August 31, 2020

Our Shadow Mentors by Sandi Somers

A different version of this post appeared In InScribe’s FellowScript, Winter 2020

        In the book, More Than Words, James Calvin Schaap says that each writer locates a moment or series of moments in his or her life when some literary master seemed to be there for them - counseling, guiding, edifying. For most, the work of these masters was the source of their own literary endeavors and continues today. Philip Yancey called these inspiring writers “shadow mentors.” His own shadow mentors included CS Lewis, Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky.

On the Birth of My Writing Vision

Catherine Marshall
Catherine Marshall was the writer who ignited both my spiritual life and writing. Her books, including Beyond Ourselves, Something More, and her first novel, Christy, fed into my starved spirit a deeper intimacy with Jesus and God’s power. Her discussion on themes such as inner healing, guidance, and the work of the Holy Spirit, challenged me to believe God in ways I had never before imagined.

At the same time, Marshall’s writing inspired me as she told powerful stories of people and their faith, and I studied how she integrated story with God’s action. I wanted to write just like she did.

On Dreaming of My Own Projects

        While I sporadically published some devotionals and professional articles in my early years, my dream projects began as I wrote about my experiences teaching immigrants. More ideas gradually came to mind. However, even today they haven’t come together as books.

        Madeleine L’Engle came to my rescue, as she described her future books with the “cooking pot” metaphor.

 “When I start working on a book, which is usually several years and several books before I start to write it, I am somewhat like a French peasant cook. There are several pots on the back of the stove….(A)n idea for a scene goes into one, a character into another, a description of a tree in the fog into another. When it comes time to write, I bring forward the pot which has the most in it. The dropping in of ideas is sometimes quite conscious; sometimes it happens without my realizing it.”[i]

        I continue to drop finished and unfinished pieces into my cooking pot, and someday I hope to compile my ideas into a book…

On Apprenticing: Shaping My Craft

        Many shadow mentors have taught me strategies to enrich my work, but two writers stand out. William Zinsser, in On Writing Well, emphasized the importance of concrete details, unity, and simplicity. In Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer, Roy Peter Clark examined great writing and provided exercises to hone my craft: economy, originality, organization, and useful habits and routines for productive writing.

        Currently, an interesting shadow mentor whispers into my ear as I write each article: “The work will teach you how to do it.”  This is the Estonian proverb’s way of saying that God will direct me at each phase of writing.  Each work-in-progress is unique, and involves many choices and discoveries: a structure, a focus, drafts, revision, and more. It is my guide to make the work the best it can be.  

On Needing Encouragement

        There were times I was discouraged or doubted whether I should spend so much effort in writing. Brenda Ueland, in If You Want to Write, assured me as a gentle grandmother would. “The creative power and imagination is in everyone,” she wrote. “…you are talented and you are original,” and “no writing is a waste of time…With every sentence you write, you have learned something…It has stretched your understanding.”[ii] I also found strength as she acknowledged that this creative power is the Holy Spirit.

On the Spirit’s Anointing

        And that leads me to my most important mentor: the Holy Spirit Himself. In The Creative Call, Janice Elsheimer challenged me to make my art a pathway to a deeper relationship with God.  “God has given us our talents,” she wrote, “and the Holy Spirit, when called on, will breathe his life into us so that we will know what to do with those talents.”[iii]  The Spirit promises to give us words and wisdom (Luke 21:15).  As God empowers us, we become what Madeleine L’Engle called “co-creators with God” in communicating to readers what their spirits are aching to know about God, their purpose in life, and their relationship to Jesus.  

        Our shadow mentors are very personal and individual. Tell us about yours.

How have they helped form you as a writer?

How have they given you insight and encouragement on your writer’s journey?

What deep personal changes was/is God working in you through these writers?

