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Monday, March 14, 2011

For all my fellow "cloud-walking helpmates"

I've been reading the biography of Janice Holt Giles, whose book The Believers is among the favored few I posted last week. I'm fascinated by her life. She didn't publish her first novel until she was 41 years old.

This is what her husband, 10 years her junior, had to say:
(this made me smile)

"I know now that I shall spend the rest of my life with the people in Jan's books. They are part of the family, and I don't think I would like not having them around. In fact, I strongly suspect I would find life with the average housewife (which I thought I was getting) pretty dull and uninteresting. I've got used to dusty floors, books scattered everywhere, meals at odd hours and a cloud-walking helpmate. I'm even getting used to being pointed out as Janice Giles' husband. After all, it isn't everyone who can live successfully with a writer. Besides, when she's writing I have an awful lot of time to go fishing!"

Cloud-walking helpmate. I've never heard myself described so well. And by a man who isn't my own husband. But Rusty would agree.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A prayer for writers

Years ago when I first joined American Christian Fiction Writers (OH that reminds me, my yearly dues are due!), I discovered a new author I quickly added to my list of favorites. Deb Raney wrote a book that changed the way I think about Christian fiction called Beneath a Southern Sky. I have a row of about six books that I consider favored enough to keep separate (this doesn't include my shrine to Gone With the Wind or my Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers.) I have those six books hedged between my beloved bookends my mother bought for me when my first books sold. Beneath a Southern Sky is among those books.

Among those books is also Three, by Ted Dekker, To Kill a Mockingbird, Forever Amber (which is raunchy for its time, but holds a special place in my heart), The Believers, The Complete Guide to writing and Selling the Christian Novel by Penelope Stokes--and any aspiring Christian author should have it--Sophie's Heart by Lori Wick. And Deb Raney's Beneath a Southern Sky, which in my opinion, should become a Christian classic.

Deb also quickly became one of my favorite people and in those early days when the loop was small and there was lots of activity, she posted a prayer that God gave her and she prays as she sits to write. I had this taped to my computer for years until it finally got lost and she graciously sent it to me again. With her permission, I post it.

~Quiet my heart and clear my mind this morning, Lord, and help me focus on this story that You've given me to write. Keep me from anything that would distract me from the work I need to accomplish, but also let Your Spirit within me discern what is truly a needless distraction and what is important enough that it should distract me. Never let me put project above people or worldly gain above things that are eternal.

As I write, guard me from my tendency to laziness, Lord. Nudge me to dig as deep as necessary in researching my story; remind me to use all the tools at my disposal so that I handle the language in a correct yet creative way. At the same time, don't let me focus so harshly on one 'tree', that I never make it through the 'forest'.

Lord, I know that as I write this book--a book that won't be published for many months--even now, you are preparing hearts that will one day read my words. So let every word I write accurately reflect Your truth and Your precepts. Supernaturally imbue my writing with that quality that, by Your Sprit will woo souls to You.~

Isn't that a beautiful prayer of surrender? Even for those of us who write at the edge of Christian fiction--leaning more toward crossover appeal and a quiet truth God can use to share his love to a hurting World that maybe wouldn't read and Amish novel or prairie romance or even Christian suspense, we still want the words we write to accomplish their God-ordained purpose.

So as I sit to write today, I pray...

Lord, Quiet my heart....
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