The Care and Feeding of … WORDS!


“Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.”
Pearl Strachan

“By words the mind is winged.”

“The turn of a sentence has decided the fate of many a friendship, and, for aught that we know, the fate of many a kingdom.”
Jeremy Bentham

Amazing, isn’t it? Something so small as words can have such huge impact.

The right word in any circumstance can bring peace, comfort, laughter, tears. It can elicit emotion, stir action, deliver forgiveness, change lives. For generations, words have moved and motivated. Writers, steeped in the wonder of words, have poured their hearts out on stark paper, only to have those pages come to life in ways they never imagined, and to have their words live on in the hearts and minds of readers long after they’ve been read.

At least, that’s what we hope for. Pray for. LONG for.

A writer’s group I’m part of was just talking about this. The yearning, deep within our hearts and souls, to write something that matters. That will change lives. That will stand the test of time. For us, the writing is novels. Stories that transcend genre or time. That transport.

That matter.

Odd thing is, when you’re writing to a deadline, it’s hard to do that. Because too often you get focused on just that: the deadline. So what becomes foremost in our minds? Daily word count. Getting the story down. Getting Done. Finish it off. Hand it in. Don’t be late! AAAHHHHHH!

Talk about creativity killers.

But how do you take time to craft a story when you have to pay bills? How do you let the story germinate when you have to keep books on the shelves to hold your readers? Hey, I’m an editor and agent as well as a writer. That’s the publishing Trifecta!  I know how important it is to keep your books in readers’ hands, to not make them wait too long between novels. To not let them forget why they love your books over others’.

But I also want the best my writers and clients have to offer. Just as I want to give my best to my own readers. And my best doesn’t happen when I’m stressed or guilt-ridden or rushed.

All of this has been rolling around in my head and heart of late. As it often does. It’s something that comes back and nudges at me on a far-too-regular basis. Until it finally coalesced (isn’t that a great word?) into one simple bit of guidance: Rest.

Rest in Him–in the One who breathed the story deep into your soul. Who equipped you to fulfill the task He’s given of creating a story that will move, inspire, and challenge. Don’t push, don’t fret, don’t–and I can see Steve and Tamela and editors all cringing here, but I’m gonna say it anyway—DO NOT let the tyranny of the deadline destroy creativity and passion. Do what’s reasonable, to the best of your passion and ability, and leave the rest to Him.

Rest in what you know–the story, the characters, the truths you need to portray. The fact that your readers have told you, over and over, that they love what you write. So that deep-seeded insecurity that you can’t do it again, can’t come up with a story that will engage, can just take a hike. You’re doing this because you love it, and because your readers love what you do. Forget the critics and reviewers. Focus on what you know really matters: the story and those for whom you tell it.

Rest in the story–Yes, get it down as best you can. But then? Set it aside. Give yourself the gift of time away from it. At least a few weeks. Even better, a month or more. Get completely away from it, maybe even from writing. Take a break. Go for a walk. Focus on something entirely different. You can be sure, if you do this, that when you come back to it, you’ll read with new eyes. Eyes that see the weak spots, to be sure. Eyes that can better discern how to fix what isn’t working. And eyes that will widen as you discover those periodic gems, where you sit back, wonder washing over you, as you realize Almighty fingers rested over your own as you wrote. Because none of us on our own can write a line, a scene, a TRUTH as powerful as you’ve just found on the page.

Rest. Be at peace.

—And let creativity flourish.






19 Responses to The Care and Feeding of … WORDS!

  1. Avatar
    Susie Finkbeiner June 29, 2011 at 3:12 am #

    Beautiful, Karen. Thank you! I needed this more than you know!

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    Debby Mayne June 29, 2011 at 4:46 am #

    Powerful words of wisdom, Karen! I need to read this every morning.

  3. Avatar
    Sandra Ardoin June 29, 2011 at 5:46 am #

    I keep a mini poster that reads, “Deadlines Amuse Me.” They’re meant to be words of encouragement, just like your post. Thanks, Karen.

  4. Avatar
    Lynette Sowell June 29, 2011 at 6:10 am #

    What a great “word” on words this morning…thank you!

  5. Avatar
    Janet Lee Barton June 29, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    Great post, Karen! A wonderful reminder as I begn work this morning-thank you.

  6. Avatar
    Effie-Alean Gross June 29, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    Your words have reached deep within my spirit today. Thank you for inspiring, encouraging, and reminding me that as a writer, I hold the power that an all-powerful God has given me as a “gift.” Words are a priceless gift. Thanks for yours.
    ~~Effie-Alean Gross
    Fountain Hills, AZ

  7. Avatar
    Lori Benton June 29, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Speaking of words, for this I forgive you for trouncing me at Boggle yet again. 🙂 This post refreshed my writer’s spirit today. I can’t imagine there are many who do their best work while feeling pressured, distracted and stressed. May God be showing each of us how to find the balance between rest and productivity. And to trust Him to complete the work begun in (and through) us.

  8. Avatar
    Marji Laine June 29, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    How refreshing! “Rest in Him.” I needed this message. I needed to be reminded that this chapter of my life, if it is to be successful, must remain “in Him.” Thanks!

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    Connie Brown June 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    I needed to read this message to rest in him. Thanks for sharing these truths. Beautiful thoughts. Beautiful language. Blessings.

  10. Avatar
    Wade Webster June 29, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

    John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” I like to think of myself as a glove… I can do nothing on my own strength, it’s only when God’s hand is in me that the words flow. It’s His story that He’s letting me write, His words to a needy world. Trust Him to give you the right words to His story.

  11. Avatar
    Dee Bright June 29, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    Wonderful words, Karen. And much needed. Thanks!

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    Lydia T. June 30, 2011 at 12:19 am #

    Exquisite and profound. Karen, the Holy Spirit through your post just confirmed what I’ve recently felt in my heart–that God has led me to take a writing hiatus for a season. How wonderfully refreshing it is to rest in Him and be replenished at the Well of Living Water!

    I really enjoy your posts. Thank you. May God continue to bless you and your words.

  13. Avatar
    Sally Apokedak June 30, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    Beautifully put and encouraging. Thanks!

  14. Avatar
    Rhonda Gibson June 30, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    Thanks Karen. I do believe I will print and frame this post 🙂 Great words of wisdom!!

  15. Avatar
    Ane Mulligan June 30, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    This really resonated in my soul, Karen. I even tweeted one of the quotes and will tweet another (I linked to this blog, too, when I did it). Rest in Him. Good words.

  16. Avatar
    administrator June 30, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    Testing comments

  17. Avatar
    Sharon A Lavy July 4, 2011 at 2:57 am #

    Wonderful words of wisdom.

  18. Avatar
    Connie Terpack May 3, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    Wonderful post! Frankly, I’ve liked everyone’s posts from this agency that I’ve read so far.


  1. Encouragement for the Weekend | | Kristi HollKristi Holl - March 21, 2014

    […] The Care and Feeding of … WORDS! also took away a lot of the pressure I was feeling. Rest! I needed this message. […]

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