Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Needing Some Writing Advice...........

I have a book in my head. The idea of writing a book is a new one for me. I have written short non-fiction pieces for years. But this last summer a book appeared in my head and in my heart. My journal revealed a whole outline to my surprise!

What is my dilemma?

Choosing the target audience. 

I began this book journey with a narrow group of people that I wished to help through my words in a small uplifting book. But Hubs is telling me that my message is meant for a broader audience and that I should not be so specific in the introduction and title. He believes that my book is meant for more people than the group in my heart. 

That is all lovely and complimentary, but it messes with my ability to be focused. Is it smart to try to open up the number of people who may want to buy or read the book?  Or will the act of broadening the audience actually dilute it's impact? 

Will my passion come through if I try talking to "everyone" rather than the main ones I am picturing? 

These are important questions for me to answer before I actually begin because writing a book is a huge and scary new idea for me. I need all the full support that I can muster up, including Hubs. He may be suggesting exactly what I need to do, but I have been so concentrated on the narrow target that I am not sure I can write a book for everyone. I do not want to be just another lame little testimony book. I want to change lives.

Have no idea what I am blathering about? Sorry, here it is in a nutshell: As a woman in vocational ministry I have finally come to a place of accepting God's love totally apart from what I DO for Him. My heart is broken as I read the blogs of pastors wives who are lost, confused and unable to be themselves. So I wanted to write a book for them. I wanted to show them how to see themselves through God's eyes. To see that they are worthy of His love even if they never ever go to another church committee meeting or lead another women's Bible study.


The message of God's unconditional love is for everyone. I know that. Everyone has issues of striving to earn His love even though they already have it. We all need help stepping into our true identity. My story is all about becoming the real me. It is about getting out from under the "church lady" syndrome. No longer structuring my life to fit the "rules" of what a Christian woman should look, act and feel like. 

I may be answering my own question here. 

Could I write a message to everyone who is hungry to be real? People who are in vocational ministry suffer the same questions and doubts as those in other lines of work. They may not show it as easily because of the need to appear strong in front of their churches, but it is there. 

I believe this is actually the whole point of Hubs advice to me. There should not be a different or elevated view of people who make their living by serving God as compared to those who are out there in "normal" jobs while they serve God.  

Both realms struggle with the idea that pleasing God is hard to do. The pre-school teacher next door may be thinking that God will be more proud of her if she agrees to teach a Sunday school class for her church rather than say no when asked to volunteer. We all tend to forget how much God loved us even before we came to Him! Were we "working" for Him then? No. Were we singing in the choir, organizing church bake sales or volunteering to be a kid's camp counselor? No. But He loved us already. 

Okay my friends, this long session of thinking aloud with you has been helpful. I believe that I can write a book that will help many people in all walks of life see that The Father is totally delighted with them. Today, not just in a future when they "get it all together". I may be able to word it in a way that speaks to pastor's wives, missionaries, store clerks, doctors and mommies at home. 

That is the whole point anyway! God loves us. God loves you. Completely, totally and without reserve. Regardless of how you make your living or volunteer your time. It is about who you are, NOT what you do!

Thoughts? Yes, I still am very open to your opinions on this new adventure of mine. Thanx!


  1. I think it sounds like a brilliant and much-needed book. Your heart seems bent towards the ministers' wives who've hidden their true selves for the "sake of the call" (mistakenly).

    My thought is, if you write from YOUR perspective it will reach anyone. But it will touch DEEPLY those who are where you were and are struggling.

    I've been there too so I would love to read this. Best wishes!
    Making Life a Work of Art!

  2. I think your book sounds very interesting. I've never been a preacher's wife, but I'm still a religious person that is often serving in the church and out. It's an idea that resonates with me because sometimes I feel like I can't ever do enough.

    That said, the best writing advice I could give you is to write for yourself. If the story stays true to the audience of one, the passion will come through and it will appeal to many. Here's an example: Kurt Vonnegut wrote to an audience of one--his sister--and even long after she died, he wrote to her. Amazing to him, his books also resonated with others and he was a huge bestseller.

    I write to my own inner tween. But that's just me. :o)

    Good luck, Brenda! Thanks for finding me so that I could find you!

  3. Great idea for a book! I don't know how to answer your question though...all I can ask is: In what direction did God lead you when you ask Him in prayer?

  4. As someone who has been a pastor for almost 40 years, and is married to a pastor, I think a book designed for people in ministry is a great idea.

    Statistically, ministry is one of the toughest occupations in the country. Of 20 people who start out in ministry, only one will retire from it. One ministerial marriage in two ends in divorce. And the bad news goes on from there.

    A book about, say, helping women cope as pastor's wives, and also helping their husbands to cope with ministry, and helping them to keep loving each other, would be a good thing. It might well have resonate with people in other professional groups.

    Just some random thoughts from an ol' Bear, Brenda Susan. Blessings as you try to sort it out.

  5. I only wish I could give good advise on this subject..
    A writer I am not..
    But, I will be here to CHEER you on..
    Wipe your brow (writing can be hard work).
    Make you giggle (sometimes we need a distraction).
    Or give you a hug ( sometimes we just need one.)
    Because, thats what blog friends are for!


  6. Yes I do believe you could write a book. There is a talent here. I would listen to Hubs but not sure from there??

  7. This made my heart leap. I thought of the verse in 1 Thess. where Paul is talking about comfort and how we have the ability and authority to bring comfort to the areas that we have received comfort from the father. I think you have an authority to speak specifically to bring comfort to wives in ministry. I think you could write this book with a specific audience in mind AND touch lots of other people. This also remind me of Holly who started a group Mid-Life Momentum and has now changed it to Renewing Momentum because she realized her target audience was larger than mid-life and women across the generations can struggle with the same identity issues. I think a lot of the "comfort" you bring has authority to remove those "ministry" lines that have caused so much damage to women both inside and outside of the box.
    I am so excited you are doing this! It is going to be brilliant.

  8. Thank you Sandra Earnst! You know that your words mean a lot to me my friend!

  9. You have felt God call you to write this book. So with every step, remember that it is His book, not yours. He has a message to bring forth through you. You are the mouthpiece. So everytime you sit down to write, pray for God's word to flow through you and onto the page. Pray for WHOMEVER He has in mind to read it. You can't choose your audience. Only He can.

    I read a book a month or so ago called Committed (by the author of Eat, Pray, Love). She said in the intro that she wrote the first draft of her book trying to please "her audience." She wanted to write for everyone she thought might read it, after having written such a highly successful book before this one (Eat, Pray, Love). But now, she felt like her audience was too big, and she didn't know how to please everyone. She couldn't. So she tossed her first draft, and completely rewrote her book as she saw fit. She wrote what came naturally to her. That's what you have to do. Don't worry about the outcome and destination of your book; worry about the process. Maybe only 2 people will read your book. Maybe 2 million. But maybe the process is why God is having you write the book. Maybe it's for your good. Or maybe it's for the readers'. Or both! Who can know but God?

    Love you. :) See what happens when you ask me about writing a book? I write one!

  10. SHAWNA! You never stop amazing me! I have just now reprinted your comment into my writing file so that i will see it again and again on this journey! thank you thank you!


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