Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Finding Balance

It can be tough some days to know where to start.

The last 5 weeks have been busy and most mornings I hear the chirp of the alarm and click the snooze bar. During those 9 precious minutes I lay in the quiet and ask God "So, where do we start today?"

It can be overwhelming at times when there is so much, good and bad, coming at you all at once. In Church this past weekend I sat and said "God, my cup is running over with opportunities to expand. Which way should I go?"

There are opportunities that will help me expand my base. They don't pay money at the moment [in fact, they'll cost a good bit of money] but they will substantially increase my platform and help MANY people. So, God, do I go that way?

There is my speaking. That is really taking off and I'm being invited to speak a variety of places later this year. I'm also teaching webinars online for writing groups. I'm offering them at a VERY low rate because everyone is hit with the economy right now. I want the information out. I only allow 10 people per webinar. With the goal of 10 webinars per week that is 100 people I can mentor, encourage and bless. It is a wonderful ministry and I'm excited about it. [And people also tell me I'm very good at it.] I love it. So, God, do I go that way?

There is TheBalancedLife.com This website offers encouragement, money saving tips, and common-sense money management skills to people who are facing sudden and/or long term income loss. Not only that, it helps people who want to stop living paycheck to paycheck. I want to reach at least 2,000 people per month with this. I know what it was like for us 3 1/2 years ago when my husband was suddenly diagnosed with Cancer. He was our only source of income. We had 4 little girls [7, 5, 4, 2]. One we'd adopted only 6 months earlier...and she was special needs. I know the choking fear that squeezes your chest and rips tears our of your soul. So, God, do I go that way?

And I'm a writer. I write novels. Yes, the floor has dropped out of publishing but there are still books selling. I know I can do it, but writing a 55,000 word book takes time. Even when I can write 2k-3k words a day...that's not every day. I simply don't have the time. So, God, do I go that way?

And I'm a wife/mom/homeschooling mom/daughter/friend...

How do I find the balance?

As I turn my day over to God I feel peace. As I stop worrying about HOW and focus on DOING, things get done. As I seize opportunities and praise Him, instead of grumbling about all I have to do, the stress melts and I see the goodness of God.

And when I worry about where the money will come from, I remember that God rewards us when we faithfully obey. I simply have to walk in obedience and keep God FIRST [Which is why I spent time reading his word before posting this blog...even though it was late] everything else seems to work out.

Instead of asking God "So, God, do I do this?" I recognize the favor of God and do it with excellence. Somehow, my time begins to multiply. The money shows up. The energy is there. The kids cooperate.

And God is glorified.

Quit worrying. Start walking.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at www.WritingCareerCoach.com
Learn more about Tiffany's Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany's award winning manuscript "A Face in the Shadow" on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer's Rest.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Have you ever stared at the ceiling even though you are exhausted?

Oh yes, that happens to me. I have too many things spinning around in my head. I think that's a standard issue insomnia for most folks, lol.

I've begun to get up and work during those sleepless hours. I've found I am extremely productive. Go figure. The least I can do is download my brain and the best thing that has ever happened is finishing a book.

Sometimes rest is getting up and giving yourself permission to finish what is on your mind. The next night comes and I'm zonked!

Does that work for you?

I posted on dealing with nightmares on my personal blog on March 27th. Come and visit. Please add your ideas too.

(Or you could just have a pillow fight like we did at the last ACFW conference!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Meet Donn Taylor, author of Rhapsody in Red

by Molly Noble Bull

Today I am interviewing Donn Taylor, my good friend who lives a few miles north of Houston, Texas. Donn and I are members of a national organization titled American Christian Fiction Writers. Welcome to Books That Inspire, Donn.

Donn: Glad to be here, Molly.

Molly: You've just published a mystery called Rhapsody in Red. What is it about?

D: Here's a description from the back cover: "That second Wednesday before Thanksgiving was a bad day to find a corpse on campus." Preston Barclay is a self-made recluse, and he likes it that way. Teaching college history allows him time to grieve the loss of his pianist wife and battle the musical hallucinations that have been playing in his head since her death.
When he and a headstrong colleague, Mara Thorn, discover the murdered body of another instructor, Press's solitude is destroyed, and preliminary evidence seems to implicate them. They form an unlikely alliance to stay ahead of the police, the college administration, and whoever committed the murder. If they don't stay ahead, they could wind up unemployed, behind bars, or worse…. There's also a sample chapter posted on my Web site, www.donntaylor.com.

M: Why did you write this particular novel?

D: I know the environment of the academic world from teaching in it for twenty years. I also know its foibles, so it seemed like a good setting for a light-hearted mystery and a good way to have fun while writing it. It also touches a few significant issues.

M: What purpose does the novel serve for your readers? Entertainment only? Persuasion? What?

D: Primarily entertainment—ill-matched characters forced into a partnership that's often comical. But they and their college do grapple with serious issues most small denominational colleges face: academic standards vs. commercialism, education vs. indoctrination, and Christian heritage vs. secularism. But readers genuinely interested in those issues should begin by visiting the Web site of the National Association of Scholars: www.nas.org.

M: Before being a professor, you were a career Army officer in two wars. How do you convert experiences from those two careers into fiction?

D: I never convert anything directly. No person I've ever known appears in my novels. But my fictional characters share the personal orientations and value systems of people I've known, usually in combination. In my suspense novel The Lazarus File, my aviation experience informs the flight scenes, but none of the flights are copied directly from my experience. They'd better not be: some of them are drug-smuggling flights.

M: You've published poetry as well as fiction. Is it easy to switch back and forth between them?

D: Yes and no. Yes, my poetry book Dust and Diamond appeared this year. No, it's not easy to switch between poetry and fiction because the thought processes are too different. If I'm writing poetry, I take several entire mornings in a row and try to come up with one or two tightly organized poems on significant subjects. In a fiction-writing session I just let it flow and tighten it up later through editing.

M: You entered college as a music major. Does that have any influence on your writing?

D: On my writing and everything else. Music runs constantly in my head. When I write a scene, I'm hearing music appropriate to it, like the music score for a movie. That's where I got the idea for Preston Barclay's musical hallucinations: they give him a dual consciousness, and his life is like living in one movie mismatched with the music score from another. Working with the idea was good fun.

M: It sounds like fun. Where can people buy your books?

D: Rhapsody in Red will be stocked in bookstores. On line, the best start for it and Dust and Diamond is my Web site, www.donntaylor.com, which provides excerpts from each book and links to various sellers.

M: It was great having you, Donn, and I hope you will come back real soon.

D: Thank you for the opportunity.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sleeping Until You Wake Up

Well now, I was exhausted last night after ACFW Board meetings. But don't you know my body woke up at my regular 7:30a.m. anyway. I slept exactly what I needed to for refueling. I feel great!

I stayed up late working on my laptop for ACFW issues. It was getting it all typed out and off my brain that made me finally relax.

I did that a few weeks ago too. Brain dump. Now I use that list of things to keep moving through my goals daily. I love it!

So my advice for rest on this lovely Sunday? Stop trying to remember everything after you lay down. Dump all those stray thoughts onto paper or into your laptop. Climb into bed knowing that you are prepared for the next day's work.

And sleep!

Happy Sunday,
PS Come visit me over at God Uses Broken Vessels and see what's happening in my Gems of Wisdom plans.