Janice Hanna Thompson

Janice Hanna Thompson—a south Texas native—is the author of over sixty novels and non-fiction books for the Christian market. She supplements her fiction habit by writing magazine articles, devotions, write-for-hire books and more. One of the chief joys of Janice’s life is training writers to earn a living with the written word. Check out Janice’s “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer,” course at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. The ten lessons in this course were developed to strategically train freelance writers to earn top dollar. Each lesson includes an audio file (mp3 for download), a corresponding audio script, a downloadable worksheet, a power point video, a bonus feature, and full access to the site’s forum. Email Janice at booksbyjanice[at]aol[dot]com to learn more, or visit her website at www.janicehannathompson.com.

Supplementing Your Fiction Habit

Keep On Keepin’ On

Welcome to a new month, friends! Last month I introduced the topic of perseverance and shared some thoughts from the life of Noah. Freelancers must learn to hang in there, even when the going gets tough. (Especially when the going gets tough.) This month we’re going to forge ahead with our teaching.

Noah Persevered Through the Building Process
The work that God called Noah to do was tedious and probably overwhelming at times. Consider these instructions from the Lord: “So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks” (NIV).

Details, details, details! So much work to do, and so little time to do it. Sound familiar? Likely you’re faced with a tedious amount of work as you “build” yourself as a writer, but consider this amazing verse: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9 KJV).

So go ahead and take those classes. Go to conferences. Write, write, and rewrite your manuscript. Face those critique partners head-on. Submit to publishing houses. And through it all, remind yourself that God is the One who’s really doing the work—in and through you! Continue to write those articles to support yourself until that novel sells. (And also remember—the harvest is coming!)

• Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all of the work that goes into writing?
• Which “details” do you dislike most?

Noah Persevered in the Storm
When I think of Noah, I imagine him singing, “Raindrops keep falling on my head.” Here’s how the Bible describes what happened: “All the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. . . . For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet” (Gen. 7: 11–12, 17–20 NIV).

Talk about a storm of immense proportions! And yet, we understand such storms because we’ve all been through them, especially those of us who are called to write. But here’s a great promise from Scripture, one I’ve learned to lean on: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isa. 43:2 NIV).

• Have you been through a stormy season in your writing?
• Did you ever feel like you were about to drown?
• How do you feel about the promise in Isaiah 43:2?

Noah Persevered Through Everydayness
Can you imagine Noah and his family members on the ark? Feeding animals, tending to their needs. What a day-in, day-out chore taking care of so many, as well as their personal needs! And yet Noah persevered through it all. We can too. When the “everydayness” kicks in (when you don’t feel like writing, don’t feel like learning the craft, don’t feel like putting in the hours to edit/reshape your manuscript), think of Noah. He couldn’t get off the boat, and (if you’re truly called by God to write), neither can you!

I love this Scripture in 1 Timothy 4:16: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (NIV). Now here comes the hard part. Sit down in that chair. Don’t waver. Get creative (even when you don’t feel like it), and write. Look for the small miracles and the “God-encounters” in each day. Never be afraid of the everydayness. God will honor your diligence.

• What is one of your biggest everyday challenges?
• How can you persevere beyond that thing?
• Do you ever get bored with writing?
• How can you persevere beyond the boredom/frustrations?

Noah Persevered Through the Disappointments
Can you imagine traveling on the ark with Noah and his clan? It wasn’t just the preparation. It wasn’t just the forty days on the rolling seas. Imagine (after a lengthy trip bobbing up and down) sending out a raven in search of dry land, only to hear you have to stay onboard awhile longer. Talk about dashing your hopes! Can you imagine the disappointment?

Here’s the story from Genesis: “After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark” (Gen. 8: 6–9 NIV).

As writers, we know just what that feels like. We’ve done the work . . . traveled the high seas (done what the Lord asked us to do), polished and submitted our manuscripts, and waited (sometimes for months), only to face bitter disappointment.

So, what’s a weary author to do when faced with letdowns? Our answer is found in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (KJV). When I read this verse, I am reminded that the things I don’t see today will likely be seen tomorrow. Oh, not a literal tomorrow—but eventually. I can’t give up hope. Good things will come. I cannot let my disappointments overwhelm me in the meantime.

• What disappointments have you faced?
• Do you have the faith to go on believing, even after facing disappointments?

I’ve given you a lot to chew on, writers! I’ll be back next month to share more from Noah’s journey. In the meantime . . . persevere!