QUESTION recently asked of the members in our Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook:In what ways do you need prayer and encouragement in your writing life?
Michael-Lori (I need prayer and encouragement) to write my lyrics with God leading me in the way to touch and help others.
Donna Rewrites! Although part of writing, I feel like (revisions) sap my creative energy and stifle me. I'd rather get it right the first time.
Mary The problem with getting it right the first time, Donna, is that puts you in two separate jobs at once: writing from the right brain and editing or revising from the left! Hopefully, you have a computer, which makes revisions much easier, so you might try letting the writing flow without censoring yourself. Then wait a day or two before going back and seeing what needs to be changed - if anything.
Cassie Sticking with it! I have limited time to write due to kids, so I'll get excited and start something, but then I don't have time again until later. Because of this, I start a lot of things I don't finish.
Mary Oh, I know the feeling, Cassie! I was a stay-at-home mom with my kids and am now a stay-at-home grandmom. However, my first published poems, articles, devotionals, and children's stories arose from these times.
Anointed To get a book published I sometimes wonder too much about who will like it and who won't! Will they give good or bad judgement?
Mary Your emphasis on being Anointed and chosen is the ideal faith and focus to have from start to finish! If God gives us something we're drawn to write, surely God can draw our readers too.
Barbara (I’m) physically unable to sit for long periods of time, and therefore, it's difficult for me to collect my works together, edit, and prepare a book. I so desire to publish. God willing, this too shall pass.
Mary I'm sorry to say I have that problem too. May God give us all the strength and energy we need to do what we've been given to do in Jesus' Name.
Eve Courage to step out…. I've spent 3 years writing and editing, and now it's about faith – to step out and allow God to bless others with this word He has given. I am not worried about selling copies; I just want to hear His voice say, "Well done."
Mary Yes! And every time I read where Jesus said, "It is finished," I get God-bumpy. May God en-courage us all.
Janet (I pray) that the book would honor God and only speak truth.
Mary Janet, yours is surely a God-blessed goal! Reading the Bible cover to cover again and again gives us the mind of Christ, praise God, but I try not to depend on my faulty memory. Isn't it wonderful to have so many translations on the Internet where we can easily check quotes and context?
Christine (I need) to step out and take risks, write what God wants when He wants, and in general, let Him lead and my heart follow, even when my head tells me differently.
Mary Tricky one, Christine! I kept fretting over that, too, and thinking I wasn't trusting myself to hear God even though I'd prayed and prayed. Then it dawned on me: I can trust God to speak loud enough for me to hear. May the Lord bless our minds and ears with God's Word to and through us in Jesus' Name.
Cherrilynn Time for prayer and steadfastness…. Praying for all….
Mary Thanks, Cherrilynn! We need it. And may God remind us each morning and throughout the day to pray for one another.
Shira For me it normally always is the same thing: How can what I write make a difference in the lives of others? What would you have me to say, Lord?
Cherrilynn Shira, what has changed your life or made a difference with you? Write about that. Many people will be blessed. My blog is all about how God changed me. It is raw and realistic.
Mary Shira, I find that whatever troubles or blesses me will most likely speak to others too. Then keeping it short, to the point, and honest will keep readers interested. But, from what I've seen of your work, no problem! You're doing it.
Shira I try my best to keep it real at all times. Thanks for the advice. God bless you all.
Cyn My devotions today were in 2 Corinthians12:8-9. I have chronic illness that causes episodes of nonproductivity, and I beat myself up over it. Add my distractibility, and nothing gets done. Here's where He is glorified: when I push through and do what I can.
Mary Oh, no, no, no, Cyn. No beating up allowed! Only upbeating.
Cherrilynn Cyn, I did not know you had chronic illness I will pray for you. I have chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. It is difficult to push through, but I do. May God breathe strength and life into us as He did with the bones in Ezekiel.
Shari I write Mystery Dinner Theater (scripts) with a twist – not only write them but cast, direct and produce them too! They're biblically based, and some of the general themes include God's timelessness. Each year, they sell out, and I know they are spirit-led because, when I sit down with each cast for the first time for the first rehearsal and read-through, I often find myself saying to myself in amazement, "I wrote that?" I pray for God's continued inspiration and that He continues to motivate and speak to me because there is no way without Him. I also pray that God will continue to guide our steps and encourage struggling writers, including myself, to keep stepping outside our comfort zones. (God) is with us always, and how abundant is His love for us!
