Three of these go together and one doesn’t belong – can you guess which one?
And your question for me – “What does this have to do with the preparations for my writer’s conference in Philadelphia?” I promise there is an answer for both of these questions, to learn the answer you will have to read today’s blog.
First and foremost – which of the four doesn’t belong?
Write your answer down on a scrap piece of paper so you don’t cheat when I give you the correct answer. Are you ready, answer written down? When you’re done, continue reading.
For starters, a tidbit of information about each:
A) Peppers: common vegetable for Upstate New York gardens, delicious by themselves as a snack, chopped for a salad or used while cooking
B) Pepsi: for some this is a soft drink yet when an avid gardener sees an extraordinary pepper – the cool refreshing drink while weeding becomes the nearest form of measurement
C) Practice: something we all need to do, regardless of our gifts and talents; “Practice makes permanent!” (Not perfect – if you practice it wrong, it only makes the error more difficult to correct. A pet peeve of mine – Practice makes Permanent!)
D) Prayer: a requirement in all aspects of life and applies to everything
Do you know which doesn’t belong yet? Drum roll please….
They all belong and relate to the last forty-eight hours before leaving for the conference.
Each day I enjoy time with my Dad and daughter picking vegetables from their garden. A joint venture that starts in the spring as they look through countless seed magazines to select this year’s crop. Then they team together to prepare the soil, to plant, water and weed. Finally it is time for the harvest – this is when I join in the fun.
After enjoying time with my family in the garden we retreat to the coolness of the house for a refreshing drink – (not always Pepsi but for this blog it is) as we gather around the table and discuss the day’s harvest and the stand’s profits. (LOL – They haven’t had a financial profit as of yet with their stand. In one sense Dad would break even if he kept the money but he blesses his granddaughter with it to use for whatever she needs. Last year she bought herself an IPod Touch!)
I hear you, “But how does this apply to the writer’s conference?” Patience…
Practice is required to establish the routines and flourishing garden each year. Both practice harvesting, washing, and delivering on a daily basis. They also practice driving the buggy and teasing me upon their return.
As we start our day and close our eyes each day we pray for safety and God’s blessing and provision on our lives. God is always listening, thankfully we are talking. God is also answering…we need to practice our listening though, at times.
So I believe all four are directly related to each other but you might not see my connection to the conference as of yet. My parents, daughter and husband are my life. I’m thankful for each moment spent with them. I enjoy working alongside them and praying for and with them.
As I prepare for Philly ~ I continue to cherish and set aside the time with my family. Of course there is always a revision to be done, a blog to write, or an elevator pitch to practice yet the moments we have with our family are precious grains of salt in life’s timer. The conference is important to me and I pray for a fun and successful time of learning and sharing yet I won’t sacrifice my family time picking peppers, drinking a Pepsi, practicing a new or old skill each day while praying for God’s blessing. So there isn’t one that doesn’t belong – they all important and make me who I am…as I write for God and pack for Philly!
As Sunday winds down, I putter away on my manuscript while sitting in my parent’s kitchen. There is something about being “home”. It is fuels my writing and inspiration. I believe going home is always refreshing and energizing, so maybe this is why. Or possibly it might be the notion of memories – as I sit in my parent’s house to write; I remember times with my sister. I remember my father teaching me to play softball in the lawn outside the washroom window with my mom sending words of encouragement. I can look out the kitchen window and see my (what used to be) my Gram’s and Aunt’s house – and remember all the treks and adventures there and back. Memories…I feel a song coming on.
Anyway…I have started to pack my suitcase and now am contemplating the “repack”. LOL I feel like a teenager preparing for her first trip away from home with her girlfriends, “What should I wear? Pants? Capris?” “What color will make the best impression?” I haven’t changed my outfits this much since my job interview with the school district. I can pack double the outfits needed so if my mood changes or make a decision thereby saving my back from extra toting.
