Author Interview ~ Christine Lynxwiler

Award-winning author Christine Lynxwiler considers herself hugely blessed to be a wife and mom who lives the crazy writer life in the Arkansas Ozarks. Her latest release Promise Me Always is the first in the Pinky Promise Sisterhood series from Barbour. When Christine isn’t writing, she and her family enjoy kayaking on the nearby river or relaxing together with good books. If you’d like to know Christine better, drop by her website sometime and check out her new release info or latest blog entry.



What new book or project would you like to tell us about?

I’m excited about my newest release, Promise Me Always, Book one in the Pinky Promise Sisterhood series from Barbour Publishing. The heroine, Allie Richards, wants to have her own landscaping company, but more than that, she’s driven to realize her full potential and make a better life for her daughters.

Some books germinate in your heart for so long that you can’t remember a time they weren’t there. Allie’s story is one of those for me. Her dreams, her struggles, her zany Pinky Promise friends, even her sense of humor – I knew them all well before I typed the first word. I’m hoping that intimate acquaintance with my characters translates onto the page in a way that makes the reader feel like she knows them, too.

To read a review of Promise Me Always, click here.

Tell us about your publishing journey. How long had you been writing before you got a contract? How did you find out and what went through your mind?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but after I married, the dream stayed dormant until 1997, when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. One night when I was about to fall asleep, the idea for a romance came to me fully plotted. (Unfortunately, that rarely ever happens to me any more.)

When I finished the 75,000 word story, I was ready to market my book. Right. A friend gave me a copy of The Writer’s Market and I sent a proposal to a secular agent. In my cover letter, I remember I mentioned how I’d concocted an amazing combination, a romance for Christians to read. I’d never heard of contemporary Christian fiction so I thought I’d come up with a new genre! How embarrassing.

I waited a lifetime (three months) and called the agent. She told me her dishwasher was smoking and she thought it was on fire, so she couldn’t talk. I thought sure that was an excuse, albeit an elaborate one, to get rid of me, but she ended up sending me a nice rejection saying I should seek out agents/publishers in the “Christian fiction market.”

I signed up for internet service and discovered the (already thriving) world of Christian fiction. I also found out how little I knew about writing books. I started going to Lynn Coleman’s Monday night online workshop and ended up in a crit group with Tamela Hancock Murray.

My family was horrified that I was actually going into a “chat room” but they got over it when they read the revised drafts of my story. I finally realized that no matter how many times I revised my story, it was fatally flawed. The hero was a manipulating jerk for most of the book and in Christian fiction, that wouldn’t fly.

Probably to ease my disappointment, Tamela asked me if I was interesting in joining her and two other published authors in a few anthology proposals for Barbour. She and I came up with four ideas. Barbour’s Fiction Editor, Rebecca Germany, thought two of the ideas had potential. Tamela recruited two other pubbed authors for each anthology proposal. I wrote three chapters and a synopsis. We submitted the proposals and in January 2001, I got a call that Barbour wanted to buy City Dreams.

I was working the front desk of my husband’s chiropractic office at the time, but I jumped up and down and screamed. My husband and the patient he was with came out of the adjusting room. I guess they thought the building was on fire.

In early October, I got an email that they wanted to buy Prairie County Fair, the other anthology we’d proposed. These early sales were the beginning of a solid relationship with Barbour. Over the years, I’ve sold several other novels and novellas to them.

Do you still have self-doubts about your writing?

Only every day. Are there writers who don’t? As in any career, there’s a lot of pressure to get it right. But writing is so subjective. You can get a glowing review, but if you look hard enough, there will be a “Eww” review to balance it out. I try to take the self doubts and turn them into motivation to reach higher with my writing. I try. Some days that works. Others, I count it a success if I manage to just read through yesterday’s work and not delete it.

Was there ever a time in your writing career you thought of quitting?

Okay. If I say “Only every day,” that will sound like I just have one answer for every question, won’t it? I’ll forego cutesy then and say, Yes. There have been many times in my writing career that I’ve thought of quitting. Specifically every time I have a deadline fast approaching and the story doesn’t seem to be working.

My husband and I owned and ran a sawmill during our early years of marriage. I remember stacking boards, being careful to keep each row the required width for a bundle. Sometimes, though, in spite of my best intentions, when I got in a hurry, one or two rows near the bottom would be too narrow. My neat stack of boards would “swarm” and instead of a nice bundle for market, I would end up with a chaotic mess. When my life “swarms” and I’m on a deadline, I think seriously of quitting. So far, once I’ve met the deadline, I reconsider.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve heard?