Mary Interesting work, Shari! Have you approached Christian publishers who might be open to submissions of scripts? If you've found some whose work you like, they'll be apt to like yours too.
Mark I'm asking for God’s favor as I market my books.
Mary Welcome to the book world! It takes time, time, and more time, Mark, and I pray God guides us all who find ourselves having to spend more time marketing than writing!
Kelly (I need) the courage to step out – and to know what stepping out means.
Mary Your honesty eases the step out, Kelly. I guess it comes down to praying for God to guide then trusting the Lord to do just that.
Margaret (I pray) that my published book will reach those who need to hear its message. In God I trust.
Mary Amen! I suspect we all hope that, Margaret, so let's keep each other in prayer.
Beth No time to write! No funds to get a cover done! One book is (posted) on a forum of publishers, and all I got was, a “Pay me this, and I'll do it" kind of response. The other book that needs the cover also needs formatting for self-publication – frustrating!
Mary Beth, sometimes it's about timing and using the wait-space to get to know your genre and potential publishers. May God bless and guide.
Marla I need to continue the process of editing my book, but I'm having a hard time right now focusing (as I’m) still grieving. I just pray that God will give me grace and gentle laughter in my spirit! Thanks.
Chanda Praying for grace....
Lisa Grace and gentle laughter… Such a sweet request that no doubt brings a smile to our Father's face.
Mary Amen! God bless you, Marla! Grieving is essential and, while it's fresh, it might help to journal, write notes to yourself or your loved one, and read Psalms. When it's time to edit your book, you'll know, and you'll be ready.
Nellie When I look and look at markets, and none of them seem to fit my need – that is the greatest downside to writing. I struggle with it constantly. Sometimes I take a stab in the dark, and get a big surprise of acceptance.
Lisa I know just what you mean, Nellie. I'm right there with you.
Mary I wish I could say it will get easier, but.... Prayer helps, of course, but sometimes I have to put a manuscript aside and work on the next one while I’m waiting for the next round of deadlines or the next editor or people’s interests to change or….
Judy Apart from Christ I can do nothing!
Beckie I need to stick to it! Also (I pray for) open doors for publishing a YA faith-based novel that deals with some tough girl issues and spiritual warfare.
Linda (I’m) trying to get money to publish a book that's not quite finished.
Mary Linda, CreateSpace (print) and Kindle (e-book) are both free. Since they're on Amazon, they're also easy for you to list and for potential buyers to find.
Linda This book will touch and inspire Christians with addictions…. Writing a book…is for God's honor… and to realize you are obeying God to write your book.
Tonya (I need) to finish other written projects and find publishers or self-publish.
Mary Tonya, I pray God brings to mind the project you're to do first. Sometimes I get so many ideas, I don't know where to start! May God guide us always.
Tonya That's exactly how I feel. Bombarded with where do I start first?
Christine (I pray) to have the guts, transparency, and faith to let God lead with my new nonfiction book.
Marla If God be for you, who can be against you? Like Joshua – be brave and courageous. You can do this!
Christine Amen! I needed to read this today! What a blessing those words are. Thank you.
Jennifer I have been led to write a course and use it to teach my teenage daughter. It will be about who God is, who we are in and outside of Him and how to walk the journey when you are in the middle of a storm causing you to doubt. I need prayer since this is highly important to get right.
Shira (I’m) praying God's Divine Wisdom and Instruction for you in all your ways. Blessings to you and stay encouraged!
Jennifer Thanks so much.
Mary Jennifer, your daughter gives you an in-house editor! She'll help you get it right.
Okorie (I want) to bend and finish what may indeed be the corner and turning point of my life achievements to His glory. I have procrastinated for too long on the completion of my first fictional project.
Mary May God bless and guide.
Candy (I need prayer) to attempt to put my music out there as I have been told my whole life "you are not a musician.” I trust that God will lead me in that direction. Please pray for guidance (for me) to know how to put my poems and music out there. (I’m) thinking of a website just for my music. I would appreciate any feedback.
