Friday, March 28, 2014

Sometimes You Just Have to Write for You

There are times in life that short of the world's most impending deadline, you need to put away whatever you feel like you "should" write and pick up something that you're writing only for you. There are a few possible reasons for this--sometimes you're too stressed and need a break. Sometimes you need to be reminded that writing isn't always "work." Sometimes you just need to be creative.

And sometimes you need to write a story that stirs something inside you, so that God can use it to heal the hurting places deep in your heart. That's where I am right now.

What I meant to be working on in March probably won't be done until mid-April. It's still a story I'm passionate about, but I've put it away for now to write...well, I'm not sure what.

Doesn't that sound weird? I have no idea what this story is about.

I have vague story shadows in my mind, pieces of ideas that I think would come together into a wonderful story if only I could coax them to connect to each other in some way that makes sense.

Right now honestly? I'm not sure I can write the story I'm writing. Maybe I can't finish it. Maybe even if I do no one else will want to read it.

Maybe I'm just supposed to write the first few chapters, just for me. Because I have a feeling that my main character, who is running from her own hurts, has places in her heart that feel like mine does sometimes right now. And I think that if nothing else, God is using her to teach me about myself. And using the power of story to heal.

Because He can use things like that.

But you have to step away from your "plan" sometimes long enough to let Him.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A genie, a wish, and a guarantee....

Once upon a time...

An aspiring author found a little golden lamp.

She rubbed the lamp.

And a genie floated out.

"Good news!" The genie dangled a set of silver skeleton keys from his wispy blue fingers as smoke billowed about. "These are the keys to the publishing industry! Your wish is my command. You are guaranteed that one novel that you write will be published and become a best seller."

So, aspiring author - what would you write?

Your project is guaranteed to be published and be a hit, with zero influence from the industry or an editor or an agent - you get free rein to write the story and the genre you choose for instant success....what is it? :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Staying Motivated

It’s been wintery-mixing outside for three days. 

And by wintery-mixing, I mean wow-the-sunlamp’s-been-plugged-in-for-six-hours-and-I-still-can’t-tie-my-shoes-wintery-mixing.

It’s days like today when I have to find my core motivation. I lined up the babysitter; the words need to fall into place. 

What helps YOU find your groove?

Here are a few things that help me:

-Music (no lyrics for me; for some reason words mix up my thought process).

-Sunlamp (you thought I was kidding).

-GIANT mug of coffee/tea. Not both at the same time. But preferably both at some time.

My BIGGEST motivation, however, is people. When I think about the teens I’m writing for, there’s automatically a spark. 

And that’s something no wintery-mix can take away... as long as the sun lamp doesn’t run out of batteries.


Bekah is a national speaker and the author of The Bare Naked Truth: Dating, Waiting & God’s Purity Plan (Zondervan, 2013). Most of all, she’s Ethan’s wife and Zoey’s mom.

Friday, March 14, 2014

What is it You're Avoiding?

Sorry for my absence these last couple weeks, y'all! Somehow Friday always disappears so quickly. I think I'm still getting into the swing of this stay at home/work at home mom thing. Can I claim that even though it's been over a year?

I'm taking a quick break from what I'm working on today, because I'm in the middle of hammering out my "wow-this-is-awful" version of the synopsis for my next story. Thankfully I think my inner editor is still down with the cold that has been bothering my family this week, so she's keeping her mouth shut while I write sentences that would make her cringe usually but that get the point across so I can edit it and make it pretty later. I made this my goal today because I've been procrastinating this synopsis. I don't know why. I LOVE writing. I LOVE my editor asking what I'm sending her next. But this thing has been hard to write.

I feel like I'm in some kind of confession. Hi, my name's Sarah...


And I'm making decent progress so far, which made me smile just now and think "wow, I feel so much more like a writer when I actually get writing done!"

Haha. I know, right?

But I don't think it's just writing, I think it's knowing that THIS is the thing I've been procrastinating, and refusing to let it hang over my head anymore, that's making me feel kind of victorious today.

So I want you to get to share the Friday Victorious Feeling kind of excitement. What is it you've been avoiding? Even if you've worked on something every day this week (yay!) is there another project, a synopsis, edits, that you've been ignoring and hoping they'll just go away? What is it that you feel like you need to work on but you just can't quite convince yourself to do it? Here's my challenge for you today. Five minutes. Give that thing five minutes of your time and even if you quit when five minutes is up, I think you'll still get a sense of accomplishment for tackling it to some degree today.

Okay, ready? Go do it! And if you get a chance, share what it was in the comments. =) Feel free to leave a note with any other questions/topics you want to discuss. You know we always love inspiration!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fill in the blank

Fill in the blank:

I can't write today because ____________.

"I have to babysit"
"I have to work"
"I'm too tired"
"My house is a hot mess"
"I'M a hot mess"
"I'm scared of failing"
"I'm scared of succeeding"
"I suck at writing"
"My story sucks"
"I'm too busy"

Let's talk about this - because whatever your reason is, it's a legit reason to you, so it matters. And maybe if we converse about them, we can help each other :)

I'll go first.

"I can't write today because I'm so incredibly totally brain dead from the 90895068590 things floating around in my head, that used to have a brain, and now is questionable mush."


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The big psych-out, and how it can help your writing career

I just witnessed my niece and nephew pull off a more secretive operation than the FBI has attempted in years.
The three-year-old was in a horrible mood... so the older two brushed their teeth, put on their pajamas, and crawled in their beds... only to get up three minutes later when she’d fallen asleep due to peer pressure.

At the risk of sounding crass, sometimes we too have to live by the old adage: “Fake it ‘til you make it.”

I’m not telling you to lie about your writing credentials. But if you want to be considered a professional writer, you need to look like one.

In person. On paper. In experience.

Going to a conference for the first time? Please don’t put on the ratty jeans or the butt-cheeky dress for your editor meeting. (This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve seen this.)

Turning in a proposal? Please have someone professionally edit it. Not just for grammar, but for content. (If you’re looking for some great names, I know some amazing people in the business who’ve helped me in the past. I do not get any kind of price-cut for recommending them. But they are worth every last dollar. And I did spend my last dollar.)

Building your credentials?

I think Jesus was onto something when He said to be faithful in the small things. Whether it’s a small-town newspaper article or church bulletin announcement, put 100% effort into it. You’ll be amazed at what doors those smaller publications open for you. Eventually you can put in your proposals, “Published over ____ times...”

And pretty soon, you'll find yourself psyched out by your own credentials... while you watch your self-confidence hurtle you into the next amazing step of your career.


So what about you? What advice would you give about faking it ‘til you’re making it?


Bekah Hamrick Martin is a Zondervan author and national speaker, who is honored to still write for the small-town newspaper that first believed in her.

Monday, March 3, 2014

And the winner is..... :)

And the winner from Alicia's giveaway last week is.....



Rebekah, please contact Alicia with your email or contact info so you guys can work out the details of getting you your prize.

Thanks to all who entered! And have a happy Monday!