Archive for the ‘Goal-setting’ Category

A new year is dawning. There is no bright sun breaking through the dense clouds here in the eastern United States. The same as Christmas Eve, it’s gloomy and raining. If only it was colder so the precip would change to snow – bright white snow transforming the barren landscape into a winter wonderland.

But I can’t control the weather or all that has happened in 2020 – my husband’s cancer, the coronavirus, the political and racial unrest that is tearing our nation apart . . .

Will 2021 bring a return to “normal”? I doubt it! Yet this I know, God is with us. He has not and will not abandon me or you. But we must choose to trust – my word for 2021.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

As I look to the new year ahead, I am more convinced than ever of the need to “write His answer.” I remain committed to do all I can to encourage and equip you to “write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives.” The ministry of the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference will continue, if not in person, than we’ll meet virtually.

What about you? If you attended one of the conferences in the past, did you make a commitment to “write His answer”? Have you kept that commitment, or do you need to renew it or make a new commitment? In faith will you seek His will and enabling to “begin the new year write”?

Have the “deadly Ds” of disappointments, doubts, and discouragement derailed your writing dreams? It’s time to dig deeper into God’s Word and read (or re-read) my Bible study for writers. Click here for excerpts. Order at a discount from https://writehisanswer.com/bookstore. Also available as an eBook on Amazon.

I just finished rereading your book Write His Answer for the third time and wanted you to know how much I appreciate your message. It continues to amaze me how I would read a chapter on a topic just when I needed it. God is good! And He is using you to encourage writers over and over again. Thank you for being His messenger. Jeanie Wise, Ohio

The hot-off-the-press 2021 Christian Writers Market Guide is a must-have resource for finding a place to sell what you are writing or locating an agent, an editor, a designer, a podcast, or a writing coach. This 482 page resource sells for $29.99, but through the Write His Answer Bookstore I am glad to make it available for $24.99 Your purchase is needed and appeciated. It will help with the ministry expenses that have continued even though the conferences did not take place in 2020.

Have you finished your book but have not (yet) been able to find a publisher? “For such a time as this” I believe God has provided the technology to go indie. While there are numerous companies you can pay to publish your book, I encourage you to build a team and do as much of the process as possible yourself. Everyone needs an editor, but you can learn how to typeset your manuscript and even design your cover or use a service such as Fiverr or 99 Designs. My “Grow Your Writing Ministry” seminar will talk you through the steps. And here are just a few helpful books available at the Write His Answer Bookstore.

Have you worked hard to get your book in print only to discover it’s even harder to sell it? Or maybe you’ve been approaching agents and publishers with your yet-to-be published book but you lack the “platform” for them to be interested. How can you build your platform and still find time to write? Is it even possible? Here are just a few of the books I recommend that you’ll find at the Write His Answer Bookstore.

Perhaps your writing project seems too big, too overwhelming, and you’re feeling stuck. Writing your testimony or a personal experience story is a good place to begin, and the audio workshops that accompany the book below provide “incredible storytelling secrets so that the stories of your life can make a lasting impact.” – Linda Evans Shepherd, best selling author and founder of AWSA (Advanced Writers & Speakers Association).

“Few have Marlene’s experience to teach writers and give them the tools they need to Write His Answer and to do it so well. These are practical items even experienced writers need reminding of, such as: have a clear focus, stay close to the Lord, search for truth, reflect (and journal) on your life experiences, stay humble, know your audiences—all of this to remind us that we, as believers in the Lord Jesus, are called to write His answer to those with so many questions. Written conversationally, this book invites you to take part in the work with a ready pen. ” Eva Marie Everson – Bestselling author; President, Word Weavers Int’l.

We’re likely to face continued challenges in the coming year. Jesus never promised it would be easy to follow Him, but He has promised always to be with us. Father, help us to keep our eyes on Jesus, to trust You, and to “write Your answer.”

