Last month Carolyn and I were honored to have author and speaker Dianne Barker as our guest on Christian CommunicatorsLIVE! BlogTalk Radio as she shared her story of reinventing herself after a pause in her writing and speaking ministry. But as is often the case with radio, we couldn’t get all her great information in one 30-minute program!
So we’ve invited Dianne to share her complete list of suggestions for those whose ministries have been put on hold. Thanks, Dianne!
Reinventing Yourself for a Comeback, by Dianne Barker
When the Lord led me away from public life, he gave me a promise that someday he would enlarge my life again and confidence “…that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIV)
What about you? Have life’s detours dimmed your dreams? Do you feel drained…empty? Don’t give up! Dust off those dreams. Take your emptiness to the Lord and let him refill your hope!
Here are twenty steps for beginners or beginning-againers—and anyone else who’s ready to jump into the Reinvention Marathon.
The starting line…
- Absolute requirements: a website; business cards and one-sheet about your life and ministry; a social media presence.
- Attend writers conferences to network with writers and editors.
- Submit articles/devotionals to magazines so you’ll have clips to show editors; do an internet search for magazine submission guidelines.
- Save everything you write, even personal letters or emails. Consider developing those thoughts into devotionals.
- If your circumstances are too complicated to pursue publishing, accept that you are in this place by God’s design.
- Journal as part of your daily quiet time with the Lord. Those notes may turn into devotionals.
- Write as you go. I make notes on envelopes, receipts, napkins, even my hand so I don’t lose a thought.
- File thoughts topically in folders or computer folders. When you’re ready to write an article or a book, you’ll have ample material. It’ll be a matter of organizing thoughts.
- Serve the Lord where you are. During my shrunken-life period, the Lord gave me a mentoring ministry to young women seeking marriage and parenting advice. I shared principles the Lord was teaching me. Those one-on-one teaching opportunities became the foundation for my next two books: Help! I’m Stuck and I Can’t Get Out! The Maximum Marriage Maintenance and Repair Kit and Safely Through the Bulrushes—Anchors for Parenting the Strong-Willed Child.
- When the dust of life settles, make yourself available for speaking events. Send an introductory letter and your one-sheet to friends and relatives asking them to pass the information on to the pastor or women’s ministry coordinator at their church.
- Watch for opportunities. I saw a small newspaper article about a local library’s monthly book club meeting. I offered to speak and they’ve had me twice!
- When you speak, offer a sign up form for your email updates. I promise not to bombard them with trivial mail. I do let them know when I have a new book available or a book signing or speaking event.
- Make it easy for event planners. Prepare your own press kit with short bio, photo, and news release. Include the five W’s for journalism: who, what, when, where, why. If the event planner doesn’t send this to media, ask her permission to do it yourself. Keep a file with media information—name, phone number, email address, deadline for news.
- Organize your life. My latest book began about twenty-five years ago with a desire that my time on planet earth count for eternity. That meant I had to get organized and stop wasting my life searching for misplaced items and rescheduling missed appointments. I begged the Lord to help and he did an amazing work.
- Stay positive. Don’t let rejection crush you. Discouragement is paralyzing.
- Encourage yourself. When David was “greatly distressed,” he “encouraged himself in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30:6 KJV).
- When others succeed and you seem to be spinning your wheels, remember you are not competing for God’s will for your life! So what if someone else writes the book you intended to write? God can give you fresh ways to express his timeless truths.
- Get over your feelings of inferiority and low esteem. Speak truth to yourself. What does God think of you?
- He knows you by name.
- He says you are precious in his sight.
- He loves you with an everlasting love.
- He delights in you.
- He has imprinted you on his heart.
- He has engraved you on the palms of his hands.
- He takes care of sparrows, and he considers you of greater worth than many sparrows.
- Memorize Scripture. The promises of God will change your thinking, strengthen your resolve, and direct your steps.
- Persevere! God has chosen you for a purpose; your response is obedience.
The finish line…
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith….” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV).
Bio: Dianne Barker is a conference speaker, freelance journalist, radio host, and author of eleven books including the 1986 best-seller Twice Pardoned (life of Harold Morris and first book for Focus on the Family Publishing). Her new book, I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life, gives practical strategies to organize space, time, and family chaos while encouraging personal renovation—purging interior garbage (inferiority, low esteem), and submitting fully to Christ, gateway to balance and abundant living. Visit Dianne’s website at DianneBarker.com.