WordServe News November 2020

As usual, some great things have been happening this month at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

Alaskan SecretsCongratulations to Sarah Varland and Love Inspired for the release of Alaskan Secrets.

Investigating a cold-case murder might get her killed.

When her first love, Seth Connors, is attacked in the Alaskan wilderness, former police officer Ellie Hardison knows the crime is linked to his sister’s unsolved murder. This time, she won’t stop until she finds the culprits—even if it means joining Seth undercover. With one last chance to find justice, success could bring Ellie and Seth back together…and failure could prove fatal.

From Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

Congratulations to Anne Barbour and FaithHappenings Publishing for the release of The Savior Has Come: An Advent Devotional.

The Christmas narrative is a riveting one, yet it is one most of us file away until December rolls around. The coming of Jesus to the earth is a pivotal historic event that merits daily remembrance. Anne Barbour’s The Savior Has Come will take you inside the events of the birth of Jesus, bringing the characters and places to life. Reading it will change your experience of Christmastime, and may just change your life as you revisit the significance of Jesus’ arrival. Discover treasures hidden in plain sight in the story of the birth of Jesus.

The Savior Has Come offers a unique reading format that is both refreshing and illuminating. Twenty-four Advent entries provide a simple, meaningful way to rediscover the familiar Biblical telling of the entrance of the Savior of the world. There are Biblical passages written in the text, reflections about the story, prayers, and a place for you to record thoughts and emotions. It was written for individual or group devotions and makes for a great first gift of Christmas.

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Congratulations to Joe Wheeler and Pacific Press for the release of Christmas in My Heart: A Treasury of Old-Fashioned Christmas Stories. The Best of Volumes 14-27.

Little did the young boy know all those years ago when he listened to his mother recite or tell emotional Christmas stories that he would eventually send a publisher a collection of his favorite Christmas stories. Back in 1992, a college professor, Dr. Joe L. Wheeler, was blindsided by a manuscript of tear- jerking Christmas stories he submitted, upon request, to a publishing house. He had no way of knowing that the simple little 128-page books would refuse to die and become (over the next 29 years) the longest-running Christmas story series in America. A traumatic brain injury resulting from a stairway fall brings the series to a halt—but not before about a million Christmas books were ensconced in homes and libraries around the world. Book 28 features some of the most beloved stories from books 1–13, and book 29 does the same with stories included from books 14–27. In each case, Dr. Wheeler shares the story behind the story–why these finalist stories were chosen for inclusion.

Cvr_TBTBS.inddCongratulations to Debora M. Coty for the re-release of Too Blessed to Be Stressed: Inspiration for Climbing Out of Life’s Stress-pool.

If you often find yourself struggling with the stresses of finances, health, career, relationships, self-image, or family, then this humor-filled volume is just what you need. With simple, practical tips for attaining the peace you crave—the peace that passes all understanding—you’ll discover healing, refreshment, and revitalization for your spirit, body, and mind.

Contracts

Mike Ashcraft signed with B&H Publishing for The Art of Conclusion to be released March 2022.

John Spencer signed with Potomac Books for Connected Brothers to be released late 2021.

Shellie Tomlinson and Chrys Howard signed with Focus On The Family for Rocking It Grand: 21 Ways to e a Game-Changing Grandma to be released November 2021.

Stephen Arterburn, Misty Arterburn, and Nick Harrison signed with Tyndale House Publishers for 365 Pocket Prayers for Those in Recovery to be released late 2021.

Jean S. Barnes and Jessica Wrasman signed with Elk Lake Publishing for Wise Woman Within to be released in November 2021. 

Walt Larimore signed with Post Hill Press for War Horseman: A World War II Hero’s Stories of Savagery, Struggles, and Saving Lipizzaners to be released in Spring 2022.

Jessica Hooten Wilson and Jacob Stratman signed with Zondervan for To This You Are Called to be released in 2021. 

New Clients

Tom Sileo, Kevin Nye, William & Bobbie Bee,  signed with WordServe in November.  Welcome!

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WordServe News October 2020

As usual, some great things have been happening this month at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

Congratulations to Robert Wise and Frank Sission for the October 20 release of I Marched with Patton

Published to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of General George Patton’s death, a gripping firsthand account of World War II written by a soldier with the American Third Army who served under the legendary warrior and participated in many of the most consequential events of the conflict—including the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of Dachau.

