Today my Encouraging Words for Writers comes from author Laurie Alice Eakes. Her first hardcover won the National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency, as well as being a finalist for Best First Book. She has also sold other books, articles, short stories, and essays. She lives in Virginia with her husband and assorted cats and dogs.
Welcome Laurie to Joy in the Journey. Thank you for using your gifts to uplift others.
"When you need encouragement, go to http://www.unboundbible.com Under the NASV version and the field marked simply “search”, type in encourage. Just reading the verses that pop up is encouraging, from the Israelites being told to encourage Joshua, to Paul telling us to encourage one another.
The ability to encourage one another is a gift from the Holy Spirit. It’s not something I thought I was terribly good at. In fact, I often felt as though I was constantly drawing on others to encourage me. I felt like my golden retriever, who is a love sponge. “Tell me, please, please, please, that I can write, that I’ll sell, that every word I put down isn’t nonsense. Please. Please. Please!!!” Slurp. Slurp. Slurp.
The funny thing was, it didn’t work. About two minutes after the nice words came, I dropped back into the Slough of Despond into which I tumbled with each rejection, or sometimes worse, each day without word. Ironically, the despondency got worse after I’d made a couple of sales than before. Surely God wanted me to be a writer. “Look, there’s my name on that book over there.”
Yes, God wanted me to be a writer. What He wanted from me more, though, was to be an encouragement to writers, a teacher, a giver rather than a taker. When someone got good news, I needed to feel joyful for them with sincerity, not simply pay lip service to happiness for their good news, while my own heart sank. I had to realize that God had a special place for me in the writing community. For nearly two years, I realized that He had only given me my two sales to keep me in the field because He had a place for me amongst writers.
To say that you may not be getting that book contract you yearn to receive, doesn’t seem encouraging, especially when you can, as I could, if I’d kept them, paper your office walls with the rejections. Being a writer means being published.
No, being a writer for God means allowing Him to use you and your gifts writing. It may be the devotional that uplifts a depressed friend. It may be the blog post that gives another writer the impetus she needs to carry on with her own work for the Lord. It may be the memo that makes your boss look good. And, yes, it may be the novel that starts a new subgenre of fiction.
I want everyone who wants to be, to get published. I want to see everyone achieve her dream. More so, I want my fellow writers not to take as long as I did, to find the joy of knowing when I surrendered my day’s writing to the Lord, I truly meant it.
That is my encouragement to you. Surrender your will to be published, your will to sell more, your will to have more of an impact in the writing community or your home community, or the world, all to the Lord’s reasons for calling you to write. It’s freeing."
In the year since I have put serving God through my writing over writing with the sole goal of getting published, I have sold eleven more novels.
Laurie Alice Eakes, The Glassblower, December, 2009; (Editor’s Pick); The Heiress, April, 2010; The Newcomer, August, 2010; When the Snow Flies, August, 2010