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Archive for the ‘Writer’s Life’ Category

Faith rocks no backgroundSo don’t lose a minute in building
on what you’ve been given,
complementing your basic faith with
good character,
spiritual understanding,
alert discipline,
passionate patience,
reverent wonder,
warm friendliness,
and generous love,
each dimension fitting into
and developing the others.

2 Peter 1:5-7 MSG

Where are you at in your faith walk? Are you on a growing edge spiritually, or just kind of going through the motions?

 See that you go on growing in the Lord,
and become strong and vigorous
in the truth you were taught.
Colossians 2:7 TLB

Scripture also says, “Check up on yourselves. Are you really Christians? Do you pass the test? Do you feel Christ’s presence and power more and more within you?” (2 Cor. 13:5 TLB)

These are tough questions. Important questions, especially if you have been called to “write His answer.”

I’m praying you will take a day and a half apart from your normal routine to gather with other Christian writers at the new Write to Impact Lives Conference, February 9-10 in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. You’ll learn tons and make new friends. Most important of all, together we will be encouraged to go deeper in our walk with the Lord. Then, and only then, can we expect to “write so that eternity will be different.”

Those were the words my writing paper, Lee Roddy, used to challenge me and countless others through his many years of ministry. He’s now home with the Lord, but I know He is cheering me and you on.

Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.
Hosea 6:3 TLB

The price for the conference increases February 1, but please do not let the cost prevent you from coming. Ask Father to make the way possible. If friends, family, or your church are unable to help, ask me for scholarship help or time payments. Click here for more information and to register.

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Barb Haley apr 2016 croppedGuest blog from Barb Haley

Have you EVER done something impulsive and been SO GLAD afterward?

Years ago, I decided, on the spur of the moment, to attend a 3-day Christian writers’ conference.

I had nothing ready. I just wanted to learn how to write.

I wanted to run my ideas past seasoned authors and editors. I wanted someone to recommend the best books on the craft.  I wanted to meet writing friends I could stay in touch with between conferences. And, most of all, I wanted to know, for sure, that God was calling me to write.

Did I have to scrape to find enough money to cover my expenses? Sure. We had two kids in college at the time and normal family expenses. But my husband encouraged me to take a leap of faith, and I’ve never regretted it!

My first surprise was that every conference day began with worship and praise. In fact, that’s when I relaxed and realized I was at home with other believers. We were all at various levels of our writing journey, but it never mattered. The subject rarely even came up. And my meeting with faculty members? Wow. I learned SO much and headed home excited to apply all the information I’d gleaned.

Now, I want to encourage you to follow my lead! Click below to sign up for Write to Impact Lives Conference in Lansdale, PA, on Friday and Saturday, February 9-10.

http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/writetoimpactlivesnewconference

This shorter conference with a smaller faculty offers all the things I looked for at my first conference, but at a reduced price. Teaching tracks include Indie Publishing, Fiction, Nonfiction and Marketing. You also have the opportunity to meet individually with faculty members for twenty-minute sessions. Plenty of praise and worship. Fellowship with other writers. A great assortment of craft books and books written by faculty and conferees. Oh, and a lot of laughs!

God has given us each a specific message to carry to our world.

Will you do it? Trust me, you’ll never regret it. I’ll be there, and I hope to meet you, hug your neck, and support you in every way possible!

Blessings!

Barb Haley
Registrar – Write to Impact Lives Conference
haleybarb@yahoo.com

P.S. Please feel free to write if you have any questions.

And a P.S. from Marlene:

Barb continues to learn the craft of writing and I am so proud of her. Her latest books:

Lord Get Your Needle

 

Barb Christmas devotional

 

 

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Write from the DeepGuest post used with permission from Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young’s website, www.writefromthedeep.com.

Karen will keynote at the February 9-10 Write to Impact Lives Conference in Lansdale, PA. Her topic:

Write From The Deep
God’s call to us is clear: come away with Him, let His words sink deep into us first, then take His truths to the world. This session, based on Ezekiel 2:1-3:22, will challenge writers to go deep with God in their call and their craft, for it is in the Deep that writers find refreshment, renewal, and restored passion.

Erin will present a continuing session at the May 16-19 Colorado Christian Writers Conference on “Write From The Deep.” She says,

“In these interactive sessions, writers will be challenged to go deep with God in their call and their craft. We’ll explore what it means when God calls us to the deep, and we’ll see how God uses the deep to help us find our story, hone our message, and understand our audience. Finally, we’ll talk about how to equip ourselves to face down obstacles—external and internal.”

To view a list of the 58 agents, editors, and authors on faculty at the Colorado conference, click here.

And now, here is an excerpt from Karen and Erin’s podcast. I urge you to subscribe.

Did God Really Ask You to Write?