All silliness aside, it is fun to contemplate what items earn space in the suitcase. Would you like a confession? I emailed my friend and said, “Do you know if there is AC? I’m trying to pack and want to pack accordingly?” The only thing that would have made the email more humorous would be if I said, “Do you want to plan to wear the same color scheme on the same day?” LOL Oh my gosh – I remember doing that with my friends in high school. (We’re not doing that – don’t worry. I’m not that bad.)
We had a guest speaker this morning for church due to our pastor’s vacation this week. It was a riveting message – Bill reminded us to ask ourselves “What do I want from Jesus today?” An interesting question – Throughout his message he reminded us God always sees our potential – God looks at the inside, not the outside – and God starts His work on us, inside – within our heart, not with our clothes or outer appearances.
Hmm…so it doesn’t matter what I pack in my suitcase that counts, it is what I pack in my heart. Am I the person God wants me to be today? No. Am I working and learning to be the person God wants me to be? Yes. We are all a work in progress – God always sees our potential and sees our heart. I may still pray and stress a bit on the “right” outfits to wear while at the conference but Bill’s message reminded me God loves me, is looking at my heart – my heart loves and trust Him – these things I have packed within my heart and they will NOT be removed.
What to wear? – Wear the love, trust, and hope of Jesus in my heart, knowing He always sees my potential. His timing is right…I only need to be obedient and faithful.
P.S. Thanks to my Mom and Dad for instilling these same qualities in my – to love, trust and have hope. You both have always supported me and saw my potential – with you and God, I’m good.
As part of the conference I will have the opportunity to meet agents and publishers to “pitch” my book and myself. Four of these are scheduled fifteen minute appointments while others will be God Instances. I spent more time than I would like to admit to you writing my pitch. Every author should have an elevator pitch for their book – this is a 30 – 60 second (yes, seconds!) opportunity to share the book we are writing and create enough interest with the agent or publisher so they will request our book proposal.
In addition to the elevator pitch, every author needs to have their formal pitch – this allows an additional 1 ½ - 2 minutes to our available time. Isn’t this exciting? (My nails are shorter and I might feel a “stress highlight” aka gray fighting to the surface, lol) The longer pitch (for you non-mathematicians, like myself, this is only 2 – 3 minute pitch). This pitch is used as the introduction when meeting with an agent or publisher for an appointment during the conference. Still only a smidgen of information about the book and myself yet it is my chance to meet face to face and sell myself and my book.
I have both of my written and now I am practicing so it sounds natural. I have given my husband, daughter, parents, friends, and extended family permission to say “What are you writing?” and then name if they want to hear the elevator pitch or the appointment pitch.
In one respect, this information should be apparent and obvious to the author since the pitch is describing the baby we are birthing at the keyboard; yet for someone like me who gets VERY nervous under pressure in situations like this - I’m tossing and turning each night at the thought.
A fear I have is this: I have the opportunity to use my elevator pitch as a publisher asks “So, what is your book about?” My nightmare is I start with the word “Uh…” and stumble over my tongue for sixty seconds or worse yet I am unable to formulate any words and stand there looking like a ding dong.
This is where you can help – if you were the agent or publisher listening to me pitch my book, “Where’s Heidi? The Search Begins”, what is the ONE thing you know is true of me that you want to hear?
In a nutshell: What is one thing I should be sure to tell an agent or publisher when I meet with them at the conference? One thing you know to be true of me, my writing, or my ability that would catch their attention and compel them to ask –“Could I have a copy of your book proposal?” or better yet “After talking with you and reading your book proposal, would you like to sign with our publishing house?”
