To New Writers, With Love

After a fourteen-month break and a gracious God willing, I’m about to duck my head back under a stack of books and commentaries and drain a heap of ink cartridges dry as I peck, type, and tap my fingernails on my desk toward another Bible study. When I was 30 years old, the thought of the first one never occurred to me. After that one was finished and originally placed on a shelf, I didn’t imagine a second one.

It’s not that writing had never crossed my mind. I’ve been obsessed with the feel of a pencil sliding across a page since my earliest memories. My young childhood years were spent on a hill in Arkadelphia, Arkansas in a small house splitting at the seams with eight people and tickled in the ribs by pine needles. I must have swung a thousand miles on the stuffed burlap bag my dad hung by a rope from an oak’s flexing bicep. I’d twist the rope as tightly as I could then hop on the bag and twirl around in dizzying circles with my head reared back, rope unwinding, and hair flying. And life has gone by pretty much like that ever since.

Because my maternal grandmother lived with us, my mom wasn’t obliged to stuff all of us kids in the station wagon every time she went to the grocery store. On occasion, however, I’d beg to go with her and she’d let me. There was a little gray plastic horse with a red saddle and loose brown rein that I’d befriended at the auspicious entrance to the Piggly Wiggly. Most of the time, I’d stay perched right there on his rigid back until the checker dug herself out from under an avalanche of groceries, can by can. A child was safer to let go of her mother’s skirt in those days. While she was inside fetching buttermilk, pork ‘n beans, and light bread, I was outside hugging that plastic horse so fiercely that sometimes flecks of chipped paint would stick to my arms and legs until my next scrubbing.  That would occur the next Saturday night.

We, of course, were forced to bathe or shower every day and we often did so two by two, rather like a reverse Noah’s Ark. The youngest of five girls in the house, I might get thrown in with anyone from six years old to seventy-five. A disembodied voice would yell, Can I throw Bethy in there? Then the next thing I knew, a hand would appear ex nihilo and snatch me through the heavy veil. But there was a fearsome thing in our household called “the Saturday bath.” You didn’t come out of that one unscathed.

What skin you had left when it was over was usually exfoliated by the brisk drying off. It was something akin to the flaps in a car wash. The other six days a week I don’t even recall dry-before-dressed being a top priority but, come Saturday night, cleaning was a near killing. The water, however, was only phase one of the ritual. We girls then sat in a row at my mother’s feet while she pin-curled our hair so tight our eyes would turn to slits. All this was so that we’d look fancy for church the next morning. She also pin curled Nanny’s hair and had done so for years. That Nanny only had about 73 hairs left on her whole head was no wonder to me. I often pictured waking up on Sunday morning, crawling out of bed, and the pin curls remaining right there on the pillowcase completely intact, broken off at the roots.

Years passed before I realized that the horse outside the Piggly Wiggly would have rocked back and forth for the better part of a minute if somebody rolled a nickel into it. My mom could still laugh herself into a coughing fit about that very thing till the year she died. That old stiff beast wasn’t my only motivation anyway. I also hitched a ride for the Big Chief Tablet. If my four siblings and I hadn’t frazzled Mom down to her last nerve and pitched her into an absolutely not, I could usually harass one out of her with incessant incantations of pretty-pretty-please. There could also be measurable success if we kids had managed to break her will.  You had to play it just right since she was like most moms. Sometimes you didn’t know if it was resignation or rage until you were decidedly sorry you’d asked.  However I attained it, as soon as I had that tablet in hand and back home on the hill, I’d snatch a pencil from the kitchen drawer, sharpen it, and scribble for hours until every single line was filled on every last page.

Five and six years old, I wrote fastidiously in my own brand of cursive. Mind you, I hardly knew how to spell a word with basic print, let alone write in cursive but how could any literature be taken seriously in disjointed characters? So, I made up my own script, big on curlicues, loop de loops, ocean waves and dolphin fins. This was not the stuff of Christian books penned with a fury there in the dark red shadow of the Big Chief. My books were more inclined toward elementary romance novels. They involved characters like Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza and probably me, and Barbie’s dark-plastic-brown-headed Ken and probably me, and a host of doll babies or trolls and probably me. I would stare off into space a little while, mutter and ponder, then throw my head down dramatically and scribble for all I was worth.

Writing came easier back then.

As I grew up, my interests widened. I loved English and social studies and student government. I eventually got my undergraduate degree in political science with thoughts of going on to law school and threw in a teacher’s certificate to boot but, with any musing time at all, I still scribbled and doodled on every bare inch of paper. My official writing days were now long behind me, leaving soirees with Big Chiefs in a smattering of dust. I’m not sure when it first hit me that I might write a Christian book but, even then, those pages were scribbled out of a romance – the most enduring one I’ve ever had – and not without copious curlicues and loop de loops.

I’ve never mastered writing. I read the works of others and say with much admiration, now that’s a real writer.  But this many excursions in, I am no longer naïve about what these many months ahead are going to take. So, I’m steadying myself, taking a deep breath, and whispering underneath it, “Well, here we go again” and all with that inseparable mixture of stomach-churning dread and it’s-great-to-be-back hope. This is what I love. And this is what I sometimes hate. Well, that’s not true. Hate is too strong a word but on occasion it does occur to me that there are work-lives that could be substantially less stressful and less dependent on an endless list of variables like mood, atmosphere, weather, relative-quietness-versus-too-much-quietness where you can hear the clock ticking louder and louder until it sounds like an ear-splitting gong in a torture chamber. Under most circumstances, you need just the right inspiration for just the right amount of time, not to mention exactly enough pain to stir up some passion but not so much that you consider killing yourself. Or at least seriously.  And that’s another thing. You have to read and reread any whimsical sentence you write for fear that someone will take what you said too seriously and pass a kidney stone over it.