For further reading:

    Shirley Tye was an additional inspiration for this month’s theme. In a blog post last year, she wrote: “It’s wonderful to hear about writers’ creative work journeys; their ideas, struggles, and successes…Oh, how I was inspired!” You can read her post here.

[i]Madeleine L’Engle. Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith & Art. New York: Convergent Books. 1980, 1998, 2001. Pp. 171-172.

[ii] Brenda Ueland. If You Want to Write. Minneapolis, MN: Graywolf Press. 1938, 1987. Pp. 4, 14.

[iii] Janice Elsheimer The Creative Call. Colorado Springs, CO. Waterbrook Press. 2001. P. 72.


August 29, 2020

Fall Conference - Get Ready!

Fall Conference 2020 is fast approaching:“Writing with Unflinching Boldness"

If you're planning to attend, here is a fantastic link to help you prepare for such a virtual event!

Now, more about our keynote speaker Randal Rauser

Randal is a seminary professor, husband, dad, and writer. He has authored many theological articles as well as the books What’s So Confusing About Faith?, An Athiest and a Christian Walk into a Bar… and A Swedish Atheist, a Scuba Diver, and other Apologetic Rabbit Trails, among others.

Randal is also providing a Workshop,“Perils and Promises of Writing for Yourself". This seminar explores the tension between writing for the audience and writing for the author, and considers how the audience can be found as the author writes for him or herself. For mroe on all the workshops check out this link:

Register now! 

August 28, 2020

When Work Will Become Play - Bruce Atchison

For those who don't know me, I've lived on a disability pension since 1995. In July of that year, I went to a work counselor to find out which line of employment I was suited for. After showing the man my tear sheets from amateur electronic music fan magazines, he recommended I become a freelance writer.

What takes the fun out of writing for me is having to be under threat of scrutiny by Canada Pension Plan. According to their regulations, I had to find employment in the kind of work I previously did for the federal government. After two years, I was supposed to find any sort of employment.

Doing what's needed is nowhere as enjoyable as doing what one loves. That's why I sympathize with one epistle writer in particular. Jude 1:3 (Bible in Basic English) shows his dilemma. "My loved ones, while my thoughts were full of a letter which I was going to send you about our common salvation, it was necessary for me to send you one requesting you with all my heart to go on fighting strongly for the faith which has been given to the saints once and for ever."

There's absolutely nothing wrong with contending for the faith. Poor Jude would rather have rejoiced in the great privilege of salvation but the Holy Spirit reassigned his writing work to defend the truth.

Furthermore, Paul wanted to be with the Lord but he knew the churches needed him more. Philippians 1:23 and 24 (BBE) says, "I am in a hard position between the two, having a desire to go away and be with Christ, which is very much better: Still, to go on in the flesh is more necessary because of you."

Furthermore, Jesus let out a cry of triumph in John 19:30 (BBE). "So when Jesus had taken the wine he said, 'All is done.' And with his head bent he gave up his spirit."

I know I'll feel so happy when I retire next year. Canada Pension Plan won't be on my back bumper anymore. I earned my pension and, God willing, my retirement pension will await me. And if I feel inspired to write, I will do so without fear that I'll be tossed off my hard-earned pension.

August 27, 2020

Forgotten Dreams by Lorilee Guenter


Once upon a time, many years ago a young lady gave up her dreams. She buried them deep. Memory faded as time continued its march forward until she could no longer remember where she hid her dreams. The dreams remained shrivelled in the dark, until one day she tried to find them.

She looked here and there with no success. Old journals recorded thoughts and events but the treasure she sought could not be found among them for she had not dared to write what she did not want to admit. She read books about uncovering your dreams, about living life abundantly. She knew God's abundant life included using what He gifted her for His glory. However, the dream remained hidden.

She listened to comments from friends and family wondering if they could see what she no longer recognised. Every once in awhile she caught a hint of what might be. She prayed and she listened. She read and she journaled her questions, her doubts and her fears. even so, no more than the hint could be found.

