The Upside-Down Side

Yes, the writing life can be tough. From the get-go, authors need to develop tough hides. Maybe we need to “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God,…” (Ephesians 6:10-18).

This month, we’ve opened up our hearts and minds, shared our low points and high points. We’ve shared with our readers what we’ve learned from those high and low places, in hopes that we can encourage and strengthen someone else along the way.

In my humble opinion, it’s worth the trouble, the emotional turmoil. The upside is this: Our words appear in print, somewhere, whether in a published novel or right here. Someone will read my thoughts and decide for themselves whether or not I’m truly a writer. Scary thought, yes.

Still, it’s worth it, because I’ve taken the chance and by that chance, made something of an impact.

Click-to-Tweet: The downside of the upside is that someone will know our thoughts and think we should keep them to ourselves.

We’ve opened ourselves up to the world as a poet does, or any other artist sharing their life’s work. We know not everyone will see what we’re trying to convey. But to keep to ourselves what we’ve been given to share is not an option. That’s the same as burying the talent we’ve been given in the ground (Matthew 25:25).

Image by expresswriters via Pixabay

So, the upside is an accomplishment, be it great or small—whether it’s a published article in a local newspaper or a full-fledged novel. Be encouraged to overcome all the emotional turmoil that is a definite downside to the writing life.

Some of the best points we may glean from this month’s discussion is to be strong and courageous. We can overcome the downside doldrums by putting ourselves “out there” in critique groups, writers meetings, and conferences, establishing strong and sometimes lifelong relationships. That’s a definite upside.

Feel free to share experiences in safe places like this one. Comment on our posts and let us know we’ve helped someone along the way. Be encouraged to stay the course. Invest your talents. It’s your time.

A writing prompt for you to finish: You’re sound asleep when the doorbell rings. It’s barely dawn. You open the door to find a large watermelon on the doorstep.

3 Ways the Writing Community Helps During a Writer’s Peaks and Valleys

By Jennifer Hallmark

Emotional highs and lows.  Ebb and flow. Good and bad times. Wax and wane.

All writers have them. One minute you’ve sold an article or wrote a magnificent sentence in the novel or your book has been nominated for an award.

The next, you’re reading another rejection email addressed to occupant, scrapping half of your novel because of plot issues, or you notice a scathing review on Amazon. Or maybe you’re struggling to write because you’re worried about a pandemic. (I never thought I would write those words.)

Many people who pen words are solitary creatures, leaving the computer only for a grocery run or to go to their regular job. You know, the one where you are actually paid? Now many of us are home from the regular job and finding it hard to focus.

Being a writer is a difficult profession. What can we do? Who can we turn to for help in the peaks and valleys?

#WritingCommunity to the rescue.

How does the writing community help?

    1. Other writers give encouragement both online and at conferences/meetings. I cannot stress enough the positive difference in my life when I started going to meetings, then attended my first writing conference. Just knowing other people saw the world as I did was life-changing. The positive feedback gave me the courage to continue.
    2. The writing community can support us through reviews, offering guest post spots, and by purchasing our books. I began my “hobby” by contacting a faith-based free article site and asking if I could upload an article. My first attempt online led to guest posts from other authors, much-needed thoughts on my articles, and even a guest column on an Australian on-line women’s magazine. The community proved invaluable when I released my first novel, Jessie’s Hope.
    3. An important part of writing is to find people who will offer feedback and accountability. When I first began, I thought highly of all my work. Then I joined a local writing group and an online critique group. Yes, there was pain involved when I shared my “darling” and found out it wasn’t as perfect as I thought. But growth occurred and I became a much better writer. Also, writer friends would occasionally check on me to see how I was doing.
    4. They can spread the word on social media. The community, especially on Twitter, shared my articles and book news and even added me to lists about writing. Facebook helped me connect with many people within my own community and share about book signings and nearby places to buy my book.

The writing community took my writing from hobby to career and I’ll always be grateful. I try to pay it forward by offering guest posts and interviews on both my blogs, whether a writer published or not. I share a lot on social media and try to offer feedback when asked. And now I’m working hard to encourage people during this crisis. Pushing past my own fears and paying it forward.

Click to tweet: Small acts of kindness. One writer to another. Help in navigating those deep, lonely valleys. A high-five from others while standing on the mountaintop. Both needed, both appreciated.

Thank you, #WritingCommunity!

Writing prompt: Share in the comments below one way the writing community has helped you, especially during hard times. We’d love to know!

3 Questions Wednesday with Marina Bromley

Happy Wednesday! Today our guest is Marina Bromley, a woman on the move, literally. She and her husband have moved eight times in the last ten years. But along the way she has experienced God’s faithfulness, and met some great friends. Let’s get to know her better.  Our first question, describe your writing space?

Marina: I have always loved writing at my kitchen table, and that is how I “found” my blog name, Marina’s Kitchen Table. It’s the center of the home, a place where friends and family gather, the place I’m most comfortable praying, and I’ve always imagined that what I’m writing, I’m “speaking” to my friends gathered around.