Writing can be a hard, grueling profession. It has moments of beauty, mystery, and emotion so strong that you can’t see the screen but, nipping at their very heels are harassing fears that you might not have another. That you’ve started a book you can’t finish. And worse yet, you told someone you’re writing a book and now it appears that the devil could die of frostbite before you can construct another intelligible sentence.

I feel this strange sensation of dread and hope every time I start to write something of any length but only in the last few journeys have I thought intently about you.  About you new writers, you lovers of words, stirred of heart and mind to lasso your swirling thoughts onto a page, let them be still, and wonder if anyone on earth will care to actually read them. And, if they do, will they ridicule them? I think of you now because of the groundswell of obstacles that have emerged out of a giant social earthquake. A dazzling mountain range has jumped in the path between the first word of every decent book and its last. Its lung-searing climb, its slippery summit, and harrowing descent are woefully beyond the muscle of the weak-willed.

Many of you are young enough to know no other writing world but this one. Others of us have been around long enough to recognize the glaring climate changes. A dyed-in-the-wool sanguine, I feed off a social frenzy with all the patience of a crackhead just like other people-persons do. I love it. I crave it. I’m just saying it’s next to impossible to actually eek out a decent book in the batting eye of it.  Long-term writing has always been difficult but these present winds, they are a-blowin’, and those of us who insist on keeping every window wide open will have our pens whipped into knots and our floors swept by swooshes of blank pages.

Because one thing will never change.

A decent piece of writing demands concentration.

It’s hard – not impossible but hard – to bring it to completion with a semblance of originality and, Lord, help us, anointing amid the constant cacophony. Amid unhindered choruses of…

Oh, for a thousand texts to ping.

Or

There’s a tweet, tweet spirit in this place.

Others are more qualified to speak to this than I. Obviously, I’m just putting off the first sentence of a project with one last rabbit-chase. I have no great word on lasting penmanship in a frenetic climate. My take on the subject comes from my own subjective experience and perspective. For that handful of you who have hung on this long, however, I’m going to throw a few things on the counter that I have learned along the way (true to frustrating form, the hard way). This is why: because I believe in you young writers and in you not-so-young-but-new writers. I see great men and women of God out there with things to say that need to be documented into a format with a shelf life longer than an iPhone upgrade. So, here goes.

Writing a book will be harder than you think and take longer than you want.

You very often will lose passion for the project somewhere in the middle of it and even sprint mentally in a mad blaze toward a new direction and new title. Expect it. It’s completely normal and, on occasion, projects really do need to be abandoned. Maybe God’s just not in it. Maybe it was better off as a blog post or a thought-worthy entry on Tumblr. Maybe we didn’t think it through and mistook it for a long-term project. It just wasn’t the right direction. We miss it sometimes. But, more often, the maddening ebb is part of the writing process that you must work and pray and cry and press through until the fire returns because, if you don’t? Well, if you don’t, you will start fifteen books and finish none of them. And, if you do, your blaze for the project will often boomerang with a satisfaction that plunges all the deeper because you fought the demon and won. In the immutable words of Hebrews 10:36, you need to persevere.

You have to factor in more than writing time. Decent writing requires much more time than it takes to actually type the sentences. Decent writing requires thinking and spinning and mulling and living and watching and listening and experiencing and reaching. These bring the strokes to the page that turn the transfer of information into true connection.

Limitless opportunities have come with the global blast of information and communication. What believer couldn’t entertain the notion that God may have foreordained all this access for the purpose of Gospel wall-leaping? It’s a gorgeous thing. But omnipresence is a burden only God can bear. Insisting on being ten places at once for twenty hours a day for weeks on end will ultimately make aloneness almost intolerable. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean we’ll never hear from God since He can well reveal Himself in corporate contexts. It just means that we will less likely sense what He’s trying to communicate to us personally and use us to communicate to someone else. The Biblical art of meditating can turn a parched cistern into a fountainhead.

I meditate on all You have done; I ponder the work of Your hands. I stretch out my hands to You; my soul thirsts for You like a parched land. Psalm 143:5-6

Turn to the psalmists and trace with your fingertips the times they talk about meditating on God and His precepts, His ways, His acts, and the human condition with and without Him.  Study the contexts. See the results. The loss of such an art may be gradual but make no mistake. It will also be incalculable.

The NIV translates Jesus’ words in John 12:49 in terms that stand up on the page like a pop-up book for any believer hoping to communicate.

For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.

Only Jesus is capable of speaking solely what the Father has commanded but a concept dripping from it like honey is enough to wet the tongue of the driest human mouth: Communicating is not only about what to say. It’s about how to say it.

That takes pondering. And pondering takes time. The word “Godspeed” may be the most overlooked oxymoron in the English language. He rarely does. Speed, I mean.

Panic only exacerbates inevitable waves of writer’s block. I don’t care how elementary and predictable this piece of advice is going to sound. When it happens – and it will – get up from your desk, down on the floor, tell God your struggle and pray for Him to move you past the block. Then, as you get up from the floor, thank Him for His kindness and mercy and complete dependability. The block may pass right away. It may not pass until the next day. Or week. Or month. But, if the project is from God, the boulder will most definitely tumble from the path and, when it does, you’ll know who kicked it. Appropriately, God wants us to credit Him with every victory. Hasten to it.

Do the work. Study. Prepare. Don’t have all of your research done by someone else. The discovery itself is often the gift.

God will most often take the message we’re writing and prove us genuine by hammering the themes relentlessly on the anvil of our souls. Does it say anything that I had to type the word “anvil” very slowly to keep from writing “advil”?  Knowing how much time to allow on the manuscript due-date for a holy hammering is hard to navigate but, whenever it’s finished, it will be ten times the untested version. Oh, I know, I know. We all hope we’ve already lived the process in advance which is why we feel qualified to speak to it in book form but, from my experience, that’s a sweet dream.  If we sow to our flesh we’ll reap the flesh. Only if we go to the extra trouble to sow to the Spirit will we reap something of authentic, eternal spiritual value.

