Tag Archives: writing

Growing in The Waiting

Waiting is probably the hardest thing to do, and yet, it is what God throws my way each time. Whether it’s waiting at three red lights in a row, in line at the grocery store as a seventy-something year old woman searches for that dime because she doesn’t want change, or for the two people crossing the crosswalk to realize there’s a car waiting. The antidote to my impatience is waiting.

In the waiting, growth happens. I am reminded of the song, “I will worship while I’m waiting.”  I now sing that in my head every time I wait, turning my focus from the waiting and the irritation or wondering of it, to Jesus. Writers wait for a rejection or acceptance. People wait for word on that job promotion. Others are waiting for their current storm to pass.

Enjoy the music video of that song as you wait for whatever it is you are waiting to happen. May I pray for you?

Lord Jesus, Please help us grow in the waiting. Help us to see your footprints so we know what direction to go in this crazy world, and not be lulled into complacency. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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It’s Not About Numbers

God is leading me to become a

Churches worry about numbers.

Bloggers worry about numbers.

It’s good to show that kind of growth, but our main concern and focus should be on the people we retain on our blog and in our church. That’s where I am at now. I am working on growing my platform, but in calling it a platform, I can forget the humanity of it. In fact, I don’t publish stories that are controversial if I am only publishing it to be controversial and to grow my numbers. I am focusing on you as a person.

In social media speak, you are my neighbor. I care about your problems.

In 2015, I will change from this blog to http://www.cataclysmmissionsintl.com because blogging here at Life Upside Down is ending. That part of my life is done. I look at life upside down still, but I have grown, healed, and moved on. My intentions are still to help those that struggle, but my mission has changed.

I want to mobilize people to get online and befriend others. I want to educate people. I want to reach those who have been hurt by church and take their hand to help them walk back to real life church whether its a house church or a traditional church. I want to unite our Christian, Bible-only believing churches in solidarity. I want to teach them to forget about the color of the carpet, past hurts, and what kind of music might be playing, instead to focus on people and the message of Salvation, to grow as a Christian family.

So in 2015, you will find me at these three web addresses:

http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com (as I will continue to work on getting published)

http://www.therelevantchristianmagazine.com

http://www.cataclysmmissionsintl.com

Eventually, I would like to make Cataclysm Missions International a non-profit. I would like to work full time on all three websites so I can focus on my new mission more completely to educate and equip the believer while working at reaching the unbeliever with the message of Salvation.

But I need your help.

Non-profits don’t pay much in salary, and my husband and I live paycheck to paycheck with my current wage. Would you consider donating to my new mission?  Click here to learn more.

 

The Book Lacks Life

It’s important that editors, critique groups, and fellow writers help each other by pointing out when our dialogue and narrative are stiff and unemotional.

I read two books recently by a favorite author (who shall go unnamed), and it makes me wonder if something isn’t going on in her life. 

Her other books were always interesting and believable. Now her writing voice has changed. It’s like a man is writing it. Her writing voice is indistinguishable from the other books she wrote years ago. It’s like two different people have written the books.

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys were famous for having various authors writing under the same pseudonym, but the tone never changed. The style remained the same so the publisher could pull off several authors sounding like one person. 

In this case, my favorite author is fast becoming my least favorite author. Usually, I have no problem naming an author when reviewing a book. Since I am not reviewing, I see no good from naming her as I want to remain sensitive to the author herself. If something is going on, I pray that she can work through it and return to her powerful writing. If the publisher is having someone else write under that name, I pray they read the reviews and stop messing with the author name. But there’s a lesson we can learn from this–editors, agents, and writers need to help each other write better by pointing out our flaws so we can improve. 

Writing Updates

Hi friends,

2015 has been highly stressful and very busy. The Anomaly was completed in February. It was critiqued by several people. I will be editing and rewriting both The Anomaly and The Rose Door til the end of the year to submit to various traditional publishers. I am also writing a short novella to publish as an ebook while I am waiting. That is also being critiqued.

Meanwhile, I am expanding on my social media ministry and have acquired clients. You can read more about my social media ministry at www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com.

Don’t forget that TRC Magazine is still accepting submissions for its July 31 issue. Please query your article or story to one of the editors. If you feel your idea is not a fit with any of our editors and their departments, feel free to query me at nikolehahn@thehahnhuntinglodge.com.

Thank you again for praying for me. I know some of you are, and I really love you for it!

