11 PRINCIPLES TO FINISH A BOOK—OR ANYTHING—AND AN ONLINE CLASS TO HELP!

on 24 September 2 Comments

To finish a project—and for me right now, that’s a book—I have learned that I need to remember some things. I made a list to help plant these concepts in my mind. I’d thought I’d share in case it helps any of my fellow future finishers! 

One—COMMITMENT: I am committed to finishing my book is because God told me to write my story.

In Scripture we are told: “It would be good for you to finish what you started… ” (2 Corinthians 8:10, NLT).

Two—HELP FROM GOD: The Finisher will help you finish. God will be with you to guide you, if you let Him. He will show you the next action steps not only in writing as in life. Just ask Him which project He wants you to write today and see what happens.

Three—STRUCTURE: Sometimes God sends a structure or a framework to help you. One of those structures is accountability. Accountability is the ONLY way I get any writing done. I created three online writing classes to ensure I write at least three days a week. Not only do I write but I also refresh my knowledge and keep adding new material that I am learning so that I don’t get bored. One of those classes, Finish Your Book Cowriting with the Holy Spirit, is starting September 30 (either live at 9:30–11:30 a.m.or recorded). If you are hoping to finish a book,  I invite you to join me—It’s only $99 for a seven week course—a bargain down from $242! 

Four—REMEMBER THE WHY: Along the way, we remember why we are doing what we are doing. In addition to obeying God, it’s about who we will serve. This week I’ve been editing a book that would have really helped me 15 years ago to break free from unwise relationship decisions. Her book—and mine—will help or inspire someone else in the future as well. 

Five—FRESH INSIRATION: Along with the “why,” we need fresh inspiration from people who have done what we are doing. In my Finish class, I infuse writing tips and quotes about writing from myriad sources. Different quotes and tips will help different participants!. 

Six—CLEAR SCOPE SIZE: To finish, we need to reign in or scope, to ensure the project doesn’t get out of control. In my Finish course, I talk about strategies to place time, topic, or other boundaries for individual books.

Seven—SPURTS: Short, intense spurts are often the way many people finish. Seven weeks is about the right amount of time for people to concentrate on one topic. That’s one reason why many schools have moved from semesters to quarters. My Finish class—and all my classes— are seven weeks. Plus, seven is the number of completion biblically, so we can trust it’s a good number. 

Eight—ASSIGNED TIME: Have focused, blocked-off time to finish. If you don’t block out time to work and turn off all other distractions, you most likely won’t make time to do the work. My Finish class has an hour of independent writing time built in during each of the seven session. 

Nine—HELP: Get help when you are stuck. I can’t tell you how many times a writer has come to me (and how I will go to another editor)to gain perspective on which way a book might go. In my Finish class, you can bounce ideas off of me, and I can give you an outside perspective that just may shatter your paralysis of analysis. I’ve helped more than 100 people finish their books in the last several years, and I’ve supervised or coached dozens of other writers for decades before that. 

Ten—TIMING: I ask myself, Is the timing right for this project? Fall, which it is as I write this blog post, is an ideal time to finish projects. Once the holidays arrive, many people do not have as much time to finish projects because your extra is taken up with decorating, cooking, shopping, hosting gatherings, and more. 

Eleven—WISDOM TO PIVOT: Sometimes you have to comeback later to fully finish everything—and that’s OK. God didn’t command us to finish; He just said it would be good to finish. Just like a home renovation project, it might be wise to do only one room at a time. Maybe not everything you envisioned can be done in the budget, and you also need to still have some livability in your house!

To give you one last analogy, when you go on a vacation, you don’t usually get to do everything you want to do. But, if you are like me, whenever you finish a vacation, you may think about what you will do next time and plan to come back. So, if you’ve been struggling to finish your book, let’s consider a book like a vacation. You have a limited time to work on it, but you could always come back in the editing process, or even another edition after you publish. 

Lastly, if this isn’t the time to finish, or God redirects you, I want to close by saying, that’s OK! When I was almost done with one book in the summer of 2020, God had me write a second one. Since they are part of a series and related, I needed to see how they fit together before I finished either. I kicked and screamed to God when I heard that, but now that I’m almost finished with the second book, I see the wisdom in it. It will seem easier to get a second one done after the first is published.

