Welcome Aboard

Welcome to my first blog.
I'm excited you've come along for the ride with me, as I blog my thoughts and adventures on the way to being a published writer. Take a look around, post a comment or two, and enjoy!

29 June, 2010

Change, changes things

I did a page one rewrite of the 15,000 words I had previously written on my young adult (YA) novel. I sat in Panera one Saturday, and wrote a completely new outline with the help of a novel writing book (aforementioned in a prior blog). I had about 65 typed written pages on the old story. Currently I am at 13,500 words and I have 60 typed written pages. What’s different? I still have about 25 pages on the old story to rework into the new. The new story is going to be a lot longer, and more action packed I think. I’m a little leery about writing an epic length novel, preferring to write a series of three, but I really like where the story is going now.

It wasn’t easy. 15,000 words is a lot of writing. But looking at where the stories are different. It was for the best.

There have been changes in my life recently. Some forced upon me, some voluntary. I agree with God, it’s time my outside reflected my inside. So over the next six months, I will be going through a very dramatic change.

Is it for the better? You betcha. Will it be easy? No, I’m sure it will be more painful than doing that page one rewrite. More painful that taking a script I love, written three years ago and chopping it to bits, saving the characters but completely changing the story line.

One thing I have noticed, just in the parts of me that have changed so far, is that some people (plural), don’t like the new you. Here’s a tip from me:
I’ll call it Desiree’s fortune cookie tip.
1. If Jesus is happy with your change but some people are not, who are you trying to please? Answer-Jesus. Stay the course. Let those people say what they will, and think whatever they will. Perhaps they need to examine their relationship with the Son.
2. He who ties his shoes does not fall. (That’s a freebee from me).
So change is good, but change does change things.
Now it’s time for me to get back to my novel. She’s really gotten herself in a pickle. That happens when you’re stubborn and refuse to listen.

28 June, 2010

Holding Back

I went bike riding Saturday.
10 miles in the heat of the day. It had been a long week and I needed to do something. To show I was capable of accomplishing (in my mind), the near impossible.
I had received news that was not favorable. Unexpected? No, but not good nonetheless.
So with sweat dripping into my eyes I made it to mile two. Then I thought to myself: self, I could just stop right here turn around and be done with four miles total. Have you ever had a debate with yourself? Who wins?
Anyway, I said self I can do this. I can go 10 miles. Then my other self said No, what if you run out of steam and can't finish. Your bike tires are old. What if you have a flat tire on mile 5? You need to hold back, keep some in reserve for the end. If we only do four miles there will be plenty left.
For some reason I started thinking about my high school track coach. I ran hurdles but he would always make me run 3 miles with the distance runners before I could do my hurdles workout. He said it was to build endurance. I can still hear him yelling at me "Middleton stretch those long legs". He wanted me to go faster. In my mind was a voice saying "No coach, if I use up all my energy now I won't have any left for the end." Funny thing is my pace never changed from beginning to end.
Fast forward to now. As I'm pedalling my bike it hits me. I hold back, and save a reserve for the end but I never use it. Not just in bike riding, or running, but in life.
What if Jesus lived His life holding back in reserve?
So what did i do? I finished the entire course, and I pushed myself to not hold back. Was it difficult? Yes, but we work hard for that which is important to us.
My writing feels different now. More than it did a year ago. Each night I push myself to go just a little further. Write just five hundred more words here, or finish a scene here.
Do I go to bed exhausted? No. I go to bed energized because I gave my all to my passion, my calling, my dream.
Take some time to examine your life. Where are you not trusting God and holding back?

18 June, 2010

Sweet Sixteen

I'm sitting with my daughter waiting on her friend's sweet sixteen party to start. I think about the rite of passage that occurs at 16. Passing from childhood to adulthood. Some of us have done this physically but not mentally. The old had passed away.
Someone told me they don't understand this new me and are frustrated.
This new me is a result of surrendering to Jesus. I'm still learning and growing, but I feel different and I act different. Things that I would have said or done that this person understands, I don't do anymore. It makes me sad that a friendship is no more, but like it says in Joshua 24:15 "choose you this day who you will serve..." If God then my life has to reflect that choice, and you know what? God is the better choice. I have lasting peace and happiness thru Him. I guess if you don't know Him, you
cant understand.
New beginning. God replaces sorrow for joy.
I'm excited about my new life in Christ, and I hope His love and joy spill out of me to those I know and love.

