Today’s guest post is by Lori Hatcher. She is an editor, writing instructor, award-winning Toastmasters International speaker, blogger, and author of three (soon to be five) devotionals, including Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible, and Hungry for God … Starving for Time: Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women. Her articles and devotions have been published by Our Daily Bread, Guideposts, Revive Our Hearts, and Crosswalk.com. When she’s not writing, she spends her time with her pastor-husband and four hilarious grandchildren. Connect with Lori at LoriHatcher.com or on Facebook, Twitter (@lorihatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God). She is represented by Bob Hostetler.
I officially stepped into the Christian writing world in 2011 by attending my first conference. For the last decade, wise voices in the Christian publishing world have shared instruction, advice, and encouragement. I’d like to spotlight a few of those voices and the words they shared.
“Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Write what you know.”
Surrounded by Christy award-winning novelists and romance-writing machines, I felt intimidated at my first conference. Who was I fooling? I wasn’t Christy–award material, and I’d never wanted to write a novel. I didn’t belong in this crowd of wonder kids.
Then Eddie Jones took the lectern and said two sentences that changed my perspective: “Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Write what you know.” His no-frills advice told me I didn’t have to be a Christy award-winner to have a place in God’s writing stable. And I didn’t have to write novels to be a success. I could be a homeschool mom who wrote five-minute devotions for busy women. By giving me permission to be who I was, Eddie gave me room to become who God intended me to be.
“Stay true to your project.”
I’d just been buried under an avalanche of rejections when I approached Steve at a conference. Reminding him of my (now thoroughly rejected) proposal, I said, “I’m not ready to give up on this. I still believe in it.”
“Tell me about it,” he said.
As I talked through my idea, he saw right through the shallow marketing concept I’d wrapped it in. Thinking I had to have a gimmick to attract a publisher, I’d disguised the true nature of my work.
“You have a unique concept here,” he said, “but it’s buried under all this other stuff. Rework your proposal to spotlight the main idea, and I think your book will have a chance.” By reminding me to stay true to my concept, Steve gave me the confidence to present it as it was. I reworked the proposal, and five months later I had a contract.
“Always be thinking of the next great idea.”
During a career-planning meeting with Bob at the Blue Ridge conference in 2019, I announced that I’d recently submitted the manuscript for my book Refresh Your Faith: Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible. I expected him to give me a high five, chocolate, and roses (or at least buy me a milkshake) to celebrate my accomplishment.
Instead, he peppered me with a series of questions: “What’s the next book? What else needs refreshing? What would be a natural sequel to this one?” We brainstormed a few ideas, including Refresh Your Prayers: Uncommon Devotions to Unlock Power and Praise. This became my next-contracted book with Our Daily Bread Publishing. By encouraging me always to be thinking of the next great idea, Bob taught me to be proactive in my writing career.
Proverbs 18:21 reminds us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (NASB). As members of the Christian writing community, we have the power of death or life in our tongues. Let’s choose our words carefully as we help other writers along on their journey.