Thanks, Nikole Hahn

Link of The Week: Never Right on The First Draft

Nobodywrites goodfirst drafts. -

“I know it’s tiring for them, and sometimes frustrating to be pushed to go over it again and again, especially when they know they’ll go through more edits with their publisher. I admire every writer who does whatever is necessary, who keeps pushing through, who remains dedicated to making the work the best it can be.” Read More…

Interview With Indelibile Author, Kristen Heitzmann

Today I am hosting an interview with ‘Indelible’ author, Kristen Heitzmann. You can view her website here.

Natalie is eidetic. She is one of the most enduring characters in your book, Indelible. What was the inspiration for Natalie? The role appeared well-researched and I wondered if you knew someone with that kind of memory, or did you just have a fascination with it?

I wanted Natalie to have something to do with sight and seeing beyond the normal capacity. I had learned about eidetic memory a while back and found it fascinating, so that seemed the fit for this character. Making it a disability came out of the story as a source of interior conflict, but as is often the case, it was also a gift forming the basis for her expression through art.

Sculpting and art take up a lot of paper. Do you have a background in it? An interest? Are you artistically-gifted in art?

I am an artist and I feel it’s a great milieu for the characters to join in the process of creation and explore deeper things in life and faith.

What was the inspiration for the town of Redford, or is it a little bit of everywhere? Be specific.

Redford is an imaginary compilation of many Colorado Mountain towns, and just a fun, visual, and precarious setting for much of the action in the story. Living in the foothills and hiking up into the peaks every day that I can increases my awe of God and his creation and restores my soul. In creating Redford I wanted to contrast that glory with the fallen nature of its inhabitants.

Who is Alfred Otto Heitzmann? How did he enrich your life by his presence?

Al Heitzmann was my father-in-law. Highly successful in his field of law, he accomplished big things, yet never boasted. As I said at his funeral, we were in the presence of greatness and never felt small. He lived the last three years of his life (to 97 years old) with us. It was my deep reward and joy to care for him to the moment he died.

Click here to read my review of “Indelible.”

Changes in 2014

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As 2013 slows to an end, I am once again reassessing my time and my writing career. I am asking myself: (1) What are my goals for 2014? (2) How can I utilize my time better? So here are the changes coming in 2014. This hasn’t come without much prayer. Some things will remain the same.

  1. Blogging – Blogging can become stagnant if the writer doesn’t keep her perspective fresh. I admit to experiencing some burn out which has impacted my blogging. It’s amazing what you read into your own writing, and in January, I hope you will be pleased with a fresh perspective. I am taking a blogging sabbatical in December. If you would like to be chosen as a guest blogger in December, read the requirements here. Meanwhile, I will still be blogging three times a week in 2014 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  2. Taking a Break From Social Networking and Blogging on The Fourth Week of Every Month: A family pastor takes a solitude day every once in a while to reconnect with God. I will be taking a week out of every month to not blog, social network, or write; only to read and learn. It’s important to keep up to date on the changes in social networking, blogging, writing, and the publishing industry. So I will be taking the week to stay up to date on things.
  3. No More Than Three or Four Book Reviews a Month: If I can stay true to this and not let my book addiction get the upper hand, this will be true. Mostly my books will be of the traditionally published or independent variety. Seldom will I review a self-published book or novel, giving preference to the independently or traditionally published genre instead. Preference will also be given to those self-published authors that I have reviewed before who have earned a three or larger star rating.
  4. Beginning a Speaking Tour: Stay tuned on this one. I plan on announcing very soon my plans to professionally speak. I have been speaking to groups of twenty over the past couple of years and my confidence is growing. Some would say I have a knack for it. I will allow one eight hour or two four hour speaking gigs a month for an honorarium (plus travel expenses if over an hour away). I say eight-hour because my topic has a practical application very relevant for this day and age. It’s a calling.
  5. A New Novel Will Begin: The Anomaly will be undergoing critiquing by a select few in January, corrected beginning of February and submitted to a publisher. January will find me outlining a paranormal suspense to begin writing in March.

My goal is to balance my life better in 2014, because I tend to be a workaholic. I want my life to mean something and my words to have purpose. This blogging sabbatical that I am taking in December will allow me to prepare for a new website launch, new goals, and a better sense of balance in 2014.

Are you reassessing your writing goals for 2014? Explain.

