Category Archives: Writing
Before I tell you about my new favorite resource I need to tell you that you really MUST come join me on Instagram because I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN WITH INSTAGRAM STORIES. I’ve been talking in a Scottish accent and everything. Yes, it’s silly, but it’s a relief. You can’t see the stories on your computer, only on your smart phone, so if you have one of those, go to Instagram.com/sarahmaewrites and join me in the fun!
Okay, what I want to tell you…
I AM LOVING HOPE WRITERS.
Love, love, love, love, love.
I haven’t loved a writing resource since Author Launch, which has sadly gone away for now (BRING IT BACK TIM GRAHL), but Hope Writers is AMAZING. Can you tell I love it? I can’t praise it enough.
Okay, details would be helpful, yes? Yes.
Hope Writers is a site and community for writers who want to grow in the craft, learn about publishing, be encouraged, and hob knob with others writes. Well, not really Hob Knob because apparently that means drink together (I just looked it up). But you know…anyway… It was created by Emily Freeman, Myquillin Smith (The Nester), Brian Dixon (marketing dude), and Gary Moreland (Emily and Myquillin’s dad who is super encouraging) and they are KILLING IT with excellent content and a thriving community.
I’m telling you all this for a few reasons: 1.) Emily just wrote the most EPIC post on the publishing process that I have every seen. She shares her whole journey, from idea to writing to getting an agent to publishing to editing to marketing to ALL OF IT. It’s 5,000 words. She shares her book proposal and everything. It’s GOLD.
2.) Most Facebook communities I’ve been in or seen are lack luster and eventually die. NOT THE HOPE WRITES COMMUNITY. It is thriving. Emily and the team lead the way and facilitate conversation and answer questions and it is SO HELPFUL. They have live videos, interviews with agents, publishers and authors, practical teaching, and a constant stream of resources, like the Hope Writes Summit which I had the honor of being a part of.
Hope Writers Online Summit – 12 Interviews with Authors and Editors
The boundaries of book writing with Sarah Mae
Summary: The dream is to write and write well. To touch lives. To share a message. The dream is not to burn out. Sarah Mae found herself in that place where fear, people-pleasing, and sheer exhaustion dominate the heart instead of the joy of writing. Sound familiar?
In this interview, Sarah Mae offers her insight on the boundaries of book writing. Through choosing to take a writing sabbatical, she was able to breathe for the first time in a long time and discovered what truly brings her life. She found freedom from commitments, not by abandoning them, but by recognizing neither her publisher nor her book “own her.” Knowing your capacity as you continue to write will protect your soul and preserve your sanity.
Become a Hope Writer and CHECK OUT THE INTERVIEW!
3.) I’m telling you about this useful, encouraging, and nurturing site and community because if you want to write or currently write, you will be inspired and given practicals tools to help you in your writing. I am hosting a writing retreat in a couple of weeks and I know many of you wanted to be a part of it but couldn’t. YOU CAN DO THIS. Hope Writers is inexpensive (I think it’s $18 a month or $179 a year – WELL WORTH IT), and actually helpful.
I’ve seen tons of courses and communities, and rarely have I seen something as well done as Hope Writers. All to say, it has my highest endorsement and I stand 100% behind my endorsement. If you are a writer or want to be, it is my number one resource I recommend.
With that said, head HERE to check it out. You’re welcome. And make sure to say “Hi” to me in the FB community!
One last thing…
Want to pick my brain on writing?
Want to bounce ideas with me? Leave a comment and I’ll randomly pick someone to have a writing date with me on the phone! FUN TIMES.
Love, Sarah Mae, Hope Writer
P.S. Emily is hosting a FREE webinar THIS THURSDAY on finding your ideal reader – check it out HERE!
My affiliate link is used in this post. If they didn’t have an affiliate program, I would still be sharing this with you because I LOVE IT. Just sayin’. You can read my disclosure policy here.
UPDATE! I put tickets on sale for this event and it is now SOLD OUT!
So I’ve been dreaming again…
Of a writing retreat and intensive for women that offers a beautiful space, encouragement, practical help, and one-on-on coaching from myself and a woman who specializes in writing, organizing, and editing.
I love the idea of spending intimate, up-close time with women who have a dream of writing a book and want to find space and grace with other writers while learning and being encouraged in the soul work that is writing.