God is our refuge and strength,
a tested help in times of trouble.
And so we need not fear . . .
Psalm 46:1-2 TLB

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Every year in the closing session of the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference I encourage conferees (faculty and staff too) to make a commitment to complete in a year what they believe God is calling them to write.

It’s the challenge Lee Roddy gave his class at the St. David’s Christian Writers Conference over 40 years ago. Father had nudged me to join Lee’s continuing session on writing fiction after I heard him keynote Sunday evening. I didn’t understand why since I don’t write fiction, but I’m so glad I listened.

Not only did I learn how essential it was to use fiction skills in the personal experience story I was writing, I needed Lee’s challenge to get it finished. PTL I did. Not early, but not late. A year to the day I completed the book and mailed it to a publisher who had shown interest at the conference.

And then the waiting began! And the rejection slips. But my writing papa, Lee, who is now home with the Lord, encouraged and sometimes scolded me to persevere.

How Our Family Coped with Incest was returned by 42 publishers during the next six years. The book that no one wanted to publish is my testimony to how God enabled us to care for my half-sister who came to live with us when she was not quite fourteen because her father, my step-father, had been sexually abusing her.

Finally, at the end of those six long years I met a publisher at the St. David’s conference. He called me three months after the conference to offer me a contract.

I’m convinced that if I had not responded to Lee’s challenge and kept the commitment I made in his class the book would never have been finished much less published. After being out of print about 37 years, I reprinted it last January through my indie publishing house, Ampelos Press. I also seriously doubt I’d still be writing today much less directing two Christian writers conferences.

Because Father enabled me to not give up (although I certainly came close many times), for 36 years at the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, 23 years at the Colorado conference, and at the 50 plus seminars I’ve taught around the nation I’ve always given the Lee Roddy challenge.

What I’ve not done as faithfully as I intend to do, is provide the resources to help writers keep their commitment. Well, that’s not totally true. I blog, although it’s been, yikes, a month. And “Making It Happen,” a chapter from my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers (Lee wrote the foreword and said “this book can change your life) is on my website along with the Goal Planning Chart below. (Click here to download it as a PDF.)

But Father is convicting me that I need to follow my own advice. Today I have made a commitment to focus on the “practical preparation” of sharpening my writing skills by making time to listen to the workshops and continuing sessions from this year’s GPCWC. I’ve spent the last two days uploading 75 MP3s (with 9 more to come) to the conference website (click here).

I want to challenge you to join me in this exciting learning opportunity. Using the honor system you can purchase sessions at $4.00 each (for 7 or more, only $3.50 each) and download them or listen to them online. You’ll also find links to the handouts, if any.

Friends, let’s commit to grow our writing ability. Let’s listen and learn so we will be better equipped to “write His answer.”

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This year I will

I confesss – I did not make any new year resolutions! But then I haven’t made any for many years. Why? Because I know I’m better at breaking resolutions than making them.

I do believe in goal-setting. Why? Because goals are something that require me to work to make them happen.

Dreaming instead of doing is foolishness,
and there is ruin in a flood of empty words.
Ecclesiastes 5:7 TLB

Setting and reaching goals also increases my dependence on the Lord for I’ve learned that without His help I will surely fail.

I especially need His help to identify and overcome the obstacles that will defeat me if I allow them to.

Obstacle #1 – Not enough time
“When we say we don’t have time, we’re not stating a fact but a priority,” Dwight Robertson said in a keynote at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference a number of years ago. What is fact is that we all get 24 hours in a day – no more and no less. We don’t find time, we make time for what is most important to us. But . . .

Obstacle #2  – Procrastination
Someone has said,

Procrastination is a sin
It brings me so much sorrow
I know I should stop doing it
I think I’ll start tomorrow!

But why do we choose to put off until tomorrow what we should do today? Click here for the answer in my article, “Overcoming Procrastination.”

