Monday, January 11, 2016

SUCCESS: WHEN IS A WRITER 'WASHED UP?'


By Ada Brownell

How old are you when you’re “washed up” as a writer—meaning you’re not producing anything better than smelly seaweed?
When I retired as a daily newspaper reporter, I was excited to get back into free lance writing full time. But big problems set me out in deep water. All the Christian editors I knew retired or moved on. Then I’d had hand surgery and using a computer was difficult.
I began thinking I was too old to “walk on water” with Jesus and spread the Good News of the Gospel anymore. I ventured out of the boat a few times and couldn’t seem to get my head above the waves. Why didn’t I know how to swim anymore among publications that needed good inspiring copy? I’d been writing for these publications since age 15.
I spent a year or more trying to produce curriculum. I’d written a little curriculum in the past by assignment, but stupidly tried to market “special projects” curriculum, disregarding Christian publishers’ practice of planning curriculum two or more years ahead with set themes.
I nearly retired my computer after I worked so diligently on the curriculum project and had to give up. It was disappointing because I enlisted my talented daughter-in-law, Michelle, to design a scrapbook project as part of the curriculum to inspire teens to keep a spiritual diary of their “Dynamite Decisions” – the curriculum theme.
Then I started writing Christian news on assignment, but soon knew that didn’t satisfy my calling to spread the gospel. Yet, I had wet my toes in the publishing waters again without going under.
The breakthrough came when I began praying the Prayer of Jabez from 1 Chronicles 4:10 NKJ. I memorized the scripture: “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that your hand will be with me, and that you would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”
 I discovered creating a blog is no big deal, so created one—my own little publication. Soon I had guest writers.
Then more assignments came from Christian editors and I had articles published. Opportunities for personal ministry also popped up around me.
I had a book for which I once had a publisher and his publishing company went bankrupt. After years of giving up on it, I marketed the book, Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, to traditional publishers and discovered I needed to be a pastor or a doctor with a huge following for this type of book. My qualifications as a Christian writer and teacher who spent a number of years as a medical writer for a newspaper didn’t carry much weight.
But after praying for my territory to be enlarged, I believed in the book once again and discovered Indie publishing. I knew about vanity publishing and thought it an embarrassing exercise in futility, but in this day of e-publishing, many well-known authors are going to Indie publishing because of the benefits.
So Swallowed by Life saw the light of day and my territory enlarged. It hit Amazon best seller status once.  Next, I took my out-of –print book, Confessions of a Pentecostal, published by the Assemblies of God and made it available for Kindle. Then my first novel, Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult was completed; a little later, Imagine the Future You, a Bible study that included much of my curriculum, and Facts, Faith and Propaganda, which draws heavily on my experiences as a news reporter and Bible teacher.
 A new small publisher, Elk Lake, which is part of Book Fun Magazine, published my historical romance The Lady Fugitive, and wonderful readers of that book have created 48 reviews, most five stars, and wait expectantly for the sequel I’m working on, The Peach Blossom Rancher.
I’ve continued to sell to Christian publications and then the door opened to write op-ed newspaper articles.
 I’ve had birthdays, added numerous wrinkles, had cataract surgery, knee replacements, but kept exercising spiritually, physically and emotionally. I’ve done blog and speaking tours.
Perhaps “washed up” means “refreshed and polished.” After all, sometimes good things come in with the tide—like the time when we were nearly broke, enjoying a vacation in the ocean because it was free and a $20 bill floated almost into my hand.
Even adults search for sea shells and beautiful things that wash up on the beach. When I was on the coast a few days ago a couple was out with a metal detector.
I’m glad I didn’t “give up” on my calling.
©Ada Brownell

THE LADY FUGITIVE
By Ada Brownell

Have a new Kindle or want to fill one up with squeaky clean Christian fiction? Get this historical romance you’ll read again and again because of the #suspense, interesting likeable characters, #humor, and #history.
Will Jenny avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in?
The most common remarks among readers of The Lady Fugitive “I couldn’t put it down;” “I love the characters;” “Sorry when it was over.” “I was hooked from the opening page.”
Available in paper and for Kindle.
The Lady Fugitive 2015 Laurel Award runner-up.

See all Ada Brownell's books on her Amazon page https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell