The Northwest Christian Writers Association keynoted Deb Kalmbach for the November meeting. Summary by Mindy Peltier.
Deb Kalmbach opened the envelope with anticipation. Her agent was circulating her book proposal of her best work yet. Instead of an offer she read, “I’m not the right person for you. This is going to end our author/agent relationship.”
She questioned her call. How can I keep going? Is this what God wants me to do?
Deb told NCWA writers it’s easy to be driven to get an agent, a publisher, learn marketing trends and build a platform. She urged to refocus on being used to transform lives, quoting novelist Tony Earley, “Writing would be useless unless you transform lives.”
Deb said, “You feel called. How might you help others by expressing the truth God has given you?”
She further challenged, “What if you DIDN’T write? What if someone misses the unique message only YOU can share?”
Married to an alcoholic for 30 years, Deb published Because I Said Forever: Embracing Hope in a Not-So-Perfect Marriage. A reader called and said the book changed her life and marriage. “If only one person was changed, it was worth it,” said Deb.
“Use the abilities God has given you…
Put these abilities to work: throw yourself into your tasks.”
I Timothy 4:14-16 (TLB)
By having God’s vision, your call will be clearer.
2. The Courage
Once confident of the call, fear can keep us from action. We must step out in God’s strength and pursue His purpose for our lives.
Deb said, “The committee in my head sounds like this. You think you can write? With the odds of getting published, you’d probably have a better chance of winning the lottery.”
Fear appears in many forms, but, “I cloak fear in procrastination,” she said. “There’s something about sitting down to write that makes picking lint off the carpet sound better by comparison.”
Ralph Keyes in The Courage to Write said, “The key difference between writers who are paralyzed by fear and those who are merely terrified is that the latter come to terms with their anxieties. They learn how to keep writing even as fear tries to yank their hand from the page.”
Deb reminded that we can’t do God’s kingdom work in our own strength. We faint at the task before us. It seems impossible, but impossibility is God’s specialty.
“Be strong. Take courage.
Don’t be intimidated…because your God is striding ahead of you. ”
Deuteronomy 31:6 (MSG)
3. The Commitment
The commitment to write requires self-control and self-discipline.
How far are you willing to go to follow through on your commitment? Andy Andrews was turned down by 51 publishers so he self published 100,000 books. After selling 600,000 copies he was finally signed by a publisher.
Deb encouraged formulating a personal mission statement to keep your focus and to follow through.
She quoted Steven Furtick, Sun Stand Still. “Will you remove your shoes, draw close and receive your assignment? Will you give the Lord permission to ignite your ordinary for His extraordinary?”
You’re a writer, make your move.
Deb is the author of Because I Said Forever: Embracing Hope in a Not-So-Perfect Marriage (co-authored with Heather Kopp) and the author of a book for children, Corey’s Dad Drinks Too Much (under pen name Anne Courtney). She has been a contributor to many books, including The New Women’s Devotional Bible and Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace. She has written for Focus on the Family, Christian Parenting Today, and many other publications. Deb can be found on-line at: http://debkalmbach.com/
Mindy Peltier is mommy of six, gramma of 3 and a writer who hopes to sit still long enough to write a novel some day. She has been a member of NCWA since 2008. Mindy blogs at Momma Mindy’s Moments.