The Voice is All

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The Voice is All by Joyce Johnson is an in depth exploration of not only Jack Kerouac’s writing, but his life as well. I’m not sure how many of this generation knows Jack. I had never heard  of him, and after reading this, not sure I wanted to know so much of him. It touches a lot on his sexuality, his tendency to be attached to his mother, and his writing. The author writes with great love, awe, and candor on Jack Kerouac, a Franco-American. The endorsements say Jack Kerouac was a legend in the 50s, but the subject wasn’t nearly as interesting as the writing itself.

The way Joyce Johnson writes is a good lesson for writers. Color has so many symbolic meanings and she uses color adeptly to describe Jack Kerouac’s moods. It’s been on my mind for a week as I experiment in my own writing in describing emotion using color. The subject, Jack Kerouac, is strange, disturbing, and it seemed as if his writings were merely thin memoirs of his life experiences disguised in fake identities. In some ways, writers will always have pieces of their lives mixed within their novels, books, and stories. Another author once wrote on her blog how an author’s first novel is usually autobiographical.  Jack Kerouac might be a good cautionary tale about how we write our stories.

I read The Voice is All because another author spoke about reading as many biographies as possible and to learn from them. The risk of picking a biography of a man you’ve never heard of is finding a dark subject. This book is perfect for the person with a literary degree, but for the everyday reader, I’m afraid that, unless you are a fan of Jack Kerouac, you’ll find it interesting only for a little while as it’s a study of human nature. I gave this book four stars purely for the writing. Joyce Johnson does a wonderful job in bringing a man to life with mere words.

*book given by publisher to review.

Writing Saved My Life

"Writing", 22 November 2008
“Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

(I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because I’ve had too much coffee. I can’t see straight because my eyeballs keep twitching.)

Writing saved my life. While others snuck cigarettes or did drugs, dressing in goth clothes, I wrote stories. Stories helped me deal with my world, my loneliness, and the confusion I always felt. I had one goal.

This goal wasn’t college. I didn’t intend to become a doctor or lawyer. That required math skills and money which I did not have. I admired writers as old as Carolyn Keene or Grace Livingston Hill. My goal was to become like them. In fact, at a youth camp we were asked to write where we think the year 2000 would find us.

I said, “I will be a writer living on a ranch.”

It is 2013, and I am a writer living in a small town, surrounded by the most beautiful wilderness. Antelope graze in the open prairies between here and work. Mountain ranges tower above the prairies and hiking is just five minutes from the house. While it’s not a ranch, it is something better—a house I own that I never thought I’d be able to buy, a stable home life with a husband who loves me and shares similar goals, and solitude not far from the house. City life never made me this happy.

Even in the city, I pretended I lived in the wilderness from my imaginative enchanted forests in the corner of the apartment complex I lived as a little girl to the large parks with the rolling green lawns that were expansive prairies of untold adventure. I wrote stories in high school, using real names, then read them out loud on the school steps to my friends who wanted to know what adventure they were going to have that day.

At eighteen years old, one of my science teachers had me write a novella for extra credit. It was my first science-fiction novel and she was going to try to help me get it published. That was until she grew sick, took a leave of absence, and I never saw that teacher or novella again. The teacher, years later, wandered into a store I worked at as a young adult. She had black circles beneath her eyes and used a cane to get around. I felt too sad to ask her about my novella. This teacher had helped me understand a difficult subject. After high school, I received a rewrite request on a short story from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s magazine; a personal note from the editor scribbled on the card.

I didn’t follow through.

For a while, I lost my voice though I wrote many stories. I wrote carefully and cowardly. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I locked into my writing voice and suddenly became more focused on my career. I had been set free. My voice found traction and courage in a new world.

I live in the real world now, vacationing sometimes in my created worlds, and look forward to the challenges of being a Christian in an increasingly hostile world. I write both secular and Christian stuff, but the incredible freedom I feel of speaking my mind and of believing I am capable of doing new things, reminds me of the lost girl I was and the woman I have become. Writing saved my life and that’s the blessing of imagination. My one goal from high school is still today—to write stories.

What about you? What was your goal in high school and what do your goals look like now?

Take This Poll: Your Expectations

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I would be pleased if you would take this poll and let me know what you think.

I am considering publishing a free ebook devotional or fiction piece for every new subscriber to both my blog and newsletter and I would like to know what you would prefer. You could also leave a comment, if you wish. Results will be published later this week sometime.