Donald James Parker

Donald James Parker is a rebel with a cause and is the author of nine novels, seven of which he considers culture-flash fiction. His goal is to promote God's kingdom and tear down strongholds of the enemy while he provides entertainment. He writes for The Christian Pulse, Examiner.Com, and The ebooks of all his novels are available for free download from his website at All of Don's books promote sexual purity, but two are especially focused on that topic - Love Waits and Homeless Like Me. The novels that attack the theory of human evolution include More Than Dust in the Wind, All the Voices of the Wind, and All the Fury of the Wind. Reforming the Potter's Clay is an attack on the occult. All the Stillness of the Wind is a spiritual odyssey which spotlights cheap grace and lukewarm living.

Hone Your Writing Skills

In a previous column, I opined on the topic of what to write to avoid dwelling at the bottom of the food chain in the publishing jungle. Today I’m going to switch gears and suggest what to read to help you hone your writing skill. Brandilyn Collins helps with character development in her book Getting into Character, and James Scott Bell offers assistance with story development in his work Plot and Structure. Many other books are on the market that will aid you in becoming a better writer. The book I’m touting today perhaps will encourage you to keep writing when you are tempted to chuck the whole scene.

Ralph Keyes wrote The Writer’s Book of Hope, which may be the medicine your spirit requires. Mr. Keyes doesn’t tell you how to write. He motivates you to write by sharing a wealth of information about successful authors and difficult tribulations that persistent writers overcame. He spins anecdotes and histories of writers who persevered despite the odds to ascend the pinnacle of the profession. In a thimble, this book helps you deal with twin creativity killers: discouragement and rejection. And as icing on the cake, he includes stories of famous books and authors who were self-published.

Tales of famous novelists who wrote in their spare time while working full time and fulfilling other responsibilities inspire one to quit making excuses for why the WIP (work in progress) is not really progressing. For example, John Grisham wrote his first two books while working as a lawyer, serving in the state legislature, raising a child, and teaching Sunday school. Another author received a Newberry Award for a book he wrote during his breaks at his job on an assembly line. One successful author wrote her book in two hours a day when her kids were either asleep or at school. After her kids were grown and she had full days to write, she discovered she was no more productive than she had been in the two one-hour periods she started with.

After rereading sections of The Writer’s Book of Hope, I feel ashamed about wrestling with the issue of not having time to write. I once heard a quote that we never have time for anything; we have to make time. If I quit reading about football, and instead used those thirty to sixty minutes a day to write, I could probably finish a novel during the football season.

After reading Keyes’s book, you may come to the conclusion, as I did, that rejection is indelibly etched onto the map of writing that leads to buried treasure. Mr. Keyes confesses that despite all of his successes, his rejection slips outnumber his letters of congratulations. We must remember that rejection does not always end at the publisher’s desk. Sometimes authors get their books published and then are rejected by the reading public. One good example is Moby Dick It is considered a classic today, but when it was published, it failed to make a literary splash.

For other authors, success did not arrive until after their eulogies were given. As someone serving God, be content to never exult in the knowledge that you’ve been successful. Make it your goal to please God and to minister to people. You perhaps won’t know about the outcome of your dedication until you reach heaven. The “better late than never” principle applies suitably in this situation.

Let me share a few quotes from this inspirational book.

“I’ve tried to make The Writer’s Book of Hope as encouraging as possible, within reason, basing it on tangible grounds for optimism that aren’t always evident to writers when they’re mired in the black lagoons of despair. My goal is to cast light on some of the darker aspects of writing, publication especially, and in the process make them less intimidating.” —Ralph Keyes

“No rejection is fatal until the writer walks away from the battle, leaving dreams and goals behind.”—Agent Jeff Herman

“Like auditioning actors and tongue-tied suitors, writers learn to live with rejection. For most authors most of the time, rebuff is the norm, embrace the exception. Once your submissions have been rejected a few times, it’s easy to take the hint and turn to throwing pots or taking photographs. In some cases this is prudent. In others it is premature.” —Ralph Keyes

I feel torn between urging you never to give up and the alternate that perhaps you ought to seek another pastime. Sorry to be so blunt here, but I do believe that if God wants you spending your time ministering in ways other than writing, locking yourself in your writing cave away from those opportunities effectively takes you out of the fight and race that God intended for you to participate in. We all need to evaluate ourselves objectively and spend some time on our knees in prayer.

For others, stand firm in the face of seeming hopelessness. I think The Writer’s Book of Hope will help alleviate the lack of vision that causes some dreams to perish. Books and other people can encourage, but in the end it is up to each individual to decide whether to stay the course or not. My prayer is that you endure to the end if God has commissioned you to write and that you abandon the dream in favor of God’s perfect will for your life if He has not.


Love Waits