Have you ever sat back and wondered if you heard wrong about being a writer? If God really did give you the task to write, then why is it all so…difficult? Frustrating? Disappointing? And why isn’t He confirming that He gave you this task?

Most of us are doing this task of writing because we believe God has given it to us. So why do so many writers struggle with doubt? Why do we wonder if we really did hear God correctly? Or struggle to know what He’s leading us to do right now?

The good news is that you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon for writers to wonder if maybe they heard God wrong. Or to want, down the road, some sense of confirmation that God really said what they thought He did. . . .

This issue really isn’t about hearing God at all. It’s about knowing Him. As well as—or even better than—you know your closest friends and family. Think about it, when your best friend calls you on the phone, do you recognize his or her voice? Of course, because you know that person so well. You know the inflections in his words, the sound of her laughter and weeping. You know her as well as you know yourself. That’s how well you need to know God.

You have within you the very spirit of the living, Almighty God. If you don’t know Him, or His spirit, as well as you do your friends and family, you need to focus on getting to the point where you, the sheep, are so well acquainted with the Shepherd’s voice that your response to it is immediate. That the sense you have when He speaks is one of trust and obedience. And you don’t doubt that you heard it, because you know it too well to do so.

The way to hear God, to know it’s His voice speaking to you, is simply to take the time to build relationship with Him.

Doubt isn’t an issue of not hearing, it’s an issue of not knowing and, as a result, not trusting.

If you don’t really KNOW Him, then of course you’ll start to doubt that He put you on this path when it doesn’t go the way you think it should. The key is knowing, deep in the fabric of your soul, that how the journey goes isn’t a validation—or invalidation—of God’s call.

We’re called to follow a suffering Savior, so you can be sure there will be difficulties and suffering. But we endure because He’s there with us. And we don’t take a detour unless it’s clear, deep in our soul, that He is the one telling us to do so.

Click here to read on for solutions to doubt and much more.

 

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Obstacle # 4 – Self-doubts

This is a biggee for me and for most writers.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!

― Walter D. Wintle

The  bottom line? It’s normal to have self-doubts. In fact, it’s far better to doubt our abilities and thus, hopefully, to be teachable than to have an inflated ego.  But it’s critical that we not doubt the One who has called us and who promises:
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)

Nurturing our doubts not only can cause us to give up before we even begin, we grieve our Heavenly Father when we focus on our self-doubts rather than Him.

I’ve written a lot about self-doubts in my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers and on this blog. See my June 2013 post and the link you’ll find in it to an interview with best-selling author Joel Rosenberg and his battle with self-doubts.

Obstacle # 5 – Lack of fellowship with other writers

I will always be grateful for the pastor who paid the way for me to go to my first writers’ conference about 45 years ago. Little did I know that conference would change my life and lead to a 35 year ministry directing the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and 22 year ministry directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Both 2018 conferences are in the planning stages with registration scheduled to open February 1 for Philly and April 1 for Philly. I’ll begin posting info on the websites soon.

TCC ad 2018_Page_1

But a once-a-year conference isn’t enough! Check out the new day and a half Write to Impact Lives Conference February 9-10 in Lansdale, PA.

Feb banner

Beyond going to conferences, you need to be part of a critique group. A morning group meets one Thursday morning a month in my Lansdale home. An evening group for advanced writers also meets in my home every other Thursday evening. For info go to http://writehisanswer.com/critiquegroups. Sorry men. Both groups are for ladies only.

CWMG 2018
You’ll find info on critique groups around the nation in The Christian Writers Market Guide 2018. This 578-page must-have resource is available through the Write His Answer Bookstore for $19.99 (retail $22.99). It’s also available through a monthly subscription.

I also encourage you to subscribe to The Christian Communicator to keep your Market Guide updated and for helpful articles.

I’ve been writing for the Lord for 45 years, so I’ve got more obstacles to address and how to overcome them. That’s the key – not to be blindsided by them. We need to remember the Girl Scout motto, “Be prepared!”

Click here for a Goal Planning Chart that includes columns for expected obstacles and how you will overcome them along with Scripture promises to claim.

I’d love to hear what obstacles you are facing and to pray for you.

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Christmas tree lg 2017
Dear friends –

We are praising God for His presence in our lives during the blessings and challenges of 2017. He is so faithful!

A springtime blizzard in Colorado that dumped 41” of snow during the Colorado Christian Writers Conference was an unbelievable challenge. I’m so grateful many conferees heeded my email to come early and attend the Wednesday afternoon workshops free of charge before the roads were not passable.