Following in the footsteps of the bestsellers All the Gallant Men, Every Man a Hero, Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In, and Never Call Me a Hero, I Marched with Patton is a remarkable eyewitness account that offers priceless insights into a foot soldier’s life on the front lines during World War II under the command one of the legendary figures in American military history.

Now a spry ninety-four years old, Frank Sisson looks back at his life and his service in the Third Army. Born in rural Oklahoma, Frank grew up fatherless during the Great Depression. In 1944, at age eighteen, he enlisted and was deployed to France where he marched with Patton, taking part in many of the key Allied movements of the war. Frank fought in the Battle of the Bulge, nearly died crossing the Rhine with Patton, and was among the first American soldiers who liberated the notorious Dachau concentration camp.

After the war, Frank continued to serve in the army as a military police inspector in Berlin. When he finally returned home, he attended college and built a career in business.

Frank Sisson’s remarkable reminiscences provide a fresh, unique look at Patton’s leadership, the final year of World War II and its direct aftermath, and the experience of combat on the front lines.

I Marched with Patton includes 25 black-and-white photographs.

When Dr. Walt Larimore moved his young family to Kissimmee, Florida, to start a small-town medical practice in 1985, he had no idea he was embarking on an enterprise that would change his life in ways both large and small. But there’s no telling what you’ll run into as a family physician in a rural, small-town community.

Perfect for anyone yearning for a simpler, slower pace of life, as well as fans of Dr. Larimore’s popular Bryson City series, The Best Medicine is a tender and insightful collection of stories chronicling one young doctor’s passage from inexperience to maturity as a physician, husband, father, and community member. Filled with characters colorful and crusty, warm-hearted and hot-headed, witty and winsome, these captivating stories glow with warmth, love, and humor. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll wish Dr. Larimore was your doctor.

Teen’s Guide to Face to Face Connections in a Screen-to-Screen World by Jonathan and Alyssa McKee will release on November 1, 2020.

Phones can be a great tool for connecting with people outside the room, when they don’t interfere with the people inside the room.

You can dare to be relationally different in a screen-to-screen culture.

But. . .honestly, I like my phone. So what should I do?

You probably enjoy screens but don’t want them hurting your relationships with the people who matter most, right?  What if you could improve your face-to-face relationships, develop deeper connections, resolve conflict, and confidently communicate with friends, parents, teachers, roommates, coworkers, potential employers…even the barista at your local coffee shop?

What if your phone truly helped you connect with the people more than disconnect with those around you?

What if you paused to think before you posted, avoiding some of the hurt and consequences that almost always lead to regret after?

What if you became a master of your own screen-time instead of letting it master you?

What if you became more screen-wise?

40 real-life realizations including. . .
* Your phone doesn’t have an UNSEND button.
* Sometimes less is more.
* We all need a digital detox every once in a while.
* Sometimes the people we love the most are the people we ignored all day.
* If you find someone who doesn’t look at their phone once during a meal…marry them!

Author and youth culture expert, Jonathan McKee, and his daughter Alyssa McKee, uncover forty random realizations they’ve discovered over the last five years.  Screens provide fun platforms to connect with faraway friends; and sometimes the people we love the most are the people we ignore all day.  Jonathan and Alyssa help young adults navigate face-to-face communication in a screen-to-screen world too!  Maybe they’ll help you navigate face-to-face communication in a screen-to-screen world too!

The third book, Softly Blows the Bugle, in Jan Drexler’s The Amish of Weaver’s Creek series releases October 20, 2020.

When Elizabeth Kaufman received the news of her husband’s death at the Battle of Vicksburg in 1863, she felt only relief. She determined that she would never be at the mercy of any man again, even if it meant she would never have a family of her own. Then Aaron Zook comes home with her brother when the war ends two years later.

Despite the severity of his injuries, Aaron resolves to move West and leave the pain of the past behind him. He never imagined that the Amish way of life his grandfather had rejected long ago would be so enticing. That, and a certain widow he can’t get out of his mind.