Obstacle #3 – Time-Wasters
For me, and more than likely for you, too, one of the biggest time wasters is my computer that is supposed to save me time! Beyond the unexplained glitches that always seem to occur when I’m on deadline, I’m increasingly frustrated by  technology that keeps advancing faster than I can keep up. I’ve often said, if only someone would sit down with me for an hour and walk me through the stuff I can’t figure out . . .

I’m glad that in my effort to find the bottom of my inbox I didn’t delete this email from Udemy. I hadn’t heard of them, but their well-written email offering online courses worth as much as $200 for only $10.99 compelled me to view sample lessons. The price break is only good for nine more days, so I encourage you to check them out.  This tutorial especially captured my attention:

WordPress for Beginners 2016 – Perfect for authors & bloggers
Seven video hours of 77 lectures without any technospeak!

Check tomorrow’s post for more obstacles and how to overcome them. And be sure to “Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor” (Hebrews 12:2 TLB).

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pen-calendar-to-do-checklistDo you make New Year’s resolutions? I used to, but I found that I broke them as quickly as I made them. The result? It was all too easy to become discouraged and give up.

So…I changed my approach and set goals instead of made resolutions. That’s not a bad thing to do. As someone has said, “Aim at nothing and that’s exactly what you will achieve.” Still goal-setting can also bring me to a place of frustration. It’s often difficult for me to determine whether my God-sized goal is really what He wants me to do.

Yes, I know that “his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Eph. 3:20 TLB). But the key, I believe, is in praying for His will and surrendering our desires, thoughts, and hopes to Him. It is asking, “Father, what do You want me to do in this new year? What do You want me to do today?”

What might the Lord do in my life and yours if daily we chose to make our first priority that of “obeying God with deep reverence, shrinking back from all that might displease him” (Phil. 2:12)?

What if we allowed Him to be Lord of our to-do lists and did what He wants us to do rather than asking Him to “bless” what we want to do?

What if we made a habit of asking, “What would Jesus do?” and then did it? Is this really possible for people who are goal-oriented and strong-willed? (Okay, stubborn is probably a more accurate word!)

“For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants” He promises in Philippians 2:13 (TLB). Wow! That’s a promise I long to grab hold of today and each day of the coming new year!

New WHA cover
This book can change your life.
It not only gives ongoing encouragement
to respond to God’s call to write,
but helps you keep on writing.

Lee Roddy, Best Selling Author

In print 25 years, several free chapters at
http://bit.ly/2h1qgs2 and ordering info.
Only $10 plus shipping. It is also available
as an eBook through Amazon.com.

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Think Big3This spring I had the joy of keynoting at the Stay Focused Writers’ Retreat in New Jersey. The theme of the retreat was “Think Big” based on Dr. Ben Carson’s book, Think Big, written with my good friend, Cec Murphey. I highly recommend this book and Gifted Hands, also written with Cec, and the movie, Gifted Hands.

I began my message with this powerful promise:

Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. – Ephesians 3:20 TLB

In my keynote I identified a baker’s dozen of attitudes and actions that hinder or help us to think big.

1. Failing to cut old tapes. – “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 TLB).

2. Listening to the wrong voices. – “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:4 NASB)

3. Self-centered rather than God-and-other-centered focus! – “Look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had” (Phil. 2:4-5 TEV).

4. Lack of vision. – “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18 KJV).

5. Failure to set specific and measurable goals. – “We should make plans – counting on God to help us” (Prov. 16:9 TLB).

6. Allowing disappointments to derail us. – “No one who believes in Christ will ever be disappointed” (Rom. 10:11 TLB).

7. Sinking in the sea of doubts. – “But I’m not the person for a job like that” (Ex. 3:11 TLB).

8. Falling victim to discouragement. – “He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you” (Zeph. 3:17 TLB).

9. Procrastinating instead of persisting. – “Dreaming instead of doing is foolishness, and there is ruin in a flood of empty words” (Eccl. 5:7 TLB)

Instead we need to:

10. Draw near to the Promise Giver and Keeper. – “When you draw close to God, God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and let your hearts be filled with God alone to make them pure and true to him” (James 4:8 TLB).