The time pressures that go with directing the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conferences were more intense than ever thanks to events beyond my control.  A slow recovery from surgery prevented one of the Colorado keynoters from coming. I knew Father wanted me to bring the message. I’m grateful for the new handicapped bathroom at the Y where I hid Friday afternoon to prepare a rough outline and PowerPoint slides. As someone has said, “I could write a book.” Having directed over 50 conferences, I definitely have a lot to share. It’s on my never-ending to-do list!

Paul’s fishing trips resulted in several fish dinners this year. His help around the house and running errands enables me to be in full-time ministry.

We’re thankful to live within walking distance of our three grandkids – well, walking distance for them but not for us. It’s becoming obvious that I’m not going to be able put off the replacement of both knees much longer. Paul’s arthritis makes walking difficult for him too.

September 30 we brought home an eight-week-old puppy. Emmy is a Labradoodle and the most energetic and strong-willed puppy we have ever had. She is definitely keeping us and our nine-year-old Golden active.

Emmy & Lady & tree 2017

Our oldest daughter, Sharon, and her husband, Howard, are both finally getting disability benefits. Please pray for them and the health challenges they face daily.

Our son, Rob, Nicole, our daughter-in-law, and their two dogs moved out the same day we got Emmy. We miss them but are so happy they are  in a beautiful new home of their own.

Deb, Rob, and our three grandkids have had an exciting year of travel including two weeks in Europe.

As another year draws to a close may you know His peace and joy because He came and is coming again.

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Tug of war

As you prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, do you feel like you’re playing tug-of-war with conflicting priorities and all you need to get done?

Sadly, it’s all too easy to be so focused on our to-do lists (yes, I have more than one!) that we miss what’s most important.

Emmy, our four-month-old Labradoodle, is so full of energy and spunk. She is not intimidated by the fact that Lady, our 90-pound Golden, is three times her size. Emmy is focused on getting that toy, and when she does, on playing keep-away.

Of course, our lives are far more complicated. We don’t live to play, but we do need to pray to live – to really live in the center of God’s will.

Father, I pray for myself and my friends. Help us not to be intimidated by our to-do lists. Clearly show us what You want us to do and give us Your strength to do it. Keep us focused on what really matters  and determined not to squeeze You out of our busy lives. Give us Your peace and joy!


My Christmas gift to you . . .

I have just opened registration for the new Write to Impact Lives Conference February 9-10 in Lansdale, PA (just off the Lansdale exit of the east/west PA Turnpike). For published and not-yet-published authors this 1.5 day conference will give you the jumpstart you need to complete the book Father is calling you to write.

Feb banner

For more info go to
http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/writetoimpactlivesconference.

If you register by the end of the year, I’ll be glad to gift you with my book, Write His Answser – A Bible Study for Christian Writers, or James Watkins’ book, Communicate to Change Lives in Person and Print. Jim is one of our keynoters. He will also teach the continuing session,  “The Five Rs of Nonfiction.”

New WHA cover

Communicate Change Lives


And your gift to yourself . . .

I want to encourage you to save any monetary gifts you receive this Christmas to invest in the Colorado or Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.  Or ask your family to gift you with the conference.

There are presently 42 editors, agents, and authors on faculty for the May 16-19 Colorado Christian Writers Conference with more to be added. Held at the YMCA of the Rockies on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, why not rent a cabin and bring your family? By the end of the year I hope to begin updating the website. Registration will open February 1.

I’ve not yet begun planning the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. YES, the conference is continuing! I am praising God for the new location of Dock Mennonite Academy in Lansdale. Lodging at the Holiday Inn, just five minutes away, is $109 a night (plus tax). Share your room with one, two, or three writing friends and bring the cost down to $27, $36, or $55 a night. (We can help with roommate matching.) The new format of a 2.5 day conference (instead of 3.5 days) will also lower the cost both in time and money!

TCC ad 2018_Page_1.jpg

Have a blessed Christmas because He came and is coming again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

stay Focused retreat

 

 

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Doll
I found her today at a country fair and couldn’t resist buying her. She’s just the kind of doll I would have loved to have when I was a child. And she was only ONE dollar!

Yep, I’m entering my second childhood!

And on Friday I would have plopped down on the grass to play with five adorable puppies, but my knees said that’s NOT a good idea! Still it was such fun to watch my three grandkids cuddle the pups and help us choose little Emmy to become part of our family.

Erin & Emmie 2
Yes, we purchased an adorable
six-week-old labradoodle.

Yes, I know puppies are a lot of work. We’ve been there; done that. But with our son and daughter-in-law moving into a home of their own in two weeks (and taking their two dogs with them), our nine-year-old Golden Retriever would be as lonely as us.

Yes, I know I already have more to do each day than I can accomplish. But someone has said “All work and no play makes Jack [and me] dull” [and no fun to be around].

