Monday, May 22, 2017

Surprise!

I recently attended the annual Toowoomba Omega Writers Retreat. I had planned on spending time   writing,  but instead God had a surprise in store for me.  For years I had wanted to publish my own devotion book.  I had written a number of devotions, but no where near the 365 that I thought I needed for a year-long book.   I had ben feeling overwhelmed by the size of my vision, to the extent that I was almost immobilized. Oh I wrote a devotion now and then, but felt lost because it all seemed too big and too difficult. I was quite unmotivated and daunted by the size of the task.  So, I attended the retreat with the plan of writing a couple of devotions.  A friend had suggested that I book an appointment with the guest speaker to chat about publishing.  I laughed. I thought she was joking.  I was no where near the publishing stage, and wouldn’t be for years, the rate I was going. Why would I want to speak to a publisher?  By the time my manuscript was ready, too many things would have changed.   Well, as He often does, God had other ideas.

During a break, the guest speaker stopped for a chat and enquired about what I  was presently writing.  I mentioned my desire and struggle to publish my own 365 day devotional book.  Her answer was along the lines of “It won’t sell as there is no market for devotional books which are that long. Life is busy and most people won’t commit to something for that length of time.  As a matter of fact, people would be much more likely to buy a book of 30 devotions”.  Really?  Yes, really.   Surprise! My goal of writing my own book was suddenly attainable.   I made an appointment to talk more with the speaker. (My friend was pleased, as she wasn’t joking when she suggested  I do  this).  In the course of the half hour I spent with her, we came up with ideas for a number of books, including prospective release dates and ideas for a cover.  I was motivated and excited.  My impossible dream now seemed like a possibility and was definitely within my reach.

 Why am I telling you this? To encourage you in a number of areas.
1. Position yourself to learn. Make the most of available opportunities to glean from those who are more knowledgeable and experienced. Attend retreats and conferences.  Help is available, especially with todays technology.
2. Be teachable, always ready and eager to learn. We are never too old to learn new things.
3. Trust God. He is faithful. He believes in us more than we believe in ourselves. He has a plan and a purpose for our writing. If He has given us dreams and desires, He will do His part to see them come to fruition.  We have to be willing to do our part by trusting Him to guide us as we write what He lays on our hearts.
4. Any progress is just that, progress.  It may be a slow process, but keep moving forward in your writing journey.  Don’t allow yourself to stagnate. Even taking baby steps is better than standing still.
5. Use the talent God has given you.  The more we invest what He has given us, the more our talent will grow and develop, and be used by Him. And isn’t that why we write? To give Him the  glory and honour due to Him, and to touch the hearts and lives of others on His behalf?

 I have to remind myself of these points, often. My writing journey has been a slow process but I am greatly inspired and encouraged when God throws in a surprise along the way.


Janelle Moore lives in Toowoomba, Queensland with her husband and two teenagers. She has had various articles and  devotions published, and as mentioned above,  has long desired to publish her own book.  She is forever indebted to her Quirky Quills writing group for their nagging (oops, encouragement), and to Deb Porter (Breath of Fresh Air Press) for giving her hope that publishing her own devotional book is actually achievable. 

28 comments:

  1. I'm definitely much more likely to buy a book of 30 devotions It's an achievable length to get through. I have downloaded longer books, but find myself losing motivation fairly quickly - especially as some of the devotions seem to be lightweight fillers rather than thought-provoking content.

    I'll look forward to reading more about your publishing journey!

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    1. Thanks Iola. 30 is much more achieveable to write, that's for sure. Thanks for your response and encouragement .

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  2. I've noticed many more books of shorter devotions on the shelves too :) I'm so glad to hear that your goal has been shortened into more of a bite sized length. Thanks for sharing with us, Janelle.

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    1. Thanks Paula! It's good to be excited instead of overwhelmed.

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  3. What an encouragement Janelle! Yes I have to agree, I have a 365 day devotional I have NEVER gotten through. After missing one or two the inspiration to catch up and keep going definitely wanes.....
    Looking forward to being on the journey with you as you get to publish your work!

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    1. Thanks Di. I received a great 365 day devotional book about 2 years ago, and I am up to April. I incorrectly assumed they should be that length. I am so pleased I was wrong.

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  4. How encouraging Janelle. Well done.

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    1. Thanks Jo. God continues to amaze me as He takes me on this writing journey.

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  5. Wonderful Janelle 😊😄👍

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    1. Thanks Jenny. I appreciate your encouragement.

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  6. LOL Janelle. Lucky you have a friend with a 'nagging ministry'. But I think God had that one under control from the start. Really look forward to seeing your devotional take shape. God's been prompting me lately about putting some shorter devotional books together too. Will have to chat to you about it sometime. Thanks for sharing those encouraging words :)

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    1. Yes, without my friend with the "nagging " ministry, where would I be? I would never have put pen to paper. God (and my writing friends) are so patient and gentle with me - I am so blessed. Thanks Nola. Yep, must have that chat soon.

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  7. I can hear your renewed motivation to keep writing those devotionals, Janelle, even in this blog, so that's wonderful! Sounds just like God to me--God's full of surprises!

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    1. He is indeed Jo-Anne. Thanks for your comments.

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  8. Thanks for your encouragement, Janelle :)

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  9. How encouraging, Janelle. And yes, many prefer shorter books than tomes. Go well!

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    1. Thanks Ruth for your response and well wishes.

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  10. Great post Janelle and wow! Wow! WOW! Thrilled to hear how God's been leading you. I look forward to reading your book one day. Thanks for your wise words too. Every blessing as you look to publishing your book.

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    1. God is so faithful Anusha, He knows how I have struggled, and leads me so lovingly. Enjoy the rest of your time in Sri Lamka.

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  11. Thank you Janelle for such a powerful post! Yes, I say powerful because it really spoke to me. I'm going through a very difficult time right now, and I'm on the verge of giving up. Not just writing but everything. I am encouraged to keep on the path by your post, and of course I am so chuffed for you. I look forward to reading your beautiful book of devotions one day. Best wishes with the publishing process. Love and blessings for you.

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement Jo-Anne. I am pleased that this spoke to you, and encouraged you to keep going. God is faithful. He knows what we need and when we need it. Have you heard the song Just Be Held by Casting Crowns? 2013 was a very difficult year for me, and I often felt I didn't even have the strength to cling to God. Through this song (which I played over and over and over again) , He reassured me that all would be okay because He had hold of me. He brought to a place of peace and rest. I pray He does the same for you. Love and blessings to you too,

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  12. Yay Janelle! I'm excited and can't wait to get the finished product!
    'Bite-sized' is good advice for those of us who are overwhelmed by 100,000 words. I am encouraged to press on in my tiny writing efforts.

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    1. Glad to hear you are encouraged Pam. Thanks for sharing in my excitement. Where would I be without the Quirky Quills?

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  13. I love those 'surprise' moments, Janelle. :) So pleased you took the plunge and signed up to meet with the publisher. Another exciting step in your writing journey. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Adele. God amazes me. This has been such a long journey (as you know, having been part of it since the beginning ) , but He continues to lead and encourage. As I said earlier, He and my Quirky Quills have been patient and gentle as I have taken baby steps. Thanks so much.

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  14. That's very encouraging Janelle, especially the trusting God part. Good work.

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  15. Thanks Rachel. Learning to trust seems to be a life long process.

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