17 June, 2010

What if there's no tomorrow?

I just received word yesterday evening that a Sunday School class member passed away. He battled cancer for a long time.
His hospital room had pictures my daughter made for him to cheer him up.
That was three years ago. He spent three years in and out of the cancer hospitals.
2006 he was told he wouldn't make it.
He looked back at his life and didn't like somethings in it. He gave his life to Jesus. He had a chance to experience a new life in Christ for 4 years.
Now he's in Heaven. What wonders he must be seeing.
Am I living my life as if I am promised tomorrow when God's word tells me I'm not?
What am I putting off doing, because I'm either afraid or insecure?
What are you putting off, thinking you have all the time in the world?
The time to do it is now, while it is still called today.

12 June, 2010

A new beginning

My YA (young adult), novel has a new beginning. It's much more exciting and alive.
My life has a new beginning. I spent two hours yesterday sitting at a covered picnic table at the park with only one other: God. It was hot and I had a couple of sugar ants run up my leg but I had determined in my mind I would not leave, and I'm glad I didn't.
I watched a bright deep red robin, perch on the mirror of my car. I rescued a caterpillar from an army of ants that were trying to carry it off (it wasn't dead). I looked at all the colors and shapes around me and I heard not an outward sound.
Two hours for me to be still and know my God.
Two hours for God to pour His love for me into me. Like Psalm 23 says "my cup runs over..."
Two hours for my Savior Jesus to remind me I am a new creation and the old has passed away so let it.
Leaving work Friday I knew I had to make some changes. My spirit was not at peace. It is now. From situation focused to God focused.
My main character finds her life forever changed by one event.
My life is forever changed by one event-Salvation. Let that sweetness wash over me.
I look at the freedom and abundance Christ offers, and then I look at what the world offers and there is no comparison. A drop of what Jesus offers out weighs a ton of what the world has, and He offers more than a drop.
I am excited to see what choices my main character makes.
I think about the rainbow I drove through, and I am excited to see God's promises to me fulfilled.
Habb 3:2-the vision is yet for the appointed time... The time is now.

09 June, 2010

It's Time

I started reading Mark yesterday. In the first few chapters, I have been struck by how the disciples immediately followed Jesus when he called them. They didn’t say “let me get this fish harvest in”, or “I can’t right now. I have a deadline”, or” I will when I’m done.” They immediately followed him. Even Matthew left his tax collecting table and followed Jesus. He didn’t say “let me finish out this year.” He got up and followed Jesus.
God brings a lot of things to mind that reflect back on my writing, on purpose.
The school year is officially over on June 14th. I start back to work early on August 9th. Less than two months to regroup.
I think about the sacrificing the disciples did to follow what Jesus commanded. And I wonder… what am I sacrificing for my writing?
My best writing is done when I am in the zone. It takes at least 30 minutes of writing for me to get in the zone. Once there, I can crank out 3-4 hours writing without even realizing that much time has passed.
My summer starts on June 14th around 2:30ish. My desire is to do a spiritual/writing retreat.
Being a list person I listed out what I need for my retreat.
Bible and Journal
Electricity for my laptop (unless I write it all long hand).
Quiet/Solitude.
Far away from home (so I can’t just pop in).
So I have my list and my direction and what did I do with it yesterday? Nothing.
I prayed this morning that God would help me let go of whatever is keeping me from being 100% obedient to what He is asking me to do. After saying my prayer I opened two daily devotionals on my computer. The first had to do with Psalm 23. Sunday evening my church held communion service based on Psalm 23. I recognized God as Jehovah Rohi (The Lord is my Shepherd). It reminded me what Jesus said in John 10 about Him being the good shepherd. We (sheep) follow Him. I want to follow Jesus no matter where it leads. But somehow I wandered off from my Shepherd. I guess I thought I saw some grass that looked better. But it turned out to be just weeds in disguise.
The second devotional had to do with Matthew 8:18-22. As I read it I was floored. My mouth literally hung open. The scribe wanted to follow Jesus but said “first let me go…” The scribe wanted to do what he needed to do before following Jesus.
A scribe is a writer. So here is a writer choosing his own path first, and then he wanted to do what Jesus wanted. Ouch! I’m a writer that has put everything before her writing. Writing that Jesus has placed in her heart to do.
My prayer was that I would let go of everything that is keeping me from 100% obedience. So I’ll be doing that spiritual/writing retreat starting this weekend; using the time to work on my connection to God and jump starting my writing.
Just like Matthew left his tax collection table and immediately followed Jesus. I’ll be finishing the school year by packing up my personal belongings, turning on my laptop and writing. In obedience His will is revealed.
Have faith in God.