I started blogging in the late 1990s and no matter where we have lived, no matter what the home’s floor plan was, I always settle in that same spot. Actually, I’ve moved 8 times in the past 10 years, and each house has been very different! I’ve lived in little country houses and grand brick homes, and no matter what the space looks like, the kitchen table is the place I’m most comfortable with, and creative in. I may store my laptop on my bedroom desk, but I WRITE at the kitchen table!

Great. You’re right, the kitchen always seems to be the heart of the home. Next question: who is your favorite hero or heroine?

Marina: I didn’t read Little Women as a kid, but when I saw the 1949 version of the movie in my late teens, I fell in love with Jo March. She was a lot of things I related to; bold, outspoken, confident, and curious. Over the years (and as I’ve become and grown in my Christian faith) I’m not so sure I’m as brave as I used to be, but I still love her character. I’m also still a life-long learner, as I think she was meant to be. Insatiably curious, and of course, a writer. I love in the 1994 version how Jo responds to Mr. Mayer’s statement of suggesting she should be a lawyer, with her confidence, “I should have been a great many things, Mr. Mayer.” That’s how I feel too. I’ve been blessed to have had many careers in my life, and there are still many things I’d like to do in my future! I’ll be honest with you though, I love the first two versions so much (for different reasons) that I have not seen the 2019 version yet! The time has come to re-read them and watch the movie, (hmmm…which would be the better prize, reading or watching?)

Reading or watching…it is a difficult decision, either way, it’s a great story with strong characters. Final question: give a shout-out to a writer friend and your favorite book they’ve written.

Marina: Oh, this is tough. I’ve really got a few books that I recommend to people. A MOST favorite book is “Girl Meets Change” by Kristen Strong. We’ve not spent time together in real life, but we’re kindred spirits online. She’s a military wife (now retired) and has had many changes in her life, many moves, and surprises.

The book doesn’t focus on just one kind of change, but many, and she weaves scripture in to remind us that God is the Author of change. It’s beautifully written with stories of women who have faced all sorts of change in life, from moving to losing a spouse, from divorce or death to disappointments in parenting, empty-nesting, and life changes in general. It’s a great reminder that the God who orchestrated change will walk with us through those changes too. It’s full of hope for anyone facing a life-changing circumstance.

God is faithful! Good to learn more about you. Thanks for stopping by. Connect with Marina on any or all of her social platforms below:

Check out her books on Amazon.

Click to Tweet: I didn’t read Little Women as a kid, but when I saw the 1949 version of the movie in my late teens I fell in love with Jo March. She was a lot of things I related to; bold, outspoken, confident, curious.

Marina’s Bio

Marina Bromley has always wanted to be a wife and mother. Married to Mark for over 30 years, they’ve raised their family of 3 and now have 10 grandkids to make memories with. In the past 10 years they’ve moved 8 times, where she’s loved making each house a home and treasures the friendships that have grown in their front yards.

She believes in the gift of forgiveness, the sacrifice of love, the importance of discipleship, the blessing of community, and the power of prayer. A favorite saying is, “Learn from my mistakes, they won’t cost you a thing!” and she shares her stories through writing on her blog and Facebook pages. You can find her at Marina’s Kitchen Table, The Workaholic’s Wife, and Women Helping in Missions, where she shares what it’s like to be a Parent of a Missionary (POM).

You can find her photography featured at Meeting in the Meadow on Facebook and online, where she serves as the VA and Social Media Manager for Roy Lessin, writer and retired co-founder of DaySpring.  In her spare time, Marina can be found living a quiet but amazing life in Alabama, where she enjoys photography, gardening, feeding birds, quilting, crafting, corresponding with friends, hanging out in the front yard with the neighbors, and worshiping God in the midst of every little thing.

“You can learn from my mistakes, and it won’t cost you a thing!” is one of Marina Bromley’s favorite quotes. Over the years she’s had time to reflect on her life lessons and the grace-filled ways God has turned them into blessings. This book is based on what she’s learned through those mistakes, much as she’s shared around her Kitchen Table online and in person over the past 35 years. If you’ve longed to have an older friend, someone who won’t gloss over the mistakes she’s made and will own up to the realities of life, then this book is for you! Take this 30-day journey of scripture focus and practical life application and reflection in Morning Meditations at Marina’s Kitchen Table. “When you read Morning Meditations by Marina Bromley you will enjoy the opportunity of entering her kitchen and getting to know her better. Reading her words is like hearing her talk…her spiritual gifting also comes through the pages. Her voice is as a gentle charge with a clear “giddy-up” encouraging God’s people to press on in their everyday walk with Jesus.”
– Roy Lessin, Author, Bible teacher, and co-founder of DaySpring.
Share a comment on this post and be included in a drawing for a free book. Marina will be drawing on Friday, March 27th.

Good Launch Weather

by Kristy Horine

My husband went into the hobby store for a battery tester. The tester was for the wireless stomp pedal that turns the pages on the iPad where he stores his music sheets for the trumpet he plays on Sunday mornings.