Glue your backside to the chair and write.

What’s the worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t force the words. If you don’t feel moved, don’t write. Fine advice before you have deadlines, I guess. But once you’re on a schedule, writing is a responsibility, not an option.

Do you have a pet peeve having to do with this biz?

I hate that you can spend years plotting and planning a story only to have one with a similar premise come out just before yours. Not that there’s anything that can be done about it. I just hate it.

Was there ever a difficult set back that you went through in your writing career?

Just many times that life and deadlines have collided. When you’re staying at the hospital with a parent or nursing kids through the chicken pox, it’s hard to write a book in a timely manner.

What are a few of your favorite books?

This is the scariest question in the whole interview. Many of my favorite authors are close friends. What if I inadvertently leave one out? (Is there a button to leave this question open for addendums?) Tracey Bateman’s Claire books, Rachel Hauck’s Lost in Nashvegas, Susan May Warren’s Everything’s Coming Up Josey, Tiger Lillie by Lisa Samson, Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series, Life Expectancy, One Door Away From Heaven, Odd Thomas, Forever Odd, and Brother Odd by Dean Koontz, Ted Dekker’s Blink and his Heaven series, Frank Peretti’s The Oath, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness.

What work have you done that you’re especially proud of and why?

I guess it would be Promise Me Always because the theme of the book – God is in control of our lives – speaks to me on a deep level. I laughed so much during the writing of this book, but I wrote the last segment through repentant tears. It’s a lesson I sorely needed.

Can you give us a look into a typical day for you?

I wish I could, because that would mean I was somewhat organized. I try to write Monday thru Friday. We have a busy chiropractic office and two children who go to a small Christian school that has no bus. If everything goes well, I’m home writing by 10 a.m. I have lunch ready at noon, then write until 2 p.m. That’s the theory. Reality is I write whenever I can.

Do you have a word or page goal you set for each day?

I’d like to write 2500 words a day, Monday thru Friday. I do much less than that when a deadline isn’t pressing and much more when it is. If I were teaching my girls how to be a successful writer, this would be one of those “do as I say, not as I do” areas.

Are you an SOTP (seat of the pants) writer or a plotter?

I’m a plotter who writes by the seat of my pants. I have a plot when I start, but it’s always in a state of flux. Otherwise it’s just boring for me.

What author do you especially admire and why?

Good question. I admire Rachel Hauck for her unabashed love of the Savior that shines through in whatever wonderful story she’s writing, Tracey Bateman for her amazing prolific talent and her willingness to use it for God’s glory in every way, Susan May Warren for her captivating storytelling ability and her readiness to share her knowledge with new authors, Susan Downs for her incredibly poetic prose and quiet spirit of encouragement, Candice Speare for her determination to take her stories (and mine) to a deeper level, Lynette Sowell for her “never give up” spirit, Donita K. Paul for her courage and kindness in life and in writing, Tamela Hancock Murray for taking a chance on me, and Lynn Coleman for all the time and energy she’s given to further Christian fiction.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of being a writer?

My favorite part is writing – breathing life into a story, watching it take shape on the page, seeing the characters grow until they seem real, even to me. My least favorite part is writing – having to pound out words when a hundred other responsibilities call to me, seeing the words on the page and feeling that breathtaking fear that they’re not adequate, that they could be better/should be better, and that I don’t have the ability to make them good enough.

How much marketing do you do? What’s your favorite part of marketing?

I do a lot of booksignings. I actually enjoy meeting readers. I’d love to do a newsletter, but not until I tame the deadline beast.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Glue your backside to the chair, your fingers to the keyboard, shut off the internet until you meet your word count goal, and never give up!

Author Interview ~ Brian Garfield

Brian Garfield is a novelist, screenwriter and producer who wrote his first published book at the age of eighteen. His novel, Hopscotch, won the Edgar Award for Best Novel. He’s best known for his novel Death Wish, adapted for the film of the same title. He is also the author of The Thousand-Mile War: World War II in Alaska and the Aleutians, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for History. The film sequel to Death Wish, Death Sentence is currently scheduled for a 2007 release. Brian and his wife Bina divide their time between homes in Los Angeles and Santa Fe.

