put it on. (Click here for “Put on the Armor,” a chapter from my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers.)

When I am weak, then I am strong—
the less I have [including time to meet deadlines
and to conquer a seemingly impossible to-do list]
the more I depend on him.
2 Corinthians 12:10 TLB

Thank You, Father, for Your faithfulness!

A few updates:
2017-mtn-banner-for-website

It’s not too late to register online or to walk in. Register through tomorrow, May 10, and submit your appointment request form (available after you register) and Barb Haley will pre-schedule your appointments. After May 10, you’ll be able to sign up for appointments when you arrive.

Faculty member, Roy Hanschke, will interview keynoter, D.J. Williams, tomorrow (Wednesday) morning on his morning show at AM91 KPOF. Click here for the feature article Longmont reporter, Steve Rees, wrote about D.J. for ASSISTNews.net:

WITH SPIRITUAL DNA FOR WORLD MISSIONS, STORYTELLER FINDS FERTILE FIELD IN HOLLYWOOD

“I am so looking forward to D.J.’s keynote as well as the other keynotes. We have an outstanding faculty. Thank You, Father!

2017-gp-banner-to-use

Our 16-page brochure will be off press tomorrow. If we have your USPS address, you should receive it early next week. The brochure is also available online, and online registration is open. Remember, the earlier you register, the better opportunity you have to get your top appointment picks. Plus, the first 75 to register to get an additional free 15-minute appointment. Register for:

3 days – get 5 appointments
2 days – 4 appointments
1 day – 3 appointments

Since Wednesday is not a full day and we do not schedule appointments on Wednesday, it does not count toward the number of appointments you will receive.

Please note that faculty bios and editorial needs have not yet been added to the website and probably won’t be until I return May 24 from the Colorado conference.

In conclusion, so I can get back to work 🙂

  • Are you questioning your call to write?
  • Are you questioning whether or not you can justify the cost of a conference?
  • Are you discouraged because the words aren’t flowing and your manuscript (or printed book) is not selling?

Remember – HE IS FAITHFUL!

 

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