Thursday, January 16, 2014

Life Lessons

I'm so happy to have Patty Hall here today to share some lessons she learned on her writing journey--lessons that also apply to everyday life. Here's Patty:

Over the last few days, I’ve been wondering exactly what I could offer you in this article. Yes, I’ve learned many things in this writing journey I’ve been on these last thirteen years--point of view, motivation and conflict, characterization and so forth. But recently I’ve been pondering the lessons my writing life has taught me that come into play in my day-to-day world, and thought I’d share what I’ve come to know.

Writing Life Lesson #1

A very wise writer once told me that you can’t eat an elephant in one day so don’t expect to write a book in one. I learned the truth of that statement very quickly, just as I also realized that setting a daily word count, getting those words down was slowly but steadily devouring that elephant. The same goes for building new habits. This year, I’m determined that our family will eat healthier, something we’ve been trying to do for years. But this year, instead of going cold turkey like years in the past, we’re going slowly, cutting out soft drinks this month, excluding breads next month. We may not lost weight as fast as we could but we’re giving our selves the opportunity of succeeding by not taking too big of a bite and staying steady on our course.

Lesson Learned: Consistent work in small bites gets the work done, no mater whether it’s writing or changing life-long habits.

Writing Life Lesson #2

When I first started writing, I loved to talk about my stories, about how I hoped God would use my words to draw readers closer to Him. I look back on that now and feel ashamed of how prideful, how self important I was. That is until I had a friend who asked me what God had taught me through my writing. At first, I couldn’t pinpoint anything, but as I continued to write, I realized that God was using my stories to teach me. My first published novel, the story of a girl pilot in WWII Georgia felt like a love letter, teaching me about my self worth in God’s eyes. Each book that followed taught me something that grew my faith, and I found myself digging deeper into the Bible, setting myself firmly on the Word so that I could keep writing and learning from the stories God gives me.

Lesson Learned: That person you may be reaching for the Lord could just be yourself.

Writing Lesson #3

We live in a world of instant gratification. No saving our money to buy a new car, not when you can click a button online and have it delivered to your front doorstep. Amazon’s even developing a delivery system that can have your order to you on that same day. But with this hurry-up-and-get mentality, we’ve also lost something, that indescribable joy that comes with a job well done. Publishing is a hurry and wait industry. We as writers rush to submit what the market wants, then wait for a week, a month (or in my case, a year!) Rejection is difficult and inevitable with no promises of ever getting the holy grail of a contact. But that moment when your first story is accepted for publication after years of writing and suffering for your work is so full of joy, you feel as if your heart can’t contain all the happiness.

Lesson Learned: Hard work doesn’t bear fruit overnight but the wait is worth every second.

Writing Lesson #4

Before I started writing for publication, I had my nose into everything--volunteering at the local school, leading the ladies ministry at my church, caring for my aging grandparents. When it came to helping out, I was like that old song for the musical, Oklahoma--I was the ‘girl who can’t say no.‘ But when I felt God’s calling to write for His glory, I wasn’t ready to give up all my activities--I mean, who could run the Ladies Group better than me? What about the Christmas program I was charge with at my girl’s school? When I didn’t give up those ‘good things,‘ God worked in my life, taking me far away from everyone I’d ever know, teaching me to rely on Him and the plan He had just for me. 

Lesson Learned: It’s okay to say no to the ‘good‘ when God is offering the GREAT!

What about your writing life has influenced your day to day world? All replies in the US or Canada will be entered into a drawing for a copy of my latest release, Hearts Rekindled

Hearts Rekindled Blurb:

"I'm Here to See My Daughter." 
She never thought she'd see John Davenport again. Merrilee Daniels Davenport's former husband has returned to their small Georgia town after fighting in the Pacific. And now the soldier is bearing a letter from the little girl he didn't know he had. Merrilee wishes that she and her daughter could lean on John's able shoulders, but her new assignment as a homeland informant won't allow it. 