11. Stay in the Word. – The whole Bible “is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone” (2 Tim. 3:17 TLB).

12. Get to work. – “Be strong and courageous and get to work. Do not be frightened by the size of the task, for the Lord my God is with you; he will not forsake you. He will see to it that everything is finished correctly” (1 Chron. 28:20 TLB).

Run13. Put on the armor and commit to what He is calling you to do – NOW! – “So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I fight to win. I’m not just shadow-boxing or playing around” (1 Cor. 9:26 TLB).

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

Banner 2015 GPCWC

It’s not too late to register for the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philliy Christian Writers Conference. A $15 late fee will automatically be added to your online registration on Thursday, July 23, so do it now. That’s a great motto for writers!

It’s also not too late to request free one-on-one appointments with our facuty of 53 authors, editors, agents, and publicists, but after July 22 you’ll need to schedule your appointments when you arrive. Appointments are 15 minutes long and give you the opportunity to pitch your idea to editors and agents and/or get helpful suggestions from professional authors.

I hope to see you there!

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2015 words


Yesterday, with permission from AssistNews.net, I posted a thought-provoking article by Carol Round, “How One Word Can Change Your Life.” In the midst of a long end-of-year to-do list, I made time to do what she suggested. I tried to pick just one word, but two words kept coming to mind: trust and obey.


Blessings on all who reverence and trust the Lord—
on all who obey him!
Psalm 128:1 TLB

I long to be blessed to be a blessing. As Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries says, “God’s blessings to us are not meant to end with us. His desire is that they filter down to others.”

But that can only happen as I choose to trust and obey.

I’m reminded of the hymn, “Trust and Obey,” written more than a century ago by John Sammis.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

I love the story behind this hymn. Share Faith says, “In 1887, just following an evangelistic meeting held by Dwight L. Moody, a young man stood to share his story in an after-service testimony meeting. As he was speaking, it became clear to many that he knew little about the Bible or acceptable Christian doctrine. His closing lines, however, spoke volumes to seasoned and new believers alike: I’m not quite sure. But I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey.”

I’m often “not quite sure” how to manage the workload of directing the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference as well as my writing and speaking ministry and ministry to other writers as a publisher, editor, and mentor. And I must not overlook the most important roles God has given me as a wife, mom, grammy, and friend.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and even fearful. I’ll be seventy years old January 10. Yikes, how have that many years flown by so quickly? I need to trust the Lord for physical strength and mental clarity to obediently do what He calls me to do.

Father, please help me choose to
trust and obey.
Day by day,
“May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly.”*

What word (or words) have you chosen to focus on in 2015?

*A prayer ascribed to the 13th-century English bishop Saint Richard of Chichester.


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Reprinted below, with permission, is a thought-provoking article. I encourage you to join me in choosing one word to focus on in the coming year. I’ll share mine in another blog.

ASSIST News Service (ANS) – PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA

Visit our web site at: www.assistnews.net — E-mail: assistnews@aol.com

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Matter of Faith
How One Word Can Change Your Life

By Carol Round

Special to ASSIST News Service

CLAREMORE, OK (ANS) — “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”—John 1:1 (NIV).


Illustration from myoneword.org

If you’ve never made a New Year’s resolution, you’re in the minority. However, we all have one thing in common—time. In an article for “Pulpit Helps,” author Steven B. Cloud wrote, “As we look into a New Year, we look at a block of time. We see 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds.  And all is a gift from God.”

Our lives have become so busy, yet we add to the burden each New Year by making a list of
resolutions that most of us will fail to accomplish—quit smoking, lose weight and get healthy or save more money. This is just a partial list but some of the more popular ones. That’s why we see so many advertisements promoting products and gyms to help us accomplish our goals. Stroll through the aisles of a bookstore and you’ll find so many self-help books, it’ll make you go cross-eyed with confusion.