I want to spend time with and encourage those who need to get away and find the freedom to write and be with other creatives as they nurture the unknown thing that is burning in them, that compels them to write but aren’t sure for what purpose yet.
And I want to be with those who have begun a book but need help fleshing it out and finding the time to breathe life into it.
I want to create an exhale for you writers out there who feel stuck or lost or blocked or discouraged. I want to be able to look into your eyes and hear your voice and listen to your story and offer whatever I can to encourage you and help you in your writing journey. I want to offer you tangible, practical help with your writing as well the inspiration to keep on in it, which is why I will also have an expert with me that compliments me. I am a visionary and have experience in writing and publishing. But I’m weak when it comes to organizing and details. My co-host shines when it comes to details and figuring out, “How do I organize my book? What do I need to do for editing? PRACTICAL ADVICE PLEASE!” She will meet those needs, while I will help you with vision and ideas and the heart of your story.
And the best part? We will be spending Friday afternoon, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning together, up close and personal. We will write, we will learn, we will laugh, we will have good food and wine, and we will have time and space to think and breathe and let the words ease out of us.
But here’s the thing: I need to know if there is enough interest in this intensive to pursue, because the lovely place I will be renting is quite expensive, hence, this retreat, while offering incredible value, will be expensive.
When: The intensive/retreat would be held Friday, (3pm) February 10th – Sunday (9:30am), February 12th.
Where: In a beautiful 4,000 square foot home on 30 acres in a small little town in PA. (Free shuttle to and from the Harrisburg airport which is about 45 minutes from the location.)
Who: I will host and lead the retreat along with a Denise Hughes.
How Many: There is only space for 15 women (I have 9 single beds and 3 queens you could share with a friend – sharing would offer a slight discount)
Cost: It will be around $799, which would include your stay, all food for the weekend, up-close and personal time with myself and a writing/editing/organizing expert, one-on-one coaching with us, teaching sessions, space to write, a writing packet, and gift. Full payment would be due when you purchase the ticket.
Again, there are only 15 spots for this intensive retreat. If you are interested in the retreat, please sign up below. I will send out more info (exact date and price) soon. The spots will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. Thanks! Here’s hoping for a cozy winter writing retreat together!
I am so sorry for not being as consistent as I’d like to be with 31 Days to Clean. HELLO LIFE. You all understand. Back at it soon because KEEPIN’ ON! But today…
My kids are sick and I am up to my eye-balls in edits for my new book. So, I offer you a guest post that is long overdue from my friend Shawn Smucker. I ADORE him and his family, and I am so excited to be able to share his good words today on listening to the brave voices when the scared voices want you to quit. Also, he has written a GREAT book (that I am half-way through and LOVING) called, The Day the Angels Fell.
Get the Kindle version for only 3.99!
There are a lot of voices in my head.
Don’t look at me that way. I know you have your own voices. My voices tend to ask leading questions, things like “Don’t you think writing stories is kind of a waste of time?” or “Why would anyone read what you write?”
My voices are mostly a bunch of jerks.
* * * * *
In the spring of 2013, I managed to plug my ears and pound out a children’s novel. It’s a book about a tough subject, death, but as Madeleine L’Engle wrote, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” It was a difficult book, so I guess there should be no surprise that it ended up being a book for children.
My kids gave me some ideas as we sat around our large dining room table one spring night, brainstorming. Outside the house, everything was green and coming alive. But inside of me spring felt far away. I had gone through a tough spell, one that began after writing a memoir for a dying man in Istanbul. I had developed a fear of death that became a nagging presence in the back of my mind.
By the end of the summer I finished the first draft of The Day the Angels Fell, and that’s when the voices amplified. They told me I was too busy to take the book any further, that no publisher would want it, and even if one did, no human being would enjoy it. It grew dusty the way unopened computer files can.
Then two high school friends died, young men in their mid-30s. Cancer took one; a car crash took the other. I knew I had to finish this book about the boy named Sam, a boy determined to find the Tree of Life so that he could bring his mother back to life. I had to finish it because I had to work my way through the feelings I was having about death, and I didn’t know where else to head but back into that story.