I think Jesus taught His disciples to play as well as to pray. I’ve often imagined Him and the disciples in the Jordan River splashing and dunking each other. I’m sure He had a wonderful sense of humor and a contagious laugh. And His arms always opened wide for the little ones who scrambled onto His lap.

I’m reminded of His words:

“Truly I tell you,
anyone who will not receive
the kingdom of God like a little child
will never enter it.”
Mark 10:15 (NIV)

Father, help me to recapture a childlike spirit that delights in the amazing world You have created. Thank You for grandkids and puppies and reminding me to take time to play.

What did you do this week just for fun?

Emmie 1

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helmet-of-salvation

Guest post from my dear friend, Laura. I encourage you to subscribe to her blog at dailyBibleprayer.com. To read about her journey click here. Laura will be serving on the staff of the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

Dear Father, “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” It seems some days are harder than others. If even one negative thought comes into my head, it can bring me down. I glumly mull it over and the thought generates an emotional response. Very easily other negative thoughts join in and pile up on each other till I am feeling discouraged

Quickly enough, discouragement heaps on even more ‘should have, would have, could haves’ until I am feeling out of control, overwhelmed and depressed and join with the psalmist in saying “Give light to my eyes or I will sleep in death”. In my own words, ‘Help me or I’ll just die.’

It is surprising how quickly simple thoughts can lead to anger, fear, frustration, until I am not only emotionally upset, but also experience a physical response which can leave me with a headache or feeling sick to my stomach. It impairs my judgment and my ability to function efficiently, whether at work or at home. I can’t even relate to people normally in my agitated condition.

“But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.”   You have already given me a wonderful solution to this problem. If only I would remember to use it!   The battle begins in my mind. And You have given me a piece of armor to protect my mind – the Helmet of Salvation.   It guards my thoughts and gives me the ability to take them captive and hold them up to Your truth. It also gives me the ability to understand and memorize Your truth so I have it at the ready when I need it.

Your truth can help me stop the flow of wrong and negative thoughts. The evil one uses these, preferring that I remain sidelined in discouragement and depression, unable to defend myself. He will use these kinds of half-truths and deceiving lies to mislead and condemn me. But when held up to the truth, they are shattered and scattered.

One way I can know if a thought comes from You, is that You convict whereas satan condemns. He would make me feel like a hopeless, dirty, rotten, sinner. You may correct me, but Your words lift me up, motivate and empower me to make the needed corrections. Your words generate hopefulness. His produce hopelessness.

Lord, remind me, to use this amazing gift! When a negative thought comes, prompt me to hold it up to Your truth immediately. Help me build into my memory an arsenal of truth from Your scriptures. When I memorize scripture I can use it to combat the lies seeking to discourage me and control my thinking. Then I can confidently deal with whatever truth You show me. “I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me!” Amen

Psalm 13:1-6

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We are pressed on every side by troubles,
but not crushed and broken.
We are perplexed because we don’t know why
things happen as they do,
but we don’t give up and quit.
2 Corinthians 4:8 TLB

What the apostle Paul and other early followers of Christ endured – what they endure today in nations where there is no freedom of religion – certainly wouldn’t make for an appealing help wanted ad.

We have been beaten, put in jail,
faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion,
stayed awake through sleepless nights of watching,
and gone without food.
2 Corinthians 6:5 TLB

Can you imagine being with him in an inner dungeon, sitting in filth, your feet clamped in stocks, rats nibbling at your toes, and your body in agony because of the beating you just received? Would you, would I, be singing hymns to the Lord? (See Acts 16:23-26.)

What if Paul had said, “I’ve had enough! I quit!” Who would blame him?

But he didn’t quit! And we must not either.

There is a way over, through, around the obstacles if we will

P R A Y 

P E R S E V E R E

and K E E P   O U R   E Y E S   O N   J E S U S who for the joy set before Him endured the cross  (Heb. 12:2).

I am convinced that Father is allowing obstacles in order to strengthen our faith muscles for the difficult days that are ahead as our nation slips farther and farther away from Him.

I have faced one obstacle after another preparing for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. I am praising God that one of the biggest obstacles has been overcome. I will be able to provide meals and lodging for late registrants and walk-ins. This is H U G E. With 47 to 71 conferees registering in the last two weeks, I’ve not known how we would feed them and find a bed for their head. But PTL that obstacle has been overcome!

So you can still register and purchase meals and lodging on campus. Although the price has increased, I am happy to offer you free of charge MP3s of my “Grow your Writing Ministry” seminar that I taught this March. The workshops include:

Grow Writing Ministry flyer without order form.pg.jpg

I am so excited about this seminar and about the new direction Father is taking GPCWC. Although the conference format is ending this year (a good reason not to miss coming), I believe the more affordable and focused events throughout the year will continue to encourage you to “write His answer.” The bottom line –

 

I’m NOT quitting or retiring!

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