Submit to the angst of decent editing. That means we have to let our works and ourselves be critiqued. Criticized. Questioned. Challenged. A good editor can be a solid gold pain in the neck that we oughtn’t to want to trade for all the e-book space in the universe. Think of all we’ve gotten in trouble for saying, then think of all we could have said. Lord, help me. An editorial cut can sometimes swerve you right out of the path of a flatbed trailer full of fertilizer. If we don’t trust our editor enough to give us some pretty solid advice, we really do need to seek a new one. Some statements are well worth fighting for and it can come down to finding a different way to say them. Other times authors might get their way with an editorial disclaimer we shouldn’t take lightly: “Ok, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” A number of statements along the way have been worth some controversy to me but some of the things that have hurled me into the hottest water weren’t even important to me. Many words, much folly.

Perfectionism will snuff the flame. Period. Give it up. It’s cheating us out of hearing your genuine voice.

These are a few reasons why we may never read books by some of the greatest writers on the planet. Some are too narcissistic to take the criticism, too undisciplined to see it through the dry spells, or too committed to greatness to settle for publishing something good.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. We don’t have to strive for fabulous. Purely doing some good can be really great.

Just one more.

Don’t just think twice before you sign a multi-book contract. Think fifty times. Resist it at all costs (see below) unless God writes a go across the sky. As tempting as the sight may be, God may not spell go like this:

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

 
God can lead His children any way He pleases. You could flourish under conditions that I find crushing. But, for me, there’s nothing like the pressure to write that leaves me with fewer things to say. God is all-powerful, compassionate, mysterious, and sometimes almost humorous. He freely admits to the enjoyment of showing the wise foolish and the foolish wise. He can do anything He wants any way He wants but, as a general rule, holy passion is a better guide than human pressure. It is dangerous to sign contracts for unwritten books. And taking money for them can burn a hole right through the lining of your stomach.

So. I guess I’ve put off the process long enough and will go get to it. Maybe all this rambling was just a reminder to me. Thanks for giving me the space to hash it out.

 

Ecclesiastes 12:12 says, Of making many books there is no end.

 

And I – more reader than writer – for one am glad.

Write on, sister or brother. Don’t wait for a publisher or a book deal. A true writer has to write even with no one to read. Scribble down rogue phrases and incomplete sentences as they come whether or not they seem strung together. Write on the backs of sales receipts or the palm of your other hand. Just write! That book is in there somewhere.

If it seems slow, wait for it. (Habakkuk 2:3)

And when it comes, may God speak.

 

 

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306 Responses to “To New Writers, With Love”

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Comments:

  1. 51
    Ashley Haupt says:

    I.loved.this.

    What is it about us writers, that we just need so much darn encouragement? 😉

  2. 52
    Sarah Marion says:

    I CAN’T WAIT! I am so proud of you for this BIG commitment. My husband and I have written two books and we will be praying for your endurance, inspiration and fortification.

    We held II Timothy 4:7-8 in font of our eyes during the writing process and will pray this over you as well. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

    May you be able to see a glimpse of God’s long-term plan for this work when you feel exhausted.

  3. 53
    Marie says:

    Thank you for this post, Mamma Beth! I have longed to be a writer my whole life, but the fear is great. I often think that I don’t have anything all that special to offer. Right now there’s a basket full of books with marked pages and notes galore, all in preparation for a project. A project I’ve been too afraid to start.

    I have much to ponder. Love you!

  4. 54
    Fran McCurry Plott says:

    Beautiful piece of writing, Beth. I love and hate to write myself, since second grade. Thanks for the encouragement…this is a keeper!

  5. 55

    Thank you for this gracious and generous post, Beth. I cannot describe how I felt as I read it. I NEVER get enough of paper and journals, and pens and pencils! I get a physical rush at the feel of a new journal, notebook or book in my hand. I can barely breathe when I walk into a bookstore!

    And I am obsessed with taking notes! When I’m listening to Christian radio while I’m driving, I actually have to pull over to the side of the road to write down what the teacher/preacher is saying so I don’t forget. I simply have to capture it. Losing it just isn’t an option!

    Thank you for these wonderful words of encouragement. I don’t know if there’s a book in me but, if God decides to put one there I surely have enough notes to get me started. ‘Cause you KNOW I’ve kept every single one of them. LOL

    I look forward to your new Bible Study with great anticipation.

    God bless you!

    Penny

  6. 56
    sweet anonymous says:

    Dearest Beth,
    Thank you for the advice on writing. It is something I love to do. I have written many poems and have at times contemplated writing a book. I can’t imagine writing something that would be of interest that anyone would want to read. But I can so relate to the words I have to write even if there is no one to ever read it. The need to write is compulsive. Could this post be a prompting of the Lord to consider this? If it is…I’m listening. Thanks Beth. Sending much love and prayers your way. Love, Mary

  7. 57
    Carrie says:

