You Can Do It Too

God gave writing back to me in August, 2010. I discovered and committed to entering the Writing Challenge every week until I reached the Master's level. I achieved that in just under a year, but kept going for a total of sixteen months straight. Some of my other achievements are harder to measure, it's more of a feel. I no longer feel in the dark now, and felt at home in Elizabeth Sherrill's Master's Writing Workshop a few weeks ago.

None of this is to boast. It's just to say that if I can become what God's called me to be, you can too.


For Him,

Sarah Elisabeth

Stuffed Animal Kingdom: The Keys to Storyworlds

  I took a heartbreaking journey recently. The painstaking, memory filled process of sorting three trash bags full of well loved stuffed animals.

Okay, that was a little dramatic. But I did cry once through my grin.

My mama laughs sensitively if the subject of my growing up years enter a conversation. I never wanted to let go of childhood. I remember asking her, “What can you do as an adult?” Stumped her there. But I soon learned. Still, when something triggers a memory from those glorious years I thought was life, warm fuzzies dunk into my heart and bring back a tear on the rebound. Such a beautiful girlhood.

As I sorted each stuffed animal by family, I found it hard to recall all their names or even who was married to whom once upon a time. “Is that your mama?” I asked them. I don’t think they cared. They were quite exhausted from the years of play my brother, Jon, and me put them through. I took group pictures and thought about the story worlds we created. In the afternoon long process, I realized how important those days were.

Aha! This is where my imagination began developing. No two of these critters were alike. No family was alike. They had their own voice, made their own decisions. I learned how to create compelling stories. After all, if it couldn’t keep the attention of an eight and ten year old, we moved on.

I learned what drives a story forward, how to create conflict and resolve. I guess you could say my first coauthor was my brother. He took on one set of characters, I took on the other. We constantly pitted them against impossible odds and extreme dangers. I usually let him take on the part of the antagonist. (He was a natural)

When our mama made an announcement for dinner, the answer was typically a question, “Can we finish this scene?” At a “stopping point” we’d leave them set up in a way we could pick up the story right where we left off. Sometimes the same one would last for days. How inconvenient when we set up our world on a bed. It was destroyed nightly and had to be rebuilt. Same with hallways. My dad might scoot plastic horses and their stuffed animal riders out of the walkway when he arrived home from work, only to have us screech, “No! They were all set up for the next scene!” Anyone who lives with a writer is probably cracking up with laughter at the parallels here.

The bags sorted, I sent my brother a text asking if there were any stuffed animals he wanted to save. It took three texts and a face-to-face conversation to get him to answer, “Oh, probably just Jimmy and Smoky.” He wouldn’t admit it, but I could bet my favorite teddy bear, Springer Sr., that deep down, he loves those memories as much as I do. And he’s a natural storyteller.

I wonder why.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Prov. 3:5-6

For Him,

Sarah Elisabeth


Looking Down on Fear

While on my journey to become a full-time writer, I work a monthly job at a trades day market. It provides the income we need to survive on beans and cornbread (and an assortment of chicken, fish and steak dishes. God is good).

This job is hard manual labor, but I love meeting people and getting out of the house five days a month.

These portable shops are set-up and torn-down each time, and I do some of that work in addition to my sales job. But one thing I always avoided was the ladder. *shiver* Anything over two rungs up and my knees Jell-O.

The day came and the last touch left required decorations on the top shelves running the length of the booth. With other workers occupied, I bravely grabbed the ladder and set to work.

I tried just the first two steps. Not high enough. I stepped to the third one and wanted to close my eyes. Instead, I glanced around. Wow. What a view. Familiar faces and corners took on a new depth, and I felt a rush of elation for no reason. I loved the new view. It was cool.

I remembered my fear of the third rung, but I didn’t tremble. I continued decorating the shelves, repositioning the ladder down the line as I worked. I paused at each spot to take in the view. I felt empowered. Not only was my fear conquered, I found that facing it brought a pleasant experience. I enjoyed it.

What else am I afraid of without cause? What’s keeping me from the wonderful things God has for me? How much have I missed in life because of fear?

Back to writing. I constantly force my characters to face their fears (sometimes I feel so mean). I strive to make the outcome realistic. If you can’t relate to my character, what good is the story? It’s not right when things turn out rosy for them and it could never happen that way in real life. But my characters do have the power to motivate you to face your own fear.

Whether it’s heights or sharing the gospel with someone or visiting a new church, I pray the real fears in life shine through my characters and into your heart; and hopefully give you a fresh perspective.

Rise above your fears–God has a new view for you.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

For Him, Sarah Elisabeth