Shira Candy, starting out with the basics has always worked out best for me. Write your vision, make it plain. Blessings to you always.
Mary Wise words, Shira. Candy, in most bookstores or online bookshops, you can find the annual songwriter's guide published by Writer's Digest, which I highly recommend.
Glenys (Pray) that I write the words the Holy Spirit places on my heart, so that whatever I write, God may be given all the glory.
Marla Amen – yes, Jesus!
Linda Even though I have every confidence that the Lord will continue to honor His promise to be my partner and executive director in my writing ministry, I find myself needy for human encouragement. It's so invigorating when someone is touched by a piece I wrote or (when) a church uses one of my hymns and is blessed by it. Knowing that human friends are praying for me and my work helps me through long dry spells between acceptances by publishers.
Shari Beautifully said!
Linda See, there's that human encouragement right there! Thanks, Shari.
Shira Amen. Linda, the Word of God tells us to prefer others above ourselves – to edify and build up. This brings about peace, assurance, and confidence toward others, thus releasing a person's motivation to continue, persevere, endure, and finish the race. Stay encouraged! God is with you.
Linda Thank you, Shira!
Robin (I pray) that I would have the physical strength and mental clarity to focus and concentrate on my projects and get something done when I sit down to write.
Ruby (I need prayer for) motivation, inspiration, and a cure for procrastination. I need to finish editing my devotional too.
Mary Ruby, the word "enthusiasm" comes from "en theos," which means "in God." May God give you the enthusiasm you need to write what you've been given.
Ruby Thank you! I receive that.
Sue (I’m) trying to build a platform through my blog and Facebook writer’s page. It is going much slower than I would like. Pray I continue to be faithful in the small stuff.
Beckie I'm with you, Sue! Praying for you.
Shira Stay Encouraged. It will come with diligence.
Sue Thank you, Beckie and Shira. Blessings to both of you.
Jason Writing is easy but trying to sell is very tough, and l’m out of ideas.
Beckie Praying that doors open for you….
Lisa I sometimes wonder why God gives words to share to those of us who struggle so with marketing. It's so hard! But perhaps that's just why He does it – so we'll have to rely more on Him to lead the way. I'm praying for you, too. And for all of us who struggle mightily in this area.
Mary Jason, you might notice publishers of manuscripts similar to yours, then visit their websites, and see if they've posted writer's guidelines to follow.
Lillian (Pray) that I write the story He wants me to write and keep focused on the story and not the sales.
Maxine (I’m praying) to be faithful to write as the Holy Spirit leads me and not worry about days when nothing seems to appear.
Mark Amen. The joy of writing is that God has gifted you with the ability to put together a book to glorify Him. (Sometimes) I get away or put on some worship music, and it calms me and brings peace to my mind
Joan (I need) discipline, direction, devotion to God, reliance on Him…. (And I want to) give Him the glory.
Kathryn (Please pray for me to) overcome a foggy mind with clarity and focus. So much on the publishing and project plate….
Mary I relate, Kathryn! The more overwhelmed I am, the less focused I get. May God help us to see clearly and think sharp!
Judy (I pray for) ideas, concepts and insights into God's plan and His anointing!
Mary When I'm too busy, Judy, or need a break from routine, poems don't come to me, but if we take a drive – yeah, with me as the passenger – or go somewhere with fresh surroundings, I start looking around for a pencil and paper!
Jeanne (I pray to) be diligent without self-reliance, and (I pray for) discipline to see the goal and work toward it. (I’d also like) feedback from others to sharpen me and the project.
Mary Jeanne, you've well described how most of us feel! May God help us to encourage one another in Jesus' Name.
Marcia I'm working on two plays at once and editing book three of my fantasy series. Prayer greatly appreciated!
Terry Mostly I just (need) to start.
Jonathan (I pray to) form everything into words that lift up God, encourage others, and draw people to Him.
Carla My muse is MIA.
Mary Sometimes that means it's time for a break, Carla, like a mini-vacation – a walk in the woods, a trip to a museum, almost anything different with everything soaked in prayer.
Brenda I need motivation and inspiration – and direction. Where do I fit in this industry, anyway?