What book or project is coming out or has come out that you’d like to tell us about?

The current book, just out, is “The Meinertzhagen Mystery”. I think of it as a corrective biography. It’s intended to show how gullible we all can be. Several biographies have been written about the heroic Richard Meinertzhagen (British war hero, spy, natural scientist, explorer), and he figures as a historical character in a zillion histories and in various movies (e.g. “The Lighthorsemen”) and tv shows. He lived from the 1870s to the 1960s, was a model for James Bond, worked for Winston Churchill and worked with T.E. Lawrence (“of Arabia”), bestrode the earth and impressed a great many leaders.

His legend — largely based on his own yarns and the thousands of pages of his diaries, some of which he published — is a marvelous construction of exploits and heroics and scientific “finds”. Some of them are true. Most of them are false. He was a wonderfully convincing fraud. . . . A moment’s suspicion, years ago, led me on a quest that’s lasted an absurdly long time and provided a convoluted mass of documentation, but it’s created several great friendships, and the result shows how even celebrated leaders and earnest historians can be hoodwinked.

I’d imagine you use a lot of your fiction writing skills to make a biography interesting. It must be tempting though to want to embellish or put in clever twists that would fit the “story” perfectly but didn’t really happen. What are the challenges of writing biography as opposed to a novel?

Those temptations didn’t apply, in this case. I’ve written nonfiction before — “The Thousand-Mile War” is a history of World War II in Alaska, and contains no fictional elements; and “Western Films”, a sort of encyclopedia. I’ve written pure fiction as well. Somewhere between those poles come a number of novels based on real people and events, or based on claims made by real people, and in those cases I’ve enjoyed adding elements to make the stories more exciting or to give us new views of characters.

(All the same, sometimes, even in historical novels, I do feel obliged to honor the facts — for instance in “Manifest Destiny”, a lightly novelized version of young Theodore Roosevelt’s life as a rancher in Dakota Territory, TR’s dialogue is made up almost entirely of his own words from his letters and other writings.)

“The Meinertzhagen Mystery” is fact and interpretation; the only fictions in it are those that were created by Richard Meinertzhagen as he constructed his mythology. It takes vastly longer to write this kind of book because you can’t make anything up. Every fact, no matter how small, must be proved — but this kind of investigative work makes the job fascinating. So you use muscles that are altogether different from the ones you use in writing fiction (or writing screenplays, which require still another separate set of muscles).

Impressively, the first novel you had published, you wrote when you were just eighteen. How did you learn the craft of fiction writing?

By reading and by imitation. My high school English teacher, Don Everitt, who is 100 years old now, encouraged me to write stories in place of class themes. Then I kept writing short stories and sending them off to pulp magazines. That was the very end of the pulp era, and the magazines kept folding.

I took it personally — I’d send in a story, and the magazine would die. Made me feel downright guilty. Also I had a marvelous mentor in a great and amiable writer named Fred Glidden, who wrote novels and stories under the pen name Luke Short. He was generous enough to read my childish scribbles and criticize them as if I were a grown up and might actually understand what he was saying. In all, I think I became a writer because so many good people encouraged me to keep doing it until I got it right. I never did get it right, but am still trying.

Your bio is amazing. You’ve won the Edgar Award, were a finalist for the American Book Award and the Pullitzer. Seventeen films have been based on your writing, more than twenty million copies of your books have sold worldwide and you even earned a performance on American Bandstand with a top forty hit as a musician. It seems everything you touch is a success. What’s your secret?

Luck. That’s not false modesty, it’s fact. I work hard, and may or may not do good work, but in the end nobody in the arts can anticipate what will succeed and what won’t. If there were a formula for hits there’d be no flops. The publishing and entertainment industries keep thinking they’ve got a lock on such a formula, and they keep proving they’re wrong. If you look at any given bestseller list you’ll find excellent works right next to dreadful trash. There’s no relationship between quality and popularity. . . . Having said all that, I must add that the one sure guarantee of failure in the arts is to give up. Persistence comes second only to luck. If you keep trying, you have a chance to succeed. If you quit, you have no chance.

Success is said to change a person. Do you find that to be true of you? If so, how so?

I’m not sure how to answer that because I’m not sure what I’d have been like, or what sort of life I’d have had, if I hadn’t been able to make a living as a writer. I love writing, as a craft, and have enjoyed it for a lot of years, but am lucky enough to have flown beneath the radar — I’m not a celebrity and do not get recognized. Anonymity is freedom.

