Sunday, December 31, 2006

The holidays can make you feel like a candidate for the intensive care unit. Amidst all the parties and fun is the stress of late nights and early mornings. Mingled with the pleasures of family and friends are travel bills and rich fattening foods. So how does one recover from a month of pressure and splurging? A simple method I call RE: ICU.

It starts with rediscovering your inspiration. What led you to want to write? For me, it was a seed of knowledge planted deep inside my heart, an undeniable pull to pen something that glorified my Lord and Savior. So before I can get back into the groove of working on my wip, I need to get back in touch with the One who called me to write!

How do I do this? I’m convinced the only way is to spend time with God, both in prayer and in His word. What better way to ignite my imagination than to spend time with the Master Creator? If I’m true to Him, I can rest assured that He’ll be true to equip me for the task He’s laid before me.

Also, I must be ready to re-commit myself to the job. Anybody who has been married for more than a year knows that maintaining a strong, thriving relationship requires a daily recommitment to the purity of their marital vows. So it is with the call to write. That initial excitement that came when I sat down to write my first novel has long since faded. Now, maintaining my love for writing means recommitting myself daily to the job God has set before me, and prayerfully seeking Him for the desire, the energy, the call to write.

Lastly, be prepared to re-undertake that project you set aside before the holidays. How easy it is to allow days, weeks, even months to slide by as we busy ourselves putting away decorations. Before long, the habit we so carefully cultivated before Christmas is lost and we pluck away at our keyboards, unhappy with our effort, yet unable to shake ourselves from our apathy. What is the answer? You guessed it. . .prayer. Without it we can do nothing. With it, we find the courage to undertake the most daunting of tasks. With it, we find confidence in an ability beyond ourselves. With it, we have the strength to spend hours in quiet solitude, staring at our computers until the words and inspiration begin to flow.

Still feel like a candidate for ICU? I know I do. But this year, it’ll mean Re-Inspiring, Re-Committing, and Re-Undertaking the call God gave me to write.

Monday, December 18, 2006

“Jordan, please don’t kick the box.” I stifled a sigh of exasperation as I said the words, irritated at having to remind the little boy yet again that the noise was a distraction.

It was the last rehearsal before the annual Christmas play, put on by the children of our church for as many years as I could remember. This year, I’d volunteered to direct the presentation. I’d done it in Christmas’ past, but enough time had gone by to allow my memory to lapse and make me forget what a trial it could be working with small children. Still, I was beginning to feel the pressure of corralling twenty kids and make them appear as little angels for their parents.

“Can someone sit by Jordan and make sure he behaves?” I tried not to let the words appear harsh, but with only fifteen minutes to go before the presentation, I was more than a little stressed.

“I’ll do it,” a volunteer said.

Breathing a sigh of relief, I turned my attention to the soloists. Forty-five minutes later, the production over and the applause given, I felt a tug on my bright red Christmas sweater.

“Miss Lisa—”

“I’m sorry, Jordan. Can you hang on for just one minute? I’ve got to give the invitation cards to Pastor. I’ll be right back, okay sweetie?” I rushed to catch up with our Pastor who was headed toward his office.

“It went well, Lisa. Thanks for all your hard work,” Pastor said.

We chatted for a moment, excited over the positive response the musical received. Afterward, several people caught me in the hall, and parents stopped to exclaim over how much they enjoyed the play. Several held up camcorders and promised to make me copies. In the excitement, I forgot all about Jordan. That is, until the volunteer who kindly sat beside Jordan to keep him from kicking the box he sat on walked up. With a kind look, she held out a ragged red bag that had probably seen several Christmas seasons.

“Here you go,” she said. “It’s from Jordan. His grandmother had to pick him early, so he couldn’t stay for the party. She said to tell you thank you.”

I took the bag, fingers trembling at my thoughtlessness. Jordan didn’t have parents, at least none that I knew of. He lived with a grandmother and a handful of cousins in a tiny little house on the outskirts of town. How could this sweet woman possibly have afforded a Christmas present?