Kelly I think as you do. In fact, I'm not sure I want to be "in the industry," yet I want my work seen by those who need it!
Mary My first writing projects were for the publishing headquarters of my church denomination, which gave me a good fit and good place to start – until we moved, and I changed churches! Then I wrote Bible stories for an interdenominational press.
Brenda Thank you, Mary. How can we, in turn, pray for your writing life?
Mary Oh, thank you, Brenda! I'm also looking for a place to fit again – Bible-based poems in a non-poetry-reading society.
Shira Be of good cheer. The Word of God reassures us that God wins. As we move forward, we can put our confidence in the Holy Spirit that guides us into all truth. One thing that I have realized in my faith walk is, as long as I keep seeking God's face for direction, He shows me the right way.
Dolores (I pray) to have insight as to how to complete my manuscript. I know that when God connects the dots for me, the word picture I see will cause me to say, "Ahh! Of course, it was before me all along!"
Marla I say God connects the dots too! All it takes is faith in Him and being faithful to what we need to do. God bless you in all you do.
Patti I pray the Holy Spirit provides me the words to touch the hearts and minds of readers, inspiring them to establish or strengthen their relationship with God.
Joe I'd say direction. I need to know how to move into monetizing and growing the business.
Mary Joe, it's funny that you wrote this while God was bringing you to mind for a project! Placing a book with a traditional aka established Christian publisher will usually bring an advance and periodical royalty payments. The downside is that it might take months to see a cent! However, I believe you have what it takes to be a leader of leaders in what you write. May God guide.
Chris I pray to be worthy of Christ's message.
Mary Chris, if you love the Lord, you are worth Christ's resurrection power! May God help each of us to see ourselves as God sees us and find our worth in Him.
Sherrie (I pray) that God will show me how to be confident to speak the words He has given around leaders with "titles." I feel like some try to discredit the words given because I don't carry a title (such as) Pastor or Minister.
Mary Sherrie, I know exactly what you mean! Yes, the lack of a degree in Bible studies or theology can hinder us, but since that wasn't a possibility for me, I turned to the Bible for ever-increasing degrees of understanding. I read almost every translation, asking the Lord to help me. Eventually, the words in The Word make their way into poems, novels, articles – whatever and wherever God leads. I believe our part is to trust God to give us what's needed to do the work He wants us to do.
Dolores If I might humbly suggest: pray for passion and excitement for the word He gives you that will take you past any insecurity. I believe the Word says that a person's gift can take him or her before kings and leaders. May His Word, His truth be like fire shut up in your bones so that what He speaks to you in private can be shouted upon the housetop as He gives you the unction to do so.
Sherrie This made tears come. I will pray that. May the fire and passion for the words God has given me surpass or outweigh or eradicate all insecurity.
Dolores Amen! "So it is written, so let it be done!"
Theresa I am in need of uninterrupted time to write. Some circumstances in my life have taken that time away and are beyond my control. I am believing that God will give me several days before the year ends to just be and write.
Lisa As a mom of 6 within 8.5 years, I found there were long seasons where alone time seemed far out of reach. But I also found that when God had something to share with me, He found a way to get me alone. Many lines came in the shower. If only someone would invent a water-proof voice recorder! (I’m) praying right now that God will make a way for that precious time away for you.
Marla I'm on the other end of the spectrum – retired, and living away from my family. My husband is away at work all day, so I have lots and lots of time. It has been difficult being completely alone – just me and of course God! My neighbors all work, so I have found it to be quite isolating. My mom's illness kept us on the road most weekends – back and forth 4.5 hours. Now she's gone, and here I am. Yesterday at our Bible study I realized God has given me a great gift – time to spend with Him. I'm learning no matter how much we beg for what we don't have, we’re to be grateful for what we do have. It seems difficult either way, but I know God does make a way! And when He is leading and guiding us, He will make the way for us to accomplish what it is He wants from us. God hears your cry!