Time continued to move forward with its steady markers. The dream remained elusive.

I buried my dreams in fear and doubt. With God, I have been working to excavate them. It is a slow process in part because the roots of fear and doubt are tangled together around the dreams that died in the dark. I know faith drives out fear and God in his power is removing those roots and replacing them with His character, His grace and His love. I can start to see some glints like sunlight on bits of glass of the dream that is. 

One day I hope to look back and see not a buried dream but a beautiful flower sprouted from the shrivelled seed of neglected dreams. I trust He is aligning the desires of my heart with His and nurturing the seed until I am ready to recognise and accept what was and is. One day the blurry pieces will fit together into a beautiful image of God's abundance where I did not even know or dare to ask. Until then, I write and I draw. I live and I trust because, whether I know the dream that lies beneath the surface or not, God will use all that I am. He continues to pour out His love and grace in my life and beyond.

August 26, 2020

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of - Marnie Pohlmann

We all dream of changing the world to be a better place. Some dream of accomplishing change by raising children to be compassionate and kind. Others dream of working hard to achieve success, so they have the riches or the influence to change the world. Writers dream the words they put to paper will touch someone’s life and cause them to feel, see, or be better in the world they live in.

In my sleeping dreams are nightmares.
Dreams. My personal experience with dreams is that they mostly turn into nightmares. Those are not the kind of dreams we desire. Thankfully, dreams for our lives are not made of memories. Dreams for our lives are dependent on the choices we make each day.

The first choice that will lead to the best life dreams is to take the step of choosing God as your Saviour and Lord.

Psalm 37:4 teaches that if I delight in the Lord, He will give me the desires of my heart. I have not studied the original language of this verse, but I doubt it means God is like a genie-in-a-bottle and when we do what He approves of He will give us what we want. Our relationship with God is not based on what we do, what we do is based on our relationship with God; it is a gift because God loves us. I think this verse means God will give me the desires of my heart. Did you read that the way I hear it in my mind? The nuance is that God sets into my heart what I desire. God places His desires for me into my heart, so they become my desires for Him.

In my waking dreams are for the future.
Have you ever wondered why you dream of doing or being what you have claimed as your dream? I was young when I said I was going to be a writer. Even when I figured out writing would probably not provide for my physical needs, and it is not easy, still, when I grow up, I want to be a writer. I have often wondered why that has always been my dream.

Psalm 139:13 says God has knit us together in our mother’s womb. God chose our mother and father to knit us into one He knew we would be.

Ephesians 2:10 explains God prepared works for us to do for Him, so He not only knit us together physically, but He also planted the seeds of our personality. Then we were given life circumstances and experiences that would mold us into one who could do that work. Many people and times influence us, train us, and encourage us to develop into one who at some point chooses to be a child of God who will begin that work He has prepared for us. Our dream has developed because God knit it into our very soul.

Not all the growth to prepare for our dream, our calling, is easy or enjoyable. Sometimes the path may even feel like a nightmare.  Has God ever led you to do exactly what you do NOT want to do? How is that the desire of your heart? We can be sure it’s not the desire of our heart, it’s the desire of God’s heart. Still, we want to run from it. Jonah did just that - and ended up in the belly of a whale, miserable and whining until He agreed to do what God had prepared him to do. I relate to Jonah. What God calls us to can be hard!

In my ageing dreams are elusive.
Sometimes our dreams don’t seem clear. I often have more questions than answers when it comes to walking with God. I believe He has placed on me a calling to write. What am I called to write? Fiction? Magazine articles? Copy for advertisements? Poetry? Am I called to share it publicly, or just locally, for my friends and family, or maybe in the church bulletin? Am I supposed to pursue traditional publishing or figure out how to make an e-book? And then there is marketing. Speaking. Selling. Yuck! So ultimately, I’m back to “Do I have to?”

