Overhaul: Necessary for the Writing Life

Overhaul: Necessary for the Writing Life

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I’m sitting in the beautiful Icons Cafe in Alger Heights, a neighborhood in Grand Rapids, Mich., that is seeing renewal. My husband grew up in this neighborhood and his parents still live here. They have seen the small business district as a vital neighborhood hub; have seen it fall into disrepair and disuse; and now see the neighborhood attracting new business and renewed interest in its walkability and small-town feel.

The area has reinvented itself thanks to investment by local businesses and the people who choose to frequent those businesses. It takes effort and long-term thinking.

The writing life can do with the occasional overhaul as well. We can invest time in thinking through where we want to go with help from others and our own questions and honest assessments. We can invest resources in additional training via books, writers conferences or classes. Thinking through where we are and where we want to go shouldn’t be a bad thing, though it may be scary.

I’m doing some of that these days via questions like these:

  • What do I love?
  • What am I good at?
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • Have I committed to doing too much?
  • How can I streamline my professional life?
  • Where do I need to adjust my priorities?

Which questions ring true for you? I’d love to hear how you have readjusted your priorities and actions to create the writing life you dream of. It’s hard for me to do and may mean some tough decisions in the future. But it’s necessary and useful. I’ll say to you what I’m saying to myself: be honest; be careful; be courageous; just do it.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy sitting in this cafe whose owners and workers have turned empty space into something usable, beautiful, and perfect for the area.

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Welcome! The Inaugural Blog Post

Welcome! The Inaugural Blog Post

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Today is the kickoff of my new social media presence via this blog and Facebook/Twitter/Instagram posts. Not sure if I understand how to do it all yet, but I know one thing: I want this to be a place to learn, grow, and explore.

Learn: Gather information on the latest publishing news, details about writers’ conferences, instruction on the craft of writing from authors and editors, and how to navigate the writing life.

Grow: Expand your writing world via links to useful websites, discover the newest writing books and resources, challenge yourself with writing prompts and exercises, and practice what you learn so you can share with others.

Explore: Consider what it means to be a writer, learn how to stay relevant in today’s culture, review books that are meaningful and interesting, and discuss the struggles and triumphs of the writing life.

That’s a lot to do in two blog posts a week!

This summer is one of travel and conferences. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference in Grove City, PA, happened in late June, then I moved on to the International Christian Retail Show in Cincinnati.

ICRS is always interesting as the Christian publishing industry flexes and changes and grows and shrinks all at the same time. I’ll report on details on this blog soon.

In the meantime, I leave you with words from a discussion about rejection that occurred within my beloved Guild, a group of six women enmeshed in the writing life. We all experience rejection daily in one form or another. Sometimes it’s an editor’s rejection; sometimes it’s as mundane as a snide look from someone in the grocery story. Rejection is part of any writer’s life. Here are words to inspire and calm and stiffen our spines.

“Rejection stinks. But as a believer it should (eventually) bring us exactly to this place . . . of taking a step back to look at the huge panorama of our timeline. The truth is, some people sell big and some people sell small. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

“Truth sets me free to mind my own business and do what I’m supposed to do, and find contentment in that.”

Finally, “We are fragile. (We’re also strong.) I’m so glad that we can talk through all this together.”

May you find inspiration and encouragement on this blog. I welcome your comments, and look forward to getting to know you.