But the gift wasn’t from Jordan’s grandmother. It was from Jordan. Inside was candle, half burned, with a crack on the side. Next to it was a card, written in Jordan’s childish script.

“Miss Lisa, thank you for doing our play. I like to hear you sing.”

Tears flooded my eyes. In all of the uproar, Jordan alone actually stopped to hear the music.

Now as you’ve probably guessed, Jordan is not his real name. I’ve changed it protect his identity. But the thoughtfulness of this one small child is real, and so is the change that his precious gift wrought upon my heart. Jordan’s candle sits on my desk, serving as a symbol of how much I have to be thankful for, but also to remind me that my Heavenly Father’s gift is something to be shared not only at Christmas, but all the year through.

Thank you, Jordan. I will always treasure your gift.

Monday, December 11, 2006

It all started innocently enough…our music director asked if I could direct the children’s Christmas play.

“Sure,” I said. “No problem.”

After all, it wasn’t like I had a million things to do this year. I’d learned to say no over the past twelve months, turning down committees and paring down my responsibilities until I felt confident that Christmas, 2006 would be an entirely different experience from years past.


Suddenly, obligations started flying out of the woodwork. A teacher who’d asked me to sub for him when needed suddenly…needed. A lot. The adult choir decided to put on a Christmas spectacular and I was given a solo. A dear friend thought it might be nice to have a holiday concert complete with musical acts and quartets and she asked me to open. Not to mention the parties—one at work; two, no, three, at church; my husband’s company Christmas…the list goes on.

Like a novel unfolding, the conflict rose. What happened to all that writing time I thought for sure I’d be enjoying? Where did all those extra hours I’d counted on having in order to meet my personal deadlines go? And WHERE does one go about finding a low priced IPod for their child??

Needless to say, I needed to get organized, quick. So I started plotting…er…scheduling each day, giving myself just enough time to do those last minute edits and still get some writing of my own done. Rather than let my writing time fall to the bottom of my to-do list, I moved it near the top and cut out a few of the extras, like canceling that Christmas special I’d planned to watch and stringing a few less lights on the eaves of my house. We’ll probably order pizza more often this month, but I figure the time I save staying out of the kitchen will be well worth it come January when I’ve added several chapters to my wip. Thankfully, I have an understanding husband and kids who love pizza. And we can all be a little merrier, knowing I won’t be playing catch-up over the holidays.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I read an interesting article the other day. The author sprinkled in bits of humor that made it fun to read. Except…they cited a stretch of highway on IH10 from Port Charles, Louisiana to Beaumont, Texas.

Um…Port Charles is the fictional town from General Hospital.

Living fairly close to the area the author described, I knew the name of the city is actually Lake Charles. While it didn’t make me dislike the author, it did pull me from an otherwise captivating story.

Another example: I read a wonderful book last month. The characters were funny, the setting vivid. Except…the heroine drove a silver Beamer. Now, BMW aficionados will quickly inform you that the correct spelling is Bimmer and the pronunciation is German.

I know, I know. These are petty examples, and yet…the editor in me was a little irritated that two such easily verified facts were overlooked. Suddenly, the author’s credibility was questionable. What else wasn’t right?

New authors, especially, make the mistake of thinking that only writers of historical fiction need to research what they write. Nothing could be further from the truth. Readers are smart. They want to believe you know what you’re talking about, and they trust that you do—until you don’t. After that, it’s very difficult to win that reader back, which makes getting it right the first time doubly important.

There are different means to accomplishing this. Some writers stop what they’re doing and conduct the research immediately. I like to highlight the information I’m questionable about. That way I’m sure to catch it later, but I can still continue writing without interruption. Either way you can be certain of one thing. Readers want truth and accuracy, even if it is all fiction.

Newsletter Subscribe

* indicates required
Email Format


Powered by Blogger.

Historical Romantic Suspense

Historical Romance

Popular Posts

Recent Posts