So, my final suggestion is to allow Him to direct your path—and remember, He is the ONLY Finisher, as in the second definition of the word, “finish,” which is to make perfect. Only He is perfect. No project, book, writer, or person is. That’s comforting. Because then we can all eradicate perfectionism. But that will be the subject of another blog 🙂  

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QUIET: A NEGATIVE LABEL NOW EMBRACED

on 14 September 0 Comment

As I was growing up, I was always called quiet. I hated that label, actually. I wished I could think of something to say at the right times in the right situations. I adored my third-grade teacher, the one who taught me to write stories, and even she called me “Quiet Quintessa.” I yearned to be one of the talkative girls, who garnered attention from everyone. 

Instead of talking and being the center of attention, I studied—not only books, but people. 

As I grew up, I found that many people came to me because they wanted someone to listen. They came because they saw me as somehow wise.

I was on honor council in high school, which was a liaison between students and the administration. I was chosen to be a tour guide because I welcomed visitors well, both listening to their needs and giving them just the right amount of information. 

I still hated that I couldn’t think as quickly as I wanted with a witty answer, but gradually, I grew to love the quiet. 

After a very short marriage, when the TV was loud and on constantly, even overnight, I promised myself that when I started my life over again, I would always give myself peace and quiet. Much of the time, I either sat in coffee shops or read books at home. 

When I wanted activity, I would go out to eat with friends or go dancing, listening to old-time swing music, which told stories of a simpler time. 

In general, though, I really valued quiet. Other people, just like when I was in school, started to come to me to find quiet. I’ve had many friends tell me I’m a calming presence. 

So, instead of resenting God for creating me as “quiet,” I’ve started to praise Him for His wisdom about how He specifically designed me. 

I praise God that he gave me a wonderful second marriage with a husband who watches TV as little as I do. We don’t even have regular TV. In recent memory, we have watched The Chosen and Christian conferences, with an occasional sentimental sporting event. 

But our day-to-day life is quiet. Partly because my husband raised his children before I knew him. 

On occasion, I struggle, longing for the activity of family. But then we visit grandchildren, parents, nieces, nephews, or siblings who have different preferences. Then, once again, I cherish the quiet. 

The quiet that enables me to hear God, to write His words, to feel His feelings, and to pass on His heart. 

The quiet that takes me away from the chaos of the world and enables me to enter into His restoration. 

His quiet shapes me—each and every day. 

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Write for the Fallen

on 11 September 0 Comment

I will write. 

Today is September 11, 2015—the 14th anniversary of the terror attacks on our country. It makes me sick to think of all those who lost their lives at the hands of criminals.

Their religion tells them to kill their enemies. Mine tells me to turn the other cheek to them by living out each of my days with intentional purpose. 

I don’t always live with intentional purpose well. I live with significant pain, which can keep me awake at night—and that often makes me too tired to want to get started in the morning. All I want to do is absorb information or sleep. But today, in an instant, I remembered that nearly 3,000 people were struggling with something that likely deferred their dreams. They hoped to get to that dream tomorrow—but for them, tomorrow never came.

We don’t know what God has planned. Tomorrow may never come for us either. We have to live like today may be all we have left. 

So I will write. I will write the words God places in my heart. I will not leave out His words because they may offend someone. 

I have been defeated not by these external enemies of our country but by inner fear demons who convince me that I don’t have anything worthy to say. I have capitulated because I have been too scared to let my voice be heard. I have not tried to counter with the truth. I have shriveled in the face of opposition because I want people to love me. I want to be hired. I want to lead a quiet life. 

But the reality is, not all of the Words God gives us are for the enjoyment and pacifying of others. Sometimes, the Words God gives us are a wake up call. Waking up His people to share His truth. Waking up His people to speak now because spreading His message is only getting harder.

We have to make our voices heard—for those whose voices were prematurely silenced by the evil in the hearts of others. If they were alive today, they would tell us to live our lives on purpose, because life is short. We need more people to know the truth of God’s love. It is only His love that transforms the heart of sin into one that loves others well. 

The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be to get our message out. The marketplace only becomes more crowded. We will have to push through more barriers to be heard. 

Today I also remember the birthdays of two people dear to me: my grandmother who taught me how to pray, and a high school friend who fought a valiant fight with cancer, but died as a young woman. I  am and will always be grateful to my grandma  and the closeness to God that prayer has created in my life. I know God is giving me courage because of it. However, my natural tendency is to keep to myself, much like my grandma did. 

I am asking God to help me also become like my friend. She was very influential because of her caring, magnetic, fun-loving personality. Although I am not sure that humor like hers is a gift of mine, I do want others to notice my care for them. My friend was also excelled in everything she did. She was the captain of the sports teams and homecoming queen. She had an amazing work ethic, pushing herself harder when she faced difficulties.