David Thanks, Mary, for this discussion. I am new to this group, and yours was the first post I read. I must admit that it goes right to the heart of what brought me to this group. For the past twelve years, I have worked on my book, and like many writers, I’ve had a hard time trying to get it traditionally published. Eventually, I yielded to the promises of Amazon and decided to publish the manuscript as a trilogy. The first book was released (recently) in both e-book and paperback, and now I am in a season that much has been written and said about – promotion. I need the Lord's favor in this regard. I must say that I am really glad the message is finally out for people, but as the Lord actually stated, the laborer is worthy of his wages. So much has gone into the work – finance, effort, time, prayer, and more – and now I need your prayers for the Lord's favor on this work in the "marketplace," as well as encouragement and advice from fellow writers here. This is especially so considering my present location in Africa, my hearing challenge, and the limited funds available to me for promotion. The book has attracted several exceptional reviews from around the world, but it would take the Lord's favor to make a success of it in every way possible.
Lisa David, I'm learning that writing, and especially the marketing and promotion, can be overwhelming and frustrating at times. That's when having the support of others who have been there is so important. (I’m) praying we will be that for you.
David Thanks, Lisa.
Beckie Praying for you too, David, and for God's favor to rest upon you and the rest of these authors who write in His mighty name!
David Amen! Thank you very much, Beckie.
Robin In addition to my earlier comment, I need prayer for a clean house because I am constantly picking up and cleaning up and cannot settle my mind unless the mess is cleaned up. I can't stand dirty dishes in the sink and dried eggs on the stove top! By the time I get through with the 24/7 cleanup, I have no strength to do anything else – especially writing. I’m trusting God to open the door for me to find a person to help me with heavy, deep cleaning, so I can stress less and write more. But for now, I am not able, physically, to sit still long enough to write, and I cannot write with a messy environment. Even if I go into another room or the patio, the mess is still there and my mind, spirit, and body know it! So, please pray for the "right" help to come along at the right time, or (pray) for me to gain physical strength and a sustainable routine to keep the house clean. Sorry for the long-winded post, but this is what I am struggling with and you did ask how I needed prayer/encouragement.
Shira I can't function period, Robin, in an environment that's not clean. I can identify with you on that!
Lisa Praying for you now, Robin, that God will send the help you need, give you the strength to do it yourself, or give you blinders to help you focus, regardless of the circumstances. I hope you don't mind my adding that third option. It was all I had when my kids were little.
Cyn My husband knows I have a limited amount of energy, due to (health issues) and there’s only so much I can get done. If I have to mop the floor or clean up dirty dishes on the counter or cook dinner, I can't get artwork and writing done too. Throw in a day with a doctor’s appointment, and I'm about done! So I hold onto Judges 6:14, "Go in the strength you have…. Am I not sending you?"
Anne (I need prayer) to trust God to open doors. (When) I had a speaking opportunity a couple of days ago, I enjoyed being able to share God's goodness no matter what goes on in our lives, and I felt alive as I spoke. I want prayer that I can wait on God's timing for my writing (and) speaking. I want to trust Him and not my own thoughts. And if God wants me to pursue something, I want to follow His lead.
Shira Amen to that!
Reese I believe there are such men and women of God, that you don't even have to tell them of the issues or situations you need prayer for, because the spirit of God in them will lead them into all truth, even the truth of why I need prayer.
Jeff I need prayers for wisdom in finding a good critique group – preferably one that meets in person, but a good online one could help. Also, (I need) wisdom in deciding if, when, and where to submit my writings, and whether or where to find my own website to post my writings and experiences as a writer.
Mary Other members in our group might be willing to do a manuscript swap, so look for those who are also starting out and writing in your genre. If you post your writings on the Internet, paying publishers will seldom accept the same manuscripts, so I don’t recommend that as a first choice. Instead, notice who’s publishing what. If you read a book you like, notice who published it, and check out their guidelines on their websites. Or, if you enjoy a particular magazine, consider where your work might fit. Each publisher has specific needs and reading audiences, so it’s a good idea to look for ones you like a lot first. Then consider what you need to revise to fit their guidelines. Or write something with that company in mind. In any case, pray for God’s guidance, and be on the alert for anything related to writing and publishing.
Mamie I need prayer like I need water. I don't get far without going before the Lord in prayer.
Mary Amen! Praise the Lord, and thank you all for this good discussion.
© 2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, moderator, is a poet-writer for traditional publishers and poet-author of 3 Kindle e-books on poetry and Christian writing.