A Lesson in Waiting

I love football, but I’m not so into it that I would sit and watch the NFL draft show on ESPN.

Until now.

My husband and boys had it on. I got hooked watching the drama unfold around Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn. Good athlete. Strong leader. Cute guy.

He didn’t go first. Or second. Or third. Then they thought he’d go ninth. No dice. Now he’s waiting through teams that don’t need quarterbacks. Twenty-one picks have come and gone. Brady’s showed poise beyond his 22 years as he has talked to media amidst his disappointed expectations.

And it occurred to me how much this mirrors the literary world.

Hang with me, now. Teams are like publishing houses and agents, all looking to fill a specific need to fit their game plan. The college players are like a group of unpublished authors who have perfected their craft but haven’t made it to the big game yet. Each is talented, but each plays a different role, produces a certain genre, etc.

So often a very talented writer has to sit and wait while others receive contracts ahead of him, sometimes with no real explanation why that writer’s work wasn’t chosen.

While Brady Quinn waits, I can empathize just a bit. Not that I am to writing what he is to football. I have no illusions about that. But I can understand the disappointment of waiting, of not getting picked. That’s why I’m riveted to the show when normally it wouldn’t grab my attention.

I’ll watch until Quinn is drafted, until he smiles into the camera with a lucky team’s ball cap on his head and jersey in his hand.

And I’ll be thankful that no cameras watch my every move as I wait for the elusive call that finally propels me into the realm of a published author.


A Bit of Poetry

I’m not a prolific poet. In fact, most of my poetry came out of the angst of my teenage years. But it’s been a bad last few days, a stressful couple of months, and the words refused to stay inside me.

A thousand little stings,
A thousand little slashes,
A thousand little pieces of my heart are torn

A thousand words do nothing
To heal the broken places,
A thousand thoughts can haunt me to the breaking of the

A thousand weighted burdens
Resting on my shoulders,
A thousand tears spilled wishing that they’d all just go

A thousand moments needed
To lay upon Your bosom,
To receive Your balm of healing that will all my pain


My Treasure Trove

I love library book sales. Larger cities have better book sales, but this weekend we went to the book sale for our local library in our small town and found a treasure trove!

We brought home close to 20 books. The total cost? $7.75. We gave them $10 for good measure. Here are a few of my golden nuggets:

Non-fiction: London’s Underworld This covers the history of the down-and-outers in London—prostitutes, pickpockets, forgers, counterfeiters, and the list goes on. What I love about this book is it is not just statistics or conjecture. Many places it gives first hand accounts by the people who lived it. A great book to have on hand for research!

Reference: Why Did They Name It . . .? Covers the history of several well-known products—from food to cars to cosmetics. Just the thing to add tidbits of historical trivia to a story.

Fiction: Mrs. Miniver The book is actually a collection of a series of newspaper articles about British daily life and the looming war, centered around the fictional character of Mrs. Miniver. Looks to be not only a fascinating read but a good resource if I ever want to do a WWII story.

Biography: Starling of the White House This book is the memoir (it’s an “as told to” book) of an obscure secret service man who worked for four U.S. Presidents, beginning with Woodrow Wilson. Since one of the stories I’m longing to write is set in WWI, I’m hoping to glean some insight into both daily life and political life during this time. I love delving into primary sources!

Of course, these are just the highlights of the two bags of books I brought home. After all, each book has a different story to tell, a reason why it drew me, a reason why I couldn’t let it go.


God in the shuffle

I love the shuffle feature on my ipod Nano. I use it almost exclusively. I love never knowing what will pop up next—a song from my favorite musical, a praise and worship tune, a rock out “I love Jesus” song, a country ditty, a tear-jerker love ballad. And the list goes on.

But I often wonder if God Himself is in the shuffle. Take today. I was driving along (remember the dentist and bookstore thing?) praying for various people in my life, my ipod singing in the background, when one of my favorite Third Day songs hit the queue. “Keep on Shining” from their album Wherever You Are.

Have you listened to these lyrics? The second verse is the one I resonate with the most:

Having faith in the long run is easier said than done It's hard to live out in the light of day You're bruised and you're battered, your dreams have been shattered Your best laid plans scattered over the place Despite all your tendencies, God sees it differently Your struggle's a time to grow And you, you're a miracle, anything but typical It's time for the whole wide world to know

Keep on, keep on shinin' Wherever you may be Keep on, keep on shinin' For all the world to see

My eyes misted over (not always a good thing while you’re driving) as I saw not only myself in those words, but all the people I had in my prayers just moments before. The song came to an end. I sighed with a satisfied longing—satisfied that God sees my struggles and those of my friends and family and yet a longing to have His arms around me, giving me His strength to keep walking, to keep shining.