Yet, even in a simple community, life has a way of getting complicated. Aaron soon finds that while he may have left the battlefield behind, there is another fight he must win–the one for the heart of the woman he loves.
Welcome back to the Amish community at Weaver’s Creek, where the bonds of family and faith bind up the brokenhearted.

Contracts

Robert Wise signed with Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. for Man on Fire to be released late 2021.

Stephen Arterburn, Ron Archer and Rachel Archer signed with Regnery Publishing for  Not All Black and White to be released late 2021.

New Clients

Kristen Kansiewicz, Ali Rothrock, John Bruchalski, Corey David Mead, Courtney Bejgrowicz, Gene Rice, Dr. Alice Ours Vitiello signed with WordServe in October.  Welcome!

WordServe News September 2020

As usual, some great things have been happening this month at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

Will revelations of the past hijack their future?

Since childhood, Ida Mae Hoscutt, the beloved proprietress of the Come and Get It Diner, has loved Charles “Chuck” Farrow from afar. Now on the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday with no marriage proposal in sight, Ida Mae mourns past mistakes and contemplates a makeover. When a radio commercial wrenches Ida Mae’s heart, will a sudden turn of events sabotage her chance for happiness or will a long-held secret be the answer to love ever-after?

As Ida Mae’s right-hand man at the Come and Get It, Chuck yearns to shift gears and start over. He’s ready to shelve bachelorhood and blunders in favor of possibilities and new beginnings. When he prepares to move forward, two things challenge his objective. One is the father who walked away and never looked back. The other? A decades-old question that only Ida Mae can answer.

And Ida Mae isn’t talking.

Congratulations to Wade Mullin and Tyndale on the October 6 release of Something’s Not Right: Decoding the Hidden Tactics of Abuse and Freeing Yourself from Its Power.

“Am I the only one who sees this―am I just imagining things? Is something wrong with me . . . or could this be abuse?”
Maybe you don’t know for sure: all you know is something feels off when you think about a certain relationship or interaction with an institution or organization. You feel alone and confused―but calling it “abuse” feels extreme and unsettling, a label for what happens to other people but not you. Yet you can’t shake the feeling: something’s not right.

In his debut book, researcher and advocate Wade Mullen introduces us to the groundbreaking world of impression management―the strategies that individuals and organizations utilize to gain power and cover up their wrongdoings. Mullen reveals a pattern that accompanies many types of abuse, almost as if abusers are somehow reading from the same playbook. If we can learn to decode these evil methods―if we can learn the language of abuse―we can help stop the cycle and make abusers less effective at accomplishing destruction in our lives.

Something’s Not Right will help you to identify and describe tactics that were previously unidentifiable and indescribable, and give you the language you need to move toward freedom and create a safer future for yourself and others.

Congratulations to Rick Lawrence for the October 6 release of Jesus-Centered Daily.

The Jesus-Centered Daily devotional invites you into a more intimate relationship with Jesus. You’ll get to know his heart and come to truly understand and embrace the relationship he desires to have with you.

This engaging devotional experience starts with Jesus at the center, so you can focus on building a relationship with him on a daily basis in a more doable way. These daily devotions won’t just help you think about your relationship with Jesus in a new way, but they’ll also help you come to know him as a close friend. He’s not content to sit on the sidelines. He doesn’t want to be compartmentalized to church on Sunday or your morning devotion time. He wants to be right there with you, walking side by side.

Each day you’ll be immersed in a surprising insight into the heart of the real Jesus and what it means to really know him (not just facts about him) and follow him. In every devotion you’ll…

• read a short Scripture passage and an intriguing devotional insight,
• ponder a simple “Wonder” question that organically focuses your attention on the heart of Jesus,
• pray and connect with Jesus in a new way to grow your friendship,
• sink into a “word” from Jesus that relates to the day’s theme, and
• experience Jesus through a special “Do” prompt—try something simple, creative, and sensory-based that’s tied to your devotional experience.

This thought-provoking, sense-engaging daily devotional will draw you closer to Jesus every day of the year. It’s easy to incorporate into your daily life—and it invites you into life-changing, life-affirming moments with Jesus.

Makes a great gift for family and friends.

Contracts

Sandy Silverthorne signed with Revell for Dad Joke Book to be released late 2021.