*Pray I calm my heart and share the story God has given me to write, to trust and know the agents and publishers are human too and I know this book, live this book and pray for this book daily. Pray I chillax! (The chillax is for my dad, love this word)
*Pray I trust myself and God – the Lord has blessed me, it’s my turn to witness this to others through my pitch, knowing He called me to write this and others will be blessed and drawn to him through its publication
Today’s goal is to have the most people post a response than in the entire history of my blog – the goal is…drum roll please….19 comments! 18 for a tie but I like to win – so are there 19 people out there willing to take a risk and respond to today’s question? Hmmm
The first of many questions for you to answer – here are your choices:
a) To travel to Philadelphia for your first big Christian Writer’s conference with a wonderful friend and author for four days….
b) To travel solo (without husband, daughter, parents, family) for a four day adventure to share the book I’ve written with agents and publishers and possibly come home with a contract thereby transforming me from Lisa M Buske, Christian Writer to Lisa M. Buske, Christian Author…
Oh my goodness! As I contemplate this myself – I can’t decide. I believe they build on each other and one is only the icing on the cake, or is it the cherry on top of a fabulous ice cream sundae?
The five plus hours of fellowship will be a blessing and joy. This might be the quickest five hours spent in a car – with the GPS talking us through and maps on hand for back-up – a friendship will be strengthened as we get to know each other a little better.
There is so much to talk about. We have our families, summer happenings, our testimony, and of course our books to fill the time with. We can practice our elevator pitch and 3-minute pitch on each other – providing praise and constructive criticism so we are the best representation we can be for our books and the God inspiring us to write.
BUT as we talk, laugh, and cry our way to Philadelphia my family will be continuing with their daily routines, with the exception of my presence. Since my sister was kidnapped 17years ago, this will only be the 2nd time I have traveled across the state border solo, with no family member along my side.
The first excursion was to Salt Lake City, Utah for a Young Living Annual Convention. Although I am still a distributor, I don’t work this as a business but enjoy the products for their health benefits, especially the essential oils. If you decide to order – enter #799780 as your sponsor number, http://www.youngliving.com/en_US/index.html.
I can count on one hand the number of times I have ventured away without my family along my side: Salt Lake City, Utah; 2 Christian Writer’s Gatherings at Delta Lake Bible Conference Center and next week’s trip to Philadelphia. I have attended Spring Refresh and the Fall Refocus with the Alliance Women yet I don’t count these as solo because I’m always traveling with my “sisters” in Christ.
So can you understand why it is hard to choose which is more exciting? A huge step for the entire family – we are all trusting God to care for my travel and trip; we are trusting for God protect and bless my husband, daughter, and parents while I am away; and most importantly – we are all trusting to each have a good time separate of each other with great stories to share when we are reunited on Saturday night. A lot of trust happening…a lot of excitement and a lot of joy! We are all growing and stepping outside of our boxes…something I can only do with God’s strength.
In your opinion – which is more exciting? The fact I am travelling to Philly for the conference or the fact I am traveling by myself? I look forward to hearing your response.
Happy 40th Birthday to one of my
OLDEST friends from high school!
She is having a fabulous birthday traveling across the country with her husband and three children with the pop-up camper as home. We have missed them terribly this summer yet are so excited for this journey they are on.
She started a blog at the beginning of the trip yet I can't find the address and haven't had an update in awhile - I know sometimes our text and emails are not delievered because they are in the desert or mountains - so that might have something to do with it.
Anyway - Happy 40th dear friend! I miss you and look forward to seeing you at the end of the month. I have the card you mailed before leaving packed in my suitcase to be opened next week on my birthday.
Just remember...you are always nine days older! LOL You will be a member of the red hats society that much sooner than I. ;)
I captured these photographs of poppies blowing in the wind at my parent's house a couple months ago. I started to write the blog, prayed for God's direction and then one Sunday at church the worship team read the following poem. As they read the poem I had tears streaming down my cheeks as I thought of the poppies in my father's garden and the photos I had just taken. God is faithful and provided the missing piece I was praying for to complete this blog. I hope you enjoy it and are blessed by it.
The Church As The Glory Of TheWorld
By John Bunyan (1628 - 1688)
The doctrine of the gospel is like the dew,
like the mist that moistens the tender grass,
making it flourish, keeping it green.
Christians are like all the different flowers in a garden,
each of them having the dew of heaven.
When the flowers are shaken by the wind,
they let their dew fall on each other's roots --
and as a result they are all nourished,
for they are nourishers of one another.
when it is healthy and productive,
is the glory of the world.