Twelve years have only made Merrilee more beautiful in John's eyes. Back then, he was the proud fool who walked away. Now all he wants is to prove he can be the husband she deserves, and the daddy his daughter needs.


Natalie Monk said...

Thanks for bringing us these tips, Patty!! I'm so excited about your new release! The storyline is just precious. I love reunion stories.

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SnoopyMcC said...

Though I've never had the desire to write fiction I do LOVE reading it. Thank you so much for allowing us to see some of the techniques you employ during the writing process. The book looks wonderful and I pray it is a real blessing to all who read it!

Natalie Monk said...

Welcome, SnoopyMcC!! ;) Great to see you over here!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ms. Hall, for your transparency. You speak with wisdom. I am one of those "can't say no girls." If I see it needs doing, and nobody else volunteers, there is just this unseen magnet that draws me into doing "good" things. But in reality I have this secret desire to write non-fiction. But I've always been too busy to pursue it. Congratulations on your success thus far. Your perseverance is truly paying off.

Courtney Phillips said...

Great post!
I'm learning that I shouldn't be ashamed to answer truthfully when people ask what I've been doing lately."
"I'm writing a book." That's what I should say, but for some reason I always claim up.
I shouldn't be ashamed to say I'm doing what I believe the Lord wants me to! So many good thoughts in this post. Thank you!

Courtney Phillips said...

Oh yeah. Clp1777 (at) aol (dot) com

Courtney Phillips said...

Oh my word. I cannot type on this phone. Forgive the typos in that comment. Lol.

Patricia Bradley said...

Great tips and your book sounds great! pat at ptbradley dot com

Natalie Monk said...

Thanks for coming over, Courtney! Great to see you!!!

I know exactly what you mean about clamming up! Seems to be my specialty. :) Not sure why it's like that. Maybe it's the fear of another person's reaction.

You definitely have a talent that God has given you! Keep on keeping on and never be ashamed! :)

Natalie Monk said...

Wonderful to see you here, Patricia!!! Thanks for coming over! I'm excited about your new release, as well! Suspense set in the sultry South! I love it!

Natalie Monk said...

Thanks for stopping by!!

Linda Monk said...

Natalie, you are doing a great job creating a community of writers. That is so important!

Elaine Manders said...

Hi Natalie,

Congratulations on a beautiful blog and thank you, Patty, for such an inspirational post. I definitely can relate and I love WWII stories.


Patty Smith Hall said...

Thanks so much for coming by, SnoopyMcC!

Patty Smith Hall said...

Anonymous, I truly understand how you feel--I've always been a 'go-to' gal. If it needs done, I was doing it! But when I learned to say no, I began to see God really take hold of my writing life. Blessings! Patty

Patty Smith Hall said...

Courtney, I use to do the same thing. Then about four years in to my writing journey, I came across a Bible study called "Write His Answer'--and one of the things that grabbed my heart was the statement that writers are literary missionaries. That changed my whole attitude toward my writing. If you have the chance, pick up this Bible study--it's fantastic!

Patty Smith Hall said...

Elaine, thanks for stopping by!

Patty Smith Hall said...

Thanks for coming by, Patricia. I'll have to look your latest book up--I'm a sucker for any book set in the South!

Patty Smith Hall said...

Thanks for having me, Natalie! I've enjoyed being your guest today!

Natalie Monk said...

Hi, Aunt Linda. These ladies have been so kind to come by today. I'm blessed to know them!

Natalie Monk said...

Thank you, Elaine! I'm enjoying yours as well!!!

Courtney Phillips said...

Thanks for the replies, yall!
A literary missionary--I love that. Reminds us of our responsibility. Thank you! I'll check into that Bible study for sure.

Piper Huguley said...

Great blog post Natalie with lots of nice advice. I love Patty's World War II stories with her Georgia locales and I look forward to more of them.

Natalie Monk said...

Thanks for coming, Piper!!