Fred Sievert signed with Morgan James FAITH for Fast-Starting a Career of Consequence to be released late Summer 2021.

Ace Collins signed with Tyndale House Ministries for Geared-Up Faith for Classic Car Buffs to be released Summer 2021.

Amy Sorrells signed a contract with Tyndale for 40 Days of Hope for Healthcare Heroes, a nursing devotional. It will be releasing in Summer 2021.

Shannon Deer and Cheryl Miller signed with Rowan & Littlefield for Business Doing Good: Strategies for Empowering Women and Communities to be released Fall 2021.

Joshua Kemble signed with Markosia Enterprises Limited for Two Stories to be released 2021.

Karissa Tunis and Sharlene Medini signed with Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. for Parenting While Working From Home to be released September 2021.

Shannon K. Evans signed with Brazos Press for a two-book deal. A Wilder Journey to be released early 2022 and Book #2 to be released in Spring 2023.

New Clients

John Spencer, Dr. Brook Bello, and Dorcas Smucker signed with WordServe in September.  Welcome!

 

Got a Problem? Here’s the Solution!

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Many years ago, our then five-year-old son trudged into the kitchen.

“I don’t wanna go back to school.” He dropped his Ninja Turtle backpack on the floor and crossed his tiny arms to emphasize the point. “Mrs. C doesn’t like questions and she doesn’t like teaching kids either.”

Surely, he’d misjudged Mrs. C. The teacher we’d just met at Open House a week earlier seemed warm, welcoming, and open to creative little spirits and their quandaries.

I knelt and met my child at eye level. “What makes you say that, honey?”

“’Cause if we wanna know something, she says ‘Not Now’ or ‘Go back to your seat.’ And…if we have a problem, she tells us to go write it on the problem board.”

Hmm.

“Problem board? What’s that?”

“It’s that big board on wheels with lots of white paper.”

Ah…yes. The one at the front of the classroom. I remembered seeing it at Open House.

“Well, did you need help with a question?”

“No. I had a problem.” My son’s face clouded. “Tommy took all my pencils and snapped them in two. When I tried to tell Mrs. C she said, ‘Go write it down on the problem board and then your problem will go away.’”

Really? What kind of nonsense was that?

“And so, what did you do?”

“I wrote my name on the problem board. And then Mrs. C laughed at me and said ‘You have a problem with yourself?’”

I cringed.

Even today, I still frown at the memory.

What I eventually deduced:

  • Most five-year-olds might be able to write their name, but very few write in complete sentences yet. Therefore, blank space on Mrs. C’s problem board equaled—well—no problem! Ever.
  • Mrs. C’s methodology for handling her classroom on a day-to-day basis was far different from what my husband and I observed at Open House. “I try to make things as easy for the students and myself as I can. The less complicated, the better,” she told a group of parents one day.
  • By easy and less complicated she meant unencumbered by demands, decisions, and anything else that required more than marginal effort.

I found that mindset disturbing, and to this day, Mrs. C’s words and attitude still resonate. It was and is so heartbreaking.

God doesn’t grant us creativity to waste, but He does set the bar high. He expects us to use good judgment when using our talents.

For writers and many other professionals, words like easy and uncomplicated rarely mesh with success.

Most of us know by now that with anything worth having (a long-held dream, goal, or career), there’s going to be work involved.

Ignoring “problems,” neglecting the obvious, and expending little energy aren’t endearing qualities. They invite complacency and undermine God’s plan for our lives.

It’s a tough climate for writers just now, but heaven help us if we come to think of our craft as not worth the effort!

If you’re new to the writing journey or if you’ve been at the process a while, I hope you’ve decided to dig in your heels and not settle for the uncomplicated.

I hope you’ll think through, rise above, and go beyond the “problem boards” of life, yet be confident enough to realize, too, sometimes, that’s where the real stories are.

Now

Go tackle some white space.

Don’t be afraid to write on it!

*This post first appeared on my blog.

Original Image Credit: MiraGregorCosic/Pixabay

 

Can you think of a time when you felt ignored or that your problem didn’t matter?

How did you handle it?

Writers, anything you’re tackling on your “problem board” today?

***

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Cynthia writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. A hopeless romantic at heart, she enjoys penning stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances.

