WHY HATING OUR OLD WRITING ISN’T CUTE

A huge attitude in the writing community is cringing at our old writing. I’m sure you’ve seen it. Maybe it was someone yelling “Burn my first draft with fire!” or a whole Youtube video dedicated to reading cringe-worthy old writing.

Why, though?

What is it about us writers that enjoy hating on our beginnings? Why do we have to see our first drafts or stories we scribbled as preteens as things to be burned? Because it’s not cute or funny, y’all. I don’t care how many likes complaining about old writing will get you on Twitter–it isn’t right.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin,” – Zechariah 4:10 (NLT)

Is it a constant struggle not to wanna lock our first drafts away in a dark cave for the rest of our lives? Sure. A first draft isn’t supposed to be publishing ready. It is supposed to be EXACTLY what it is. A start. I’m the first to admit how ROUGH a first draft can be. You guys haven’t seen the first drafts of Seek, or the very first draft of The Divided Nation, which was titled AWAKE, and believe me when I say, they needed work. But you know what I won’t say? I won’t say they were terrible, because that’s quite disrespectful to say when I asked God to help me write them! 

Without our silly stories we wrote as a kid, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Without our rough first drafts, we wouldn’t be having the fourth draft of that same novel being ready to meet the world. My point being, don’t despite small beginnings. Don’t despise the raw, rough, jumbled starts because without them, we won’t go anywhere. I don’t care how ‘bad’ we might see something, if we wrote it with the intention to glorify the Lord, that is enough. Don’t forget that. God doesn’t want perfect. He wants us to follow Him.

Instead of cringing, rejoice that God brought you this far. Instead of complaining, have faith God will keep moving you forward. As Christian authors, WE are supposed to be the difference in the world, and a huge way of doing that is breaking the mold of despising our beginnings!

What are YOUR thoughts on first drafts? I’d love to chat.

God bless,

Angie

PS. Sign ups to beta read The Divided Nation (dysto/apoc novel) end in a few days and I really would appreciate some, as strange as it sounds, GUY betas! If you’re interested or know someone who might be, check out the link. Thanks! (Please note there are limited slots left!)

 

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WHY RIGHTEOUS ANGER IS BIBLICAL

God called Believers to have righteous anger many times in the Bible, and this commandment remains to this day. Many Believers consider anger to be a sin, calling upon verses such as James 1:19 and Psalms 37:8, claiming that any form of anger is unbiblical. It is unwise, however, to disregard what else the Bible has to say about anger. In this post, we will understand why righteous anger is not a myth, but a commandment from the Lord.

Let’s begin with differentiating the two main types of anger. There is Biblical anger and foolish anger. Most Christians will rebuke foolish anger, but make no difference between the two, incorrectly marking all anger as a sin. This is not the truth. It is a sin to be angry at someone after you have forgiven them, and it is a sin to be angry over small problems that can be easily solved. Foolish anger is rooted in sin and human desires. Righteous anger, unlike foolish anger, is rooted in the Father’s love. Righteous anger will agree with the Lord’s Word, and should not based on our personal opinions. When Jesus threw the people out of the Temple, that was not based on His personal emotions. That anger was legal anger because they were going against the Lord’s Holy Word. 

When Christians bring up Jesus being angry, they will remember how he flipped the tables in the Temple. This is not the only time Jesus, or the Lord, showed righteous anger. The Lord was angry at the Pharisees for their hardness in their hearts (Mark 3:5), He is angered by the mistreatment of orphans, widows, etc (Exodus 22), and He is angered by the worship of idols (Exodus 32:10; Deuteronomy 6:14-15; Judges 2:13-14; Ezra 8:22). I have heard Christians say, “Well, we aren’t God, so we can’t be angry like Him!” In response to this, I ask, has Jesus not called us, as Believers, to be like Him? 1 Corinthians 11:1, 1 John 2:6, John 14:15… there are countless verses telling us to resemble Jesus. The Bible calls us to be angry but not sin (Ephesians 4:26) We can understand, then, that Jesus having righteous anger is not a sin, and while we, as humans, are sinful by nature, we can still follow His footsteps. Just as the Lord calls us to love our enemies, it is impossible to do such commandments alone, but when we draw closer to Jesus in fellowship, it is possible to do as He wills. Righteous anger is not a sin, but a commandment that we must draw closer to the Lord and His Word to fully grasp and exercise as He wills.

Righteous anger often calls Christians to action: like righteous anger over abortion, over the slaughter of Christians in foreign countries, over discrimination, and many other issues occurring today that are biblically unjust. Righteous anger is anger out of love. The Lord warns us not to be lukewarm. If we love, love with all our heart as the Bible commands, how could we not be angry? Jesus is angered because He possesses more love than even we can contain. Love is not love without anger, because if you don’t get angry over unrighteousness, how can you be loving the Lord, His Word, or people? It is Biblical to be close to Jesus, and feel what He feels–and He feels anger. If we feel that, too, and act out of love, we are not sinning. If we grow closer to Jesus and feel things that aren’t so mushy-gushy, that is not a sin. The truth is, true love, Jesus’ love… it is not always feel-good. 

