January 03, 2013

5 Things I Learned about the Art of Writing in 2012 - Janis Cox

This was a year of learning - big time learning. I went from writing a few posts on blogs to writing more frequently. I published my first book - Tadeo Turtle. I started into the new job of marketing. What did I learn this year?

1. I need my time with God more than ever before.

My morning time (about 1- 2 hours) has become the steadying factor in my life. As I read my Bible, pray and meditate with Him - I start the day right. Not on my own. I started a new daily practice at the end of November and love it. I read Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. What an excellent start to each day. I remember my Maker, Redeemer and Friend - Jesus speaks to me.

2. I need a deadline.  

Never before have I needed to put so many to-dos and dates in my calendar. But deadlines make me write. Even my own - made up deadlines. Kimberley Payne, my friend and co-blogger at Family and Faith Matters, has me work toward certain deadlines. I am afraid I don't always make it - but I am working on this. Talk about organized - Kimberley must be the top one in this field.

3. I need to work with others. 

This year has been the "joining" of forces to find encouragement and inspiration. Over 2 years ago I started Under the Cover of Prayer with a group of willing partners. I love reading their posts - that encourages me as well as others. This year Janet Stobie, Kimberley Payne and I started a new venture - Family and Faith Matters - a blog for moms to equip them for faithful living. We now are recruiting others to be guest bloggers - writers who have children's books and would like to write on money, creativity and crafts, fitness and health, prayer, time management and education.

If you are interested contact Kimberley. And as writers I think we need this more than ever before. We can have a powerful voice if we stick together and help each other.

4. I need to find my audience.

Yes, I need to find out who wants to hear what I write. I didn't plan on writing a children's book. That just happened. My primary focus has always been prayer. That is why UTCOP (Under the Cover of Prayer) is so special to me. Now I am going down another road - moms - and children. Maybe grandmas too. So my writing is shifting to focus on my target audience - moms. I am working on this one.

5. I need to get more organized.

I am a left-brained - right-brained person. I know that sounds strange. But really I have been task-oriented and control central all my life. Now I am learning to paint - to meditate and to create. That is a brain switch. So where does that leave me - scattered. I have too many ideas, little time and no organization. So - there is my quandary. I have to organize my life to include both sides. Any ideas?

I would love to hear from you. What did you learn about writing this past year?


Janis, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. She has published a couple of devotionals and a number of articles.

As owner of Under the Cover of Prayer she writes often.

Her children's book, Tadeo Turtle, is now available. An accompanying curriculum can be obtained as well.

Email her at Janis or visit her at www. janiscox.com.


  1. Hi Janis:
    Your first two items resonated with me (the others are important as well, of course).
    Especially time with God.
    It's too easy for me to regurgitate my own sin-deformed thoughts, so I need His wisdom--which is so often opposite to mine!
    And too easy to drift on without deadlines isn't it? Specially now in my later 70s, time is certainly of the essence!
    Thanks for the insights.

  2. Hi,
    Thanks for the comments and affirmations. It is good to realize that we all face the same hurdles.
    I know that doing things in my own strength just doesn't work. I owe it all to God for all that gets done well.
    Blessings and happy writing,

  3. I'd say all of them were spot on. Starting each writing session with a mindset for God is really important. Also I have been challenged to really know & write for my audience on both my blog 7 in my novels.

  4. Without Him, we can do nothing, so I agree that starting the day in His presence is essential, whether for writing or any other endeavor. I love Jesus Calling! It's uncanny how each date's devotion seems to apply especially well to what I'm going through that day.
    Thanks for the great insights & for your comments on Saved by Grace & Rhapsody Ballroom blogs. Happy New Year to you!

  5. Tracy,
    I believe no matter what we do we need to invite God in. When I paint I try to do the same thing. It is a discipline I have not yet mastered.
    Thanks for commenting,

  6. Laurie,
    Nice to meet you here too. I love Jesus Calling - I picked up a copy in late November and haven't missed a day. And you are right it blesses me every time and is exactly what I need.
    See you again,

  7. Your five points sound like my New Year's Resolutions. I need all of them!

    Pam M.

  8. Pam
    Thank you so much. Now I must review them myself.


Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.