Time goes by so quickly I feel I should already have reached the pinnacle of my dream. Like Jonah, I make choices to do what I think I want rather than what God asks me to do. I take the whale-of-a-time path that will eventually, I know, lead right back to where I can choose to obey.

But in my faith my dreams are secure.
It is because God has given me the desire to write that I can dream of being a writer. It is because He has led me along the steep and rocky path that I have something to write about. And it is because I trust His training and His Spirit in me that I can be confident in all that being a writer means - even the parts I don’t like.

How do we make a dream come true? We know dreams don’t become reality until we make them goals then take practical steps toward the goals which will make the dream come true. Today is the day to reach for your dream. Head in that direction, one step at a time. As we follow the path God has laid out for us, the desire will grow. The skills will grow. The opportunities will grow.

And one day we will look back and see how God has led us to the mountaintop, the fulfillment of our dream. He has given us the desire of our heart
and He will give us the desire of our heart.

Marnie Pohlmann dreams of being a writer when she grows up. In the meantime, she practices and learns and grows with God.

*photos courtesy of CCO license.

August 25, 2020

Dream Big by Sharon Heagy

20+ Dream Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

    While mulling over the theme for this month’s blog, my mind was plagued by more questions than answers. What are my dreams where writing is concerned? Do I have a vision? God’s word says His people perish for lack of vision in Proverbs 29:18 KJV. The NIV translations speaks of revelation.  Do I have a vision or revelation from God more specific than just ‘write’? What if I do write down my aspirations, suddenly that becomes a very public goal.  Do I need that kind of pressure?  The inevitable questions about the goal are bound to follow.

My wandering thoughts drifted to a Christian Writer’s Conference I attended years ago.  There was a panel discussion with a Q&A session.  Somebody from the floor posed the question “Does a Christian writer have to write stuff from a Christian perspective?”  What an odd question, I thought. If you don’t write from a position of faith do you really need to add the label Christian to writer? Certainly, my dreams must take my faith into consideration.

            Perhaps I would blog about wanting to become more disciplined in my writing. Adrianne Sailor, an adjudicator at our local music festival, told her students that they only had to practice on the days they ate.  That was inspiring to me as a writer. The same principle of practice should apply. This could be something to work towards.

Maybe conquering my writing fears would be a better direction to go. Nightmares are a kind of dream.  I could write about my fear of technology and the everchanging publishing world. Always something new. How will I ever keep up?  I just want to write.  (I know what an SASE is but what on earth is a Scrivner?)

It was then I recalled a television commercial for audio books.  The lady in the ad ran the gamut of emotions from laughter to serious contemplation to tears.  This is my dream.  Not to evoke an emotional response for emotion’s sake but to make a connection. To have a reader think – ‘this writer gets me.  She understands what’s going on in my world. And who is this Jesus? I’ve gotta meet this guy.’

To be able to tickle a funny bone, touch a heart with meaningful compassion, to have someone consider the ways of God through my prose. To inspire, encourage and uplift – this is my dream.  Not to write for the pure joy it brings to me but to share this gift of God for His purposes and with consideration of His heart.  To make a difference in someone’s life, even just one, and to encourage other writers as they pursue their paths.

Maybe I do have a dream, a vision that can become a reality.  Author George Bernard Shaw wrote, “You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?” (Back to Methuselah pt. 1, act 1) Why not? A dream becomes a vision which becomes a goal which becomes a reality. “With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26b)

Come on, I tell myself, race and chase and strain after your dreams. I dare you. Make them bigger than a breadbox (do people still use those?), make them God sized! “God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20) Wow. The sky is the limit. No, the possibilities are limitless when God leads the way.

After much contemplation and before all this mulling turns to obsession, I have decided it would be best to pursue a writing dream of God size proportion. To be intentional and surrendered and to follow whatever vision He gives me in His vast, limitless, surprising way. How about you? I dare you.

