I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, December 5, 2011

Things I Learned In

Just this morning a friend made the comment that I only had two weeks before starting my annual Christmas trips.


That can’t be.

December 1, and for that matter January, was just yesterday. What happened? I just realized I barely have time to finish my Christmas shopping before I leave—forget about all those things I listed in January that I wanted to get done this year. Things like:

  • Finish my WIP
  • Make headway on my new book
  • Get my website up and running with at least 20 posts in the can
  • Make an author page on Facebook
  • Learn how to use Twitter
I didn't actually do any of those things. I came close to the first and last ones: I'm maybe 75 pages from having my WIP polished and ready to go and I have 26 days left. As for Twitter, I'm tweeting and retweeting but haven't yet grasped the reason why I'm doing those things. Maybe in 2012.

But 2011 wasn't a wash--I did learn a few things. Among other things, like how important it is that each chapter has, not just a hook, but a SHARP hook.

S=Stakes (Why will it matter if the hero/heroine doesn’t reach the goal of the chapter)

H=Hook=Hero/Heroine Identification (Continue to connect the H/H to the reader give her/him a reason to care)

A=Anchor (Let the reader know where your H/H is in each chapter--you know, the 4 W's)

R=on the Run (Start in the middle of the problem, maybe interview your character to see what they are feeling as the chapter opens)

P=Problem (how does this chapter handle the Story question)

For more information, check out Susan May Warren’s book From the Inside Out (on sale here at a discounted price), or her articles at My Book Therapy.

But the most important thing I learned: everything is in God’s hands. Whether or not I’m published, even whether or not I write. He gives me the words and I write them back to Him.

Otherwise, I’m just babbling. Wishing each and everyone of you a Merry Christmas!

Oh, and my word for the year is: Listen

Pat Trainum

I asked God to teach me patience and He gave me a book to write


  1. What I've learned in 2011: Behind the dream come true is the chance to work very, very hard.
    Love your word. Can't wait to see what you hear in 2012.

  2. So true, Beth. So true. I am excited about my word, too. My word last year was wait, and that's what I've done. And I've learned a lot in my waiting.

  3. Listen is a great word for 2012. So many times, we're too busy to take time to listen and savor what God is whispering to us.

    For me, I've learned opened doors lead to exciting new challenges. I've received 2 book contracts this year, and I'm so thrilled for the way God is broadening my writing career. Juggling has been a new feat to master--one I haven't done yet, but I do know He is the Master Juggler and holds all of us in the palms of his hands. He won't drop us or crush our dreams.

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Great, Pat--& what an important reminder for every chapter to be SHARP. Best wishes to your next writing goals & have a great Christmas trip. I need to listen a little harder but I'm thinking my word for next year may be STRETCH.

  5. You're so right, Lisa...God doesn't bring us to the edge and then drop us. He will take us the whole way.

  6. I like your word. Stretch. God does stretch us, doesn't he! I can't take credit for the reminder...Michelle Lim reminded me of it not long ago when she couldn't find it in my 3nd chapter. lol

  7. What have I learned this year? I've learned that even a contract isn't a guarantee. I learned that Jesus is still here, right next to me, waiting for me to spend time with Him. And I've learned that I desperately need to place ALL of my trust in Him. So I guess my word for the next year is TRUST.

  8. Love this post, Pat. I actually have the SHARP acronym written out on the big marker board in my writing room.I especially love what you said about everything being in God's hands...so true.

    I'm pretty sure I've found my word for 2012: Soar. Think I'll be blogging on that for either this site or my own blog soon... :)

  9. Thanks, Renee. Great comment. Trust is a wonderful word for the coming year. I think Trust is probably my life word. It's taken me so long to realize that I can do nothing apart from Him and that I can trust Him to do what's best for me.

  10. Soar...I love that word. Yes, Melissa, you will soar this year.

  11. Wonderful post, Pat. :) It sounds like you waited actively--learning and growing in the process.

    My word for this year has been "Disciple." I've learned a lot about what it is to be a disciple--of Jesus first, but also in other areas of life. The biggest quality I've seen is that a disciple is humble--willing to learn from others. Still growing in this area. It's certainly been true in learning writing craft, and also in mothering.

    I'm still praying to know what God's word is for me next year. Good for you in being open to learning all that God had for you, even if it didn't mean accomplishing everything you planned to i January. I look forward to hearing more as you "listen."

  12. Thanks for the encouragement, Jeanne. I'm excited to think about how much I'll learn this year as I listen!

  13. I liked this post, Pat, considering the fanatical list maker that I am. I've learned to tackle only one new project per year...only one according to His will.

  14. That's a great idea,Cheryl. Much better than New Year's resolutions!

  15. Hi, Pat. You know that list thing? Well, I finally got far enough on mine for the week to be able to check out a few new websites and blogs. I'm glad you led me here! I like your note about "patience," too. I think "listen" may be as difficult--for me at least--as having patience! Then maybe if I listened, I wouldn't have to worry so much about patience!