Remember Whom You Serve by Jodi Whisenhunt

Sometimes the people who should be our number one fans crush our spirits and fill us with self doubt. A friend of mine, Christy, is a newly published freelance writer. In the business of freelancing, not all pieces receive monetary reward. Simply put, you don’t get paid. When Christy received her first freelance paycheck, she phoned her mom to celebrate. She also told her about a weekly, unpaid writing opportunity. Upon hearing this new column would be written pro bono, my friend’s mother offered these words, “Well, Honey, it’s not like you’re a real writer.” Ouch!

Those few words left my friend wondering, “Am I a writer? Why am I writing? Can I say I’m a writer if I don’t receive payment? Should I stop writing?” When Christy called her mom she was excited and confident; when she hung up the phone she was dejected and insecure.

My friend’s experience reminded me of when Jesus returned to his hometown. The people discounted him, saying he was just the carpenter’s son and asked each other where he got his powers. “But Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor’” (Matthew 13:57). In Luke 4:24-30, Jesus explains it further, giving comparisons to Elijah and Elisha. The people responded to Jesus’ reprimand by driving him to the edge of a cliff and threatening to throw him off. While it didn’t come to that extreme with my friend’s family, her mother’s words left her feeling as if she were thrown off the cliff of success.

Even Jesus wasn’t supported by those who should have been his greatest supporters. Author Teresa G. Lusk discusses a similar matter in the “Dream Patrol” chapter of her book, Good Enough to be a Homemaker and CEO. She points out that some people appoint themselves to manage others’ success. They encourage and inspire until time comes to step out in faith and progress toward goals. At which point their true opinions are revealed and they spew forth insults. Teresa advises, “Don’t take it personally…Receive it as a combination of useful circumstances. One, they offer an opportunity to remind you who called you to your purpose. And two, personal and spiritual growth comes about” (Lusk 62-63).

I’m sure my friend’s mother loves her very much and is proud of her achievement. However, Christy and we fellow writers need to remember whom we serve. I know we want our parents to be proud of us, but, “If [we] were still trying to please men, [we] would not be servant[s] of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). Paychecks don’t define us. Others’ opinions don’t define us. Our Creator does, and it is He whom we should honor.

*Originally posted on Jodi’s Aim for Perfection Editing blog.


What are Your Goals?

I thought I’d post part of our group discussion today for those who didn’t receive the emails. It stemmed from author Lynn Viehl’s post about the reality of royalties. In the post, Lynn, a NYTimes Best Selling Author, publishes her royalties statement and points out that the book business is not as lucrative as one might think. A discussion regarding traditional publishing versus self-publishing ensued.

Writing a book and getting it published are both difficult and rewarding. I advise editing clients to assess their goals and research options. I am aware of a few self-publishers I strongly advise against, and I am aware of a few I highly recommend. The same can be said of traditional publishers. Whether an author chooses traditional or self-publishing, the goal is to communicate a message to as many as will receive it. Lewis pointed out that the route we choose is based on our goal priorities: 1) to just get published, 2) to make money, or 3) to influence people (as an avenue to pursue God’s calling).

For great insider advice on self-publishing, please go to Thomas Nelson President Michael Hyatt’s blog, literary agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog, and literary agent Chip MacGregor’s blog. All three have recently discussed self-publishing pros and cons. Thomas Nelson recently launched a self-publishing branch of their company under the Westbow Press name.

Let’s remember that writing a book is not the only way to communicate your message! Major magazines have readerships of several hundred thousand. Niche markets have readerships in the thousands. Blogs, depending on your marketing of them, can also reach thousands of readers. Newspapers, newsletters, letters-to-the-editor, even personal letters to friends who need encouragement are all very effective ways to reach people. And, if you do intend to write a book at some point, publishing in the smaller venues builds your author platform and establishes “fans” of your work, people who will be interested in that book when it does come out.

Keep writing! Research, query, learn your craft. We welcome your input here. Just leave us a comment!

Thanks & may God bless your writing endeavors!


Opportunity for Good Exposure

Literary agent Rachelle Gardner, of WordServe Literary in Denver, Colorado, has offered an excellent opportunity for unknown writers. Here’s what she said about it in yesterday’s post: I am taking auditions for guest posts from YOU, my faithful blog readers. I need about ten guest posts from readers to provide me with one per week for the rest of this year. (I already have some lined up from clients.) So the “prize” for this challenge is getting your post on my blog. Maybe not a huge prize, but hey, I’m getting more than 10,000 page loads per week so it’s not bad exposure for you.

 So how do you go about auditioning? Put your query writing techniques to practice by posting a 100-word comment on her “A Blog Challenge for You” entry. PITCH your guest post idea. DO NOT write the whole post and do not email her the post. Auditions will close at 11:59 p.m. ET on September 4th.

IF yours is chosen, you will be asked to write an entry of 500 to 800 words with a 1-2 sentence bio that includes links to your websites/blogs and a photo of yourself. Rachelle, of course, reserves the right to edit your final post.

Good luck!


Go ahead, quit! By Jodi Whisenhunt


I subscribe to literary agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog.  This week, Daniel Case, “a broadcasting geek, blatant Christian, and victim of Novelism” (whose website is here),  guest blogged for Rachelle. He challenged writers to go ahead, quit!

