Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction--August 25, 2014--Writing Through Discouragement

A Step in the Write Direction
August 25, 2014

Update: A relative is returning from a summer vacation this week and will be facing several family problems. Friday night I laid awake until past 2:30 a.m., trying to figure out a way to help her and what I could tell her to do. I know that in the past she stated that she didn’t want people giving her advice; she just wanted them to listen when she shared. Praying about the situation, the following words came to me. Perhaps they’ll help you with a relationship you’re dealing with today.
A List’ning Ear

Dear Lord, I ask for freedom
From worry, doubt, and fear,
But most of all I ask that You
Will give me a list’ning ear.

Dear Lord, help me to let go
Of things I hold most dear,
But once again I ask that You
Will give me a list’ning ear.

Lord, help me not to give advice
When others’ woes I hear.
Let me be still that they may know
I possess a list’ning ear.

As You turn Your face toward me
Each time I kneel and pray,
Let me show that selfsame love
With a list’ning ear today.

                        Donna Clark Goodrich

Thought for Today: “Silent” is an anagram for “Listen” (author unknown).

Thought #2: Wisdom is what you get when you’re listening when you’d rather be talking (author unknown; from crossword puzzle book)/

Song for Today:
No one understands like Jesus,
Ev’ry woe He sees and feels.
Tenderly He whispers comfort,
And the broken heart He heals.

            “No One Understands Like Jesus,” John W. Peterson, 1921—

Laugh for Today: An old man is afraid that his wife is losing her hearing. So he walks up right to her ear and asks, "Can you hear me?" She didn't answer. He walked up closer and asked again. But there was no answer. Finally he asked her one more time really loud and his wife said, "for the third time yes!!!" (

Writer’s Tips: (from unpublished Writer’s Devotional Book):

Opening Up the Roses
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will
of God, you will receive what he has promised (Hebrews 10:36).

A mother began looking for her five-year-old boy after not seeing him around for a while. “Johnny, where are you?” she called. She looked through the house, then she looked out the window and saw him in the garden. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“Helping God,” he replied. “I’m opening up the roses for Him.”

We all know that roses open in their own time and all we do cannot make them open sooner. But what about rushing ahead of God’s time to make things come to pass? Someone has said, “God never hurries, but He’s always there on time.” Most of our headaches and heartaches are caused by impatience—trying to resolve matters in our own way and in our own time. We go around opening roses, thinking we’re helping God.

We can do only so much to be a successful writer. We can read books on writing, attend conferences, meet with editors, and write what we feel God has called us to write. The rest is in His hands.

“But I get so discouraged,” you say. “I send things out and they come back—without even a letter of explanation.”

Discouragement is normal. No one likes to be rejected, but we have to remember it isn’t us that’s being rejected. Often it isn’t even our material. Manuscripts are turned down for many reasons and, even though “we are presently overstocked” seems to be a common response, it’s a valid reason. One editor I met said he will not accept anything unless he knows he can use it within the next year. Another editor told seminar conferees that his magazine receives over 200 articles a week—and of these, they only use eight in an issue. That means 800 to 1,000 authors a month receive rejection letters.

Don’t let discouragement cause you to give up. That would be like a farmer who plants a crop, and a month later impatiently plows up the field because the crop isn’t ready to harvest.

God takes time to work out His purposes. Even though you’re discouraged now, don’t rush to find a solution. Let Him have His time and way. He will open the roses when the time is right.

What are you discouraged about today? Write out a prayer of commitment regarding your writing, then leave the results to God.

Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich

NOTE: Cleaning out my book inventory. They are now all HALF PRICE. A great time to do some Christmas shopping for friends and family members. Email me for complete list and prices!!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction, August 18, 2014--Writing to Individuals

A Step in the Write Direction
August 18, 2014

Update: Our minister of music shared with us this morning about a man he visited in the hospital Monday who had cancer on his tongue and they had to remove three-fourths of it. The man wrote on a pad to him, “Now I have to learn how to talk all over again. I have to learn how to eat, and I can’t sing anymore.” He asked our minister to sing for him, and our minister said he wondered if he could only sing one more song, what it would be. He also shared how he had complained several days this week when their house was flooded. He then told the Lord he was sorry, and that he wanted to use his tongue just to praise Him. Someone wrote, “We sing ‘Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing,’ but we don’t use the one we have.” I’m praying that this week I will use my tongue to say positive and encouraging things only!...Asking for prayer for our daughter Patty who has a high white blood count and will be having a bone marrow test soon.