“Success” to me is largely the sense that I’ve done a good job, and once in a while it’s reinforced by a compliment or two from peers. Celebrity in itself is not a measure of success, and in fact celebrity is horrible punishment. I’ve worked on the fringes of the movie business long enough to know that the only person more miserable than an out-of-work actor is a successful actor. I can’t imagine why anybody would want to be a star. . . . In the monetary sense, I suppose material success has changed some things — (a) I can do a lot of unpaid research and follow my nose wherever it leads me, and (b) I’ve become more generous over the years because we can afford to work with a lot of charities now.

What, in your opinion, is/are the element(s) your highly acclaimed works contained that made them so well received?

Suspense is the key to the stories (novels, movies). I don’t know what else to suggest. Suspense, by the way, is not violence and it is not action. Suspense is jeopardy — it’s anticipation. What’s going to happen next? Often it consists in the anticipation of danger. Too many people fail to understand that distinction.

With all your successes, you’re still best known for your novel adapted to movie: Death Wish. Is there a downside to that kind of notoriety for a certain work?

Sure. The new movie’s title is “Death Sentence”. Friends tell me the only way I can get anything produced is to put the word “Death” in the title. . . . They’re kidding, sort of, but one early critique of my new Meinertzhagen book — a critique written by someone who has not seen or read the book — dismisses it as having been tossed off by “the guy who wrote Death Wish”. One does get stuck with a reputation. Sometimes one may deserve it. All one can do is keep working and ignore the idiots.

What piece of writing have you done that you’re most proud of and why?

That’s tough. Many prolific writers will say “They’re all my children — you’re asking me to pick a favorite child?” To an extent I agree with that. I did a long apprenticeship in paperback Westerns and most of them are ephemeral, but of the books I’ve written since then, I’d be hard put to point to one with more pride than others. I think “Kolchak’s Gold” is the best historical novel, and “Recoil” may have the edge among the thrillers, and “Wild Times” is my best (or at least longest) novel of the old West.

Of the movies, on the other hand, I can easily single out “Hopscotch” (Walter Matthau, Glenda Jackson). It was hell to write (26 drafts) but pure joy to produce, to film, and to see. Movies rarely give a writer that kind of satisfaction because film is not a writer’s medium. Among the films my second most proud choice is “The Stepfather” even though my connection is more ephemeral — I was its creator and original producer, but the excellent screenplay is by Don Westlake, and we had to sell the project in order to get it filmed. It’s not “my” movie, really, but I think it’s a good one.

You have a movie coming out that you adapted as a screenplay from your novel. Can you tell us a bit about that?

It’s the aforementioned “Death Sentence”. Cast is headed by Kevin Bacon, Kelly Preston, John Goodman and Aisha Tyler. Director is James Wan. I wrote the novel, and the first two screenplay drafts. Subsequent scripts are by Ian Jeffers. At this writing, filming is completed and the movie is being edited — it’s tentatively scheduled for release in April (20th Century Fox). I haven’t seen it yet.

The novel, which I wrote years ago as a sort of penance for the movie version of “Death Wish”, attempts to demonstrate in dramatic form that vigilantism is not a solution — it’s a problem, and tends to destroy those who attempt it. So far as I know, the new movie preserves that intention, even though the details of the story have changed a great deal from book to movie script.

How did you go from novel writing to screen writing?

There’s an assumption in Hollywood that if you’re a successful writer in one medium (say, musical theater, or fiction) you’re likely to be successful in others (say, movies or tv). This is not necessarily true — they all are different art forms. Some writers are equally at home in several, but that’s not a given. I’m a hopelessly bad playwright, for instance, and can’t write songs or verse. I had published a number of Westerns and therefore, encouraged by my agent, Universal hired me to write a Western movie. It didn’t get filmed, but it opened the doors.

If a novelist wanted to make that jump, how would you suggest they begin?

Find a good agent. Other than that, there are as many answers to this question as there are writers.

Of all the types of writing you do: novels, screenplays, non-fiction, etc., what’s your favorite and why?

The novel is the most rewarding, because it’s your own. It comes from who you are — what you feel, what you think, what you imagine. I enjoy the detective work of nonfiction, but feel limited by the facts, which exist separately from me. As for screenwriting, it’s fun as an exercise and it can pay very well, but it’s a poor third at best because unless you’re producing and perhaps directing as well, a hundred people have the authority to “fix” your work, and most of them have no talent and no qualifications other than ego.