In conclusion, the Bible commands us to be slow to wrath, to be angry and sin not, and not let our anger consume us (Ephesians 4:26). It is possible to do God’s will, no matter how impossible or contradictory it may appear at first glance, when we dig deep into His Word. Without a solid understanding of who Jesus is and what He commands, it is easy to let anger consume us–just as Satan wants. However, the closer we draw to Jesus, and understand that He gave us the emotion of anger, that He will also guide that emotion if we allow Him. Let us be hot, and not cold or lukewarm, with love for Jesus and what is holy, and not stand by in uncertainty because we don’t understand God’s commandments.

I pray this post touches you and if you feel moved to, feel free to share this and fight Satan’s lies. ♥ God bless.

Ang

 

I REFUSE

I was nearing 30,000 words Monday for Camp NaNo. After really focusing my heart on the Lord for The Infidel Books, the words came pretty well and I felt that I wasn’t forsaking my plot and the foreboding for book 2 was a good start. I prayed hard to have faith when my doubts sounded so silly. I prayed God would guide my writing. I prayed to have confidence that even if this series only reached a select few people, that it would touch them, that God would only have the people HE needed to read it, read it.

Because of that prayer and trust in God, Satan has not left me alone. Do you know the feeling? When you know this is a thing God needs you to do–and no one else–but fears and doubts tug at you, trying to get you distracted and disheartened? You do, because we’re all human. But as Believers, we’re called to be BOLD. COURAGEOUS. 

I had finished writing a very, very painful scene that morning and found a song shortly after, called I Refuse by Five Finger Death Punch. I listen to them often, so this wasn’t out of this world weird. Still, it snagged my attention because of how, literally, spot on it was with the novel I’m writing. It almost freaked me out a bit. Here I was, worrying if what I’m writing needs to be heard or if I’m doing it right, and God just sends this song to confirm that, yes. Our words are needed. God gave us a voice not to be silenced. We have to make that choice because it will change things.

Skip a day ahead, I’m listening to the same song, and I realize something else. I refuse. I stopped matching the song to my novel and grabbed those two words with my spirit.

I refuse. I refuse to let Satan win. I refuse to be afraid. I refuse to let this go. I refuse to ignore God’s Voice. I refuse to doubt God’s Love. I refuse.

And when we make that choice, Satan has no power over us.

If you have doubts, don’t shove them away as silly, my friend. Pray. And you look those doubts and fears in the face and say, “I refuse you in the name of Christ.”

If you’re interested in beta reading The Divided Nation, here’s the sign up form, as well. ♥ If you have questions, let me know, and if you can’t sign up be can spread the word, I’d really aappreciate that!

God bless,

Angela

HOW TO STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR WIP

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I’ll be honest, I generally don’t have trouble staying focused on my WIPs. I try to limit my WIPs to one or two at a time, but I don’t have a hard time getting motivated for either (I just struggle with the idea of writing so much at once, considering my chaotic life, lol). I don’t lose interest in my projects because they are more than just bunny trails. However, I know people who struggle with staying focused and motivated for their WIP, and I hope my tips help you!

 

KNOW WHY YOU ARE WRITING THIS STORY

This is the most important question you can ask yourself when starting a WIP. Why are you writing this project? Is it to heal a wound? Is it to spread awareness? Is it to make someone laugh? Before you dive into a story, answer this question. And once you know why you’re writing, hold on. Hold on to the answer. Because writing isn’t easy. Words don’t always come flowing, plot holes raise ugly heads, characters refuse to listen, and deadlines can be pretty scary fiends. But guess what? You have a voice and you have to make the decision to use it, no matter what.

Hold on to the truth that God gave you a voice and you’re writing this project to glorify Him and spread His love. Remember every voice is different. God needs yours. Don’t quit.

 

MAKE SURE IT IS MORE THAN A BUNNY TRAIL

OK, and before you say, “Every idea starts off small!”–this is true. Every author has a different way of doing things, and starting with nothing and just writing what comes to mind on a whim might work for some people, and that’s cool. But if you don’t have a written plot, formed outline, and solid characters, it probably won’t be easy to work on your WIP. I strongly suggest…

Have a plot. It does not have to be intricate or the size of the Bible. All you need is your basics. The basics could just be your intro, middle climax, and a rough idea of an ending. But you need the plot!