So it shuffled to the next song. An old Vineyard worship tune I’ve cried though many a time. This time was no different.

Lord who am I
Compared to Your glory, Oh Lord
Lord who am I
Compared to Your majesty

I am Your beloved Your creation
And You love me as I am
You have called me chosen for Your kingdom
Unashamed to call me Your own
I am Your beloved

I had to catch my breath, dry my face as I pulled into the parking lot and wondered yet again if God is in the shuffle.
Two consecutive days not really tagged as writing days, yet between the two I managed almost 3000 new words. Every little bit counts!


Dentists and Hardcover books

Thursday I go to the dentist. Now normally I would moan and groan over that. Not that I don’t like my dentist. I do. I’m picky about dentists. I’ve only gone to two in my entire life!

But Thursday, when I head to his office, I’ll be halfway to the closest Barnes and Noble. Now any trip to B&N is cause for celebration, but on Thursday I will go, coupon and BN Member card in hand, and get my copy of Alexander MacCall Smith’s newest book—The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, the eighth book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.

It’s not often I feel compelled to buy a book right when it comes out (well, it technically came out today, but I won’t get there until Thursday), but my husband and I love these books. We’ll probably fight over who gets to read it first.

So for the pleasure of reacquainting myself with characters that are old friends, I’ll gladly hand over my money. Even for a hardcover!
2291 words moving my story forward.


2047. Whew! But of course I deleted another 1000 or so words as well!

And I started over after rethinking the course of my story in light of the talk at writers group. I begin at a different place and went back to my first characterizations and plotline. And the writing of it flowed more easily--less like pulling teeth, more like planting flowers then digging them up and replanting them in another place (how's that for mixed metaphors!)

I'm on the right track now. It feels great. I know this story is a good one. And I feel like my perseverance through the hard part and my willingness to revamp it, even this far in, has made it stronger and made me love it more.

Maybe I'll post a real post soon, about something besides "my progress."


The good news: I managed 2274 words on my WIP yesterday.

The bad news: I attended my monthly writers group last night and heard an excellent talk on story structure and now I need to rethink and rework parts of my WIP.

The good news: A man was at writers group who I know but who has never attended before. I had written down his name as someone I'd like to talk to about some research points of a half-finished story. He told me he'd answer my questions!

The bad news: Today is another day where my writing time is being squeezed out due to an appointment with my child. So instead of a writing day, it's a faith day--a day that challenges me to believe that God is ultimately in control of my writing and my time.


Celebrating Life

Easter around my house brings unique thoughts of new life. My first child was born on March 28, 1991, the Thursday before Easter. We came home from the hospital on Saturday and celebrated Easter Sunday morning at home with our three-day-old baby.

My second child was born on April 8, 1993, ten days after my daughter’s second birthday and also on the Thursday before Easter! Again, we came home on Saturday and celebrated Easter Sunday morning with a newborn baby.

So Easter around our house often encompasses birthday celebrations as well as the celebration of the Lord’s death and resurrection. And this year, child #2’s birthday fell on Easter Sunday.

I am truly amazed and humbled by the grace of God, by the new life given to my by Jesus’ death and life, as I look at my children. I couldn’t be a mother without the Lord in my life. It just isn’t in me to be patient and kind and loving. But those things have grown in me as I’ve grown in the Lord.

So as I celebrated Easter on Sunday, I celebrated life—Jesus’, my own, and my children’s.


Writing Day: 2200.


I've charged out of the gate, now I have to sustain it--especially after the next few days off due to Easter and birthday celebrations.


A New Plan

I’m not crazy.

I went through my calendar for the past few weeks and marked days where my schedule actually allowed more than a couple of consecutive free hours for writing in the course of my day. (I admit, I’ve gotten use to writing in blocks of time.) There weren’t many.

So I printed a blank April calendar, went through my schedule, and marked off the days that already won’t allow for writing time and then marked the ones that will. If I can pound out 2000 words on each of those days the first draft of my historical fiction will be finished by the end of May.

Can I do it? I can if I stay accountable to someone—and who better than my faithful blog readers? My intention is to post my word count at the end of every “W” day (writing day, as you may have surmised, or perhaps remembered from Liz Curtis Higgs’ suggestion at ACFW last year). Just having to put it out there in black and white should nudge my pride into the stubbornness it needs to complete the task.

I love writing. I just tend to put it on the back burner to deal with everyone else’s life. But if God has truly called me to write, He’ll help me find the time in the midst of life—and in spite of it.

So look for some short and sweet posts of my progress over the next few weeks (along with other posts). I’ll look forward to any encouragement you can give!