Thursday, January 31, 2008

the love factor

If your life is anything like mine, you have a hard time managing time! I want to live a creative, productive life while bringing in enough money to live on, eating and sleeping on a regular basis, and pursuing the Lord actively.

Easier said than done.

I thought about showing you my to-do list so you can see what I mean, but I won't. Instead, I'll say that I could write a book based on the last few years called 101 Ways to Burn Yourself Out. (Another book! Add it to the to-do list!)

As I strive for a schedule that mixes pursuit of excellence with sleep, I'm learning to pay attention to The Love Factor.

Do I love this topic? Do I really want to write about it? Do I really want to hunt down editors and magazines that will publish it, knowing that I'll likely face rejection before acceptance?

Do I love this book? So much that I'll write it, rewrite it, publish (or pursue publication through someone else) and market it?

Do I love this project/idea/Web site/hobby/cup of tea enough to make it worth the time I could spend on it?

Obviously, every love-worthy thing in life will have loads of little components that you don't love, but you have to do anyway. I don't love putting the kettle on, half-climbing into the cupboard to get the tea bags off the really high shelf where they reside, and waiting for the kettle to whistle. I DO love tea, so it's worth it.

For me, the key is whether the overall project is something I really, truly, whole-heartedly want to do. If not, my attention is probably better focused elsewhere.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

published: Broken Embrace

On what it takes to forgive--and what the results can be, in us and in others. I wrote the precursor of this article almost two years ago, so it's lovely to see it up on at last :).

Here's the link.


Monday, January 28, 2008

a new year

I like new years. I like the sense of beginning again, even though I'm in the middle of so many things. I have projects to finish and others to follow up; dreams to pursue and relationships to keep up. None of these things are really new. But they deserve to be treated as though they are. They deserve to be treated as though they're full of promise and yet-to-be-revealed secrets. They deserve my attention and excitement.

It's true of all my writing projects, of my spiritual walk, my family and friendships.

Has it ever struck you as funny that the new year comes in January--in the dead of winter? Here we are, during the darkest, coldest, most dreary days of the year. Yet we're asked to celebrate "newness." And we can do it honestly. After all, spring is coming... it's coming soon!

So too do all the worthy things in our lives have surprises and new growth waiting to shoot out and make our lives green when we least expect it.


Thursday, January 24, 2008


Despite the title, this isn't a post of rhetorical questions.

At the moment, my writing plate is full. Angel in the Woods is in revision before I contact agents. Worlds Unseen is still selling, which means that its sequel, Burning Light, needs my attention soon! And events have kicked into gear which mean I'll be publishing Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled, a collection of humourous big family/homeschooling essays, this year.

I'm busy with many other things as well, so sometimes I have to wonder: Why do I do this?

Certainly not for the money. Yes, I'd love it if my writing (specifically my novels) could support me. I'm working toward that end. But as my financial review of the past few days has showed, self-publishing is unlikely to get me there--and traditional publishing may take a while :).

The acceptable Christian answer is something like "I'm doing it to change lives" or "I'm doing it to spread the gospel." Those sound good, and of course I'm thrilled if either of those results flow from my writing. But if those were really my sole reasons, I probably wouldn't write fiction. I'd stick to devotional writing--or at least I'd make my fiction more blatantly evangelistic.

Which brings me back to the original question: Why?

Well, why do birds sing?

Song helps them communicate, yes; it aids them in mating, yes; it serves various functions in their lives--but ultimately, why do they sing? Because it's in them to do it. Because God Himself put it there.

Ultimately, why do I write? Because it's in me to write. Because writing--writing anything--is for me an act of praise.

Will my fiction change lives? Will it spread the gospel? I hope so. I hope my writing will bring a breath of heaven into the very worldly world of publishing. But I can't really control the effect my writing has on others. All I can do is write, in praise of the God who made me.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Heart to Heart: Like You've Never Danced It Before

Heart to Heart: Meeting With God in the Lord's Prayer is taking on a whole new life as the basis for a dance production called Father, which will tour parts of southern Ontario this summer. It is being produced by Soli Deo Gloria Ballet, a new company starting up in the Niagara Region.

... which is a formal way of saying "I'm really excited" :). The break between semesters with WriteAtHome has meant, not a break from work (that never happens), but a chance to focus on my newest venture: a ballet company. No, I don't personally dance. So far, I do a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff. I also get a lot of creative input.

For Father, we've taken select, poetic readings out of Heart to Heart that really get to the center of our day-to-day relationship with God. We've put them together with contemporary music like "Small Enough," a duet between Nichole Nordeman and Fernando Ortega, and Rebecca St. James's "Come Quickly Lord." All of this is brought to life by gorgeous choreography and talented dancers.

Our goal for Father mirrors our goal for Soli Deo Gloria as a whole. We want to take the timeless truths of the gospel and present them in a way that makes people sit up and pay attention and go, "Wow, I've never thought about it that way before." We want to use all this art and beauty to show people how beautiful God is.

If you're in southern Ontario, we hope to see you this summer!

Check out our related Web sites: - The Heart to Heart page, including chapter excerpts. - The Web site for Father. - The Web site for Soli Deo Gloria Ballet. (Christian dancers, we need you! Check out our Auditions page.)

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I've got a heap of writing-related news coming, too, so stay tuned!

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Monday, January 07, 2008

whatever happened to NaNoWriMo?

As reported, I did attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. The result? I did it, and I didn't even half kill myself in the process. Fifty thousand and change, actually.

I created a story I like and a handful of characters who kept me hugely entertained. I think I can whip it into shape for submission... eventually.

Therein lies the rub. I have never finished a book in such bad shape (and I've finished 15 since the fateful day I started writing at the age of twelve or so, so that's saying something). Will I ever do NaNoWriMo again? Quite possibly not. It's a lot easier to pour 50,000 words onto a screen than it is to mop up the spills later.