No place, no community,
no fellowship is decorated and spangled
with such beauties as the church is
when it is rightly knit together with their Head,
each lovingly serving the other.
Most Americans are familiar with the poppy and its meaning especially on Memorial Day. As I sat atop the hill near my father's garden and watched the poppies blow in the wind I was overcome with an all new appreciation of the poppy.
It is more than a paper flower worn on Memorial day - it is a symbol of beauty and eternal life. Instead of viewing the poppy as one in Flander's field I challenge you to view it as a representation and hope we have with Jesus. An eternal beauty waiting for us when we leave earth - an eternal beauty blowing in the wind and spreading joy and vitality to those near.
The next time you pin a poppy on your jacket to remember our fallen soldiers in World War I - remember who gave the ultimate sacrifice for you and your sins - Jesus Christ!
In less than two weeks I will be in Philadelphia at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference - http://www.writehisanswer.com/philadelphia/ for four days of learning, networking and sharing. I have my to-do-lists scattered about, portfolios labeled with sticky notes and lists for my list. I have the folding snack tables out with my piles organized atop for easier location when I need them. I have printed out chapters to be merged, summaries to be edited, and laid out the index cards that correlate with said chapters. The jazz music is playing loud, the fan is on, Facebook and email are off.
I am an organized planner yet have learned I work well under some pressure. A good attribute to have when looking to publish and work with an agent and publisher in the future, don’t you think? School ended, I attended a writer’s conference, our wonderful foreign exchange student arrived and spent three busy weeks with us, we volunteered at Harborfest to earn some new bags and shoes, our daughter turned thirteen yesterday which brought more teenage girls into the house for a sleepover, and finally it is time to bust a hump and get to work. I’ve been making notes, organizing and prepping for the days that start today – With the exception of one morning and one afternoon – I will wear my “writer” cap.
Michael Hyatt posted a blog about the “7 Steps to Getting Unstuck and Becoming More Productive” (http://michaelhyatt.com/7-steps-to-getting-unstuck-and-becoming-more-productive.html) and these have been invaluable steps to organizing my summer hours to maximize my output. I enjoy reading other blogs that help me improve my writing and prepare me for the world of publishing.
Some of the steps I was utilizing but my order and expectations were too high (Hush to my dear friends who chuckled when reading that line) – instead of a page of things to do, I now list no more than seven. I enjoy listening to jazz when I’m writing and creating but contemporary Christian when I’m organizing and compiling. In the past, I left my Facebook and email up in case someone needed me – no longer. If I’m writing, then no distractions! (Sorry Aimee, lol)
I’m learning to focus on one task at a time (no multi-tasking, ouch!) and grouping similar tasks together. The biggest piece I was missing was step number six – “Take Frequent Breaks”. I have never scheduled breaks, I work until my eyes are closing or I’m sitting cross-legged. This was an eye opening and novel idea – breaks are allowed!! No, necessary! Michael Hyatt suggests blocking 25 and 48 minutes sessions with a set break time in between too. I need to pick up a timer when I am at the dollar store today. I implemented the timed work/break (rinse and repeat) methodology today and oh my gosh…moving mountains.
Instead of a simple prayer or sporadic Scripture verse I have been utilizing the Bible Study and Scriptures by Marlene Bagnull, “Write His Answers – A Bible Study for Christian Writers” as my opening. I find praying these selected verses helps me hear from God and guides me in a writer’s frame of mind.
My alarm just went off, time for a break! I can’t believe it. I don’t want to stop. How long for a break…hmm…long enough to drive the teenagers to the pool for a swim. I’ll pack my bag and bring work for my next work session with me.
Writing and living for Him! Praying for the upcoming conference – for the agent and publisher God would have for this book and for my readers. Thanks everyone! Have a great day and enjoy the sunshine.
And the Lord said to me,
"Write my answer on a billboard,
large and clear,
so that anyone can read it
at a glance and rush to tell the others."
Habakkuk 2:2-3 TLB
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323