08 June, 2010

Pour into Me

I have a dear friend that is down right now. She is a huge spiritual encourager. She prays for anyone in need. She is the poster child for praying without ceasing.
Well right now, her cup is empty. Seems no one has been pouring hope, love, or encouragement into her cup (myself included). We are so willing to let others minister to us. Do we stop and think about ministering to them?
I had someone make a comment about how our bible study teacher has no problems. He pours himself via the word of God into many lives. He gets down and discouraged just like many of us. Who pours into him?
So my goal for the remainder of June is to find someone who needs pouring into, and pour some of me into them. Whether it's prayer, sharing a bible verse, a dinner, whatever the Holy Spirit leads me to do.
And maybe it will become a part of my life to do on a regular basis.
So let's do some pouring.

07 June, 2010

Rewrite

Saturday morning I woke up, dreading going to Panera to work on my YA novel. But I love to write and I especially like the wild blueberry scones at Panera so what was the problem.
I had gotten stuck in the mud with my novel. My characters had been languishing around the kitchen table for months while I worked on other projects, simply because I didn’t know what was supposed to happen next. I also knew in the back of my mind I was looking at a huge rewrite. I had already written 16,000+ words and did not want to have to go back to page one.
Seat of my pants writing is fine for a short article, or a short story, but for a novel. No. I needed some structure. So I got a book on how to write a novel and did a lot of praying about how God wanted me to write it.
I didn’t take everything the novel writing book said, because I knew for me it would be too restrictive. I did take away a way to flesh out my characters and outline my novel. So I spent about 30 minutes with God. I got out of bed, left the laptop at home, grabbed my writing binder (loose leaf paper), and the novel writing book and headed out the door to Panera.
I brought along my rainbow gel pens. I have gel pens in many colors, it helps my creativity. Also the loose leaf paper is to free myself to make a mistake, tear it out, and start again.
I had started writing profiles of each main character in the book at home for about a week, but I changed some things about their appearance, about their morals, about their goals.
I started with a goal for my main character, I gave her a huge conflict that escalates at the beginning to impossibility that she doesn’t even see coming.
Once I had that I started with Roman numeral 1 and kept going.
It took me an hour, but my entire novel is outlined from beginning to end. Along the way I had to remind myself mentally, “If I don’t like it it’s okay; it’s just a road map to keep me focused. I can redo the outline at any point.”
When I finished I said “Thank you Jesus!” I looked at the 4(front side only) pages of outline I had written in blue, green, purple, and orange. I re-read it twice to be sure. I grinned from ear to ear. “Here” I said to myself, “is her story.”
Did I end up changing a lot of it? Yes. Is it for the better? Yes.
Today I will focus on the first five pages. Rewriting them to match what I’ve outlined. So long boring beginning. My character has life!
Rewrite your life.
I myself have gone through a life-altering experience. Rededicating myself to Jesus. Yes, it has caused a major rewrite of my life, my habits, my beliefs, my actions. Did it take time? Yep, about three years and counting. When I sit back and look at the changes in me, like I did when I outlined my novel, am I excited by what I see? Absolutely Yes!!
Jesus gives us second, third, fourth, and so on, chances to change our lives to reflect Him. It takes allowing the Master in to do His work. Aren’t you tired of living a dull, boring, stuck in the mud existence? Do you ever wonder what if? What if I said 100% yes to Jesus and let Him do His will in my life; let Him change me?
My character will have a better life in the book; I have a better life in Christ all because we were rewritten.