If you’re a true writer, writing is in your soul, it’s part of you, and you cannot deny it if you try. So, if you’re feeling insecure in your calling, try Daniel’s advice: 
Published or unpublished, old pro or neophyte, here is a simple test you can take to determine if you’re a true writer: Try to stop. Go ahead and quit—I dare you. Take a month off. Try to live one full month of your life without seeing a situation and thinking, “Hey, I can use that in a story.” Try to live one full month without hearing a unique name and envisioning a character with that name, or waking up at night with a story or article idea in your head. See if you can go a whole month without writing one single word, whether in your head or on the page. If you can really quit, then by all means please quit. If, however, you can’t quit no matter how hard you try, then welcome to the family. You’re a Writer. There’s only one known course of treatment: Write, Rewrite, Repeat. 
It’s been suggested that perhaps some don’t feel like they are writers at heart, but that they are merely writing out of obedience to God. To which I reply, “Yes!” My point is that the Lord has assigned us a chore or a task to write His word in some fashion. Some of that writing may never see publication. Some of it may merely be for our own benefit by keeping journals to clear our minds.
Some people write for public speaking. Some write to teach. Some write to communicate with family. Some write because it’s fun (believe it or not!). If you’re questioning your hobby, go ahead, quit! I bet you’ll soon feel that familiar tug that brought you to this group in the first place, whether it’s inborn or Spirit-led. 

It’s Been Awhile, by Jodi Whisenhunt

Hello, friends!

I’m sorry I’ve been away from the blog. As most of you know, my mother suddenly & unexpectedly passed away the night before Easter. While my whole family has been going through a tough grieving process, we definitely rejoice in knowing that Mom got to join the choir of angels to rejoice and praise Jesus Easter morning! My family and I thank you sincerely for all your prayers.

Please be sure to remember Joann and Slater in your prayers too, as Slater’s health issues continue to challenge them.

In the writing news…
Christian author, speaker, manuscript coach Mary DeMuth will be autographing her latest book, Daisy Chain, THIS Saturday at the Dallas Galleria Lifeway Christian Store from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Stop in to meet her & pick up a great book.

FREE book opportunity! Sign up to be a book review blogger for Thomas Nelson Publishers. You choose a FREE book, read it, blog about it, review it on Amazon (or similar site), then you can choose another FREE book. See for details.

We will meet next week! Join us Wednesday, May 20, at 6:30 p.m. in FSC room 3115. We’ll have a brief information period followed by peer critique. Be sure to bring something you’ve written – even if it’s the “bad poem” you entered from Chip MacGregor’s “2009 Bad Poetry Contest”.

See you soon!

So Much to Talk About! by Jodi Whisenhunt

First of all, the 1st ever Christian Writers’ Group Seminar is fast approaching!  Join us Sunday, March 29th, 4:00-8:00 p.m. in the Multi-purpose Room of the FSC at First Baptist McKinney to hear presentations by Dana Bailey on time management, Joann Loughlin on grammar usage, Jodi Whisenhunt (me!) on publication, and Jan Winebrenner on inspiration and the call to write.   The seminar is FREE, but donations will be accepted.  Refreshments will be served and prizes awarded.  Don’t miss it!

Secondly, we will have one more meeting before the seminar.  Please come  Wednesday, March 18, 2009, at 6:30 p.m. to room 3115 of the FSC (our regular room – down the hallway beside the gym) for encouragement, information, and peer critique.

And finally, I attended a portion of a writers’ conference last week.  Unfortunately, my attendance time was cut short due to a sick hubby (he’s fine now), but I was able to glean valuable knowledge.  I listened very attentively as literary agent Chip MacGregor spoke about the world of publishing and non-fiction.  Did you know that despite a recession, this is actually prime time to be writing for the Christian market?  People need hope to get through uncertain times, and guess who can provide it?  We can!

I know several group members are working on books, but let’s not neglect the magazine market.  Many, many more readers pick up magazines than do books.  The average book sells maybe 5000 copies.  Established magazines have a readership of 100,000 or more.  Think about all the places you see magazines lying around – doctors’ offices, dentists’ offices, office reception areas – and how many non-subscribers pick them up throughout the day.  If God has placed a message on your heart, don’t feel the only route to express it is through a book!

The internet has created a vast need for content as well.  Blogs and mini-websites cover any and all topics, and many of them accept guest authors.  There’s often no money in it, but it’s good experience, good practice, and good exposure.  Learn to tell a story and tell it well, and people will eat up your material.

I’ll share more on publishing at the seminar, so bring your notebook & pen!

Keep writing for Him!

The Lost Art of Proofreading

 I got this in an email and couldn’t stop laughing.  Enjoy!

Proofreading is a dying art, would you say? 

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter

 – This one I caught in the SGV Tribune the other day and called the Editorial Room and asked who wrote this.  It took two or three readings before the editor realized that what he was reading was impossible!!!  They put in a correction the next day.  

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
  ~No, really? Ya think?

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers 
  ~Now that’s taking things a bit far!

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over 
  ~ What a guy! 

Miners Refuse to Work after Death
  ~No-good-for-nothing’ lazy so-and-so’s!

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant 
  ~See if that works any better than a fair trial!

War Dims Hope for Peace 
  ~I can see where it might have that effect!

If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
  ~Ya think?!

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures 
  ~Who would have thought!

Enfield (  London  ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide  
  ~They may be on to something!

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges 
  ~ You mean there’s something stronger than duct tape? Oklahoma ‘s new construction program! 

Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge 
  ~ He probably IS the battery charge!

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft 
  ~That’s what he gets for eating those beans!

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks 
  ~ Do they taste like chicken?

Local  High School Dropouts Cut in Half 

  ~Chainsaw Massacre all over again!

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors 
  ~ Boy, are they tall!And the winner is…. 

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead 
  ~ Did I read that right?We all need a good laugh, at least once a day!