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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Release Day and the Writing Process

Today is the wonderful day that I get to share my book with the world. It’s exciting and scary, and reminds me of the day when my children  first went to school. Emotions, both happy and sad, accompany me. And God blesses me to remember the journey and celebrate His wonderful gift.

People ask me all of the time about my writing process. I’ve been asked to teach writing classes and critique manuscripts. Each time the opportunity is presented I always reply, “I can’t teach others to write books. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.”

As the author of three published books, I’m sure they wonder about my statement. Perhaps it appears that I don’t want to help others or that I do have a secret I’m just not willing to share. I don’t know how my thoughts and feelings turn into a book, but I have decided to share my method.

It’s writing day. I have set aside the whole day to devote to my newest masterpiece. Before I create the next bestseller, I should probably check my email. Oh, I have new message on Facebook. Of course I need to check it. While I’m there I should probably scroll through my newsfeed, look at pictures, and interact with my family and friends for a moment. Then I see a status directed from Twitter, which reminds me to check my account. An hour later, I have successfully networked with all of my media sites.

Now, it’s time to write. I open my word document and stare at the blank screen. It intimidates me. I take a few deep breaths and reach for my coffee cup, only to find it empty. I go in search of a steaming cup of coffee only to realize the laundry is piled up. Well, I can definitely do laundry while I’m writing—it’s called multitasking. I throw the clothes in the washer, go back to my desk, look at the blank screen, and start typing.

Thirty minutes later, I delete everything recorded and decide to go to the bathroom, which reminds me I need to scrub my toilets. How could I possibly write a book when my toilets need to be cleaned? After that chore it completed, my clothes are ready for the dryer. When I sit back down in my chair, I realize it has been awhile since my email was checked. After I have successfully wasted another hour, the blank screen mocks me.

Then the realization that I don’t have a clue what I’m doing emerges, and I feel so incompetent. I don’t know how to write anything to help anyone. But that’s what I want to do—help others. So I try, and try, and then try again.

I pray and ask God to guide me. I want to write books to glorify Him. I listen for the still small voice that encourages me to write from my heart.

Inside of me is a story that no one else can write. It is mine and a gift from God. Our experiences, trials and tribulations, success and ability to defy the odds, are what inspires and encourages other hearts. I write with prayers and an abundance of tears, laughter and smiles. I record my thoughts and feelings, first for me, and then for others. I write many versions of the same book, and dig deep within myself until I feel there is nothing left for me to give.

I ask God to allow my book(s) to help at least one person, and the first person helped is always me. I learn from the process and from opening my heart and mind. Each time God rewards me with a beautiful gift for my efforts.  

He is a wonderful paymaster!

Today, I remember the struggle and joy of creating a book. While I don't know the exact formula, I’m so thankful God blesses me to write for Him and His glory.

Below, in bold letters, is my favorite part from “Zippy’s Big Difference”. The power and emotion in these words humble me. It reminds me we all have a purpose and a choice.

For a moment, Zippy wanted those black stripes. He wanted to be normal just like everyone else. But then he also wanted all of the beautiful things that God had planned, just for him.

I hope you will allow Zippy and I to share our story with you. I hope you will invite us into your home and heart. Most of all, I hope you will be inspired and blessed by the difference God put inside of you.



Friday, January 18, 2013

Sharing the Love

Life can often take us to unexpected places, with turns and valleys unaware. For me it’s about constantly modifying and finding new ways to surpass my obstacles. Hence the reason I have not blogged in a while.

Obstacles, problems, valleys, and challenges are all part of life. No one gets to select the easy button and decide to live without them. We do, however, get to choose how to handle them. My new goal is to start each day with prayer for guidance and understanding, and then read God’s beautiful words of comfort, hope, peace, and strength. Now more than ever before, I need God to guide me along my journey. It doesn’t matter the size of our enemy, God is always bigger. And I believe when we seek Him with our whole heart, not allowing anything or anyone to derail us that God will help us to prevail.

God has an appointed time for everything. When I write my books, my heart is often heavy and my hardships increase. God has lessons for me to learn and new wisdom for me to attain. The gift of wisdom and knowledge is often painful, but the reward is priceless.

Regardless of the battle, the victory is always worthwhile.

In less than a week, my new book will be released.
All the pain and suffering, tears and prayers, cannot compare to the joy of holding it in my hands and the blessing of sharing it with others. It makes me feel like God has given me a very special gift, and a great responsibility.

The things required and expected of me are not always easy. It is a constant struggle for me to overcome my fears, defeat the enemy always trying to stop me, and do His will. I get so sick before every single school visit and appearance that I even have trouble sleeping the night before. I literally have to force myself to go. Each opportunity produces a new obstacle.

My first school visit with Zippy’s Big Difference was done with a leap of faith. I wasn’t able to read my new book without crying, but I trusted God would help me. And, He did. The second school visit, I was so sick I could barely stand up. The nausea overwhelmed me and I had to talk to myself the whole way there.

You will not be sick. This is only your nerves. You can do this. How can you make a difference if you allow the enemy to defeat you so easily?

Every day I continue to try. I agree to interviews and appearances even though I know it will be hard for me. I schedule school visits knowing the trial each one brings. I also know the joy of touching another life. God has blessed me with His amazing love and the desire to share it. He gives me such beautiful stories, and enough faith to believe I can make a difference in some life, somewhere.

My books are more than words and book sales. They are a testimony of God’s greatness in my life, and how His amazing love and mercy transformed me.

Please help me share the love and help others.

1.      Review my books online.

2.      Ask your local library to buy my books.

3.      Recommend my books to family and friends. Tell organizations dealing with differences and hardships about Zippy.

4.      Read my Zippy books to a child. You can visit schools and hospitals, too.  

5.      Above all, help me pray that God’s will for my life and books be done.

Thank you for reading the words of my heart and supporting me. It means so much to me.

Until next time, may God bless you.

Author shares message through Zippy the zebra