Thought for Today: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him” (1 Timothy 1:12 nlt).

Second Thought for Today: “You can have many great ideas in your head, but what makes the difference is the action. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, and no reward” (Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom).

Top of Form
Song for Today:
When thro’ the valley He calls me to go,
Jesus is all I need.
He will be with me to cheer me I know.
Jesus is all I need.
            “Jesus Is All I Need,” James Rowe, 1865-1933

Laugh for Today: Some think it would help juvenile delinquents by getting them interested in bowling.  But all that would do is get them off the streets and into the alleys.

Writer’s Tips: Writer’s Devotional (from unpublished book):

Writing to Individuals
The hand of the Lord was strong upon me….I came to
them…and I sat where they sat (Ezekiel 3:14-15 kjv).

Kay Arthur, Bible teacher and author, writes, “I am convinced that until we really see the world as people, we will never really have a true burden to pray.” We can read that last sentence as, “I am convinced that until we see our readers as individuals, we will never have a true burden to write.”

Ezekiel was commissioned by God to go to the children of Israel, a nation that had rebelled against God. But before he could be a spokesman for God, he had to sit where the people sat.

When we write, we shouldn’t look at our audience as a group of people; we should look at them as individuals much like us. Christ gave His greatest message—John 3:16—to one individual: Nicodemus.

Magazine editors often provide the results of a survey of their average reader, i.e., a woman, 30 years old, 2 years of college, 2 children, etc. I think of someone who fits that description and try to write with that person in mind. What is she going through? What is she interested in? What problems does she face? What are her dreams?

My high school International Relations teacher assigned the class to write a report on Russia. A few students read their papers, which consisted mostly of statistics—the country’s size in area, population, and so on. I took a typical Russian girl and described her day—beginning with the type of house she woke up in, how it was furnished, her breakfast, the clothing she wore, the school she attended, and evening chores. It was my goal to make her come alive to the class.

That should be our aim as writers. Years ago I could write an article on teen suicides—giving facts on how many are committed each year, signs to watch out for, and other statistics. But after a close relative took his life, I can now write from the pain and questions a family faces after such a tragedy.

Your readers want more than numbers. They want to know you sat where they are sitting, you feel what they are feeling, and you’ve survived. You don’t necessarily have to give them an answer, but you can point them to the One who is the answer!

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction--August 11, 2014--Accepting Your Mission to Write

A Step in the Write Direction

August 11, 2014

Update: I cannot believe this happened. I forgot to write and send today’s blog!! I was thinking tonight of yesterday’s sermon and how I wanted to include some highlights in the blog when I suddenly said, “Today’s Monday!” “Yeah,” my hubby said. “My blog!! I forgot it!!” So here it is—a day late. But I still want to include the main points of the message on Jesus’ turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana. 1) Invite Jesus into the significant events of your life. 2) There’s a time for all of us when the “wine” runs out—our time, money, energy, health. 3) Simple obedience to Christ will bring us through the shortages of life. 4) Whatever Jesus says to you, do it. 5) The water pots were dry and empty. Does our life ever get like that? 6) As He filled the water pots, He fills our life with joy and happiness—up to the brim, and, 7) He saves the best till last! (I hope that was worth waiting an extra day for!)

Thought for the Day:  Count the cost of the conflict. Just because I can win doesn't mean I should win. Some battles simply aren't worth fighting. It takes discernment. In other words, at times I can be right but still be wrong...(Daryl Blank, pastor, Goodlettsville (TN) Church of the Nazarene).

Song for the Day:
What will you do with Jesus?
Neutral you cannot be.
Someday your heart will be asking,
“What will He do with me?”
            —A.B. Simpson, 1891

Laugh for the Day: The lady was trying to impress those at the party.  "My family's ancestry is very old," she bragged.  "It dates back to the days of King John of England."  Then, turning to a lady sitting quietly in a corner, she asked condescendingly, "And how old is your family, my dear?" “Well," said the woman with a smile, "I really can't say. All our family records were lost in the flood."

Writer’s Tips:            Writer’s Devotional (from unpublished book)

Mission Impossible
With man this is impossible, but with
God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

A popular television series some years ago was entitled “Mission Impossible.” At the beginning, the main character turned on a tape recorder and heard the following words: “Your mission, Jim, should you decide to accept it, is _________________. As always, should you or any member … be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds."

