Monday, January 28, 2013

Are Great Writers Born That Way?


A bit of wisdom from guest blogger Kimberly Rae

When you meet an author, you may think they started out great, or just have amazing natural talent.

That might be the case, but usually isn’t. It’s like music. Every once in awhile you come across a prodigy—someone born with a musical gift that surpasses the rest of us mortals. I imagine there are authors out there like that, but not as many as you might think.

For most, learning to be a great writer took plain old hard work. They started out simply, like a kid learning to play an instrument.

For us writers trying to work our way toward great, what we started with was likely pretty terrible (maybe not for you, but it was for me!). We had to learn and fail and take constructive criticism, and keep learning. And if we stuck with it, like that kid learning the piano, one day we’re good. Maybe someday we'll even hit great.

Like musicians, each person has a different level of natural talent. It helps, but there are times when a person with natural talent refuses to learn the skills to turn that natural ability into excellence. 

Sometimes the person without natural talent who is willing to work at it and keep learning surpasses the one who believes what they were gifted with is all it takes.

I wrote my first novel in high school. It was about a girl whose parents died and she had to leave the big city to go live in the country with extended family. 

And it had horses in it, too, on a ranch. I know zilch-o about horses, but I had a whole section where the main guy was breaking a wild horse. I shudder to even think of how much my ignorance showed through that whole book! Not only was it terribly written, it was cheesy, and I didn’t even think about researching things I was writing about.

A couple of years ago, I actually found a paper copy of this travesty in the garage. I thought maybe I could revamp it and make it good, but after reading through just the first page I knew that was out of the question. The writing was terrible. I threw the whole thing in the trash. I’m kind of sentimental about such things, but the fear of someone discovering it someday and reading it was bigger than my nostalgic feelings!

So all that to say, if you feel you haven’t arrived yet in your writing, that’s a good thing. Most of us haven’t arrived, and the day we feel we have, we stop learning and stop our potential to become better than we are now.

And don’t let a lousy piece stop you, or make you think you can’t be a great writer. Think of it, rather, as a step in the right direction. Just like a kid on the piano, the more you practice the better you’ll be.

Happy practicing!


Kimberly Rae has lived in Bangladesh, Uganda, Kosovo and Indonesia. She has been published over 250 times and has work in 6 languages. Her series of book on international human trafficking (Stolen Woman, Stolen Child, Stolen Future) are all Amazon bestsellers. Find out more at www.kimberlyrae.com, or read more writing tips from Kimberly on her blog.!


Thank you again and God bless your day!
Kimberly Rae
Know Your Worth, Change The World

Friday, January 25, 2013

As You Think, So Shall You Be




This wonderful video by Norman Vincent Peale is a great reminder that we can change our attitudes and create a more positive life. He says we should rise each day and say "This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice in it!"

Some people go through life with a pessimistic attitude. They always expect the worst to happen. They focus on the negatives and that fuels an even more negative attitude. They are filled with self-doubt.

I am sometimes plagued by an inner critic who heaps negativity and doubt upon my shoulders. Satan's minions are everywhere, waiting for an opportunity to pull me down. He would like me to become a negative person, focusing on the not so good aspects of my life. He wants me to fail.

The great Norman Vincent Peale says to overcome self-doubt, you must fill your mind to overflowing with faith...faith that is built by constant prayer.

I Thessalonians 5:16-17 "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Before I sit down to write, I pray and commit myself and my words to the Lord. I pray for guidance as I write, and when I'm finished I offer a prayer of thanksgiving.

Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Being a writer is a solitary career. We spend much time alone with our thoughts and immerse ourselves in the words which flow from our minds and hearts. But we are never truly alone when we put our faith in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

What about you? Do you believe in yourself? Are you armed with the faith to persevere?


Friday, January 18, 2013

When Your Plate Becomes a Turkey Platter

Without going into details, my family, including me, have been facing some serious health issues since the new year, 2013, began. I've been petitioning for prayer from my prayer warrior circle on an almost daily basis. I've always heard the saying "God will not put more on your plate than you can handle." I do believe my plate has become a turkey platter. LOL!

In reading my Bible, I turned to James and found penciled in the margin these words spoken in a sermon on January 15, 2012...one year ago. "Listening is a task. Hearing is the result. God gives us gifts and wants us to use them. Potential is God's gift to us, what we do with that is our gift to Him."

God has given me the passion to share what's in my heart with others through the written word. My gift to Him is to use that passion. So, even when trouble seems to heap upon my plate, I know that God is with me and will never abandon me.

Even if I write less than 200 words on my manuscript in a given day, I'm still using the gift He has provided. I pray and ask for healing, I praise His answered prayers and all the blessings which overpower the bad things. And I don't fear, for He is carrying my yoke, and I am carrying His which is not heavy.

A friend on a writing loop shared a table of word count which says that if you were to write only 250 words a day (Monday-Friday), in one year you would have written 67,600 words. That for me is a novel! Never despair on how many words you can write.

I've found that when I use my passion by writing or crocheting prayer shawls, I'm focusing on bringing glory to God instead of worrying. God doesn't want us to worry. His promise is to always love us and provide. He asks us to put our faith in Him.