He’d been having trouble with the stomp pad. He attacked the problem like he usually does: a serious process of elimination.

First, he changed the batteries. Then, he played around at the angle his feet hit the silver depressor buttons. Then, he jumped online and waded into every forum he could find on stomp pedals. Then, he watched a few YouTube videos. Then, he landed in the hobby store to find all the right wires, gauges, and alligator clips necessary to test batteries.

“Ah.” He nodded his head, rubbed his chin a bit.

Turns out, there was something wonky with the wiring inside the stomp pedal connecting the batteries to the device.

Also turns out the warranty had recently expired.

My husband ordered a DC adapter. He can still use his devices and toot his horn.

Still, there was something that just wouldn’t let go of him. Something that kept him staring into space, rubbing his chin, zoning out on conversations.

It wasn’t long before I received a text. “I’m in the hobby store. Think Sadie would like to shoot off a rocket?”

And so it began.

Each step of the build, a grown man and his five-year-old daughter glued together much more than Part A to Part B. It wasn’t long they had a completed rocket. My husband opened an app.

“Good launch weather.”

We trudged over the fields – the rocket and we three.

A connection here, a countdown there, and the rocket was off in a whoosh of flame and a cloud of smoke. It reached an apex and began a descent. The parachute failed to deploy. The rocket plummeted to earth.

My husband shook his head.

“I’m sorry for the launch failure.”

My mouth fell open a little.

“Are you kidding?!? That launch was perfect. The landing was a little iffy, but the launch was fantastic!”

The rocket lived to launch another day – five more times, to date.

So, what does this have to do with writing?


We have a problem, a need or a want, an assignment, or a story spark. Sometimes the writing comes fast, the words falling into perfect places. Sometimes there’s a distraction and one thing leads to another. We go in for a tester and end up standing in a field by a launchpad. T-10 and counting.

There are times we know the beginning. There are times we think we know the beginning. Often, we can only guess at where or how our work might land.

No matter the unknowns, dear writers, today there’s good launch weather. It’s T-10 and writing.

Click-to-Tweet: How is writing a story like launching a rocket? Good Launch Weather – @Kwriteone via @InspiredPrompt – The Emotional Highs and Lows of Writing

Writing Prompt – Using this story starter and photo, write an opening paragraph:   “The heather is blooming on the mountain,” Oriole said. “I’m longing to go.”

The War Within

By Tammy Trail

Giving up is never an option. Sometimes a physical goal, like running a marathon challenges your endurance. A body can only do so much, and joints don’t last forever. Once they need replacement, there is always that chance they won’t work quite the same as before, and we struggle to do what we did with ease in the past.Perhaps you never had it in you to finish a race, a project or fulfill a dream. That brass ring always seems to be just beyond your reach no matter how hard you try to stretch out your arm to grab it. Your fingertips always brush against it without the prize in your hand.

I started to think that way about my writing. I’d start a story and get excited about all the possibilities. What kind of adventures could I create for my characters? What lessons do they need to learn along the way? I’d get so far with this and then the story ideas would fizzle like out like a spent sparkler on the 4th of July.

I’ve gone months without writing a single word or reading any resources that would inspire a new look into an old, lifeless story. Why then, when I’m sitting doing nothing, do I suddenly think of a scene for one of my characters in a story that I have not even thought of for weeks? Then I’m right back into the thick of it. The stories won’t die. It’s as if my characters are begging me to tell their story. How can I do them justice with my meager half-hearted attempts?

Then, one Sunday, while I sat trying to focus on the Pastor’s message, he said something that made me sit up a bit. “Focused intensity, over time, multiplied by God, equals momentum.”  I honestly don’t remember the rest of the sermon. I was so caught up in pondering those words. Was God trying to tell me something? I wanted to embrace this new idea and the possibilities it could hold. Finally, I googled it and found out that a popular Christian life coach uses this mantra a lot. Could I use this in my writing life?

Discouragement is a tough pill to swallow. On one hand, I understood that to get to the level of writing I wanted to achieve I had to write. From there I wondered which writing project I should pick up or should I start a new one? I chose to start a new one, but that didn’t last long. So, I am working on a western story that I started a few years ago. Now all I need to do is get focused.

Back to Fi/TG=M, which is the formula for Focused Intensity, over time, multiplied by God, equals momentum. My focus needs to be so intense that I let nothing get in the way of my goal. With that intensity I should be able to meet that goal. But it will be a challenge.

Now back to the marathon runner. No one wins a distance race by running as fast as they can as hard as they can until they run out of steam. It’s steady progress over time. And quitting is not an option.

Philippians 4:13, I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” NIV. We all know this scripture. It is one of the first I memorized. When the formula is in practice the last step is to let it all go. Trying to achieve this formula on your own could cause burnout. You need to give it to God. Then HE will step in and give you what you need to meet your goals.

I am going to do this. Just watch me!

Don’t quit #just start again