#TellHisStory Featured Writer: Kris Camealy
During 2013, dozens of talented writers are joining me to cheer you on in your storytelling. These guest-writers will share a few helpful words with you right here every Tuesday night, to encourage you as you #TellHisStory. (Come back after midnight Wednesday to link up your God Story by clicking here. From now through Easter, we’re considering “The Lenten Journey,” though you are free to share ANY story that God lays on your heart.)
And now, I’m delighted to introduce you to my friend, author Kris Camealy, who has written a book that has been a wonderful companion for the Lenten journey.
Madeline L’Engle said,
“Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it.”
So to that I nod and say, yes!
If you want to be a writer then you must write. You must serve your craft through practice and consistency. I used to say, I needed to wait for inspiration to strike before I could write. What I have learned however, is that more often that not, when I labor over the words a bit, when I push them out somewhat against their will, after a time, inspiration strikes. Suddenly, what was just moments before, a hard sort of scratching, and clawing for production, turns and the words begin to slip out, like pearls cut loose on a string that has broken. They tumble across paper or screen, and I am amazed at how what started as a wrestling match, an endless loop going nowhere, turns into a dance of sorts. There is a hidden freedom in working for the inspiration, rather than waiting for the inspiration to work.
As a sequin-wearing, homeschooling, mops- coordinating mother of four, Kris Camealy is passionate about Jesus and her family. Her heart beats to share the hard, but glorious truth about life in Christ with anyone who will listen. When she’s not writing, she gobbles up books like they’re going out of print and plays in the kitchen. She’s been known to take gratuitous pictures of her culinary creations, causing mouths to water all across Instagram. Once upon a time, she ran 10 miles for Compassion International, a ministry for which she serves as an advocate. You can read more of her heart-words in her new book, Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement, and on her blog Always Alleluia. Find her on Facebook, twitter and Pinterest.
“Holey, Wholly, Holy” is not just another book on the Lenten season. It is an invitation to be changed. It is an invitation into the heart of Christ. Kris opens a doorway into her Lenten journey, writing gracefully into her own soul’s brokenness, confession and refinement. But as much is this is Kris’ story, it is ours. This is the story of the people of God, being wooed gently back to the cross. Kris rightfully takes the focus off of what we should do during Lent – or, for instance, what we can “give up” for Lent, such as chocolate or social-media. Rather, she puts the focus squarely on the work of Christ, and on what He has already done for us. – Jennifer Dukes Lee
YOUR TURN: What works for you in your writing? Do you “work for inspiration”? Or do you “wait for inspiration to work”? Let’s chat about writing in the comments…
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- Because You Should Know | Always Alleluia - [...] my writing friends, I’m sharing a little encouragement over at Jennifer’s place for her #TellHisStory series and if you’re…
Hi Kris and Jennifer, I absolutely have to just sit down and trust that words will come. It’s the sitting down–the mind and heart expectant–that lead the words home. There is always something there, on our hearts, to share. We have within us the story to tell. I love the process of discovering, bit by bit, what the story is. There is so much I would miss out on in this life if I didn’t try to sit down and listen to them, expecting the words themselves to show me what is going on within me. Love the gift of them–and, always, the surprise.
Agreed, Jennifer. To just sit down and put those keystrokes in motion. Often, I don’t realize how much is hidden underneath my “writer’s block” until I started to move the block with the simple act of moving the fingers. It doesn’t mean everything (or anything!) comes out as exquisite prose, but that first act of pulling back the office chair is often the most daunting and productive. Glad you’re here, Jennifer.
I agree, Jennifer–there is always something there. Sometimes we have to be patient, and write a little of the junk to get to the good stuff, but even if there is one line that sticks, it was worth the wrestle to release it.
Well, of course, you pretty much went and summed up my answer! 🙂 Have you all read Donald Miller’s “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”? The analogy that life is a story is so perfect for people like us. We are character who are meant to be changed by the plot. And aren’t really the author — The Author, rather.
Kris and Jennifer (thank you for hosting, Mrs. Lee!)–I think it’s a bit of both for me. Oftentimes I’m stunned by something and God just gives me a download (the last three things I’ve posted were like that–living water poured out.) Other things are a labor to get done. I DO know in the short time (14 months) I’ve been purposely writing for an audience that once I begin to put pen/cil to paper, which is where I usually start, the words just come. And they often turn out differently than I had predicted. Does that make sense?
My book often felt more like the latter: “a labor.” It was hard, hard work. A big part of my problem was that I constantly had to deal with self-doubts and insecurities before I could make my way through, to find the nugget of truth that needed to be found underneath. On the blog, I feel unencumbered most days, writing much more freely, and I suspect it’s because I’ve written in this venue for four years.
During my second-round of edits on the book, I was able to go back and write more freely, but at first? Hard, hard work.
I much prefer the God-Download. 🙂
Jennifer-I’m sure blog writing and book writing for an editor/publisher like ‘you’re gonna see your name in print and people will pay to read it’–THAT would be a lot of work. Crafting on purpose, distilling the essence of what you want to say, getting it ‘just right’ to reach people. Yeah, I could see there would be some pressure there. Ack I am virutally cheering you on. (and apparently I can’t spell….)
Second round of edits–good for you!
oh yes, I have times of writing that feel like a “God-download” and times where the labor wrings me out as I fight to make the words work. Of course, I prefer the more obviously inspired method, but the wrestling comes from it’s own inspiration as well, and God is fully present in both experiences. There are lessons to be learned in the hard grunting process that strengthen us and our gifts.