To my knowledge, “Jim” never turned down a mission, nor did the secretary ever disavow any knowledge of his actions.

I wish I could say the same for myself when the Lord has offered me a writing assignment. The many trials He brought me through so I could share hope with others. Humorous experiences that would have brought a laugh to someone’s day. A biblical insight that would open God’s Word to a new believer. A how-to article that may have assisted an entrepreneur to begin a new business. A devotional to help get someone’s day off to a good start.

But to me, those were “missions impossible,” and I decided not to accept the assignments.

·         I didn’t want to re-open that part of my life.
·         I thought what was humorous to me might not be funny to an editor or reader.
·         My biblical insight would be “old hat” to other believers, and they would wonder why it took me so long to grasp a simple truth.
·         The how-to article would have to include mistakes I made to eventually reach my goal of running my own business.
·         And the devotionals—well, anyone else could write them better.

But God did not disavow my actions, nor did His tape self-destruct. He continued to offer me the same assignments, until one day I realized that with Him, all things were possible—even the writing projects He invited me to do. And I finally accepted the mission.

What mission is God inviting you to today? Will you accept it?

Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich


Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction--August 4, 2014--Time to Quit Writing?

A Step in the Write Direction

August 4, 2014

Update: Oh, how I miss Word 2003! I’ve been trying to make corrections in the new version of “A Step in the Write Direction,” and realize how inept I am. I have to create five forms, and don’t know how on Word 2007. A friend from my hometown offered to do it if I would scan them and send them to her—something I haven’t learned how to on my new printer. I’m trying to make corrections on the PDF copy and find that is also impossible to do. Monday begins a new week, so I’ll say a prayer and try again!...My last medical test last week turned out fine, so the next item on our agenda is to test for mold in our bathroom (where we had a plumbing problem) and in my office (where the roof leaks)….Now that I’m caught up (temporarily) on other people’s work, I’m anxious to start organizing all the material I’ve collected over the past months on my caregiver book. Once I find a publisher, I’ll send out a call for submissions.  

Thought for the Day: If you find that you are not excelling in the present, it could most certainly be because you have no vision for the future (Dr. Tony Evans).

Song for the Day:
Empty and broken, I came back to Him;
A vessel unworthy, and so scarred with sin
But He did not despair, He started over again,
And I bless the day, He didn’t throw the clay away!
Over and over, He molds me and makes me
Into His likeness, He fashions the clay.
A vessel of honor I am today.
All because Jesus didn’t throw the clay away.
                        —Gene Reasoner

Laugh for the Day: At Sunday school they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings. Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam's ribs. Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill, and she said, “Johnny, what is the matter?”  Little Johnny responded, “I have pain in my side. I think I'm going to have a wife.”

Writer’s Tips:
Time to Quit?
Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and
all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33).

“I wish I had more time to write,” I moaned to my weekly critique group.  Running my own business and caring for a disabled husband consumed much of my time. I saw no way to write two hours a day as suggested by speakers at every writers’ conference I attended. I could barely squeeze out one hour a week.

Then one day while playing racquetball with my son, I fell and broke my wrist in four places. The doctor removed the cast two months later, but in weeks to come I still couldn’t pick up a cup of tea without pain. An MRI showed three torn ligaments and a torn tendon which led to a 3½ hour surgery and two more months in a cast.

Now I had a lot of time! I scanned my latest Christian Writers Market Guide, typing out possible markets with the three fingers poking out from my cast. Then I dug out old manuscripts, updated them, sent them out in bunches, and sat back and waited for responses.

And they came—12 rejections in one day! I threw the envelopes on the living room floor and announced to my husband, “I quit! I’m not writing anymore!”

Then I heard a quiet voice within: “I just want you to use this time to get close to Me.”

What a revelation! While I couldn’t drive, clean house, type very well, or run errands, I could worship God. I could listen to Christian CDs. I could make a dent in the pile of books I had promised myself to read “someday.” And I could pray—for my writer friends, for my family, for our church and its staff, for missionaries, and for our government leaders.

Perhaps you’re wishing today you had more time for family, for hobbies, for recreation—and especially for writing. Seek God first, and “all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

            Take time to be holy,
            Speak oft with thy Lord;
            Abide in him always,
            And feed on His Word….
            Take time to be holy,
The world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret
With Jesus alone.

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich