Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Little Writing Experiences Lead to BIG Writing Experiences

by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson


Little Writing Experiences Lead to BIG Writing Experiences
I could not help but admire his courage. His ingenuity. There he sat, along the sidewalk of one of the busiest shopping avenues in Central Florida, with a folding TV tray in front of him. Atop it, an old typewriter. The kind you honestly don’t see any more, unless you’re a collector.

I immediately thought of a few of my writer friends—our precious Edie Melson being one of them. I almost stopped to take a photo with my iPhone for her and Alton Gansky, but then I noticed the sign.

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I calculated how many greenbacks I had in my purse. My granddaughter (this being her first trip along Winter Park’s Park Avenue), stepped ahead of me, and wove through the crowds. Grandmothers and Granddaughters, I thought as I caught up with her. That’s what I’ll ask him to write about.

But, in the shuffle of shoppers (the likes that would rival New York City), we were swept away.

The young man had probably been a writing student.
After slipping into another shop, Savannah turned to me and asked if I’d seen the young man. I told her I had and that he was probably one of the writing students at nearly Rollins College. “I have to give him his props,” I told her. “As a writer, I’m impressed.”

I made a mental note to stop on the way back, but we returned on the “park” side of the avenue, so the chance had been lost.

Later that night I remembered the young man and I thought back to all the “writing related” jobs I’d had in the early days.

For about two years, I wrote devotions for an online ministry. I signed a contract to produce x-number a year. Without pay, other than knowing my words were reaching countless readers. I formed e-friendships with many of them and, later when my books became published, several came to book signings when I did such things in their locations of the world.

I wrote book reviews. These I received a small stipend for—about $30 per book/review. Not much when you break it all down. Probably a dime an hour (I’m a slow reader), but the experience was and is invaluable.

Then, by some great miracle, I received an email from an editor at Crosswalk.com. She’d read some of those online devotions and wondered if I could/would write four faith-based articles a month. The pay, significant, especially considering how much I love writing about the Word of God.

 In late 2001 I received an offer from Israel’s Ministry of Tourism. They would provide an all-expense, ten-day trip to the Holy Land. In exchange, I would write an article for a publication with at least 50,000 readers. I contacted my editor at Crosswalk, got the okay, and seven months later I took the first of my trips to “the Land of the Bible.”

When I returned, I wrote ten articles based on my experience of “falling into the Bible” while away.

By this point, I had also written and seen published a few books, both fiction and nonfiction.

Then, in 2006 I heard from an editor at Thomas Nelson who had read the Crosswalk articles. Her husband had gone to college in Israel and she had always hoped to go. Could I/Would I, she asked, consider writing an entire book—coffee table style—that followed the format of my articles.

“On one condition,” I told her. “You allow me to write it with my friend—our tour guide—Miriam Feinberg Vamosh. She’s a bestselling author, she’s Jewish, and she has her masters in Archeology and Heritage.

Eva Marie in Israel
The editor agreed. In 2007 I returned to Israel and for two weeks, along with Miriam, walked, rode, climbed, slid down, shimmied up, photographed and wrote about my beloved Israel. Our book Reflections of God’s Holy Land released in 2008 (the 60th anniversary of Israel’s statehood) and went on to final (silver medallion winner) for ECPA’s prestigious Gold Medallion Award.

That book will always be one of the things I’m most proud of (if I can use the word “proud” here) in the course of my career.

Eva Marie at IMOT breakfast.
With the release of the book, I spoke at IMOT’s 2008 VIP breakfast at NRB. There I met a man who introduced me to Arie Sommer (Are-ee-a Zo-mayor) who, in turn, asked me to put together what I would consider to be the greatest media tour in Israel. I did exactly that and, in 2009, Miriam and I guided Joe Diaz (IMOT) and five writers—Larry Leech, Cheri Cowell, Ellie Kay, Sharon Decker, and Robi Lipscomb—from the southern deserts to the northern hills and back to Jerusalem.

Eva Marie with friends on the Sea of Galilee.
I have to say these were two of the best weeks of my life (in addition to the other weeks I’d spent in Israel).  

Now that I’ve given you a history lesson, think back to the young man on the sidewalk, earning a living through his writing in small ways. “Young man,” I wish I could now say to him, “keep doing what you’re doing. One day, it could lead to greater things than you can possibly imagine.” Because that’s what happened to me. From those little devotions (that I didn’t get paid for) came opportunities I would have never experienced.

And, to you I say: don’t turn your nose up at the little writing jobs. Write, for pity’s sake, write!


Or, perhaps I should say—for heaven’s sake.

TWEETABLES


Eva Marie is a multiple award-winning author and speaker. She is one of the original five Orlando Word Weavers critique group members, an international and national group made up of critique chapters. She served as the original president from 2000 to 2007 and is now president of Word Weavers International, Inc. Eva Marie served as a mentor for Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild for several years and has taught at a number of writers conferences nationwide. During the 2010-2011 school year, Eva Marie served as an adjunct professor at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. She describes it as one of the best times she ever had while working. Eva Marie also serves as director of Florida Christian Writers Conference (along with Mark Hancock) and the Education Consultant for SON Studios.

She is both a past and current student at Andersonville Theological Seminary where she plans to receive her Masters in Old Testament Theology sometime before her ninetieth birthday. Eva Marie and her husband make their home in Central Florida where they are owned by one very spoiled dog, a funky chicken, and two hearts-full of grandchildren.

*Carol Award Winner for The Potluck Club
**ICRS Gold Medallion Finalist
***Multiple awards, including 2012 Inspirational Readers Choice Award & Maggie Award (Chasing Sunsets), 2013 Maggie Award & 2013 Christy finalist for Waiting for Sunrise, 2014 AWSA Golden Scroll Award (Slow Moon Rising), 2015 AWSA Golden Scroll Award (The Road to Testament)

****CBA Bestseller List several months running and a finalist for Retailers Choice Awards, 2013

19 comments:

  1. Thank you for the encouragement. I write for free for our local Christian Newspaper and a few online Magazines. I have sent query letters to magazines that pay. Nothing yet. As I await God's will in all of this, I am sharpening my writing skills. (I need it). God is so good to use me even when I am still a work in progress

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  2. Well said, Eva Marie. Your story is an inspiration to us all. Many thanks for this encouragement today.

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  3. What an inspirational journey. Thanks for sharing it. Merry Christmas!

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  4. Amazed at the doors that opened for you. Awesome journey!

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  5. Inspiring and encouraging. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  6. so fun to read and be encouraged too. Thanks for always sharing and giving!

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  7. Love this encouraging story! Thanks for sharing it.

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  8. Feeling overwhelmed and frozen your words melted a few layers off of my avoidance to write.
    Thank you, Eva Marie!

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  9. Such encouraging words. So glad you made it in this writing world so that you are now able to teach us what you have learned on the journey. Blessed by your teaching, blessed to know you. Thank you for this. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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  10. Thank you Eva Marie for your encouraging story. I just started my writing journey a couple of years ago and have already made contacts from writing online devotions that have moved me forward. I am very grateful for the editors who have believed in my writing and given me additional publication opportunities. Stories like yours give us newbies hope. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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