Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Knowing vs. Feeling

After conference exhaustion can be a big factor for a lot of writers. For writers who are pitching a book to an editor or agent and have been working for months on proposals and finishing the book, it's a stressful time. We’ve sacrificed our leisure time and stolen hours we should have used for other things—sleeping, for one—in order to work until we’re bleary-eyed coming up with prose that, for lack of a better term, sings. For months we’ve dared to believe that we’re called of God. Then, we’ve attended the conference, gone without sleep, met with our peers as well the editors and agents in the hope that we’re keeping a divine appointment, praying that God will use us. Afterward, we traveled long hours to get home to find our loved ones clamoring for time with us.

Many published authors also find the conference to be stressful as well as a joy. Many are teaching workshops, leading a late night chat, others are spending whatever stolen hours they can catching up with old friends and new ones we don't often get a chance to see. Many nominated for an award. Then, there are those who are involved in the planning and the running of the conference.

I had a great conference, but when I came home, I found my vision a little sharper. Why hadn’t I seen all that clutter piling up? How had all those dust bunnies multiplied so rapidly?

Sound familiar? I was exhausted physically and mentally. My body felt like it’d declared war against me. The enemy isn’t stupid. He knows when and where in my thinking I’m vulnerable. I might as well have been wearing a “kick me” sign.

That’s the reason we don’t live our lives by what we “feel”. We’re to live them according to what we “know”. By what God has said. His Word. While our emotions are valid and very, very real, they also can be liars. As a teenage girl, I sometimes didn’t feel my mother’s love or support. Does that mean she didn’t love me? Of course not. My emotions were lying to me. At different times of our lives, we don’t feel God's love and wonder if He's turned his back on us. the Psalms are full of King David's cries of anguish.

Emotion. Combine that with a lack of healing, or anything else we think God should provide and doesn’t, and you have a major doubt. Fear, even.

The day after I received “the call”, I was so happy, I knew I’d never again doubt my calling. Wrong. At times when I was in physical distress I said there is no way I can do this. But, I know what God’s Word says. Romans 11:29 says, “The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” That's the Logos Word of God. But, if I don’t know for certain I’m called, logically, I can't hang on to that as mine. What I need, then, is a Rhema, a Word from God specifically to me and my situation.

Now that's a specific promise or statement of God I can hold on to and rely on just as I rely on God, Himself. Even when my emotions are telling me otherwise.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What I (re-)learned

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

What a thrill it was to be among other writers again. The ACFW conference was one of the best I've ever attended. I think the word I'd use to describe the authors, editors, planners, staff and volunteers, there, is unity. It wasn't just a unity of purpose, but a unity of motivation. Let God be glorified in me. Yes, for some this is our job. For other's it's a dream. But... whether our writing is a direct calling from God, or an offering to God from a heart that wants to glorify Him, The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. As we submit to Him, as we seek Him, he opens the doors He'd have us walk through.

James Scott Bell was our keynote speaker, and what a job he did in inspiring us. Some came to the conference wondering if they'd really, truly heard the voice of God when he called them to write. Others came simply discouraged and enjoyed a mountaintop experience. Lots of us were overwhelmed at the numbers of writers. So many came simply to be a blessing.

It was a joy for me to be among people like me. I wasn't an oddball in this group. We were unified in our worship, in our dreams, in our desire to learn.

Jill Elizabeth Nelson, author of Relucant Burgular and Reluctant Runaway is an absolute jewel. She critiqued my synopsis and first chapters of my current book and opened my eyes to little mistakes that I never saw, before. Her books are so good, that at the conference I bought copies of both her books for a friend. My friend is already into the second. Jill's next book, Reluctant Smuggler will arrive on the shelves in January of 2008.

I've also learned what an introvert I've become over the last several years since my car accident. I'm beginning to miss my wry sense of humor. My roommate, Renae, had so much energy I sat watching her, amazed. Then, we compared ages and I realized she could be my daughter!

Margie Lawson taught us how to empower our characters' emotions to create deeper, better motivated characters. She taught us to use her EDITS system to help us to power up our scenes and rhetorical devices we'd never heard of. Ever heard the word: anaphora? And this was just the Early Bird session! Check out her web site at: http://www.margielawsom.com/. I believe she has an on-line class coming up in October.

Blessings, Teresa
__________
The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.) (Ro 11:29). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Conference Time

It's almost time for the annual American Christian Fiction Writer's Conference. This year, it's in Dallas, Texas from September 20-23, 2007.

For writer, conference time means a chance to pitch our newest books to editors and agents. We'll meet with other authors to learn, brainstorm and critique. There are awesome continuing education and individual workshops offered. The early bird session will be Empowering Characters' Emotions and hosted by Margie Lawson.

As a writer, isolation is sometimes a problem, so this time is precious. We get to meet with other writers, sometimes meeting writers we know on the web, but have never met face to face.

I know that the Word says that we're a peculiar people, but I sometimes think writers are a bit more peculiar.. One of my characters--Erik Petersson--from my current book followed me into church last Sunday and started chattering during worship. I had to shush him more than once. Contrary fellow, as he's been a bit elusive lately, not allowing me into his head and heart.

One author I'm looking forward to meeting is Jill Elizabeth Nelson. Check out Jill's web site. She's an awesome writer of romantic suspense. Both books in her To Catch a Thief series are page turners. The first is Reluctant Burglar, and the second is Reluctant Runaway. Once you meet Desiree Jacobs and her special agent, Tony Lucano, you'll be hooked. A friend of mine took them on vacation and was accused of being antisocial because she kept excusing herself to a back bedroom to read.

Keep reading!

Teresa

Monday, January 29, 2007

Time Passes

Time goes fast, whether we're having fun or not! An update on NanoWriMo: I ended up with a bit over 10,000 words, which is nowhere near what I would have liked. Still, I'm grateful.

I've just returned from the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Washington. What a joy to see the novice and junior divisions as well as the seniors! What incredible potential we have coming up.

On the 17th of February from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., I'll be signing books at Hastings Book and Music in Kennewick, Washington. I'd love to see you there.