    Thank you for this, Beth! I have no idea what I’m doing! I used to romanticize writing a book or I should say ‘having written it’. I also romanticized God’s call on my life to national ministry, of which I am more dreadful of than I could’ve ever imagined. This year God started the process and rescued me out of a deep pit… you know, like only HE does. It’s been inch by inch since March starting with blog writing & now recently starting a Bible Study that I’m writing and leading as we go. I don’t think I’ve been this pressed down on to grow since early salvation at 16. It’s been intense these last few weeks, and I’m learning exactly what I’m writing about. I’ll come to a subject on the matter, pray telling God that I have no idea what that’s like, & quickly I’ll start experiencing what I am to write/ teach on. I know that if I’ll sit to write as I do daily on my blog, one thought will cascade into more and more by the power of God– for it is HE who is strong and I who am miserably weak. As I sat to start writing this study, I realized quickly where God intended to take it, that it is the beginning to His promises fulfilling. I am suddenly overtaken and for some reason finding myself doing everything but open the word processing document to flood my thoughts & recent experience on to screen. I do not understand myself. I feel the loss of passion and I can’t seem to find it. Where is it? It is in the very material? In discipline? I believe you. This discipline is changing my life and I know that is exactly what HE wants, as the very few hours I have around 4 young children & homeschool get processed into fine discipline when I just yearn to throw myself long onto that beckoning hole in my couch– that me shaped hole. The shift to discipline those remaining hours feels like I could break in half at any moment. Why is that? I just want to please the Lord, to be with HIM, and my flesh cries out… I’m so glad Paul gave us the answer. Finding my way deeper into Christ is the way… Also, perfectionism has most definitely robbed me of my voice; the Lord has been whispering that to me. I’ve never been a good student and it totally freaks me out to write, knowing I probably have written error after error. He reminded me of dancing at this teen club I used to go to when I was 16ish. I’d try to dance like everyone else, but when I finally just did what came natural to me so many people were ready to compliment. The Lord was telling me to do what comes natural in writing & repeating it through you. Thank you for this encouragement to stay the course. With Love, Carrie <3

  8. 58
    Alicia says:

    I LOVE writing! I have a blog and I always tell my husband that I don’t care who reads it. I write it because I need to write! It is very therapeutic for me!

    I am a Pastor’s wife in a small, country church in southern Ohio and I am a Momma to six beautiful children. I contracted Transverse Myelitis almost 4 years ago and it left me paralyzed from the waist down. Writing has been my sanity as I have tried to understand the blessing of suffering and have become a vessel of God’s truly amazing grace!

    Beth, you are my kind of gal. I love your humor (a merry heart you know!) and your conversational way of writing. I am sure you have heard this from so many others, but I always feel like we have just had a cup of coffee together when I read your books.

    I don’t know if I will ever write a book – that will be up to God but I know that I will keep writing!! It burns in my soul!

    God bless you as you write and I will be praying for you that He allows the words to come smoothly!

    • 58.1
      Beckie Potterfield says:

      Alicia, reading all the comments and yours just struck a cord. I work in an outpatient rehab facility and am wondering if your writing may help some of my clients/patients. If you don’t mind sharing, what is your blog?

      • Alicia says:

        Thank you Beckie! I would be honored for you to share! My blog is aliciareagan.wordpress.com. Also, our family has a ministry website called enjoyingtherideministries.com.
        I hope the Lord can use them to encourage!

    • 58.2
      Lynne says:

      Alicia …your post caught my attention. I too was diagnosed with transverse myelitis a year and a half ago. At least the was the initial diagnosis but my case seems very rare. I’d love to hear your story and what you’ve been through. Would you mind emailing me @ lmb516@hotmail.com?

      Blessings,
      Lynne

      • Lynne says:

        Alicia …your post caught my attention. I too was diagnosed with transverse myelitis a year and a half ago. At least the was the initial diagnosis but my case seems very rare. I’d love to hear your story and what you’ve been through. Would you mind emailing me @ lmb516@hotmail.com?

  9. 59

    Beth, thanks for the advice to think very carefully before signing a multibook contract. I’m at a point where I’m ready to talk with agents/editors, etc. & I will keep this in mind — if I’m lucky enough to be offered a contract at all! 🙂

  10. 60
    Kelly says:

    Beth, thank you for this timely post! The writing journey God has taken me on over the past 9 months has been incredible, powerful, frustrating, and pretty much every other description you listed above. Now I’m facing one of my greatest fears/challenges as I get ready to launch and market my first eBook. I believe without a doubt that God has given me this message on His plan for friendship, but I’m seeing that the challenges that I faced in the writing process were only preparing me for this phase. He has faithfully worked to prove Himself mighty and in favor of this work up until now, and I believe that reading your encouraging words just now was another way that He is reminding me to keep perspective, trust Him, and push on. Now that I’ve gone through the process (on a much smaller scale than what you’re about to undertake), I know better how to pray for you as you begin. God bless and thanks for letting Him speak through you to humble little writers like me who are taking this whole writing world in wide-eyed and overwhelmed.

  11. 61
    Jill says:

    I love this and so needed it. Every single point. Thank you for sharing and encouraging. Blessings to you! Looking forward to the words you put on paper next!!

  12. 62
    Heather says:

    Thank you for words spoken right to where I am. Exactly where I am. The new writer. A writer who didn’t plan to write a book. One who an agent (a big agent) asked if she ever considered publication. Then the one who started to write a proposal only to realize writing was harder than she ever imagined (a narcissistic who thought she could crank out a perfect proposal in a few weeks). One who was humbled farther than ever (to the point of counseling) while writing on the subject of humility. Thank you for truth, for encouragement, for wisdom. You are a treasure used by God for His works. Amen.

  13. 63
    moongirl says:

    Wow. Timely. Thank you. For mentoring. For passing on wisdom I am so thristy for. How I praise God for you!

  14. 64
    Cindy LeBlanc says:

    Thanks for this.

  15. 65
    Nina Riethmaier says:

    I grew up in Arkadelphia. My sisters went to OBU, but I did not. I flew the coop to the U of A. You even write about writing so beautifully. I have 2 girls and I also crave the socialness of the web. But the best part is that my father-in-law owned the Piggly Wiggly in Arkadelphia (and Malvern, Bismarck… the “small” towns around Arkadelphia) I’m guessing from about ’88-’99. I’m so grateful to my God that he speaks through you. So warm, real, and full of truth and life.