One book, however, has the power to change your life. The Bible is filled with words of wisdom and encouragement. In Luke 11:28, Jesus says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Pastor Mike Ashcraft

Pastor Mike Ashcraft

In January 2007, Pastor Mike Ashcraft challenged his congregation to ditch their New Year’s resolutions and each pick one word to focus on that year. Embracing this new idea to approaching personal change and spiritual growth, church members realized the simple plan is more effective than making an overwhelming list of resolutions each year. Why? Called God’s instruction book for life, the Bible addresses every aspect of our lives—spiritually, physically, emotionally and financially.

Because we lead busy lives, we tend to focus on the surface-level of issues, forgetting God has numbered our days. Trying to manage our lives and our time, we fail miserably because we haven’t taken the time to seek God’s wisdom. Ultimately, says Pastor Ashcraft, that’s what the “My One Word” project is all about.

Willpower and self-effort only get us so far. When we’re overwhelmed with a long list, it’s even more difficult to achieve lasting change. That’s why, according to Ashcraft, the One-Word project works.

To choose a word for 2015, Ashcraft suggests asking the following questions:

1. What kind of person do I want to become this year?
2. What drives my desire to be this kind of person?
3. What characteristics define this type of person? Make a list.
4. Reduce your list to 10 words or less, research those words using a dictionary and Bible.
5. Choose one word from your list as your word for the year.
6. Choose a Bible verse that speaks to you about your chosen word and memorize it. This will provide a foundation of truth you can continually return to and will fuel your hope to change.
7. What initial expectations do you have regarding the impact of your word?

One word can change your life when it is grounded in faith.

Carol Round

Carol Round

Carol Round is a syndicated columnist, author, and speaker, who is available to speak at women’s events or to lead prayer journaling workshops. She has been writing her weekly column, “A Matter of Faith,” after retiring from a 30-year teaching career in 2005. Her five books include three collections of her columns: “A Matter of Faith,” “Faith Matters” and “By FAITH Alone.” In 2012, Westbow Press released her book, “Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God,” with the companion workbook, “The 40-Day Challenge.” All of Carol’s books are available through www.Amazon.com or by contacting the author through ww.carolaround.com. For information on becoming a subscriber to “A Matter of Faith” for your newspaper or magazine, please contact Carol at carolaround@yahoo.com. Readers who wish to receive her weekly column by email may contact her through the same address.

See all ASSIST News articles atwww.assistnews.net

This story is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of the ASSIST News Service or ASSIST Ministries.

** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
Send this story to a friend.


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Crocus in the snowFaith Is . . .

I knew my snowdrops (flowers not flakes) were there, somewhere, buried under the blanket of snow that had covered the ground for months. After the thirteen snowstorms we’ve had this winter (I think there were thirteen – I lost count!), I am so ready for spring.

Yesterday I took advantage of the almost 60 degree weather to work in my garden. Sure enough, poking through the snow were my snowdrops and, amazingly, they were already in bloom.

Today, the temperature is again below freezing. A bitter cold wind is gusting to 30 MPH. It’s a day to curl up in my recliner and dream about springtime as I leaf through catalogs that have been arriving almost daily. It is definitely not a day to be outside gardening.

I’m reminded of a familiar Scripture. “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead” (Heb. 11:1 TLB).

Years ago I paraphrased this verse for writers:

Now faith is the assurance
of the acceptances we hope for,
the proof of acceptances
we do not yet see,
And the conviction of their coming reality—
faith perceiving as
future fact that which is
not yet revealed when we go to the mailbox.

Does that mean everything we write will be published? Of course not. Hebrews 11:1 is not a blank check we simply sign for anything we want. And “dreaming instead of doing is foolishness, and there is ruin in a flood of empty words” (Eccl. 5:7 TLB). But if we seek first His Kingdom, if we match our faith with hard work, and if we “don’t get discouraged and give up,” Galatians 6:9 says “we will reap a harvest of blessing” (TLB).

