Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good books
4/11/14 at 01:02 AM 2 Comments

Things I’ve Learned as a Writer

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I’ve enjoyed telling stories since I was a child sharing tales with other neighborhood kids. In school, my teachers often praised my papers, and English was my favorite subject. In college, I started a journal to process my spiritual journey. When I shared a few entries with one of the piano instructors, she said, “Eileen, your writing flows so beautifully. I know God’s going to use it.” I’ve been journaling on some level ever since.

Then in 1992, a couple in the church we’d joined asked if I’d write a children’s skit for a family event. I still don’t know how they thought to ask me. God knows.

For the next seven years, I wrote church drama and newsletter articles. That small body of believers encouraged me, saying, “Eileen, your writing speaks to my heart;” “Eileen, you need to publish that play.”

Although I’d sheepishly submitted an article once to a Christian magazine, I’d never thought seriously about publication until 1998 when my husband, Chuck, asked if I’d write a syllabus for the marriage seminars we planned to conduct. I said, “Why not a book?”

The power of positive feedback fueled my efforts, and by 2000, I held my first self-published book coauthored with Chuck. My editor said, “Eileen, some people only have one book in them. You have several.” God’s gift ignited in me, and I went on to author two more non-fiction books before turning my focus to periodical writing.

Each step of the way, God gave me a specific goal in order to fulfill my writing vision. He’s never let me down.

While I never thought I’d write fiction, I opened my heart to the possibility when God woke me one morning in 2005 with the title, Journey to Judah, on my mind. Journey to Judah is a love story inspired by my single daughter’s call to career missions in India.

OakTara published Journey to Judah in 2008, followed by four other novels. They’ve been one of my best cheerleaders in my writing venture.

I’ve learned a few things over twenty-one years of active writing. In no particular order, here are a few of them.

1. Writing is a lonely profession, but readers’ needs keep me company.

2. On occasion, writing blows every brain circuit, and I need a rest.

3. Sometimes writing comes easier in the woods.

4. A walk around the block clears my head and energizes my spirit.

5. Singing in the morning sets me up for a happy workday.

6. A hug from Chuck before he heads off to work encourages me to take the next step to my writing office.

7. A good book educates and entertains me, while a nap replenishes me in the afternoons.

8. God continually wants me to humble my heart.

9. I must view writing critiques with an objective eye then make a decision.

10. The writing process both reveals and shapes my character.

11. No one thinks my words are as important as I do.

12. I need large doses of quiet time to detect what God has for me.

13. Only God knows the impact of my writing.

14. When I engage in other art forms, I enhance my writing.

15. Journal entries, family times, friendships, service, and mission trips can ignite ideas.

16. Some of my best writing originates out of the deepest places of pain.

17. Only other writers understand a writer’s life.

18. To write is to be vulnerable.

19. I must write.

20. A biblical worldview informs my writing.

 21. There is no subject so small I can’t write about it, for God’s lessons abound everywhere.

22. Writing for God’s glory is my chief desire.

23. I love to write; I hate to write. And I suspect it will always be so, at least on this side of heaven. ~~

Eileen Rife, author of Laughing with Lily (OakTara), speaks to women’s groups, encouraging them to discover who they are in Christ and what part they play in His amazing story.,

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