August 24, 2020

Unleashing the Lion ~ Valerie Ronald

Our neighbor’s new puppy grew quickly into a mature German Shepherd dog, purebred, high strung, yet often chained and ignored in their backyard. Elsa became frustrated and aggressive without proper obedience training and attention. One day as I was walking to my car, she bolted past the legs of her owner at the open door and ran right at me barking furiously, teeth bared, hackles raised. I threw my hands up and shouted at her, which made her stop in her tracks, giving the neighbor just enough time to grab her by the collar before she lunged at me. The encounter left me shaken. For days afterwards I carried a broom when I left the house, ready to defend myself from an unrestrained dog.

Unleashing an unpredictable force can lead to unexpected consequences.

At this point in my writing journey I see myself trying to control a lion of a story which, if unleashed, could grab me by the throat at any moment and shake me violently. Fear of unknown consequences often keeps me from giving the story freedom to be told. Yet at the same time, this story is the writing dream God makes quite clear He wants me to pursue.

What if the writing dream I’ve been given scares as much as it excites?

What if unleashing the dream releases painful remembrances of emotional trauma and pain?

What happens when my fingers are hesitant to unclasp the leash, yet the dream continues to strain against its restrictions, eager to be free?

I must be honest in admitting that I come to this dream reluctantly. It does not fill me with pleasure to chronicle the details of how I almost disappeared when I was married to a sociopath. I do not want to revisit the years of neglect, lies, betrayal and emotional abuse. Those painful times are in the past. God has since worked a healing in my heart and life, for which I am incredibly grateful. But the scars still twinge when I recall how they came to be there, and the memories stir up echoes of the deep pain of those heart wounds.

So what do I do with this dream that will not let me go? There must be a purpose in it.

God sometimes gives me glimpses of the lion set free and what it can accomplish for Him. Lions are dangerous animals but they have a place in the scheme of nature which no other animal can fulfill. Jesus was given the title the “Lion of the tribe of Judah”(Rev. 5:5), depicting Him with the majesty and strength of a lion, “mighty among beasts, who retreats before nothing.” (Prov. 30:30)

Because this lion of a dream is given by God, then I must not retreat before the distracting strategies of the enemy, who would like nothing better than to see it die unfulfilled. In obedience I must go forward.

I am learning to look at this daunting task from God’s perspective. When I view writing about my difficult experiences as a way to help others suffering at the hands of a sociopath, it takes on a purpose far outweighing my own discomfort. It helps me to think of it as God’s story, told within the context of my own. Only His intimate care, love and protection saw me through those dark days. He is the hero whose presence is woven into every detail of my story. I believe its purpose is to offer hope to others trapped as I was, hope only He can give. Because Jesus saw me through the dark valley, He can do the same for them. So I pray for the fortitude to set aside my own past pain and unleash this lion of a story, then see what unexpected consequences God will bring about.

When God created me in Christ Jesus, He had good works prepared in advance for me to do. (Eph. 2:10 NIV) I have it in writing that such confidence is mine through Christ before God, not that I am competent in myself to claim anything for myself, but my competence comes from God. (my paraphrase of 2 Cor. 3:4-5) God gives assurance in His Word that when doubts arise I am to remember that His Spirit lives within me to help realize the dream He has given. My part is to respond in faith and obedience.

Is anything impossible for God? Can feelings of inadequacy or fear tether the Lion when His power is limitless and His purposes have teeth?

Aslan is a lion --- the Lion, the great Lion.”
Ooh”, said Susan. “I thought he was a man. Is he --- quite safe?’

Safe? Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you!”

~ C. S. Lewis – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

August 23, 2020

Death of a Dream? by Joylene M Bailey

Image by Hans-Jürgen Münzer from Pixabay 

Three days ago, I suddenly remembered I had this InScribe blog post to write. I was unwinding from three weeks of PEOPLE (!!!) which, for this devoted introvert, was beyond above and beyond. Not that I don’t like people, you understand, especially if the people are family. I just prefer them … more spread out.


