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

A People Who Finish Well

Welcome to a new month, friends. I hope you’re writing, writing, writing; and selling, selling, selling. In spite of the tough economy, there is money to be made in the writing biz, and you’re the one to make it—if you persevere.

This month’s article comes on the heels of a tough month for me. I’m literally drowning in work. That’s not a complaint, mind you. Oh, no! I’m far too grateful to complain about God’s many blessings. Still, reality sometimes slaps us in the face, and this has been a “reality” week for me. I just turned in a historical romantic comedy. No big deal, right? Here’s the kicker—I had only a few short weeks to write it. Thank goodness it came together in a hurry. Still, as I found myself racing toward the deadline, I wondered if I would make it. I thought many times of my pastor’s words, “We want to be a people who finish well!”

Praise the Lord, the book went in on time. And the five-week fiction course I’m teaching is going well. And my speaking engagements all came off without a hitch. And that next book is already started. Ah! Such is the life of the busy freelancer. If you persist—if you don’t give up—busy seasons will come and they will not do you in. In fact, they can provide the necessary income to get you through the lean seasons, which will also inevitably come.

With all of this in mind, I want to return to the teaching on Noah. For the past two months we’ve been discussing his amazing perseverance. Noah understood what it meant to finish well.

So, let’s dive back into his story and address the last three points in this teaching.

Noah Persevered Through the Waiting

I don’t know about you, but I don’t wait very well. And I can’t begin to imagine what it must’ve been like for Noah as he waited aboard that ark with those stinky animals. Surely he was aching to go ashore! (If only he could find a shore!) The story continues: “He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him” (Gen. 8:10–12 ).

Can you feel his pain? I do every time I find myself waiting on news about a manuscript. Every time I pray about a new idea and the Lord tells me to wait before writing it. Every time I think I’ve heard God (and done what I thought He said), only to find myself waiting for answers on the other side. (And by the way, once you submit to a publishing house, you will likely be waiting six months or so for news. That’s the cold, hard truth! My novella Gone Fishing took five years to sell. Five years!) Yes, I can surely relate to Noah in this area. When I find myself waiting, Hebrews 10:36 brings comfort: “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” It’s going to come to you—if He has promised it!

• How do you feel about waiting for news (from editors, agents, etc.)?
• Do you ever find yourself searching for shore?
• How long have you waited on your current project?
• What do you do to pass the time while waiting?

Noah Persevered Till He Received the Covenant Promise

Ah, the rainbow! The covenant promise! Can’t you imagine the joy in Noah’s heart when he saw it? Here’s what God had to say about it: “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life” (Gen. 9:13–15).

A promise usually relates to something that hasn’t happened yet. When others make a promise/covenant, we hope/pray they’ll keep it. Here’s the good news, writers! God always keeps His promises. If He said it, He’ll do it! His promises are yes and amen. We can count on Him. And if He says we won’t be consumed/overwhelmed in the meantime, He’s right! So, we’ve got to persevere until we see that which He said he would do. Here’s a great Scripture to lean on in the meantime: “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Ps. 61:2).

• What promises has God made to you concerning your writing?
• Will He make good on those promises?
• What will you do in the meantime?

Noah Persevered to the Finale

We all know how the story ended. Noah made it to dry land, saw the rainbow, and life on planet Earth continued on. As a praise offering, he built an altar of sweet-smelling incense to the Lord. We all want to finish well—and we need to have that praise offering rising up to His throne at all times. Keep your eye on the goal, writer! Don’t get distracted by what you see in your peripheral vision. Stay the course. You will receive the crown . . . if you don’t give up! James 1:12 says: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” As one of my editors used to say, “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel . . . I just hope it’s not a train!” Truth is it’s not! It’s the sun peeking through the clouds. It’s a brilliant rainbow, a promise from God that He’s never going to give you more than you can bear. He will never “flood the earth” (think: “overwhelm you”) with more than you can handle.

• Do you have it in you to persevere till the very end?
• What does it mean to “stay the course”?
• Have you ever persevered under trial?
• Are you looking forward to the Grand Finale?

Folks, I’m preaching to myself with this article, trust me. But I’m so desperate to be effective for God. I want to reach the world through my books, articles, teachings, etc. So, I must be a woman who finishes well, even when hard days come.

What about you? Will you finish well?