Newsweek reported that your suspense writing tips are the secret behind John Grisham’s success. Would you be willing to share a few with us … pretty please?

It’s an article that was published in Writer’s Digest in Feb. 1973 and reprinted in the 1994 Writer’s Yearbook. Thanks for reminding me — rather than take up more space here, I’m posting it on my website at http://www.BrianGarfield.net.

With all the success you’ve experienced, do bad reviews (if you get them) get to you?

Oh yeah, I get ’em. They did bother me at first. After a while I began to realize that reviews aren’t addressed to the author. They’re addressed to the reader. I don’t think I’ve ever learned anything useful from reading reviews of my work. (This is partly because a review comes after the book is published, when it would be too late to make changes even if I wanted to.)

If you could go back and talk to yourself at eighteen, what advice or warning would you give you?

At eighteen I was in the army. (Wrote my first-published book there.) With hindsight, I think I’d advise the young “me” to pay more attention to human behavior and less attention to pseudo-lit’ry formulas. My early stories were derivative of other writers, and relied more on convention than on observation. It’s better to use your own eyes than those of a predecessor.

Is there a writing dream you still want to accomplish?

I want the book I’m writing now to be better than anything I’ve done before. That’s always the dream.

Is there an upcoming author you’re particularly excited about?

He’s too established by now to be called “upcoming,” but I’m a great fan of the novels of Alan Furst.

What are a few of your favorite novels?

Anything by Graham Greene, John Le Carre and Michael Dobbs, among others.

Parting words?

Wanting to “be a writer” is silly. WRITING is great. First learn the proper use of the language. Then write.

Unfashionable Reading

Mike Duran lives in Southern California with his wife Lisa and four grown children. Chosen as one of ten authors for Infuze Magazine’s 2005 print anthology, Mike’s short stories have also appeared in Forgotten Worlds, Alienskin, Dragons, Knights and Angels, as well as the forthcoming Winter Issue of Relief Journal. His non-fiction is featured in The Matthew’s House Project and Relevant Magazine Online, and Novel Journey. Mike has written an unpublished novel entitled What Faith Awakes and is currently at work on a second. You can peruse his weekly ruminations at www.mikeduran.com.

There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking. Thomas A. Edison

Quiz Show was one of the most critically acclaimed movies of 1994, garnering four Academy Award nominations, including Best Director for Robert Redford. The film, however, performed poorly at the box office and remains one of Redford ’s least successful titles. I recall reading an interview with the director in which he discussed the movie’s mediocre draw. Redford suggested, among other things, that the film was too brainy for the average moviegoer and surmised, “It’s risky to ask the audience to think.”

Is that true? Is it risky to ask the audience to think?

In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman posits that the medium of television has radically affected the most basic mental machinations. As entertainment has become a cultural force, public discourse is stilted; we no longer require stuff with substance — as long as it’s brief, sleek, polished or funny, it’s watchable. Postman asserts that TV affects how we think; linear thought buckles under the barrage of images, our attention span wanes and we are, collectively, dumbed-down.
I was reminded of Postman’s provocative book when I read this quote by Zadie Smith found via Orange Crate Art:

But the problem with readers, the idea we’re given of reading is that the model of a reader is the person watching a film, or watching television. So the greatest principle is, “I should sit here and I should be entertained.” And the more classical model, which has been completely taken away, is the idea of a reader as an amateur musician. An amateur musician who sits at the piano, has a piece of music, which is the work, made by somebody they don’t know, who they probably couldn’t comprehend entirely, and they have to use their skills to play this piece of music. The greater the skill, the greater the gift that you give the artist and that the artist gives you. That’s the incredibly unfashionable idea of reading. And yet when you practice reading, and you work at a text, it can only give you what you put into it. It’s an old moral, but it’s completely true.

It’s interesting that “the more classical model” of reading — the idea that the reader should “work at a text” — has become “unfashionable.” Nowadays, we approach books as we do movies — we want to be acted upon, rather than act. Among other things, the electronic age has heightened our expectations of a given media and lowered the requirements of participation. Thinking is out. Like a thrill park ride, we simply want to pay, get on board and be swept away; we want to surf channels and flip switches, be wowed and returned safely, without breaking a sweat. God forbid that we actually have to mine for the meaningful.