  16. 66
    Shannon says:

    Thank you, and you are a writer! Your voice is so clearly communicated in the Esther Study that I have nearly completed. His heart through your pen, clear and captivating. Thank you for persevering in your obedience, as what He produces through you is a blessing to so many. 🙂

  17. 67
    Betty M says:

    OHHH! Beth!!!!
    You truly do not know what I am struggling with!!! I am a not so young but very new writer. At my age I have a wealth of experiences to draw on. Raising special needs kids, living in a farm partnership that was from I do not want to describe some times. I have been through physical abuse and verbal abuse, both me and my hubby of 41 yrs have gone through it. There have been mental health issues, I also was badly betrayed by my father and sister and even jailed on phony charges. Everyone has told me I need to write a book about all this and how I got through it( of course only with the help of God). I write for blogs now and find a need to express myself all the time. I write devotionals and skits etc. I have felt the need to write this book but I try and squelch it almost immediately. I reason that it costs alot to get a book published and who will read it any way? I once had a friend who had 2,000 copies of his book in his closet and every day he would pound pavement to get someone to buy it!!!
    Just today, I read and did some research on how to write a decent book proposal and I just want to forget the whole idea. I would love to take some writing courses and there are several even christian groups who seem to have great programs but do I want to commit? What if it is more than I first imagined and I get in deeper than I think I can handle? Guess I am forgetting about God here!!! I am not sure what I am going to do I feel I need to do it but am thinking if I do not start this project soon I may be too old to finish it!!! I am prayerfully waiting on the Lord to direct me on this.
    This post of yours was really needed by me maybe it was God’s gentle nudge???
    Love Ya and am eagerly awaiting your newest project!
    Betty M

  18. 68
    Cindy says:

    Beth, thank you for the encouragement you’ve given, and the blessing you are. Can’t wait to see you in Eugene. Be blessed, sister.

  19. 69
    Rebekah Ross says:

    Thanks Mrs. Beth. I’m a graduate student in Archaeology and I’ve come to paper writing season. I’m writing and researching what I love but sometimes the words just get stuck. Thanks for the encouragement.

  20. 70
    Lori Willey says:

    I have teared up. I have sobbed. I have dared try to swallow past this lump in my throat that burns into my ears as I attempt to type a sentence of gratitude that is all too inadequate.

    You know. These words pierced through the fog and straight to my heart. Before seeing this post I cried to my LORD this very evening, “As a deer pants for the water brook, so my soul pants for you, O Lord.” I have a book. A very important book. I had stopped. I had lost the fervor that I had of a year of research and teaching it as a seven week course two times. I saw Jesus do things. I saw His Spirit move. I saw their mouth’s drop open with His revelations. I saw them fall into Jesus’ arms. And then, I stopped. I saw me as a new old writer. One without a way to make it happen. I’m not the one to make it happen. I’m the one to write it.

    I begged Him to show me. I begged Him to lead me to the water brook. And He did. He did. Through eyes filled with tears, nose running and a sob stricken without sound, thank you, Beth Moore. Thank you for shedding yourself to be poured out by Him; the water brook.

  21. 71
    Amanda Beth says:

    Wow! God is amazing! This post just popped up in my email as I was worn out trying to fix another mess-up on my book before it’s release this weekend. Everything you said rings so true to me. When God first called me to write, the first verses He gave me to hold on to was Hebrews 10:35-36. I have held so tightly to those verses that it brings me to tears just thinking about all that God has led me through in this writing journey.

    You were spot on when you said, “You have to factor in more than writing time. Decent writing requires much more time than it takes to actually type the sentences. Decent writing requires thinking and spinning and mulling and living and watching and listening and experiencing and reaching.”

    It took me 2 1/2 years to publish my first book, and I literally crawled on my hands and knees to that finish line. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. The writing wasn’t the most difficult part. It was the living, watching, listening, and experiencing, as you explained. I lived that book inside and out! I thought for a moment God had me write the book only for me.

    I’m going through the same thing with my second book, and from what you wrote, it looks like that won’t ever change. It’s nice to know I am not alone. 🙂

    Thanks for all the sacrifices you have made through the years. I know it can’t be easy. But you are impacting so many!! God has used your Bible studies for the last 12 years to train me into a disciple of Christ. About five years ago, I started leading your studies in my home. I wanted to host them in my home to welcome women who didn’t go to church, or never joined a study at a church before. It’s been amazing watching God draw people to my home to hear the Word of God, and seeing Him transform so many lives.

    I stopped leading your studies for a couple years when God called me to start writing. But then He recently gave me the green light to host another one again. We are doing your “Believing God” study right now. It’s incredible!! It’s my favorite! We are only half-way through the study and already seeing God move powerfully through it.

    So thank you again for not limiting what God can do through you! You are an inspiration to me to continue persevering and doing God’s will. Many blessings to you, your family, and ministry:)

    Your sister in Christ,
    Amanda Beth

  22. 72

    Beth! My jaw is on the floor, and my face to God in wonder and awe. That you should choose to write on this subject…today? Let me explain.

    On Saturday, May 5th, 2012, God raised to life a dream of writing and speaking that life had beaten to death, then buried and entombed in fear and failure. One result of that resurrection is that I now write a weekly blog at:

    justlivingthething.com

    Writing is the second hardest, most frightening, yet most fulfilling things I have ever done. (Raising three children; that was the hardest! 🙂 The research, the rewrites, the flow, the writers’ block; it wrings me out and fills me up at the same time. I go to bed exhausted and still wake up every day with so much joy that I can do it again…at the best of times or the worst of times.

    I scraped together $98 to submit my first book proposal and am saving to get it reviewed and edited…which I would welcome, gladly! 🙂 You see, my struggle is to believe that what I write is any good; that it meets the only criteria that matters to me; to further His kingdom, to reveal His glory, to fulfill His purpose.

    Friends and family have been so encouraging but I long for His affirmation, what ever form that takes, however and whenever it comes. You wrote:

    “God will most often take the message we’re writing and prove us genuine…”

    A light went on for me. I write about “Just Living The Thing”, and that is exactly what He is making me do. The struggle is part of the process. I may never speak at another retreat or ever have a book published, and that would hurt :), but that cannot be the endgame for me. Instead it is to be like David, who:

    “…served the purpose of God in his own generation…”. (Acts 13:36)

    Thanks for taking the time to speak a word in season. I cannot wait to see what God produces through you. Go do your thing girl!! 🙂

    Maranatha!