She encouraged me when she was losing her battle with cancer because she was still upbeat and others focused. She did not seem to retreat or shy away from others. She made the most of her time. And when her time was up, she was ready to begin the heavenly party without regrets because she lived life to the fullest. 

When my time is up—even at the end of each day—I want to be able to say that I lived each day to the fullest. I did push myself too hard for my corporate employers for nearly 20 years that when I finally began working for myself, I perhaps swung too much the other direction. I am asking God to help me swing my discipline pendulum back to the middle a bit.

I will find this balance so that I fulfill my calling of writing and sharing my message—in whatever form that takes. 

So I will write to live more fully.

So I will write to love. 

I will write to express God’s heart to His children.

I will write trusting in His overflow, and figure out how to get out whatever words He wants me to distribute. 

I will honor the legacy of those who didn’t have the opportunity to move forward with their dreams. 

I will stay centered in Christ and ask Him to conform my desires to His so that my most daring dreams also serve His purposes, and I am not really sure where He will lead me. But I am going to spend every day biting off a large chunk of the list. I am going to get done what God tells me to do—even if that is resting when I am in severe pain to lessen it so that I can have more productive concentrated times of productivity each day to get His words clearly on paper.

Will you join me?

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A Friend’s Question Becomes An Online Writing Course

on 10 September 0 Comment

You never know when a friend’s question may change your life, or set you in a new direction. That’s exactly what happened to me—and the result was me creating an online writing course series.

In 2017, a spirit-filled believer friend of mine asked:

“Could you help me write a book with the Lord?”

She knew that for many years I had worked as a managing editor, supervising and empowering writers, and that I had edited dozens of books. She also knew I was serious about seeking God in everything I do. 

As we were talking, I realized that there were many people like her—people who had a story or wisdom to share give—who believed they were being led by God to write a book. The problem for her, and many, is that they don’t know the steps to take to write a book. 

A day or two after we met, as I was praying, the phrase, “Cowriting with the Holy Spirit” popped into my head. 

At church that week, I saw my writers’ group leader, which was unusual. In more than three years of knowing her at our large church, I had never seen her there before at a Sunday service. 

I sensed God nudging me: “Go tell her about the idea.” It was one of those heart-beating-out-of-your-chest-moments that I knew I had to obey—or I would regret it. 

I was scared out of my mind, but I approached her anyway. 

I knew she would say, “So what are you going to do about it?” 

That conversation led to us arranging a 30-minute presentation in front of the writers’ group a couple months later. The presentation was set for February 26, 2018.

Several days before the presentation, I had looked up Holy Spirit verses and had plenty of writing knowledge to share from my career, but I didn’t have “the glue” that brought everything together. I sent out a prayer request for help. On the night of February 22 (I’ll share more why this date was important near the end), I was awoken in the middle of the night with a downpour of ideas, along with the framework of the talk. I don’t get up in the middle of the night to do anything—I love my beauty rest :).

For now, I’ll tell you that I confidently gave the presentation to more than 25 people. Many said they loved the material and encouraged me to take the topic further. One even said the talk could turn into a book someday. Perhaps that book is coming in 2022 🙂

I passed out a sign-up sheet offering those interested a seven-week, two-hour pilot online course. 17 people signed up. 

I had just heard about Zoom—I started using Zoom two years before Zoom became a household name 🙂

Here’s how I set up the course: 

  • We did a check-in, during which we go to know one another, shared some about our writing topics, and then we shared what our writing goals were for that day. 
  • I taught about the Holy Spirit and writing for 30 to 45 minutes. Then we wrote independently for 45 minutes to an hour. 
  • We finished with a 15 minute wrap up of how our writing went, including our victories, our struggles, and our next steps. 

I got the group’s feedback, which was that they grew closer to God, loved the format, and learned much about the writing craft. They said that the information was great, but too much to take in at one time. So, I split the course in two. 

Later, people wanted more on what happens after the writing was done, so I added an editing/publishing course. I again got the feedback that there was too much information, so I am currently splitting those two courses into two. 

All in all, I have taught two or three terms a year for three years. I’ve taught scores of writers, who have told their other writing friends. 

And books have has written, people have come to me for editing, and eventually publishing. All because I pondered a question, “Can you help me?”, and then heard a phrase, “Cowriting with the Holy Spirit.”

I have found such great joy in leading these classes. It’s like I finally found what I was made to do. 

I’d like to move to  an invitation…If you are struggling to get writing done, consider taking a class with me. The price is reasonable, and writing with others at a set amount of time is so much more effective for many people.

So, maybe I’ll see you in a class (or I’ll send you a recording if you can’t make it live). 