Three days ago was also the day The Cowboy and I were informed that our house - the home we've been dreaming of, planning for, rearranging our lives for - was not going to be built. COVID-19, lumber shortages, soaring prices, blah blah blah. 


So you see, I don’t find myself in a place to be all happy and chipper about dreams at the moment. I’m actually questioning them. Why God lets us have them at all. 

Because, this isn’t just about a house. I’m not that shallow. This dream is tied to the WHY of this home, built for us but with others in mind. It’s tied to eleven years of hearing and responding to God’s nudges about the home and the land on which it would stand. At least, we thought they were His nudges. It’s made me question all of the nudges, past, present and future about anything else that we responded to. Was it all a mistake? What were we listening to if not His voice?  


I don’t often find myself this low. I’ve always been the cup-half-full person. I’m usually able to “rise above”, as they say, see the positive side, trust that better days are coming. Not this time.


And so, as I sit here to write about dreams for my writing, I can’t separate it from dreams in general and this latest one that’s been crushed. Will the dream to publish the novel I’m working on actually come true? Is it even worth hoping for? Why dream at all? Or maybe I need different dreams - nothing too grand. Something more likely to come true. But is that even a dream? It's all a muddle.  



Then I think of my blog and reread comments on posts I've written, 

… you have refreshed my spirit 

… thank you for your insight, grounding, simple words 

… brightened a dreary day

… a delightful pause where I have been able to catch my breath again 

and I realize that my dream for my words to encourage and uplift, “to sustain the weary with a word” (Is. 50:4) is actually coming true. 


So now, there’s the tiniest of breaks in the clouds that have overshadowed me and muddled my thinking for the last three days. I'm still unsure about the rest of the mess surrounding the dream home. I'm still crushed, smothered by the dream-killing clouds. But as I was reminded this week:

Beautiful sunsets need cloudy skies … (Paulo Coehlo) 

I'm just tired of waiting for the sunset.


Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay 


Joy writes from her home in Edmonton, AB, where she lives with The Cowboy and Babe.

Find more of her writing at Scraps of Joy, where she's usually a little more joyful.

August 22, 2020

Plant Them a Garden: A Work of Reflection and Poetry by Alan Anderson



This year I have the privilege of writing a series of articles for our FellowScript magazine. The articles highlight the theme of writing as healing. Since I began exploring this theme, it has cuddled its way into my heart.



My exploration of writing as healing brought me to a new love for poetry. Writing poems has been a tremendous source of comfort and healing as I recover from a personal health challenge this year. This caused me to slow life down.



2020 has taken my writing into a direction I have entertained for years but never entered. Through consultation with a few trusted writer friends, I am ready to unleash my writing beyond my previous boundaries. Poetry will be a highlight of the project I am working on now.



I like to read a wide selection of poetry as I develop this piece. This includes seventeenth-century poets like John Donne, to the intense style of Sylvia Plath, to more contemporary poets like Joshua Jordan. Poetry motivated by actual life inspires me regardless of its historical context.



My writing project for 2020/21 is a personal journey. I am dedicating it to my five grandchildren in heaven. I had been working on a fictional story to highlight the theme of grandparent grief. The more I thought of the theme, I sensed a pull toward poetry and prose and not a fictional story. I am calling this project, “Plant Them a Garden: a Work of Reflection and Poetry.”



Here are a few cursory points on what poetry means to me.



Poetry helps me listen

When I worked as a chaplain in healthcare I developed sharper listening skills than I had before. In spiritual care work the art of listening is essential. One cannot be an empathic presence without listening to people. Writing a poem helps me listen to the message within me.



 Poetry is intimate

The intimacy of poetry is what I love about it. As a poet I can get up close and personal with the words I want to convey. Poetry can be as honest and real as the poet wants it to be. Writing poetry helps slow life down and allows my thoughts to caress my mind. A slower pace helps me focus on the message of the poem.