  23. 73
    Tanya says:

    Thank you. I read. And read. And…read. I read because it is by best connection. I am afraid to talk. Often. So problems dont ge solved for me by talking about them. And in some great and stormy ways it is maddening to me that talking helps anyone. Oh i know I’m wrong. But it seems when i thinkof talking i think of it singularily. Like chatter. Or gossip. As time used without incentive to make it useful. Probably said wrong. I used to like to talk. Until it occured to me that perhaps no one was hearing. So i read. Because those who write things that my heart hears seem much closer to me than….others. Others who «ave no patience for my misshapen thoughts. I read and i write. Journal.i write some bible studies. Small scale. Send them in emails. Modeled off of books by the likes of Beth Moore or Kay Arthur. I r TApándOSe ecord what i learned and share it. And my life has been sooo sad that as mr. Moore is recorded as saying…it would be a sorry thing to die if i thought my pain hadnt helped anyone else in theirs. For me i had to learn the REAL HARD WAY that God loved me. That it wasnt sunday school blahblahblah. And having fought that crying raging fight and lost to love bigger than i even yet fully know-God told me the title if the book he wanted me to write. “First comes Love” you know . Before service. And dear Beth besides just writing I’ve no idea what to do about it. How mch of me do i share? How do i write to help others andnot just…journal? Editor? More input would be so verygreatly appreciated.

    Thank you for this post.
    Tanya

  24. 74
    Emilee C. says:

    Thank-you for this encouragment, Beth. I am waiting for more words as He shall lay them on my heart. I am a writer. My books, blogs, and journals may not be read by more people than those in my circle– but I am a writer.
    Imperfections and all. I am writing a book– and I will continue writing it not knowing where it will go. I do have a question if ANYONE can help me out here though– how do you go about getting a publisher? An editor? I have searched the internet, but I can’t seem to find any prospects. Thanks for all you do, LPM… and to Lindsee as well as she is hopefully moderating this! 🙂

    I got treasure up in heaven; I got dirt all over me,
    Emilee

    • 74.1
      Michele says:

      Hi Emilee,
      I do not know much about the business, but I have one suggestion – right now I am publishing a book through Crossbooks. It is assisted publishing and they have full editing services available.

      My biggest tip is to pray about it. God led me straight to Crossbooks without much looking around.
      May He lead you directly to the right place. 🙂

    • 74.2
      Lori Willey says:

      Emilie,
      I had my first book published through a self publisher called “Believer’s Press.” They are a Christian organization and have every supply that you would need in writing and getting it done. Look them up on line. I used one of their editors and I absolutely fell in love with her. So much so, that I hired her to write the piece for the back of the book. They have a print on demand option that is wonderful. It cost me around $2,000. from start to finish. We looked at it as an offering to the LORD and if it helped one person, it was worth it to us.

    • 74.3
      FloridaLizzie says:

      Hi Emilee,
      I have a great link for you. If you want to watch a free online writing course that was taped at Brigham Young University this year, there is an excellent link at http://www.writeaboutdragons.com/home/brandon_w2012/

      If you peruse the table of contents, you will find out everything from plots to genres, from agents to contracts, and publishing vs. self-publishing. The lecturer was a best-selling fantasy book author, who was selected in a contest to write the final book of an unfinished best-selling fantasy book series when the original author died. My son sent me the link. Although I am not into fantasy books, the author who taught the class was excellent. This is not a Christian author (the classes do not contain objectionable content), but his information was very helpful for any genre and the teacher was enjoyable. If you have the time, and feel you can learn from an experienced author,it is worth watching the classes online. And it’s free! From his website, I found quite a few excellent websites for budding authors. Take a look!

    • 74.4
      Shelly Sorem says:

      Emilee – I just published a devotional called Deeply Rooted by Crossbooks. They are the self-publishing arm of LIfeway. It was a wonderful experience and they have been very helpful. Check out their website for more information – crossbooks.com

      Keep writing – if we can touch just one other person with our words for Christ we are doing what God has called us to do! I pray you continue to write and are able to get published quickly.

  25. 75
    Lori says:

    As I sit here with tears streaming down my face, I know your words are truth from God speaking straight to my heart. I am once again in awe of how intimately He knows me and His eagerness to provide for my every need. I’ve known that I am to write for YEARS, yet I’ve allowed Satan to distract and fill me with a fear of failure. NO MORE! Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thank you for sharing, you are such a blessing to me.
    ~Lori

  26. 76
    melanie says:

    beth~sometimes i think you grew up with me in fort smith, arkansas…..so many familiar memories!

    know this: your ministry is life-changing. your writings, your teachings, your prayers have CHANGED me and my entire family. opened my eyes so much! my thinking is completely centered around Christ. all day. i thank God for you and your staff and your girls every single day. Write on please! and i will pray you through it.

  27. 77
    Mrs Nez says:

    I enjoy reading your bible studies. You have the ability to bring the scriptures to life through your funny family stories and heart breaking experiences. The gift God has given you reaches way beyond fancy words on a page but resonates with the spirit on the inside. Enjoy every emotion and life lesson that comes with taking on this new venture. I pray that it will be as exciting for you as the very first.

  28. 78
    Jeannie says:

    Thank you for this. My story is long so I’ll spare you. But I really needed to hear this message today.

  29. 79
    Kelli says:

    Amazing, priceless advice from someone whose writing has had such an impact on my spiritual journey to date. THANK YOU for sharing some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way and for the reminder that it’s (or should be) in God’s hands. I have boxes upon boxes in my mom’s attic filled with things I’ve written since the time I was 8 or 9- mostly journals, prayers etc, I’ve never made the jump to journaling on the computer but blogging has become a wonderfully healing and therapeutic form of expression. Writing for others is one of those things that has always been in the back of my mind but several things have brought it forward lately. Still praying, considering, wondering. Truly thank you for sharing your thoughts and words of wisdom!