* * * * *
When I couldn’t get any firm publisher interest, I decided to do a Kickstarter campaign. By now the voices were at a fever pitch. They were intense, not making any sense, like your great-aunt Bertha at Thanksgiving, pinching your cheeks, complaining about dinner not being ready yet, calling you by your cousin’s name.
“You’ll never raise the money you need in order to publish the book!” the voices screamed over and over again. “Now you’re failure will be public! Everyone will watch your downfall!”
I hit my Kickstarter goal in two days.
I sold over 500 copies of the book in the first month. It’s not a New York Times bestseller by any means. But for me? It was perfect, because it defied the voices. Even more importantly, it led me on a journey during which I began to come to terms with my mortality.
I get messages every week now from people whose children are loving the story (and from adults who are enjoying it just as much). One woman told me she couldn’t get her daughter to do her holiday reading time until she picked up my book, The Day the Angels Fell – after that she couldn’t get her to go to bed because she wants to stay up all night reading. Another woman told me she was reading the book to her four kids and her daughter started using her Playmobil set to recreate scenes from the book.
I have to be honest – those messages nearly bring me to tears with relief and happiness. But mostly relief, because it feels really good when you prove those voices wrong.
Listen, I don’t care what your voices are saying. They know your weak spots; they know how to push your buttons. Because, well, they are you, a part of you, the part that is a little scared, a little lonely, a little insecure. But there are brave parts of you as well, confident parts (trust me). These parts know what has to be done. (TWEET THIS)
You know the work you’ve been created to do.
So, start doing it.
Description of The Day the Angels Fell:
When a summer thunderstorm drives 12-year-old Samuel Chambers into a local antique shop, he finds himself watching through a crack in the door as three old fortune tellers from a visiting fair scratch a message onto the surface of a table: “Find the Tree of Life.” Tragedy strikes his family less than 24 hours later, and as those words echo in his mind he realizes that Finding the Tree of Life is his only hope. His quest to defeat death entangles him and his best friend Abra in an ancient conflict, and a series of strange events leads them closer to the Tree, closer to reversing the tragedy that took place. Can death be defeated? But as his own personal quest unfolds, Samuel comes face to face with a deeper, more difficult question: Could it be possible that death is a gift?
I am telling you, GO get your copy of The Day the Angels Fell and curl up and ENJOY. It’s for adults as well. 🙂
– REGISTRATION FOR THIS SESSION IS NOW CLOSED –
In the meantime, check out Hope Writers – it’s AMAZING!
Me talking about being free to write the story you’ve been given
It’s taken me nearly two years to finish the book I was contracted to write over three years ago.
Through December I busted my tale to finish so that we could get the book out in August. And it about killed me. With a few thousand words still left to write, I called up a friend of mine in tears. “I have nothing left in me. I have given all of me to this book and the thought of pushing out a few thousand more words seems impossible. I don’t know what to do.”
And my friend said to me, “Well, can you just leave it as it is?”
The thought that the book could be complete without meeting a specific word requirement was something I didn’t think of. I mean, books are supposed to be a certain length, and if you don’t have the length, you just make and stretch words until you’ve met the quota. But I didn’t want to just add words, I wanted to share the message I had without forcing more into it. So this is the reality of publishing. And there is nothing wrong with it, if you have the integrity to write in-depth on a topic. Some messages are 20,000 words and some are 70,000. The message you have is what it is, no less, no more.
How do you know if you’re writing from a place of integrity? You write from your own well.
As I sat holding the phone to my ear, my friend on the other line prayed for me. And then she said something profound. She said, “Sarah, if I go pick up a book from so and so, and it is Holy Spirit led (he was compelled to write it), it brings relief to my soul. If so and so writes another book because now he has fame or a deadline or for any other reason than that he has a message from his well, the book won’t bring relief; it will leave me parched.”
I don’t ever want to leave my readers parched. I want to bring them relief so that they can keep on in this life.
We must write from our own well (tweet that), from the story we’ve been given, from the message we are compelled to share.
This is one of the lessons I’ve learned as a writer, and it is this lesson that I will cling to as I move forward as a creator.
If you are a creator, and you have a message, a story, to share that you are compelled to share, then it will bring relief to someone who needs to hear it. And you must tell it, because it is in your soul to do so.
For all of you out there who are reading this and thinking, “Yes, that’s me. I have a story and I want to share it!” Then I have a resource for you.
