Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks Conference

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Today I am going to be taking some time to answer a few questions that have been tossed my way by Proverbs 31 Ministries president Lysa TerKeurst. She has been hosting a discussion this weekend about the She Speaks Conference that we at Proverbs 31 hold each summer. Many gals are curious about what this conference is or have tossed around the idea of writing or speaking before. What about you? Have you ever dreamed of being a writer or a speaker? Have you longed for God to use you in women’s ministry in some capacity? Have these desires been in your mind and on your heart but you simply had no idea how to get started? Well…have I got some wonderful news for you!

At Proverbs 31 Ministries we hold an annual conference every summer called She Speaks. It is based on Proverbs 31 verse 26 “She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Our desire is to have women come together to learn about answering God’s call on their life in the area of ministry. And this involves many aspects including discerning the call, being prepared through prayer and spiritual growth as well as very practical aspects such as how to write a book proposal, how to find speaking topics that fit, audiences that want to listen and organizing your piles and files. We also have a complete women’s ministry track that covers even more specific topics such as successful event planning.

I’ll be answering the following questions about this topic today on my blog as I have time. (Right now I am headed into town for an appointment but will be back soon!) If you have any other questions that you’d like answered, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try my best to respond!

Here are the questions I’ll be addressing today:

  • How do you get started writing or speaking?
  • What about marketing yourself? Doesn’t that seem self-promoting? Shouldn’t you just let God open the doors?
  • How can you tell if you have a message that others will listen to?
  • How do you find balance between being a wife and mother and having a writing or speaking ministry?

Well…..I’ll be back soon to answer these questions and any others that may come in. In the mean time, hop on over to Lysa’s site to learn more about this summer’s She Speaks Conference! I’d love to see you there!

Cyber Blessings,

Karen

Well…..I’m back…….And now……here are my answers!!!

  • How do you get started writing or speaking?

If God has laid a message on your heart or has taught you an important life lesson that He wants you to share with others, He will make a way!. You don’t need to start big by writing a book or speaking to audiences of thousands. You just need to start simple. Tell your story. To anyone who will listen. You can offer to speak at your local youth group or ladies Bible study. Write an article for your church’s newsletter or website. Post comments on someone else’s blog or website. Also, If it is a particular subject you desire to speak or write on, begin to fill your files. Save all quotes, articles, statistics and material from your own life that you can get on the subject. You’ll begin to build a pool of information that will help to round out your talk or your writings. Remember, it is God’s job to broaden your platform. It is your job to be faithful to tell your story.

  • What about marketing yourself? Doesn’t that seem self-promoting? Shouldn’t you just let God open the doors?

Coming up with a strategies for marketing is not wrong. If God wants to get your message out, you will need to do your part. I was very concerned about this 15 years ago when I started. Because I am a persuasive person, I feared that I would be able to talk people into publishing my articles, hiring me to speak, etc… So I was cautious. I wanted to be sure that it was God bringing me exposure. So for over 10 years, I never marketed myself. I let God open all the doors–doors that included being on Focus on the Family, several national television shows and writing four books. However, eventually I did get a website and began to do a little marketing. All of this to say, seek God on this topic. You know your personality and what is over the line for you. It is alright to knock on some doors. I just don’t recommend going around and trying to kick them down. It usually turns out horribly.

  • How can you tell if you have a message that others will listen to?

Take a look around. Are there other articles or books written on the topic? Do an Internet search. Are there resources out there on it? Test it out on some friends or in some chat rooms. Do other women seem interested in it? If so, move forward.

  • How do you find balance between being a wife and mother and having a writing or speaking ministry?

Again, this was a huge concern for me. I have come to the conclusion that it is all a matter of priorities. Are you making your family your main ministry and tucking your writing or speaking in around the edges? Or, are you focusing so much on your ministry that your husband and kids get all of your leftover time and energy? Only you (and your family) can answer that. Also, get creative! In my early days when I was still having babies, I only took speaking engagements at MOPS groups during the day when my husband, who got to pick his one day a week off, could watch the kids for a few hours. My first three books were written in the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day between the hours of 5:00-9:00 a.m. This way it did not interfere with my homeschooling schedule nor did my kids resent my always being at the computer. Now that they are older, (ages 10-16) I can be more flexible. My 16 year old daughter often accompanies me on speaking trips as my assistant and many times I take the whole family. The boys hang out at the hotel with their dad and swim and eat pizza. They help inventory my books and count money from my book table. It really is our whole family’s ministry! I’ve also asked God to bless my family as a result of my saying yes to His call to me to speak and write. They have gotten to travel to some fun places, meet wonderful people and even were granted backstage passes to meet their favorite Christian singer Tobymac! It has been a wonderful, faith-filled family adventure.

Again, I would encourage you to prayerfully consider attending this year’s She Speaks Conference. You’ll be blessed and offered direction! It is a fabulous starting point. Good luck!!!

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12 Comments

  1. Thank you for taking the time to allow God to use you for helping others. You are not only very interesting, but you challenge us to grow spiritually by asking ourselves qustions that keep us accountable before our Lord. Personally, I also enjoy your sense of humor. I make an intentional effort to surround me with people who have the gift of being able to make me laugh. In fact, with my specific personality, I need people in my life who love me enough to keep me spiritually accountable and can bring laughter to my soul. You are one of those people! Thank you.

  2. Debbie–
    Please, send me the web address of your blog. I’d love to take a peek sometime when I have time. Blessings! Karen

  3. Thank You SO much for answering these questions. Your answers have REALLY helped me…especially the one on marketing. I feel God has called me to write and people say I am gifted and need to get published. I do write for one online magazine (heartbeatthemagazine.com) but I have had people telling me I need to submit my work to other people. I just struggle with feeling like I am promoting me rather than God. I do post most of my work on my blog. I would love to have you read it and give me your opinion.

    Thank you!

  4. Karen, thanks for these helpful answers. I also appreciated your answer in the comments above. Rejection has stalled me for now, but I need to hear “no” as not right now or not in this way. Thanks.

  5. Jodie
    YES!!!! I do struggle with wondering if my writing is good enough.That is when you must have an honest, objective person who will critique your writing and help you to see places for improvement. Of course family members will tell you that your material is great. They want to be encouraging. And if they really think your writing is less-than-stellar, they may hesitate in telling you so for fear of hurting your feelings.
    As for rejection…I have come to see it as God’s direction. My first book proposal made it all the way to the final stages at a major publishing house before being turned down because a well known author wanted to write a book on the same topic. I was crushed!! However, fast forward four years…. I had now grown so much in the area I wanted to write about and the book took on a whole new twist. It was published by a different house for a higher advance and I even appeared on Focus on the Family for five weekends in a row talking about my book! Rejection doesn’t mean no. It just means not now or not in this way.

  6. Have you ever struggled with knowing if your writing is “good enough”? I have had family and friends tell me my writing is good, but sometimes wonder if it is “publish” worthy.

    Also, how do you deal with rejection?

  7. Karen, thank you so much for answering all those questions. I have learned so much. I’m so excited with the idea of purchasing folders and organizing all the quotes, illustrations, ideas etc…that I have been collecting for years – although – the task of sorting them right now seems a little daunting.
    Also, really appreciated your comments concerning self-promotion. God has totally led me all the way thus far – and I know He will continue to do so.
    Thanks for taking the time to share so much to help and encourage others.
    Blessings,
    Joy

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