Outlining. I know not everyone likes outlining. But if you are stuck in your WIP, having an outline might be helpful so you know where you’re going with the story and what happens next. Again, outlining doesn’t have to be a huge chore. I’m sure you’ll find many helpful articles on teenage author sites and all, but I also recommend this post by Abigayle Claire about outlining for those who hate it.

Limit yourself. If you have seven plot bunnies dancing in your head, you cannot focus on plotting one WIP. So jot down other ideas, but focus your willpower on the main project(s).

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As my next point says, the plot and outline will change as you write, but try to have a solid grasp on your theme and main points, so even if they change, you’ll then have a solid idea of what they AREN’T, too. 😉

 

BE READY FOR THE STORY TO TAKE OVER

We can have the strongest, longest outline and plot in existence, with intricate details, brilliant plot twists, and heroic characters–and our story can still change. No, no, it will change. If you have done the above tips and still struggle, maybe because your plot changed as you wrote, or a character changed a motive, don’t stress it.

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Stories come to life. Be ready to let it come. Be ready to listen to God’s nudge in your gut as you write. Yeah, it might mean extra work because you have to rewrite the whole story, or redo a whole character, but it is worth it. Don’t stress the troubles that arrive. Don’t be disheartened! Everyone runs into problems (even bestselling authors, OK?). What makes us writers is pushing through trials with faith that God’ll lead us. Keep writing. Keep trying. Keep learning.

 

SET ATTAINABLE GOALS

Running out of steam is a thing, y’all, and a helpful way to avoid running out of steam is setting goals you can reach. Set a daily writing goal that you can achieve. This will boost confidence and every word counts, so your story will grow, day by day, and before you know it, you’ll have a finished draft.

So when you’re lacking focus or motivation, set goals! Sure, they might change, but you’ll make progress and feel better if you reach your daily goals.

BONUS: make creative goals! “Today I’m going to create a mock cover for 30 minutes, just to see what I come up with!” “I’m gonna spend 20 minutes on my Pinterest storyboard today!” These things aren’t pointless (cover making is really fun, yo) and helpful, so have at it with creative goals, too.

 

ALLOW YOURSELF RECHARGE TIME

This goes with or without struggling to stay focused on your WIP–hard work pays off, but if you push yourself too hard physically, emotionally, or spiritually, you will need to recharge. So try to be honest with yourself: are you really struggling with your WIP, or are you struggling because you aren’t taking care of yourself?

Recharging doesn’t always equal a month long hiatus from your project. We can’t always allow that kind of time frame, nor do we always want to. Taking breaks from a WIP is often recommended (especially after first drafts!) but if you’re past that stage or haven’t even finished your draft and need more motivation, I suggest…

Pray. What better way to recharge and find some peace than turning on praise music and reading your Bible? Talk to God and explain what struggles you’re facing. Ask Him to guide your writing. God is our greatest Guide, Comfort, and Storyteller… So seek the Best! 😉

Take a walk. Yeah, an oldie, but a goodie. It doesn’t have to be a marathon. You can even wander around your yard aimlessly. But fresh air does you good. And who knows? You might even find the answer to your plot hole in the great outdoors.

Human interaction! Whether you just wanna chat about some real life talk, or a family member is super good at brainstorming, step away from the laptop and talk to real people.

Just chill for 20 minutes. Read a book. Sketch something. See how much water you can drink in five minutes (this probably isn’t healthy?). Watch some TV. Bonus points if the show is the same genre as what you’re writing. (I rarely do this. Usually I just watch funny things on Youtube *cough*The Office*cough*) But allow yourself a blip of free time as a reward for your hard work!

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~~~

 

I hope this was helpful, and thanks to everyone who suggested this post. 🙂 Feel free to share it with a friend who might need it!

God bless,

Ang

 

 

THE MOTHMAN FILES by DEREK BORNE | COVER REVEAL

CAMP NANO IS HAPPENING so while I’m pounding away at my keyboard, I’ll be sharing a cover reveal for a short story by Derek Borne for YOU to see! =)

Let’s get a look at this cover…

THE MOTHMAN FILES by DEREK BORNE

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WARNING: THIS SHORT STORY’S MISSIVE CONTAINS TOP-SECRET INTEL

Your Mission: Follow the Ultimate Agent and Specialist as they investigate a disturbance in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

The Target – The Mothman
First Claimed Sighting: November 12, 1966.
Valid or Myth Status: Unconfirmed
Mission Data – Confidential

Those who have claimed to have witnessed the Mothman portray it as an inexplicable yet deadly being.

Some even call it a harbinger of doom. Can our heroes keep their cool and verify its existence—all before the shadowy “men in black” appear?

Amazon Pre-order Link
Amazon Author Page
GoodReads

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m super excited about this series. I’ve read book 1, The Ultimate Agent, and just ordered book 2! The mini stories really have my attention, too… If you like Agents Of Shield type stories, be sure to check these out!

God bless,

Ang