Just Write

ProfessionalPic1 - Laura ZimmermanBy Laura Zimmerman

Last year I attended the “Write His Answer” Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Although excited to attend, I also had my reservations since I hadn’t published anything traditionally. For months my heart had been heavy at the thought that it might not happen.

My first morning at the conference, I heard a message from a published pastor. He mentioned that after he’d released his first book, he attended a writers’ conference thinking people would line up for his autograph. But they didn’t. He found that he was a tiny fish in a huge sea of authors, and when it came to notoriety, he’d missed the boat.

Then it occurred to him—Maybe publishing that book wasn’t where his worth should reside in the first place.

His words hit home.

Two weeks prior I’d felt God speak to me in prayer. ‘Why do you write? Is it for fame or for Me?’ He had spoken His message to me before the conference, and now He confirmed it. As I sat on that bench and listened to the pastor, I fought back tears of joy and peace. God had spoken to me.

But God’s nudging didn’t end there. I attended a class with a similar theme—then another, and another. God had a message he wanted me to hear.

‘Write for Me, not for them.’

This idea was liberating.

To write God’s words—and not my own—takes away the pressure of having to attain the world’s idea of success. It releases me from the burden that I must see my name displayed in some bookstore window to gain worth. Not to give up those dreams all together, but realizing that the pressure of attaining them belongs to God alone.

Maybe I will see my work traditionally published—maybe not. It’s possible my work will be read by many, or that it’s intended for an audience of One. The important thing is that I write what the Lord has laid on my heart, regardless of fame or fortune.

That’s my job. To seek the Lord, write His message, and share it.

Just write. 


Laura L. Zimmerman resides in Phoenix, AZ and is a homeschooling mom to three beautiful daughters. She just moved there from Pennsylvania. She is thankful for a supportive husband, who is always quick to encourage her love of singing, reading and drinking coffee. Laura writes young adult and middle grade fantasy fiction. You can learn more about her at http://www.lauralzimmerman.com, on Twitter @lauralzimm, and on Facebook. Laura is represented by Cyle Young through Hartline Literary Agency.


Thank You to All 17 Contest Entrants


Thank you! We had an astonishing 17 entries (we were hoping for 15) for our Keystone Great Beginnings Contest. The judges are currently reading and scoring entries, and winners will be announced at our online meeting, April 26th at 7:30 p.m. and here on this blog.

It takes a lot of courage to submit one’s work for critique and scoring. Only one can win 1st place with a $50 prize. If you don’t win, don’t give up. Keep working on your craft, your story. Take the judges’ comments and learn from them. It will help you improve and maybe, the next contest you enter, you’ll place!

If you win here, you’ll be rewarded monetarily, and that will show potential publishers two things: 1) you are serious about your writing, and 2) you are willing to put yourself out there and try to get published.

Two years ago, I entered the ACFW Genesis contest. I didn’t make it past the first round, and one judge seemed quite harsh with their low score. After a period of time, though, I was able to re-visit their score sheet, and learn what I needed to do to improve my novel.

The next time I submitted it, I made the semi-finals in Operation 1st Novel.

So whether you win or place here, even with an Honorable Mention certificate, the point is: learn, progress, and keep submitting. Perseverance is the key. I know. I’m still persevering, hoping for a publishing contract in my future. Blessings to you.

Dress for Success and Corrie ten Boom

Carol Hamilton

Carol Hamilton

Blogger: Carol Hamilton

Although you may not like it, today’s authors should be speakers also. To make yourself more comfortable before an audience and to allow your audience to be more at ease with you, learn to dress for success.

When you stand on a stage, the crowd sees more of your feet than they may want. Women, be sure heels aren’t spiked enough to get caught in cracks on a wooden stage and that you can stand comfortably for your entire session. Closed-toed shoes present a professional appearance. Toastmasters’ Past International Director, Ruth Ray, says, “No one wants to see your toes.” I’ve been known to break this rule when speaking at a women’s retreat at the beach, but only with a fresh pedicure. Men, be sure you polish your shoes. Well kept shoes give subconscious credibility. The exception would be if you use your shoes as part of your persona, like entertaining anti-bullying speaker, Michael Karpovich, who wears different colored Keds on each foot.

Michael Karpovich and Corrie ten Boom

Michael Karpovich and Corrie ten Boom

Let’s go to your head. Men, learn to tie a double-knotted tie so it remains centered. Otherwise a disgruntled OCD person may leap onto the stage to straighten your tie. Ladies, avoid earrings that sparkle and spin like fishing lures. Draw attention to your face so the audience can focus on what you teach. The bling of your necklace should balance with the size of the crowd. Smaller crowd, simple, less flashy choker length shouldn’t distract. If your theatre is vast, sparkle close to the face will attract the gazes of the audience to your face. Avoid dangling necklaces since they shift and twist. I play too much with bracelets and large rings, so I don’t wear them. If you can leave them alone, they are acceptable.

Know how your audience will dress and take it up a notch. Wear clothing you can move comfortably in. If you wear a jacket, it should be buttoned at least one button when you begin.

Once you have chosen your outfit and dressed to the best of your ability, go onto the stage and forget about how you look. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

When I was a teen, I saw the astonishing Corrie ten Boom speak. Even though it’s been over forty years, I still remember the stories told by this wrinkled old woman in orthopedic shoes and a hair net. Lessons of forgiveness only God could instigate. Reminders to get rid of sin and let your light shine for Jesus, the One Miss ten Boom loved the most. Her clothing was plain, but her face shone with the love of Jesus and her words of truth resonate still.

What you wear and how you look shouldn’t be distracting to the audience, look the best you can, but in the end, it is a dynamic message that matters.