“Cindy” has a degree in psychology and a background in social work. She is a member of ACFW, ACFW MozArks, and RWA.

Cindy loves to connect with friends at: http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/

She also hangs out here:

http://www.twitter.com/C_Herronauthor

http://www.facebook.com/authorcynthiaherron

http://www.pinterest.com/cynthia_herron/

For love, fun, and encouragement ~

Sign up for Cindy’s monthly e-NEWSLETTERS

 

10 Things You Should Know About the Writing Life

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Original Image Credit: Engin_Akyurt/Pixabay

 

Recently, a friend mentioned that she was thinking about writing—as in pursuing it as a career.

“I mean, how hard can it be, right? I like reading books and I’ve always wanted to write one. I believe I can do it.”

Should I tell her? Should I prick that golden bubble of innocence with a cold, hard dose of truth?

I knew by the stars in her eyes she envisioned something far different from the nitty-gritty, day in, day out, nuts and bolts thing we know as writing.

“And I know it’ll take work, but I don’t mind work.”

The more she talked about the written word, the more animated she grew.

As it so often goes with conversations like this, my friend went on for several minutes, espousing her lifelong wish to pen the novels of her heart.

“Sounds like the writing bug’s bit you, for sure.” I remembered those feelings.

And then I remembered others. The bittersweet ones that are tough to swallow, but necessary in the learning curve.

I tempered my thoughts with some polite niceties, but then my friend pressed.

“Okay, Cindy. Tell me. What are you not saying? What’s something I should know about the writing life?”

“It’s a unique calling…”

“But?”

“No buts. That has a negative connotation. Let’s say andAnd writing’s something that will always matter.”

Here are 10 more things I eventually told my friend about the writing life.

1.      Writing will consume you. You’ll learn to juggle your passion through trial and error. There’s no shortcut around experience.

2.      Writing will test your mettle. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually. Professionally. Rise above pettiness. Seek wise counsel. Stay the course.

3.      Writing will challenge your comfort zones. Expect it. Accept it. You’ll write best beyond those zones.

4.      You won’t always love writing. Some days you may hate it. Don’t worry. That will pass. If it doesn’t, rethink writing.

5.      Writing with publication as your goal demands time. Sometimes lots of it. Months. Years.

6.      Writing is lonely sometimes. Align your troops—those go-to souls who get your art.

7.      Realize writing is a different medium. One size doesn’t fit all. In fact, the writing life rarely makes sense to those who don’t live it.

8.      Writing is an honorable calling. When naysayers tell you otherwise (and they will), remember who you’re writing for.

9.      Writing will shred your self-confidence. God will restore it.

10.    The writing life will change you. You won’t live with what if. You’ll write it.

Melissa Tagg once said this and I asked permission to quote her.

“It’s so true that writing is a lot of work. It takes research and dedication and so much stubbornness it’s not even funny. But man…it is also soooo fun and so filled with magical moments. And there’s a divine mystery to it. Because for all the craft books and classes and conferences that help us grow as writers, we can’t force those perfect nights when the story starts telling itself…the characters start breathing…and the plot comes alive. That’s when I know there’s something more than my own brain at work. That’s when I know I’m not doing this storytelling thing alone.”

 

*This post first appeared on my blog.

What have you discovered about the writing life?

Does your current career path align with your heart’s desire?

If not, what steps are you taking to correct that?

***

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Cynthia writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. A hopeless romantic at heart, she enjoys penning stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances.

“Cindy” has a degree in psychology and a background in social work. She is a member of ACFW, ACFW MozArks, and RWA.

Cindy loves to connect with friends at: http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/

She also hangs out here:

http://www.twitter.com/C_Herronauthor

http://www.facebook.com/authorcynthiaherron

http://www.pinterest.com/cynthia_herron/

For love, fun, and encouragement ~

Sign up for Cynthia’s monthly e-NEWSLETTERS

 

Critique Partners: 7 Things to Consider

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Original Image Credit: CCO Creative Commons/Pixabay

Many years ago, I joined one of my first writers’ groups.

In this group were writers of various ages and professional backgrounds. Some were stay-at-home moms. Others were teachers, nurses, social workers, and office managers. We also had a company president or two and a smattering of business owners. Some were published authors.