I also want to encourage you to ponder the questions of those around you. And listen to those phrases that pop into your head—you never know where they may end up leading you—and others.

The implications may be more far reaching than you know. 

With that idea, I’m going to circle back to why the date of when I got the framework of the talk. After the presentation, I experienced a couple months of heavy spiritual warfare. It almost made me want to cancel the course, which I knew was exactly what satan wanted. However, encouragement came right when I needed it.

On March 31, 2018, on The Elijah List, an email of prophetic words, I read a message from Kevin Basconi, out of North Carolina. He said that an anointing came over Tennessee, where I lived, on the SAME NIGHT that the Lord woke me up. Here’s a portion of his post:

“On February 22, 2018, Tennessee came to a place where God released something from the Kingdom of Heaven that is going to impact America. The Lord assigned and released specific angelic beings to minister for the saints (God’s friends) in Tennessee (Hebrews 1:14). The Lord released the anointing similar to Acts 2:22 (among others) into Tennessee…I was given the revelation that God released His angels of breakthrough, revival, and of harvest into Tennessee” (https://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=19916).

Wow. when I read this email, I felt so honored that I was being ministered to, that I received an angelic visitation, and that I was given some kind of anointing—I knew then that God had given me something that might make a difference. I’m not saying this class has had this kind of impact during the last three years. But could the dozens of authors that I’ve helped thus far, could their books impact people who impact people as time passes? You bet! 

I may not see the impact this side of heaven. And that’s OK. But I’m sure glad I followed Him, starting out by simply answering a question for a friend. 

What questions have your friends been asking you? 

Would you like to learn to Cowrite with the Holy Spirit

Courses start September 14–16, 2021.  

If you have any questions, please email me at loralpeopoon@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you.

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THE COURSES I WANTED (AND WANT) AS A FAITH-BASED WRITER

on 27 August 1 Comment

If you are like me, to start or finish the redemptive story God has called you to share, you may be looking to hear from God, to record what He says, to have built-in writing time and a bite-sized process to follow, to garner greater knowledge about best writing practices, and to have support from others.

In 2018, the Lord led me to put all of these elements together to create an online course series, Cowriting with the Holy Spirit with all of these elements. Although I had taken numerous writing classes while earning a master’s in journalism and throughout my 20-year career as a professional writer, managing editor, and creative director, none of the training I received—or sought—had the ideal combination for faith-based writers that I just described. 

So, I wrote a course! And another, and another! Now there are three 7-week, 2-hour online courses, taught over Zoom. 

I believe in these dark days, many of us who have a God story or have an inkling to write a heartwarming novel or encouraging devotional are being nudged to write by God to counteract all the difficult news and circumstances surrounding us.

If this sentiment pricks your heart and you feel like this is a “now time” for you to do something, I invite you to join me for an upcoming class, beginning in mid-September. In my opinion, preparing to share His messagesis paramount in this season.

If you enroll, you will have the opportunity to: 

  • Seek God about your writing, record His answers, and follow His guidance in every session through “abiding writing” prayers. 
  • Get step-by-step guidance to craft your manuscript in one of three classes to start your draft, push through the messy middle, or polish your work through self-editing. 
  • Hear time-tested truths from the writing craft integrated with insights garnered from three current author membership sites that would cost you $150 a month if you subscribed to all of them.
  • Be taught by an editorial veteran who understands the common struggles of writers after supervising, coaching, editing, publishing, and walking alongside hundreds of writers during the last two decades.
  • Write for an hour during class time, and be amazed at how much you get done.
  • Gather inspiration, encouragement, prayer, and friendship from other classmates.
  • Save money in editing because your writing will be better organized and cleaner with self-editing tricks
  • Relisten to the course recordings and refer to the slides for reference down the road.
  •  And much more!

I invite you to choose the course that’s best suited to where you are in the writing process. 

If you are just starting a new project, select ABCs of Cowriting with the Holy Spirit (on Wednesday mornings

If you are half way into your draft, enroll in Finish Your Book Cowriting with the Holy Spirit(best if you are 1/3rd or more into your draft) on Thursday mornings or Thursday evenings

If your draft is nearly finished, and you are ready to self-edit, sigh up for Co-editing with the Holy Spirit, offered on Tuesday mornings.

In these classes, it’s my joy to write with you, to share my knowledge, to provide spiritual guidance, to help you master the writing mindset, and to help foster a closer community so that we spur one another on until our books are done. 

I also am compelled to share this information at the price I would have wanted to pay. Although the gurus of online course creation suggest I charge much more, I want them to be more accessible. That’s why I’m offering the entire session—seven-weeks, two hour each—for only $99 through September 3. 