  30. 80

    Thank you so much for sharing –
    Very true words: ‘Writing a book will be harder than you think and take longer than you want.’

    Even once it is complete, it is a challenge to know if what has been written is truly from God (and for distribution) or whether it was something just meant to encourage you. As I sit reviewing a publishing contract of my own, I realize there are often more questions than there are readily available answers – many unfamiliar waters to navigate.Praying that God will give me wisdom and help me to clearly understand His will, His methods and His timing. That is my individual prayer and also my prayer for every other man or woman with a message etched on their heart, with a passion to encourage and uplift others through written word and to draw people to the LORD. I am also praying that God will continue to bless you, an available vessel who has partnered with Him to bless so many.

  31. 81
    Diana says:

    Beth, You crack me up! The way you describe events that happened when you were growing up is so funny.
    I have no desire or inclination to ever “write”, but I sure do love to read. I can’t think of anything I’ve read by Beth Moore that has been disappointing. I pray that the Lord will give you the message that He wants to deliver.

  32. 82
    Stacie says:

    Oh, Beth! I feel like you’ve written this just for me. So many parts speak to me in my frazzled, coffee-driven state – especially as I’m trying to live out the words I’m sharing.

    This.

    “God will most often take the message we’re writing and prove us genuine by hammering the themes relentlessly on the anvil of our souls.”

    Yes.

    Thank you for the encouragement! Have a blessed day!

  33. 83
    Elise says:

    Beth,

    God bless you.

    This post is a specific answer to a prayer I hadn’t fully formed yet. I have the joy of taking God speaking to me through this blog personally. And I do.

    Let me just say: I love God more for how He made you. I laugh and cry often at the same time and just trust me please that that is a good thing.

    I am bowing my head and praying for you now as you walk with God this next 24 hours and the through this project.

    My heart’s all in my throat and I don’t even know how to tell you why.

    Just… God bless you.

    The LORD Most High is so achingly wonderful, isn’t He?

  34. 84
    Sondra says:

    Beth,
    Even when you are out of the country doing research, your words speak to my soul. God has blessed you among women. Praise His Holy Name. I have just rewritten your name on my prayer list and am committed to pray you through this next book/bible study. You inspire me to stay in the Word and to seek the Father, through the Son on a daily basis. I hope you live to be a 110 and write to the very end. Love you sister, even though you are young enough to be my daughter.

  35. 85
    Kara says:

    I can’t wait to obey God in this area of my life and complete the book I have been writing. In so many ways it is almost completely finished. I don’t even care if it is read by anyone. I just want a clear conscience. I want to do the work I feel convinced I am called to do. Please pray for me.

  36. 86
    Beth says:

    It is 9:15 AM Thessaloniki time and 1:15 AM CST and I just jumped on the blog to bring in any comments that came in over the night. I was SLACK JAWED. I texted Lindsee from here in Greece at my own 2:00 AM and told her I’d put an article up (right after her work hours were over) and not to worry with moderating until she got back to LPM. I also told her there would not be many comments because the subject matter was pretty narrowly focused. I am completely astonished and so thankful to God. I struggled with whether it was something I just needed to write in private and whether it had any public merit at all. Any ministry of the Spirit to it. You are the most gracious people. May Christ make Himself so evident and personal to you today. You have blessed me so.

    And thank you for praying for me! I ALWAYS NEED IT. ALWAYS. Pray for Melissa as well as we partner in this journey much like we did in Mercy Triumphs. It will be a LONG road till this one is complete and on the shelf (like 18 months) and that’s why we don’t want to say too much right now. We so do NOT want to wear you out over it. We will say more as it progresses but not so much that you will despise it when it comes out. Laughing. That can happen.

    I love you.

    • 86.1
      Karene says:

      Just read your magnificent post, and how fun to see this PS. Praying for you and Melissa during this process. Thank you!

    • 86.2
      Michele says:

      I was wondering if you got some sleep. Praying specifically about that and will continue when you return and try to re-adjust to TX time.

      I am so intensely curious about what you are working on and learning over there. Definitely praying. Please give us a hint here and there.

      Hope you are having a blast! 🙂

    • 86.3
      Cindy says:

      I swear, I’m surprised to see all of these comments, because I was certain you were speaking straight to me. Grin……

    • 86.4
      Betty M says:

      I just cannot believe how He works sometimes it leaves me breathless!!!! I was struggling with this book thing the last few days and I felt it is a monumental project I am not qualified to do but I always forget the God factor. I am like so many I MUST WRITE even if it is just to post on other’s blogs.
      It appears others need some direction too in thier writing adventures where do we get help with our questions?? Can we network on our needs to write proposals and query letters and find publishers etc.
      I also remember the hairpin days Beth!!!! Sat eves growing up was about tight hairpins, hot baths and polishing Dad’s shoes for Sun AM!
      Oh the joys and tears for the burden to write!
      Betty M
      PS You are far removed from stateside today and we on the northern plains are bringing stubborn black beasts called cows home from the blissful pastures of suummer to the warm barns of winter’s storm and there is a promise of a foot of snow by weekends end! I must don the winter woolies and brave the elements to help before making overnite gooey carmel rolls for tomorrows cold winter’s blast! There are rewards to freezing outside and they are found in farmhouse ovens!!!
      Hugs across the pond!
      Betty

    • 86.5
      Nitsa says:

      Goodness, Beth and Melissa, you are in my neck of the woods. The name of my town is Katerini, just about 30 min. drive, and there is a big evangelical church there. When I was growing up my pastor was the brother of Spiros Zodhiates. Dynamic duo those 2 brothers. Anointed!
      Wish I could be there with you. The Greek people are suffering right now and need our prayers.
      I’m praying for the both of you and the study you are preparing for.
      Be safe.