We can’t rush the process any more than we can rush the coming of spring. But we can choose to keep our priorities in order and to rely on His promises. “Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him, and he will respond to us as surely as the coming of dawn or the rain of early spring” (Hosea 6:3 TLB).

Updates – May 14-17 Colorado Christian Writers Conference

Early registration deadline – At 12:01 am EST, March 16, the price for those registering online will automatically increase. I do not create the registration form and, therefore, cannot extend the date as I’ve been known to do in the past.  But since we’re only three registrations away from the first 75 who will receive an additional free appointment, I can extend an additional free appointment to everyone who registers before March 16.

Roy Hanschke use this oneSpeaker’s Clinic with Roy Hanschke Every writer needs to be a speaker, too. If you’ve been avoiding the challenge to begin the speaking part of your ministry or need to improve what you’re already doing, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss. Roy has trained and coached beginning and seasoned speakers for over 15 years. He is also a 20-year (plus) veteran in Christian radio in Denver, Colorado. His morning show is heard at 910AM and worldwide on streaming audio at www.AM91.org. Roy  will help you 1) discover your ministry focus and how to talk about it (power statements), 2) organize one of your talks to maximize time and effectiveness (message development), 3) present your talk with power and pizzazz (voice personality), and 4) market your message through radio (media mania). In this clinic you’ll have an opportunity to test what you learn and receive helpful evaluation from Roy and seven of your peers. For more information and the application that needs to be submitted by April 1 go to http://colorado.writehisanswer.com/clinics.    

Updates – July 30–August 2 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference

DickBrusoPhoto_014ret-2Focus on faculty member Dick BrusoAn international speaker, author, and founder of Heard Above The Noise®, Dick is a highly regarded branding and marketing expert. His clients include best-selling authors and in-demand speakers. He is an active member of the National Speakers Association (NSA) and served as the Chair of the NSA Writers & Publishers Professional Experts Group for 2009-2010 and as the Chair of the NSA National Academy for Professional Speaking for 2011-2012. Dick will teach a special two-hour workshop on “Creating a Best-Seller Brand: The Inside Secrets Every Author Needs to Know!

More information on GPCWC’s 60 workshops and 3 clinics coming soon. Visit the website for descriptions of our 8 continuing sessions. Online registration opens April 1.

News You Can Use

Writing opportunityBecause 2013 GPCWC faculty member Ann Knowles believes that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, she is currently accepting submissions for a book about miracles. The book will contain commentary about miracles from the Old Testament, the New Testament and miracles of today. If you have a miracle story, contact Ann for more information. annknowles03@aol.com.

Two Ingredients for Success –  Impatient not just for spring but for a publishing breakthrough? Check out what Literary agent, Karen Ball, has to say in a recent blog.

Keep writing His answer and trusting His timing!

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Procrastination is a sin;
it brings me endless sorrow.
I know I should stop doing it.
I think I’ll start tomorrow!

No doubt you’ve seen this poem or something similar. I checked the Internet to attribute it and found 4,390 entries! Obviously procrastination is a hot topic that, like the old game of hot potato, we quickly toss (pass the blame) to someone or something else. Really, isn’t it easier to blame someone else for causing us to procrastinate or to move to another task to avoid doing the thing(s) we know we need to do?

While no one is immune from procrastination, I think writers are especially prone. I’m not pointing an accusing finger at you – I’m pointing it at myself. Despite the chapter on “Overcoming Procrastination” that I wrote for my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers, I struggle with procrastination as much or perhaps more than others. How else could I have written that chapter? I’m an expert! If you’re curious about what I’m learning (but sadly not always applying), click here to read the chapter online.