Poetry helps me reflect on life.

I learn about myself through poetry. Poems help reveal how I interact and relate with the world. Ideas for poems run through my mind often. My poems focus on real life and touch on matters of the heart.



Poetry has purpose

There is intent and a reason behind every poem. 

Writing poetry eases the weights within me about life. My prayer is my poetry will find its way into hearts longing for peace and a pathway to hope.



Poetry has meaning

Writing poems cause me to think on a deep level about the words written. A hope I have for my poems is they will cause an emotional response in readers. I pray the messages of my poems are meaningful to my readers.



Grandparent grief is often overlooked and hidden. To see life through the eyes of grandparent grief is a unique perspective. I hope to give a voice to this hidden grief through, Plant Them A Garden: a Work of Reflection and Poetry.



Plant Them A Garden: a Work of Poetry, has been in my mind for years. I approach this project prepared to lay my soul bare with deep and personal thoughts on life. My prayer is it will be a source of comfort and healing for grandparents (and parents) who grieve the death of children they love.

August 21, 2020

Livin' the Writing Dream - Tracy Krauss

To quote a good friend of mine, I'm "Livin' the dream..."

My writing dreams began in the mid-eighties when I started writing a novel as a creative outlet.  Before long, I dreamt of seeing my book in print someday, but for a very long time that seemed unrealistic. Just finishing was a daunting task as I snatched bits and pieces of time midst a busy life of motherhood, homeschooling, ministry, and part time work. 
But once that dream had been planted, it never vanished. Years later I finally had a finished manuscript. Then I took a giant leap and shared my precious baby. That's when I really found out what perseverance means. Rejection, discouragement and feelings of inadequacy became the norm. The school of hard knocks can be a cruel teacher, but is an effective one if you don't let it crush you. I was learning so much that I couldn't give in. It came down to a willingness to learn from my mistakes and carry on. There's no room for pride or defeat. 
Twenty-some years after the dream's inception, it finally became reality when my first book got published. This was before the self publishing revolution was wide spread, so I was fortunate to get a traditional book deal, even though the publisher wasn't one of the 'big six'. Still, I'm grateful since I learned a lot about the industry by working with editors, agents etc. What seemed like a pipe dream all those years before was suddenly coming true. I thought I'd finally "made it". 
Until... a new reality settled in very shortly after! I naively thought I could just sit back and let the royalties roll in! What a wake up call! Apparently, I was set to traverse another huge learning curve about marketing and promotion. I also realized that becoming rich and famous probably weren't part of the equation.
Fast forward to the present. Thirty-five years later, the writing dream is still alive and well. I am still compelled to write, but also still need to engage a good measure of self discipline in order to find the time, even though my children are grown and I've retired from teaching public school. Marketing and promotion are still a huge part of the game, and I keep learning new things everyday, just barely staying ahead of the curve. Some things never change!
Although the dream to write is still there, my expectations have changed, I think. The combined royalties from my twenty plus books and plays are higher than they were, but I haven't become rich and famous - and that's okay with me. I'm not concerned about the money. 
My new dream is to just keep on writing as many books as I possibly can before I run out of strength! (It is doubtful I will ever run out of ideas!) With the current DIY publishing options available, I can do this without having to wait for the gatekeepers (a.k.a. agents and publishers) to let me in. I've already republished several of my own titles as the rights have reverted back to me, and I plan to keep on publishing new books as I write them. 
If there is anything I hope readers take away it's this: Don't give up on your dreams! Dreams change and mature, but that doesn't mean they have to die. As my friend Russ always says, "I'm livin' the dream!" (And he just had a heart transplant!) 
Tracy Krauss is currently serving as InScribe's president. With more than twenty novels, plays and books in print, she is still 'Livin' the dream" in northern BC. Visit her website for more information:  -fiction on the edge without crossing the line-