  37. 87
    Andrea says:

    Thank you. I really needed that:-) Good luck with your latest book. I cant wait to read it.

    Andrea

  38. 88
    roxanne says:

    Beth,

    Thank you for the post. I was at Reading, Pa this year to hear you speak where you shared a small portion of your own journal. It changed my journal writing! I chuckled that day as you had trouble reading your own words you put to pen. I have struggled with journaling due to penmanship and subject matter (both are messy). If you could, pray for a sister in Christ as she tries to put the recently realized fragmented memories of an evidently painful childhood together, and in that journey keeps her eyes fixed on the Lord and see His glory through it. I am so thankful for him. Coming to Christ in my twenties it wasn’t until then that I realized all the God-fearing people He put in my life along the way to teach me a new path, which would help raise my three precious daughters he created.
    In your post you mentioned your childhood Saturday bath ritual. We have that here in our house. Every Saturday eve we loudly proclaim, “It’s shower up for God night!” Feet would flurry, chatter would be had and all would be cleansed. Thanks for jogging a fond recollection. They are all now teens and twenties. It is still shower up for God night here, just with out so much flurry. J

    Thanks again for sharing your journal, never know what God is going to use to change a person,

    In His love and service,
    Roxanne

  39. 89
    Beverly says:

    Beth,

    These words came straight from God through you! So much encouragement that I needed right now. I’ve had a hard three weeks with the critiquing process of a bible study I had written for my church. God was so gracious to point out that I had let my own pride get the best of me in arguing for points that my editor and one of our pastors thought were best changed. Oh how I needed that lesson! All of the points you made left me shaking my head going yes, yes, yes! That is exactly how I feel. I will be saving this post to reread, time and again, as I move forward hopefully in what will be the publsihing of my first women’s devotion book. Thank you so much for being such a faithful obedient servant to our Lord. With Love, Beverly

  40. 90
    Christine says:

    Thank you for the encouragement. As a writer myself this has encouraged me greatly. I am in the process of the most frustrating part of writing, editing and re-editing. Your blog was music to my soul.

  41. 91
    Jill Roper says:

    I read every word. Thank you for the encouragement. Besides all the wise advice I am really curious what your new project is about? Our ladies class is going through the Patriarch lessons right now. Our third topic from your wonderful series. God bless.

    In Christ Alone,
    Jill

  42. 92
    Suey says:

    Wow thanks Bethy for this post.
    i have wondered for the last 30 years of befriending you
    what all you go through.

    i miss Gay T’s writings.

    love you
    God bless you
    sueycaldwell

  43. 93
    Tracey Knight says:

    beth ~ 1st you know i have to comment on arkadelphia since i live here (23+ yrs now). you are still very much loved here. i’m going to drive by the brookshire’s (old pw) to see if the horse is still there. it was when my kids were young. 🙂
    i love that only a few blocks away from your childhood home (at Ouachita) there are seasoned authors that will be encouraged by these words in their inbox this morning. 🙂 writing is hard work – but so worth it through the lives that are changed.
    i love that so many here have said “this was for me.” i LOVE that God does this for us. HE KNOWS what is needed. He’s so good to us like that.
    praying for your trip & the months ahead of writing.
    Anointing, Lord, that’s our prayer.
    Love you~

  44. 94
    Melissa Ford says:

    Great insight! This sounds like a training program for marathon runners. Hope your trip is going well. Praying for you and your family.

  45. 95
    Angie says:

    Um, wow. I had no idea you are such a good creative writer. That was beautiful. And timely. I wrote for ten years, got some good momentum in the industry, then stopped. God pulled me back to hunker down with my babies for a while. It wasn’t easy to let it all go, but it was right. And God changed me so much over the next few years, that I couldn’t even go back to previous projects cause they weren’t me anymore. Been feeling a tiny push to go start writing again. This was perfect. Especially what you said about wanting to be like Jesus and write His words. That is the key. Thank you!

  46. 96
    Mia says:

    Please be assured as you write that you will be prayed for….thank you for allowing the Lord to download into your spirit, what He wants shared with His children….you are truly a blessing to us all!! With love, respect and prayer….me and thousands others!! xoxo

  47. 97
    Denise B says:

    I hated writing in school – but what has God called me to? Writing! It’s unbelievable what God has been up to in my life in the last three years. He is truly using my weakness for His glory. I have one book published – I did the self-publishing method. God has called me to write my story. It was grueling. I left it more times than not, but I finished a couple of weeks ago. I am waiting for the editing now. I will praise God for all He has done in and through me. I stand in amazement! Thanks for the encouragement Beth! As always, I will look forward to your new study!

  48. 98
    annette says:

    What a word from a poet, a painter of words, gifted with insight and His Wisdom and love. Your call is noble. Your dedication, admirable. Your obedience, so dear.

    I’ll be praying for you in this season, knowing the energy it requires and how the enemy attacks.

    I love, love, love words, and yours touch such deep places within me. Bless you, dear friend. You are most loved.

  49. 99
    GJ says:

    Beth – I read this late last night and it painted such beautiful pictures in my mind of you as a little girl that I could hardly stand it. And then your remembrances of pincurls, troll dolls, and Barbies stirred up my own little girl memories…we are of the same age/season.

    What a beautiful gifted writer you are – this is over to top. I’m just tickled with it and the response. Your generosity and ministry to others is so tender. I pray God will bless you and Melissa in this new venture and because you’ve been so sweet with this encouragment I believe the blessing will be returned to you.

    I for one cannot imagine ever being “worn out” over anything you write – for God has used you so greatly in my life.

    Have fun – be safe – and GIT HOME!

    Love, GJ

  50. 100
    Trinna says:

    Beth,

    Thank you for this! We love you dearly and pray for God to provide for all your and Melissa’s needs in this new adventure….of course, all the time knowing, He will do it!

    Trinna

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