Dear Reader, let my words be an inspiration to you to not get caught up in all the trouble and turmoil of the day. Turn your eyes to Jesus and pray. And remember to use the gifts He has given you to give back to Him.

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does." James 5:22-25

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sitting at the feet of Jesus


I like to think of our quiet times as sitting at the feet of Jesus.
The apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Colossians to combat heresy which was interfering with the doctrine of truth.

Paul first prayed for them, and then he talked to them about the issues.

So for all the people we care about~ parents~ child~ spouse~ friends~ family~ neighbors~ co-workers~ and people in need around the world~ one of the best things we can do for them is pray.

The promise to pray for others is the finest gift we can give. The most important thing we can pray about for others is that they will know God better and that He will help them understand His will, grow in spiritual wisdom, and live lives that honor Him.

We can pray that they will become more like Him and bear the fruit of His Spirit.

Applying Colossians 1 to my life, using my own name to make it sink in deep.

1. Pray that God will enable Sharon to live a powerful and fruitful life that reflects His love, His mercy, His truth, and purity. And to live a life that is always pleasing to Him.

2. Pray that God will use Sharon to help others become strong it their faith.

3. Pray that Sharon will have the discipline to set her mind on heavenly things~~to have an eternal focus and not be depleted or scattered by temporal concerns.

~*~
Sharon ~ a believer ~  a redeemed sinner ~ a Christian author ~only by the will of God.

To the holy and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ to whom God sends me~
Sharon~ first send grace and peace to them from God our Father. Next thank God for them and pray for them. ~~ Make praying for others a priority.

As I came to verse 15 and beyond my thoughts focused on the Trinity.

God created heaven, the angels, and heavenly creatures. But it did not satisfy. God wanted a family relationship. So God created the earth and all that dwells here. He created the first human from the dust of the earth and breathed him to live. God named the first man Adam, and let him name all the creatures He had created to populate Adam’s world.

Just as God wanted a family relationship, He knew that Adam needed an earthly family. It is significant that God took a part of Adam (a rib) and created a woman.
Just as we feel a special bond with our children who were created from a tiny part of our bodies, so Adam felt a close bond with Eve.

Husbands and wives would do well to seek that same closeness with each other.
And then~~Adam and Eve had children. And as the children grew~ and struggled with obedience~ Adam and Eve experienced disappointment when their children failed, and a measure of pride when they succeeded. Much as their Father God felt for them.

Just as we, after we have children of our own, we finally realize what we put our own father and mother through.

At this point my thoughts focused on the Trinity.

For 4,000 years of God watched mankind go his own way ~~ leaving God~~ and then returning ~~ again and again and again. It was time to make a new covenant with His creation. God took part of Himself and planted it inside of Mary. The tiny part of God joined with a tiny part of Mary and grew into the child Jesus. This created the possibility of a family bond between God and man.

God adores His son Jesus. And Jesus became a go-between for God and man. We adore Jesus because He understands everything that we could possibly encounter in this life.
God reconciled us to Himself by Christ’s physical body through death to present us holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if we continue in the faith. We in turn want to help present everyone perfect in Christ, and labor to this end.

The promise to believers is to become the bride of Christ. This is the female position in the heavenly family.

This provoked more thoughts.

A year or two ago I read a book by Tosca Lee about the live of Eve. The title is Havah. This story presented the closeness and the bond of Adam and Eve in a way I had never considered. And at the time I didn’t know what I thought about it.
But in today’s Bible study, with the thought of the closeness of parent to their child, I remembered this book.

The thought was presented that before the fall, Eve had a special closeness with Adam. Even when he was far away she could sense his presence and knew all was well. In a more intense level than that of identical twins.

In my devotions today I got a sense that this does describe the special closeness between the Father and Jesus Christ.

I am awed and still digesting this, but I wanted to get these few thoughts captured before I lose them.

How can I pray for you?


Friday, January 4, 2013

Changing Times, Unchanging God


Okay, I'm going to show my age here, but I remember when the year 2000 seemed like an unreachable time. In my mind, those who made it to the new century would be living in a sci-fi kind of world. Perhaps jetting back and forth to Mars, just as we made journeys to the local grocery store.

As I write this we've outlived the Mayan calendar and turned a new leaf to 2013! Unbelievable, right?

Technology continues to astound me. I read books on an e-reader and love it. There were times in the past when I packed four heavy books for a vacation. Now I can carry thousands in one little device. My smart phone is actually smarter than me. It houses my grocery lists, my phone numbers, allows me to read emails, connect with Facebook and Twitter, the internet, gives me weather alerts and I haven't even tapped into half the features yet. I can read books on my smart phone, too. Sadly, it will be obsolete in less than a year. There will be a newer, smarter model to replace it.

As the world marches on and technology reaches new levels, isn't it wonderful to know that God won't change? He remains the one constant in our lives. There can be no newer or smarter model to replace Him. We can remain strong in hope through our faith in his everlasting love. God is who He says He is. God can do what He says He can do. Never doubt that no matter how the world may change.
 

The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. ~~ I Thessalonians 5:24

"He is good; his love endures forever." ~~ 2 Chronicles 5:13

"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." ~~ Jeremiah 29:11

"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more." ~~ Isaiah 43:25