At one time, there was an unspoken vow between reader and writer, wherein the reader pledged to work hard and the writer guaranteed to make her. Alas, in our day, that vow is quite vintage. Not only have we produced a nation of the intellectually impaired, we have nurtured industries that appease our handicap. Trustees of that once sacred tradition (i.e., “the classical model”) are now viewed as highbrow, academic snoots by the bored, thrill-seeking, literary-challenged offspring of the e-age. Why “work at a text” when the industry bigshots offer adrenaline injections?

The culture of “fast fix” entertainment creates a double-edged dilemma for the writer. For one, the drive to be heard amidst the media clamor can tempt us to short-cut literary depth in exchange for something more palatable, less substantial. If the kids want mac and cheese, we’ll forgo the vegetables just to shut them up. Of course, it’s later on down the road that their dietary deficiencies kick in.

In this sense, obesity and anemia have intellectual parallels. (Is this why there are less and less readers each year, and why theaters have replaced churches as the houses of the holy?)

It might be risky to ask the audience to think, but part of the author’s calling must be to do so. I’m not suggesting we take the pop out of popular literature and eschew entertainment in favor of think pieces. Good writing need not be a chore to read — nor must it be devoid of fireworks — but at some point, the maturing adult must learn to use her molars.

It’s been said that there’s virtue in doing something hard simply because it is hard. Likewise, there is value in reading something dense simply because it is dense. This is the opposite edge. Not only must writers challenge readers, but readers should, as Ms. Smith puts it, “practice reading.” Practicing anything can be tedium in the age of instant. But with microwave memoirs and fast-food fiction becoming status quo, I wonder that “practicing reading” will increasingly become more “unfashionable.”

Sunday Devotion: It’s not as easy as it looks

Janet Rubin

This morning, my walk took me to the shore where I stopped to watch a mallard. Against the gray winter backdrop, his green feathers provided a delightful shock of color. He and his mate glided silently down an unfrozen corridor in the otherwise icy cove. The V’s spreading out in the water behind the ducks intersected and formed a W, the outmost edges of which widened until they were halted at the ice borders.

Web-footed labor concealed in the blackness beneath, the birds’ movement seemed effortless. Heads, necks, wings, all still, as if they were children’s boats pulled along by strings. Yet I knew of the unseen work that propelled them forward, the ceaseless paddling below.

When reading masterful writing—the sort of prose that flows poetically across the page, rich with texture, layers, and metaphor—I sometimes forget about the painstaking work behind the words. Such writing flows, seemingly without effort, and I imagine the words rolling from the author’s imagination, through his or her fingertips by way of a keyboard, falling into perfect order on the page. Envy turns me greener than the mallard as the desire to write something just as good stirs within me. I feel so inadequate. I could never write such prose!

But the truth is, the story did not form without labor. It undoubtedly came to be through a process marked by crumpled papers in a wastebasket, deleted paragraphs and chapters, edits, rewrites, and emptied bottles of Tylenol. While the work progressed, the writer may have experienced days devoid of inspiration, moments of self-doubt, and thoughts of giving up. He probably had to struggle to conquer some weakness- a propensity toward over-using adverbs or a tendency to “tell” rather than “show.” To bring the work to its polished end, there were most likely editors, critique partners, and people who helped in the researching of topics or places described in the book. And preceding the masterful writing were works of lesser quality, much of it unpublished, that brought the author to the place where he or she could pen something so good.

I should not be discouraged by the false belief that such marvelous writing comes effortlessly for some. Nothing great or beautiful comes without work.

How much of God’s work is unseen, going on beneath our skin, in the deep regions of our hearts and minds? Though we do not see or understand His ways, it is His work in us- the work He promised to bring to completion—that propels us forward on the straight and narrow path and draws us closer to Him. Even our salvation, which we come by so easily- by simply accepting His gift—was accomplished by Jesus’ work on the cross.

Father, Thank You for the unseen work You are continually performing in me. Help me not to be discouraged when I see the work of someone much more experienced and skilled that I, but to remember that beneath the surface of every great work there is blood, sweat and tears. Give me the strength I need to persevere, investing myself in the work I need to do in order to be the best writer I can be. Amen.

Proverbs 23:12 Apply your heart to instruction, And your ears to words of knowledge.