Sheila's Motto

"Endeavor to enhance the lives of others through education and encouragement."

Monday, May 29, 2017

ICAN Assists Idaho Author, Elaine Oostra

Five years ago, if you would have told me I would publish two books and work on a third one, I would seriously think you were hallucinating.  Even though I had thought of writing, I saw too many obstacles, and I felt inadequate. My grammar and spelling are terrible! I did not know a thing about how to even start to write a book, let alone publish it. There was this yearning in me to tell my story. I had different parts of it written down, so I started to put it together. Now, what do I do?  I prayed!  

A friend told me about a writers group called ICAN. Two times a year they have writing conferences where you can submit 1500 words and have it critiqued, and you may win a prize for the category in which you submitted your work.  I submitted what I felt was the best part of my story.  I didn’t win anything.  Honestly, I was disappointed and even mad at myself for thinking I could write.  I was going to give up. 

My friend that I went with encouraged me not to give up but to talk to one of the ICAN co-founders.  I did want to find out what I did wrong.  JoEllen, one of the editors, let me see my critiqued paper.  I scored badly on anything that had to do with grammar. She reassured my story was wonderful and please don’t give up. I hired JoEllen as my editor. ( It's why God created editors for people like me). She has been wonderful.  I know she is a gift from God to me and has been patient and long-suffering with me.  Each one of the ICAN women is gifted and eager to help any new author who wants to write.  I love encouraging others to attend an ICAN conference or event when they tell me they want to write but don't know what to do.

My first book, One Brick at a Time, is my life story about being raised by a mother who suffered from a mental illness. I wrote it to encourage others to trust God with trials in their lives. God does have a plan! It’s a story about emotional healing from bitter roots that are buried deep and need to be exposed and pulled out.

My second book, In the Same Way, Teach, is a Bible study for women which is taken from Titus 2:1-5. As mature women, we are to lead holy lives so that we can teach younger women and girls by example and by words. It’s a 13-week study which covers being secure and confident in Christ, knowing truth, the meaning of love, marriage, what is submission and more.

The third book I am still working on is also based upon Titus 2:1-5.  It is titled In the Same Way Learn.  I have been leading Bible studies with teen girls for over 15 years.  This study will be a collection of what I have taught them.  It will be similar to the women's study but geared toward teens.

I have a deep desire to write more Bible studies. I am learning not to listen to self-doubt but listen to the Holy Spirit. He will supply all my needs!

If I had never gone ( I almost didn’t go!) to that first ICAN conference, my book would still be under the couch unfinished. I have learned so much, and I have more to learn about writing! I have learned not to let my inadequacies stop me. I still do not like grammar, and my spelling isn't great.  There are so many wonderful tools out there to help. I know more than I did two years ago. I know how to publish a book. I know I can publish a book.

In His great Love,
Elaine Oostra

Idaho Creative Authors' Network (ICAN) is hosting a one day writing event on July 8th, 2017 at Givens' Hot Springs to assist new authors or already published ones.  The four co-founders, JoEllen Claypool, Sheila Eismann, Carol Green, and Phyllis Nettleton have collectively published over 30 books to date.  They have a heart to help authors succeed.  Here's the web link to register for the upcoming event which includes a bar-be-que lunch, drawing for fabulous door prizes, and access to the wisdom and knowledge of the four co-founders.  

Relax and Refresh Writers' Retreat

Happy Reading & Writing.  ICAN Teamwork makes it happen!

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