Hello from Jeanette. This time next week I’m be on my way to the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. I am taking a big step this year. For the first time ever, I am not pre-submitting any manuscripts or packing proposals to pitch. I am literally just going to learn and seek God’s direction. The other night, the idea of doing this felt scary. It seemed irresponsible in a way. Now, however, I see my choice as very responsible, because I am doing what God has been nudging me to do.
Happy 1st Monday (of the month which ushers in spring, I might add!) from Dianne Neal Matthews. Last month I loved Jeanette’s post about sharing in the joys of fellow writers’ successes. It reminded me of a lesson that God taught me several years ago, when I was at one of the lowest points of my life.
Jan here, writing to you today about writing craft, with a focus on keeping the fun in writing.
Recently I had a conversation with writer, Nancy Sanders, who encourages those she mentors to take time each week to set aside deadlines and write whatever they feel like. I see merit in that. Oftentimes we do enjoy what we are currently writing for publication, but it might do our writing some good if we took regular time to write something just because we want to.
This post is dedicated to writing for the fun of it.
I’ll be here on the fourth Thursday of every month to chat with you about the ins and outs of developing a speaking platform. Please feel free to ask questions along the way.
First, please allow me give you a little background on how I got started as a speaker. God built my platform out of the ashes of my pain. When I was a young mom battling a vicious disease (and the financial hardships that followed), I wondered if God had lost my address. My prayers seemed to bounce off the ceiling and God seemed especially silent. Then one day a woman from my church called and said the most amazing thing to me:
“Susie, I’ve heard about all of the hardships you and your family are going through and I took those concerns to God in prayer. The Lord showed me a picture of a platform that He’s building with your pain. Lean in and learn everything you can during this time, then you’ll have something to say when you get to the other side of this painful journey.”
That’s all I needed to hear. God was up to something. In spite of the fear, fatigue, and despair that swirled around me, I leaned in. I listened. I took lots of notes. And I trusted God.
One day, out of the blue, I received a call from the leader of a MOPS group. Somehow she had heard about me and wanted me to share my story with her women. I was a weak, scared, and wounded little bird, but God used me in my weakness. And thus began – from very small beginnings – my speaking ministry.
For me, every new stage of growth in this ministry has always been preceded by a deep (and somewhat painful) character cleansing time. I now know to lean in and learn during those refining times so that I can stand strong in the next place He has for me.
That blessed phone call came about 17 years ago and in His wisdom, God has established my platform in pace with the ages of my kids and with the state of my health. Now that my kids are grown and I have the time, I’m running to keep up with it all. I’m represented by a wonderful national agency (Ambassador Speaker’s Bureau) and my platform is steadily growing. I say no to more events than I say yes to, but I have to in order to keep up with my writing and the occasional radio work that I do. It took a while, but now I’ve got some great momentum and to tell you the truth, I’m hanging on to the Vine for dear life!
I tell you all of this to encourage you. If you have a heart to speak…lean in – right where you are – and learn everything you can from your current season of life. Take lots of notes. Notice how God is working all around you. Be a student of God’s Word and a helper of the human condition. Be faithful right where you stand. Be fruitful with what you have. And believe Him for open doors and new opportunities.
God wants to use you more than you want to be used by Him!
Next month my blog topic will be: Hone Your Craft and Humble Yourself.