Finding Hope on the Dream Shelf

When I first started freelancing, I wanted to set an attainable goal – something I could work for beyond the publishing credits and the paychecks.

So I cleared off the top shelf of one of my bookcases and created a dream shelf. It was my goal – my dream to fill that shelf with my books and have a tangible reminder of encouragement.Dream Shelf

Freelancers must possess persistence because success comes slowly and is papered with many rejections. We hone our craft, learn and grow while working several jobs to survive and trying to find as many writing gigs as possible.

Gradually, I began to fill a notebook with copies of my printed articles. Then – one by one – my words were accepted in anthologies: Chicken Soup books, Cup of Comfort books, Guideposts prayer books and others.

After several years, I also became an editor so I included those books next to mine. They represented a collaboration with writers – a joint effort to birth a finished product we could both be proud of.

Now, after 40+ years of freelancing, my dream shelf is full, and I am expanding to a new dream shelf.

The new one does not stand in my office, but it represents the hard work, persistence and many prayers that brought about the filling of my first dream shelf.

3D Rev G coverThis new shelf stands in a library, within the Johnson County Library System. One of my readers recommended, “The Unraveling of Reverend G”, and the librarian agreed to put it into their system. Hopefully, people will regularly check out my book and find encouragement within the story of a woman who bravely faces her Alzheimer’s struggle.

Do I have a new dream, another goal? You bet I do. I want the second Reverend G book and then the third to also grace library shelves. I want my books in the hands of as many folks as possible so that they find encouragement within the words that God and I wrote.

And someday, I want even more books on my dream shelf, because I’m not finished with ideas and I’m not ready to give up on my dreams.

Words still stir within my soul and more empty shelves beg to be filled. I need another bookcase.

©2013 RJ Thesman, Author of “The Unraveling of Reverend G”

3 Reasons to be a Freelancer

At a writers’ conference I recently attended, another writer asked, “Why should I be a freelancer? The return writing pencilon my investment is terrible. I work hard and make no money. Is it worth it?”

If you look just at the ROI, the answer is, “No. It isn’t worth the sacrifice, the time or the struggle.”

But for those of us who are Christian freelancers, three reasons keep us going.

Building credits. We continue to work as freelancers, because with every acceptance – we earn publishing credits. Those credits begin to pile up as we keep writing and as we never, never, never give up.

After a few years, we can honestly say we are published writers and give examples of publications that bought our words. When we become novelists, those credits prove that we can do the work and help us earn that signed contract.

Building relationships. One of the best returns on our investment is that we build relationships with editors, publishers, agents and other folks in the writing business. Over time, we know a cadre of people who ask for our work and want to work with us because we’ve proven ourselves to be credible and productive writers.

These are the people who will eventually endorse our books, write reviews and tell other publishers about our work. We build those relationships and then one day, we attend a writers’ conference and personally know the faculty. We feel as if we really belong to this select group of talented folks.

The Message. Working as a Christian freelancer does not bring in an enormous income. In fact, I know few freelancers who don’t have another source of income – either another job or another person in the home who has another job.

But it really is all about the message.

We write because we hope that somewhere out there, someone will read our words and be curious about this Jesus we love.

We hope that someday a person will send us an email with a thank you message, “I found my eternal home because of what you wrote.”

And we write because God has asked us to use the creative gifts we have to spread the message through cyberspace.

So that is why I am a Christian freelancer. Throughout the last forty-some years, I’ve built a lot of publishing credits and learned my craft. I’ve made some fantastic friends either online or in person. And I’ve shared the message of God’s love to people all over the world.

But for me, there’s one more reason to be a Christian freelancer…I just love to write.

©2013 RJ Thesman