Can’t make the times the courses are offered? No worries! The courses are recorded, and although you will miss the interaction with the group, the information you learn and the course will be worth it if you can commit to write at least two hours a week. 

If you have read this far, and this appeals to you, enroll today! Or, if you know someone who has talked to you about an idea for a book, please forward them this blog.

I appreciate you! If you have any questions, please email me at loralpepoon@gmail.com. Blessings to you!

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Why a Cowriting with the Holy Spirit Class?

on 20 August 0 Comment

The Problem

Even though I’d had a successful editorial career as a managing editor, marketing manager, and creative director, something had been missing throughout my professional writing experience.

My natural talent or even trying really hard—didn’t cut it at all times. More often than I would like, I would cave under pressure, succumb to stress, or make major mistakes.. 

I felt a little better when I saw the same thing happen as I supervised incredibly talented writers and graphic designers in top corporations and universities in Chicago. I had seen them do incredibly wonderful work—most of the time. 

These troubles happened to me and others in every environment during the course of more than 20 years—in both agency and corporate—whether secular or Christian. 

What was missing?, I wondered More time for creative work, I thought. We were all under too much pressure from difficult deadlines and a strenuous workload. 

I dreamed of the day when I would have time to write as I wanted—without the pressure.

Would a different era bring hope for a resolution?

When I married my gracious husband, he understood my previous struggles with time for creative pursuits. He said, “We will have to live frugally, but take more time for your writing. Pursue your dreams. Help others part time if you want and write the rest of thetime.” 

I had that flexibility to write for years—and yet, I STILL didn’t finish a book. 

So, I’ve found, while more time could help—it may not. In reality, my own thoughts and circumstances have given me false justification to put my writing on the back burner despite the flexibility not to. 

And I know, from working with at least 200 writers over the last two decades, I’m not alone…However the blocks come, they come—and they keep us from starting or finishing.

I call these roadblocks writer stressors. Time and earning money are big ones.

Others include being overwhelmed with the enormity of a book or being indecisive, not knowing which of 50 ideas to execute first. 

I’ve battled fears that my writing won’t be good, or that it will only be interesting to me. 

I sometimes get stuck wondering if the time and money sacrifice will be worth it.

I get frustrated when I see that some online entrepreneur executes similar ideas to ones that I had years ago. 

And there are other stressors too. I know you know them…

But then as I was ready to throw in the towel and give up on my writing dreams, God nudged me, saying, “It’s not about you…it’s about your obedience and glorifying Me.” He reminded me that 1 Corinthians 2:10 tells us that we have received God’s Spirit, not the world’s spirit, so that we can know the wonderful things he has freely given us. 

In other words, the Holy Spirt, who guides us into all truth, will download to us in our writing.

A Revelation… 

Then the A-HA moment came, in the middle of the night, which is unusual for me.  

I had been praying, studying, and journaling with God, but I had never asked God to help me deal with these writer stressors. I searched for a class that combined writing strategies and getting free from these blocks by giving them to God, and I couldn’t find one.

So I responded. I tested this combination. And it worked wonderfully.

And I found that inviting the Holy Spirit into the work of writing, inviting Him to break down the barriers, was the missing ingredient I had been seeking for years. 

Therefore, I created an online seven-week pilot class, called Cowriting with the Holy Spirit, and over time, the class turned into a series of classes. Each class is seven weeks, with a two-hour session each week.  

All of the classes integrate the Holy Spirit into every part of the writing process. I also combine best practices that I learned from supervising and collaborating with writers over the last two decades to walk people through writing and editing their manuscripts. I’ve also added a synthesis of current information that I’ve learned from three well-respected writing subscription training services. If you subscribed to each of these, you would pay more than $150 a month.   

Because the most progress is made when writers actually do the work, I include an hour of independent writing time embedded in the class time, during which people may apply what they have just learned.

As we learn and work, we form a creative community for encouragement and accountability.

I have had dozens of students participate, saying this practice and format helped them experience breakthroughs and make the progress they desired. Not only that, but they have said that God had ministered to their own hearts through their writing efforts. 

And, they love having a prayer record of their writing journey, during which they often receive new ideas. These classes offer a win-win for all writers! 

So why am I sharing this with you all, now? Because classes start next month. 

I’d love to have you in a class and to write with you so that we can both experience this win-win, and spur each other on.

If you want to learn more about various courses, read the descriptions. 

Enroll now—at a deeply discounted price. 

Blessings on your writing! 

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