The Jonah Within


Image courtesy of Richard Hedrick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There are few Bible personalities I really connect with. You know: Ruth was so good, and Esther was fearless and beautiful, and Mary was amazing. Paul is hard for me to get my head around, and the disciples, well, they were interesting and funny, but relatable? Well, maybe not so much.

But start talking about Jonah, and I’m right there with you. Somewhere amidst that moody, intense, prophet nature, I sense a personality at war with itself. He knew what was right, but he also knew himself. Maybe even doubted himself. And feared failure. And likely even feared success. Continue reading

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The Weird I Love


Last month was weird. Wild weird. Good weird. The weird I love.

Why? It was writers conference time.

Brandilyn Collins addressing conferees: "Upstairs, there be normals."

Brandilyn Collins addressing conferees: “Upstairs, there be normals.”

Ah, the time word scribblers from across the country converge to spend three tumultuous days swarming around a crazy-carpeted venue, wearing our most professional clothes and most uncomfortable shoes. When we stain our hands scribbling notes in classes, workshops, and sessions. When we buzz on four hours or less of sleep. When we shakily tell agents and editors about the manuscripts we’ve poured blood, sweat, and years into. When we overtake a hotel and consider everyone with a name tag a kindred spirit, regardless of whether they write suspense or romance. Continue reading

Along the Back Roads


20140810_122833The woman looking at my paperwork glanced up and verified my hometown. “How’d you get here to South Dakota?” she said, almost in passing.

Picturing the miles between where I started and where I ended up, I smiled and said simply, “Via some back roads.”

Isn’t that the case more often than not? How often do we set about to do something and end up in a completely unexpected place?

As I got thinking more about back roads, I began to see ways God has used them to bring me closer to His plan. Continue reading

On the Eve of a Deadline


Here I am hours before I have a post due and I have to admit I honestly tried going to bed early. I tried all the excuses about why I should just skip this month’s post. Most of them were quite valid, and it was a most interesting debate, but you can see which me won. Continue reading

Too Important


I recently sliced the base of my left thumb open. I won’t go into the gory details, but I will say it was less than pleasant and definitely beyond the league of Band-Aids.

My thumb is currently wrapped, strapped, and taped against my index finger so that I won’t move the thumb and open the wound.

20141020_092947So, in operating with one and three-fifths hands, there are some things I simply can’t do as well as I’d like. You should see me trying to tie my hair back. Better yet, you should see my excuse of a ponytail. Playing piano is out of the question. Driving is fine, but with my index finger half as mobile as my thumb, I look like I’m waving to everyone I pass. Continue reading

One Part Calling, Another Part Compulsion


Not long ago, someone asked why I chose to pursue writing. Responses for how, when, and where came to mind, but why was more elusive. After a moment’s consideration, the only way I could describe it was: “It was one part calling, another part compulsion.”

Eric Liddell, portrayed in the film Chariots of Fire, said, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Now, I’m no runner, but fortunately, this principle applies to everyone. I know that when I write, I feel His pleasure. Some days behind the desk can be brutal but never worse than the days spent away, fighting this compulsion-calling. Continue reading

To Outline, Wing It, or Both?


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It’s said there are two types of writers: those who work methodically off an outline and those who write by the seat of their pants, guiding their characters into the unknown with pen, paper, and intuition their only provisions. Another type that is commonly overlooked is the hybrid. In a world of logical classification, they are the platypuses.  They clutch notes about their story arc and confess in whispers how they don’t know what the next scene will be.

All three methods have merit. And difficulties. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Continue reading