I especially struggle with procrastination when it comes to planning the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conferences. I know Father has entrusted these conferences to me. Watching Him work and do Ephesians 3:20 things each year (it’s now 31 years for Philly and 17 for Colorado) is one of my greatest joys. It’s just the getting started that’s hard. Well, okay, the entire process is hard! I know I’ll face computer challenges and overwhelming to-do lists and time pressures that will stretch me far beyond my abilities, my limited IQ (it’s amazing how stupid my computer can make me feel), my wisdom, my strength . . .

And that’s the problem! I procrastinate when I focus on me – on my self-doubts and feelings of inadequacy rather than trusting the Lord to enable me to do what I can never do on my own. Although the world says dependency on anyone or anything but ourselves is weakness, like the apostle Paul I’d rather embrace my weaknesses knowing that “when I am weak, then I am strong – the less I have, the more I depend on him” (2 Cor. 12:10 TLB). God-confidence is far better than self-confidence!

Will you ask the Lord what He wants you to do – to write – this year? And will you then commit to do it in His strength and for His glory?

P.S. The website for the May 14-17 Colorado Christian Writers Conference is now updated with the 2014 faculty and continuing sessions. Lots more info coming soon. The website for the July 30-August 2 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference still has 2013 info but I can tell you that Cec Muphey will be on faculty. I hope you’ll visit again, pass the URL on to friends, and save the date! There’s still lots of work to do but as Aristotle said, “Well begun is half done.” I’m excited and hope you will be too.

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Will this be the year that the hopes and dreams you have for your writing are realized? Ecclesiastes 5:7 says, “Dreaming instead of doing is foolishness, and there is ruin in a flood of empty words” (TLB). Therefore, at the beginning of a new year it’s wise to ask ourselves, “What am I going to do to make it happen?”

There is no better way to begin the new year or each new day than to “press on to know the Lord” (Hos. 6:3 TLB). Only through waiting on Him (Hab. 2:1) will we know what He is calling us to write and be encouraged and equipped to persevere.Just as we need to “go on growing in the Lord” (Col. 2:7 TLB), we need to keep growing our writing skills. We need to “work hard so God can say to [us], ‘Well done’” (2 Tim. 2:15 TLB). My mother used to say, “Practice makes perfect.” While we are not likely to achieve perfection, there is no better way to develop our ability with words than to practice – daily!

“Follow my example, just as I follow Christ’s,” the apostle Paul said (1 Cor. 11:1 TLB). Are there other writers whose example you are striving to follow? Even if you may never meet them face to face, you can learn from them by studying what they have written and listening to workshops they have taught. Because I believe this is so important,

CDs from the 2010 Colorado
and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conferences
are available at 50% off the normal price of $6 each
for all of January.

For every five CDs purchased, you get one additional CD free. The 2010 info is still posted on the conference websites (see below). The Philadelphia website has a CD order form. For Colorado CDs you’ll need to email me at mbagnull@aol.com the titles of what you’d like to order (for workshops please include the workshop number/letter) and I’ll send them along with an invoice. Shipping is only $1.50 for the first CD and .35 for each additional CD.

Finally, I hope you’ll plan to come to the May 11-14 Colorado and/or the August 10-13 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Both conferences will again feature a faculty of over 50 professional authors, editors, agents, and publicists; earlybird workshops on Wednesday; 8 continuing sessions; plus 42 workshops or 4 hands-on clinics! ALSO – 4 (yes, FOUR) free one-on-one 15-minute appointments with the faculty of your choice if you attend the entire conference plus a BONUS fifth appointment for the first 50 registrants.

Next week I will begin posting info to the conference websites. Our 16-page brochure for the Colorado conference should be in your hands the first week of February if you’re on our mailing list. It also will be posted on www.writehisanswer.com/Colorado before online registration opens February 1.

Registration for the August 10-13 Philly conference will open April 1.

Thank You, Father, for the gift of this new year and for the opportunities to serve You through the ministry of words. Help us to “be strong and courageous and get to work” (1 Chron. 28:20 TLB).

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