In December I had the honor of being a part of creating a course called, Author Launch. It is a course for those of you who want to tell your story through writing a book. Before I tell you more about it, take a look at a sample video from the course:
The beautiful thing about this course is that you have 10 experienced writers walking alongside you for 46 weeks as you write your book.
Each of these authors has something to offer you that will help you immeasurably. For example, Crystal Paine’s marketing advice is out of the this world. She is absolutely BRILLIANT when it comes to understanding the techniques for getting your story to the world (her marketing knowledge is mind-blowing, and it alone is worth hundreds of dollars). Then of course you have self-published writers like Josh Becker who has sold over 60,000 of his book and is now being published traditionally, Donald Miller who is a veteran writer with massive experience and talent, and Jeff Goins who grew his blog to over 100,000 readers in under two years. You guys, these people know their stuff, and they are walking with you through this course.
Crystal Paine on Marketing
The course is filled with this kind of practical knowledge.
Now that you’ve seen some sample videos, let’s get more specific.
Why Author Launch?
Here is how myself and the other writers are going to help you during the 46 weeks:
- We will take you step-by-step in writing your book. By the end of 46 weeks you will have a completed book (if you’ve done the work!).
- You will receive weekly emails with detailed help and practical steps for each stage of the book writing process. These emails will come with videos from all of us authors.
- A nearly 50,000 word PDF book to guide you during the course.
- We will help you to not only write your book, but get it ready for the publishing process.
- We will teach you how to get the word out about your book so your message can get to as many people as possible.
If you were to hire just one of these writers for consulting, if would cost you between $300 and $1000. If you were to sign up for a college or business school course on writing and marketing, you’d be paying hundreds of dollars, and you still wouldn’t have access to all of these amazing writers.
Friends, I 100% endorse this course. It is just done so well. It is a phenomenal resource that I wish I would have had when I was starting out, especially because I could have really used the accountability, encouragement, expertise, and step-by-step help to work consistently on my book.
If you’d like to join me and 9 other writers as you get that message in your soul to the world, just click HERE. REGISTRATION CLOSES ON
JANUARY 31ST! MONDAY (February 2nd) at 11:59 pm EST! We begin together on February 2nd.
I can’t wait to hear your story.
Oh, and by the way, I am so pleased with the book I was able to write. In fact, I’m giddy over it. It is a message from my own well and I cannot wait to share it with you all. 🙂
P.S. Isn’t my makeup lovely? My talented make-up artist sister did it! If you’re around the Nashville area and you’re looking for someone to beautify you, check her out HERE!
There are affiliate links in this post. You can read my disclosure policy here.
I have always dreamed of being able to write in a cabin in the woods with a fireplace and a dog.
You can read a bit more about that dream here.
Well friends, my dream came true. I had the privilege of spending a glorious weekend working on my book at the Furnace Hills Bed & Breakfast. And ya’ll, it was perfect.
The owners, Liz and Ben, were absolutely gracious and wonderful. They let me take over their Bed & Breakfast in exchange for me to write something up about their sweet home. Well I can tell you, I wholeheartedly recommend the Furnace Hills Bed & Breakfast in Denver, PA. The place is cozy, unassuming, and completely charming. If you’re a writer you will especially love Furnace Hills as it provides the perfect writing environment. You can write in your bedroom, on the couch in front of the furnace, or in the cozy nook on the indoor balcony. Coffee is always available because they have mugs and a Keurig right outside your bedroom door (or just a few steps away). And the bedrooms…simply delightful. Wood floors, a window that overlooks the woods, and a door leading right outside. I had a little electric heater for the cold nights, but I easily stayed warm as I burrowed under the layers of thick blankets and soft sheets. In the morning I took a shower and wouldn’t you know, they even had a built in heater in the bathroom you could turn on to stay toasty.
And the best part I bet, which I actually missed, was Liz’s home-cooking! She wasn’t there when I stayed (she is normally there for guests), and so on top of all the goodness that I experienced, you would also have some delicious food!
Friends, truly, this place is a gift. I am completely taken with it and am already planning my next trip.
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a writer’s retreat, or just a comfy place to stay while you’re in PA, do yourself a favor and plan a trip to the Furnace Hills Bed & Breakfast.
Dreaming of my next visit,