When I wrote fiction, it was butt-in-chair-and-write, and never mind if it was terrible, that was what editing is for. In this new-for-me field, I’m still figuring out the what and why. I knew that with fiction, I’m still exploring it with non-fiction. So it’s when inspiration strikes — for example, yesterday, I could’ve written an epic rant about gun control and how I suddenly saw that individuals aren’t being seen as human beings, of having worth. I actually ranted a bit about that on Facebook — and then I stepped away from the computer and realized I was guilty of it too. So that’s what I’m going to write about today, if I get time. A whole different slant that came by stopping and taking a breath.
Interesting you should mention Facebook comments. Sometimes, I’ll write a FB status for my author page and realize that, right there, I’ve got the beginnings of something worth exploring in a longer blog post, or even a book chapter. I think when we have these spaces to write that don’t feel so intimidating — like a FB wall or a blog — it helps when we sit to do the bigger work. To me, the blog is like a playground, a place where I can try new things, get rid of what didn’t work, while going deeper with the working words. Thanks for being here and sharing, Leanne!
This often happens to me in the comment boxes of blogs, when I go to respond to someone’s words, I find they have gotten my own gears turning, and I suddenly find myself with inspiration that deserves further processing. Honestly, I love it when that happens!
I’m a lot like Jennifer C…I have to carve out time to sit and write. Sometimes I don’t realize what is weighing so heavy on my heart until I brush it with keystrokes and give it a voice. And if nothing comes, I realize I simply need to live and breathe more of Him in. It keeps me in balance and for that I am grateful.
I like how you say this, Nikki, “give it a voice”. I get this. sometimes the thing doesn’t fully reveal itself until there are words around it.
Hi Jennifer & Kris.
Writing. Yes, struggle & ‘God’s download’ are a balance in my writing. The struggle leads to insight or ‘smile moments’ when I finally get what God’s been trying to give me. The words’ voice is set free to be used by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the voice is meant for my heart alone so I may have understanding to write the words meant for others.
I love hearing all of the beauty-full voices here beginning with you, Jennifer &Kris. Kris, you know I’m encouraged by your voice … & your’s too, Nikki. Love this place to share & be enCouraged.
Love Ya, Susie 🙂
Oh how I often stay shrunken in the corner, talking myself endlessly out of it. That which my soul lives for, the understanding to my wonder, the voice to my inaudible, the breath to my panting – the catharsis and discovery of WRITE.
Yet I scrunch in that postured place and move for only one reason: to encourage another in the passion. To cheer for their progress. To live vicariously through their obedience – while cowering in refusal of my own.
It’s shame and sin, this faithlessness. Knowing full well that He who instills such passions every day of every year of life which He has poured out for this child, is fully capable to equip me for the works He is requiring of me. It’s a promise in His living love letter to me which I never get, never take enough of.
But oh how its so much easier to smile towards someone else’s dream and success than to muster my own into steps of action. Part of this flawed character He birthed in me; meant for beauty, my fleshy sin muddles its luster.
When I write, it’s for me. To get the jumbled out. To see what I’m really feeling. To confess and muse and worship and lament. He has blessed me countless times, this process of purging soul’s dust. When I write, I long for it to be for Him, but I beg that He counts it enough if only our eyes see it. For then no other voice or judgment reaches my ears. But what hoarding that is, isn’t it? I’m the tenant that buried the treasure in the field. Because he thought he knew what he was doing. He thought his master would be pleased that he didn’t fail, he didn’t lose it in the process of using it. But he was grievously mistaken. His master was saddened, for the tenant missed the mark completely. He wanted him to know how to use what he was given. To use it wisely, well and with discernment, so that he could see that what the Master gives, when invested well, is purposed to reap riches that cannot tarnish – harvest that never spoils.
I long to know how to use talents for more than a corner. To slice the shackles of fear and be free as He’s declared me long ago I am. He screamed it from a mountain. Why must I ask Him to repeat Himself? He finished His sentence on Golgotha – no…He finished His sentence at a rolled-away stone. An empty tomb. It’s my turn to speak sentences. He’s given me my voice. How can I understand that responsibility?
Ever day, I try to hear. Words like these, women like you both and precious others train my ears to behold the music of truth and dreams. God-dreams. For those are the only ones worth pursuing. Those are the one that will multiply to the corners of kingdoms – announcing the reign of the forever-King. Thank you ladies. You cannot know how much I am grateful for your bravery and modeled obedience.
(So sorry I’m so long winded! It emptied out of me before I could wrangle it in…)
I was unplugged last week and enjoying some time with old girlfriends (who aren’t that old, btw), so I’m late to this post. But I love that Kris used that Madeline L’Engle quote. I’ve had to preach it to myself on more times than I care to admit!
And Jennifer — love that you’re writing on Leviticus. I wrote on Deuteronomy in early 2012. Always fun to find a fellow OT nerd 🙂
I’m so glad I was finally able to read this article! What Kris said here is exactly how it works for me. I must admit though that at times I don’t want to go through the wrestling because it can be emotionally exhausting. I have found however that if I am willing to “push the words out” they will begin to flow on their own, and what started as a one sentence idea has suddenly turned into a blog post. This post has encouraged me to do the wrestling and not be intimidated by the challenge.