While we were all at different stages in our writing careers, we shared a common interest and a mutual goal: our love for the creative arts and the desire to grow in our craft.

Our monthly meetings were a great time of fellowship and learning. It was a “safe” environment where we let down our hair and talked about our works-in-progress. We discussed writing mechanics, industry changes, and anything else related to our craft.

As our group grew in number, new friendships formed. Some of us clicked with those who would become our critique partners.

In fact, that’s how I found my first critique partner. Though she eventually moved out of the area and away from writing, I enjoyed our time together and my writing improved. Our working relationship stretched me and nudged me beyond my comfort zone.

There are, of course, some authors who prefer to go it alone, though, I just don’t know of many. The creative process is challenging enough without wondering if our stories are connecting. Even seasoned authors use critique partners to peruse their work.

Does the plot intrigue? Are our characters realistic? Are there any timeline discrepancies? And oh, my gravy, what about grammatical issues?

These are things critique partners can spot easier than we can. When we’ve looked at our own work a thousand times we’re no longer objective, and often, we’re too bleary-eyed from the process to completely care. Well, we care, but the truth is we may tire of our own words. (There. I said it!) Too, we may recognize there are holes and issues within our stories, but we just don’t know how to fix them.

That’s where our awesome, stupendous critique partners help.

It may take time to gel with the right individuals, but once we discover each other, it’s a beautiful thing. These are the folks who become our coaches, cheerleaders, mentors, and friends.

Now that we’ve talked about critique partners and their importance, what criteria should we look for in those connections?

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Original Image Credit: fancycrave1/Pixabay

Let’s consider these seven things:

 

  1. Are they like-minded? Are they believers? Doctrinal issues aside, do our life philosophies mesh? In other words, I love Jesus, sticky notes, and Starbucks. Those last two are negotiable. Now, casting stones and holier-than-thou mindsets? Sorry. Those don’t work for me. They make me break out in hives.

 

  1. Do they write in similar genres? Our critique partners may write in different sub-genres, but underneath the inspirational fiction umbrella. They’re aware of the vast differences between CBA and ABA guidelines. Likewise, if we write for the secular market, we best choose those who have a knowledgeable grasp on the industry.

 

  1. Are they well-read? Our critique partners might write to a specific audience, but they enjoy reading a variety of stories. In other words, they’re experienced readers.

 

  1. Do our personalities mesh? I’m a see-the-glass-half-full, Pollyanna kind of gal. I love to laugh and have fun. I’m an encourager. I’m candid (but tactful), down-to-earth, and unpretentious. I recognize I’m not perfect. While our critique partners have their own special traits, it’s important we share common ground.

 

  1. Are they aware of the changing market? Do they stay abreast of industry news? This is a must because as times change, so does the publishing world. Our crit partners help us discern what changes might affect our work and what could influence editors’ decisions regarding it. They understand the importance of staying on top of market demands because they’re writers, too.

 

  1. Will it be a mutually beneficial relationship? While friendship is often a prerequisite, our relationship with our critique partners should be a give-and-take scenario. In the ideal partnership, strengths and weaknesses are addressed, shared, and dealt with professionally (and lovingly).

 

  1. Do we feel safe? Do our partners understand the importance of trust and confidentiality?  The best working relationships are fueled by those two factors.

 

***

What things do you look for in a productive partnership?

How have you benefited from critique partners?

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Cynthia writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. She loves to connect with friends at her online home. “Cindy” also hangs out on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. For love, fun, and encouragement, sign up for her monthly newsletters.

 

Why Our Time Matters

Why Our Time Matters

Original Image Credit: Pixabay/FreePhotos

When writers work from home, distractions abound.

We care for our homes and families, chauffeur kids, tackle laundry, prepare meals, and handle the day-to-day affairs that go with the territory.

We also field infringements on our time from outside sources. Those come by way of well-intentioned friends and family who may not realize that while we’re home, we are indeed still working. At writing. Yes—that.

And though we are home, our time still matters.

The truth is if we don’t value our time and treat writing as our career, no one else will either.

Prioritizing our work load isn’t something that always comes naturally. We must be intentional, focused, and goal-oriented. That’s not to say there aren’t exceptions.

