Thursday, September 14, 2017

Write Like You Believe It

Edie here. Today I have a treat for you. My good friend, Cathy Baker is my guest today. Cathy isn't just an author I admire (have you read her blog, Cultivating Creativity? If not you should!) but she's also someone with wisdom and spiritual insight to spare. She's releasing her second devotional, Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Mountains, next week. This is the second in the series and I'd be super excited—even if I hadn't written the foreword for it. So be sure to give her a warm TWC welcome!

Stop treating your calling like a hobby...
Write Like You Believe It
by Cathy Baker @CathySBaker

Seven words changed the trajectory of my life.

I heard them on a bone cold morning in January as I sat on the couch talking to God about my writing. I wanted my time and the work of my hands to matter—to make a difference for His kingdom—but my creative wheels seemed to lack traction. After spilling my frustration, I waited in silence. Moments later, I heard these words:

“You’re treating your calling like a hobby.”

The words fastened to my spirit and propelled me to action. I hopped off the couch, cleared the blue mason jars from the farm table, punched the Keurig start button with purpose, plunked my laptop down and began to type.

A project I’d treated like a hobby for three years started to take shape. I began working office hours, keeping receipts, researching self-publishing after hours, and gulping down massive amounts of coffee before noon.

Five months later, Pauses for the VacationingSoul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Beach released at #6 in Kindle Religion and ranked #1 in the same category this summer. 

No doubt, the self-publishing route has its challenges, with more twists and turns than a North Carolina mountain road. So much so that I decided to jot down things I learn along the way.

Things I've Learned Along the Way

  • Spend time with God before the first tap of the keys. Meeting with Him prior to writing reminds me that the core of my calling isn't about what I do but rather who I am becoming in Christ. It also awakens the realization that my writing is for His glory, not mine. (I share more about my new writing routine in this post, How I Boosted Meaningful Productivity.) 
  • Invite God to write with me. Truth is, He is already there inviting me to join Him in the work but something divinely inspiring occurs when I voice my dependence on Him. When I hit a wall or confusion begins to set in, I stop writing and take a moment to declare His presence. He is in me and He is with me. We're in this together.
  • Stop talking, start writing. Ouch. Philippians 4:13 says that we can do all the things He has called us to do because Christ empowers and strengthens us to carry it out. I noticed this verse didn't suggest I think about, plan for, or read about those things. I am to do. If I have time to peruse Facebook I have time to write. I also made the choice to stop purchasing a beloved (yes, beloved) writing magazine until I actually published something. (Welcome home, Writers Forum!)
  • Expect Obstacles. During the five months of writing the first book, dozens of obstacles double-dog dared me to pull over and give up—exhaustion from rounding all the learning curves, the achingly familiar tape of self-doubt that repeatedly played in my head, and pneumonia—to name just a few. Expecting barriers while writing the second book helped me to mentally prepare to write through them.
  • Honor Others. The friendships forged through the publishing process are keepers. We're not competitors. We are teammates going to bat for one another and cheering each other on from the sidelines. Do you know those who would appreciate encouragement through a note, a comment on their blog, or sharing their post? Go ahead, dust off those pom-poms and let's hear some sis-boom-bah! And finally...
  • Recognize that Marilyn got it all wrong. Forget the diamonds—reviews are a girl's best friend. I'm learning that nothing shows appreciation for the work that goes into writing a book like leaving a review.

Does one in particular resonate with your writing journey today?

We never know what doors He will open (or shut) for His glory or what we'll learn along the way. But this we know: God is with us and He is for us.

Now let's write like we believe it.

"His words are always unique and personal. If what comes to you sounds like a generic greeting card, that's probably not God's voice. He is intimate. He is also disruptive. His words may surprise you but they will never bore you. They will never condemn you. They will stir your soul." - Allen Arnold, The Story of With

TWEETABLES



Cathy’s second book in the series, Pauses for theVacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Mountains is set to release on Amazon next Tuesday, September 19.

Do you long to engage the presence of God in fresh, creative ways even while on vacation in the mountains?

If so, "Pauses for the Vacationing Soul" is for you.

This one-week devotional guide is specifically designed for your mountain vacation. Whether you’re escaping to the mountains to rest, ski, or hike nearby trails, this guide will encourage you to embrace all God has for your vacation by focusing on Him through what you see, taste, smell, touch, and hear.

"Pauses for the Vacationing Soul" is not intended to be a full Bible study. Instead, it offers a brief but meaningful pause each day of your vacation, including your arrival and departure days. 

Each day offers an opening and closing prayer, a snippet of a memory from the author's time in the mountains, a brief Bible story that coincides with the particular sensory element you are focusing on that day, and an activity to enhance your sensory experience.  

Purchase "Pauses for the Vacationing Soul" today, because mountain-top experiences don't have to stay in the mountains!


Cathy Baker is an award-winning writer and author of Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Beach as well as Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Mountains. As a twenty-five year veteran Bible instructor, she's led hundreds of studies and workshops. She's also contributed to numerous anthologies and publications, including Chicken Soup for the SoulThe Upper Room, and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family. In addition, her poetry can be found in several popular anthologies. She and her husband, Brian, live in the foothills of the Carolinas where she one day hopes to have her very own Goldendoodle. Subscribe to Cathy’s blog and receive a free e-book, Praying In Every Room of Your Home.

Praying In Every Room of Your Home
by Cathy Baker

Subscribe to Cathy's Blog, Cultivating Creativity and get a free copy of this book. In it she shares specific ways to pray over every room in your house.

14 comments:

  1. Cathy, thank you for sharing some of the important things you learned along your writing journey. So excited about your new book!

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    1. Thank you, Dee Dee! You're one of those friends I met at the forefront of my writing journey and my life is so much richer as a result.

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  2. Welcome Cathy! Thank you for sharing such an inspiring post.
    Talking is easy, doing not so much. Time to write.

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    1. I couldn't agree more, Ingmar! Praying for your time today -- that God will bless your efforts. Thank you for taking time to share. Blessings!

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  3. Thank you, Cathy, for the beautiful reminder that when we partner with God, we're always better - and He's glorified.

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    1. Yes and amen, Emme! Thank you for sharing. :)

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  4. Thank you Cathy, for sharing these lessons.

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    1. Thank you, Cindy! It's nice meeting you here. Blessings! :)

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  5. Awesome post, Cathy! Love the last thing you learned along the way. "Recognize that Marilyn got it all wrong."
    :-)

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    1. You were one of the first people I thought of when I wrote about the connections made on this journey. I appreciate your friendship and I look forward to sharing your book with others in the future. :)

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  6. Cathy, loved this so much. "God is with us and He is for us." Sometimes we just need to be reminded. For this, I thank you!

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    1. Thank you, sweet Debra. I know I need to be reminded -- it's nice to know I'm not alone. :) Blessings!

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  7. Love, love, love the encouragement in your post! Great tips! And huge congratulations.

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