Life ebbs and flows. Of course, sometimes, unforeseen things upend our schedule. We know we have a problem, though, when we begin to see a pattern—when we allow things that could wait to hijack our day.

For people-pleasers, time management is difficult. We want to be approachable and available, yet we also understand the rigors of working from home. We have X number of hours during the day to get our work done before our families arrive home and our evening routine begins.

Occasionally, we try to juggle it all only to discover we can’t.

Writing is our job. Maybe we don’t yet earn the income from it we’d like. Maybe we’re still pursuing career goals.

Does that mean our work is less meaningful?

I’ll give you an example.

Many years ago, “Sally Sue” used to call me—usually more than once a day. I dreaded those calls that went something like this.

“Hey, Cindy. There’s a great meat sale down at the market. Of course, they tried to cheat me out of some deals, but I got everything worked out. Let me tell you about it.”

“I’m working just now, Sally Sue. Can I call you back when I take a break?”

“Oh, this will just take a minute. Five, tops.”

What do you think happened?

One guess.

Well, of course, those it’ll just take a minute phone calls morphed into thirty-minute commentaries.

And Sally Sue was always in a tizzy. Nothing ever went right. The world was against her.

Her calls left me resentful and deflated. For this see-the-glass-half-full gal, I was thoroughly parched by the time the calls ended.

As much as I wanted to be there for Sally Sue, it became apparent I needed to distance myself from what had become a disturbing pattern.

“Sally Sue, I won’t be available to talk as often,” I announced one day. Subtle hints hadn’t worked and neither had direct cues. It was time to cut to the chase. Tactfully. Truthfully. Lovingly. (Did I mention truthfully?)

“Oh, what do you mean?” The sound of an electric mixer whirred in the background.

I plunged ahead. “My time matters, Sally Sue. I work from home and when you call, that’s time away from work.”

“So, you want me to call in the evenings? I can do that.”

No. That’s not what I wanted at all. Evenings were family time.

“Sally Sue, that won’t work.”

Right then, I nipped this situation in the bud. I regretted not doing it sooner.

I told Sally Sue I’d only be able take calls on Friday afternoons and I could no longer chat beyond the ten-minute mark.

When she pushed the envelope, as I feared she would, I refused to answer her calls other than on Fridays. When ten minutes passed, I ended the conversation. Politely, but firmly.

Her parting line was always: “Wow. I guess you’re serious. Your time really matters, huh?”

Yes. And yes.

Sally Sue’s calls stopped altogether when we moved from the area. I prayed that God would direct her to the friend she so obviously yearned for. One who shared similar interests and attributes.

Since I’m a firm believer that God brings folks together for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, I recognize the time with Sally Sue as a defining point in my writing career.

When I grew serious about managing my time, I began to think in a new way. My craft (my work) no longer took a back seat to other “nobler” professions. I approached my job with a new mindset, having learned a valuable lesson in the process.

There are always times of sacrifice, but self-respect is non-negotiable.

See, here’s the thing—and may I be frank?

  • I may not always answer the phone.
  • I may not answer my door.
  • Dusting may have to wait, as well as clothes-folding, toilet-scrubbing, and errand-running.

And call me a “meanie” BUT

  • I will no longer serve on every committee, join every club, or attend social functions for the sake of “putting in an appearance.”
  • I can’t walk your dog.
  • I don’t do laundry (other than my own).
  • I won’t organize your closets, clean your kitchen, or mow your lawn.
  • I know nothing about stamp-collecting, beekeeping, or turnip-growing.

Because writing is my full-time profession, if I don’t value my time and my career, no one else will. That’s why there are times I must say “No, thank you” and “I’m sorry, but I’ll have to pass.”

Let me encourage you today to get real about your work—whether at a tabletop or a little niche inside your home.

Some folks will understand. Others won’t.

That’s when we love them anyway.

Then we silence our phones and eat chocolate.

While we work. 😊

***

As a writer, how do you handle life’s delicate situations?

Any time-saving tips you care to share?

 

Cynthia writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. She loves to connect with friends at her online home. “Cindy” also hangs out on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. For love, fun, and encouragement, sign up for her monthly newsletters.