Why Didn’t You Tell Me?

I wrote this for you. If you’ve been hurt by church like I was, or you think they’re a bunch of hypocrites, that isn’t the church; that is people failing to love instead of fear. That means you’re worth something. The devil doesn’t push back at you for doing the wrong thing.

Why Didn’t You Tell Me?

Nobody ever told me I could have this.
No one said Jesus gives more than hell or not.
Why didn’t you tell me He brings life?
Why didn’t anyone say it’s about more than just not dying?

So now it’s like I’m in the wrong room.
Now it’s like the walls are glass.
Yeah, I can see how you’re walking,
I can hear all your talking.

But this glass keeps lying to me.
Yeah, it keeps saying I’m worthless.
Like I can’t accomplish, can’t rise above.
It says God Jehovah can’t do more.

Well guess what.
I’ma tell you what!

All of those were lies
Yeah the glass just tells you lies.
I gotta look past, I gotta rise up.
Faith. Yeah they say you gotta
Believe in Him or it’s like He disappears.
I’m leaning too close, the glass is fogging.
I’m believing in You, but I’m doubting myself.

Can’t you stop and see?
Can’t you break the glass?
Yeah tell me He’s head over heels.
Tell me He’s ecstatic at the sight of me.

I know I’m bad, tell me how good He is!
I already know I can’t do it,
Why do you keep repeating yourself?
The victory is won! The battle is done!
I’m saved, free and whole!
I’m made clean and holy!
I’m regarded as undefiled. Untouched!

Thanks, but I’d rather have Him.
Thanks, but I’d rather be me.
Thank you for all your advice.
You’re just completing your life.

I’m gonna live mine.

The Book of Life

I was writing out my thoughts the other day when this story came out. I journal most days as a part of my prayer time with God and it’s awesome but I rarely end up with anything coherent. It’s just thoughts on a page, you know? Anyway, the beginning of this came to mind as I got going. I thought He was showing me something I’d seen before, but it went in a totally new direction.

(Please note: I will credit the Lord with every creative urge that can build someone up, but I’m not trying to add to anything He has said. I have to think thoughts like this are from Him, though. You try shutting your eyes, seeing heaven, and not believing everything you see! Did I write about heaven before I gave Him everything?)


There was a town in the hills of Apalachia named Enville where lived a man who had a vision of heaven. This is what he saw.

Behold, the gates stood open wide, tall and gleaming opalescent. Walls stretched to either side as far as the eye could see and further, majestic to rival even the gates of pearl. It glistened and stood as immovable as the Almighty’s will and staggering in mass. When I passed between the pearls, I beheld the City of God in its perfection.

Golden terraces lined a street of such pure gold that it shone white though it was a deep amber at the surface. A boulevard of trees separated the sides of the highway. Plants of every kind grew in the boulevard, and fruit beyond the imagination in variety and appeal hung within easy reach for all who walked there.

I passed beneath the branches, struck by the beauty of the fruit, when my attention was jarred to what lay before me. Past the trees, the road swept down into a valley filled with as much vegetation as cityscape. Everything–every single thing–was perfect. From the different shades of green to the way each building was equally as beautiful as the gardens that clad it. Rivers and streams ran everywhere, and docks and moorings of every kind lined its banks. The people traveled by water as easily as by land, swimming as easily as walking and navigating the shoals in sea vessels with perfect agility. Lakes, lagoons by appearance but large enough to dwarf most on earth, nestled themselves perfectly into a flawless network of streets and canals. Fish danced on the surface of the too-blue water.

Then I saw a man approaching. He wore a tunic I recognized but could not describe. I saw His face, His eyes shining with a love that took my breath away. He beckoned me closer, so I went to Him.

“My child.” He beamed with pride when I took the last few steps. “Come with me. I have so much to show you!”

“Jesus,” I called Him by Name and we went, hand in hand.

We met a child on the path and Jesus went to him. “Michael, dearest child, how are you?”

The child beamed and lept into Jesus’ arms. “Daddy made me a boat.”

Jesus laughed joyfully. “I love it!” He called me over and showed me the toy. We stayed and splashed in the spring nearby for a while.

When we went on, Jesus turned to me. “You have a question.”

“Is everybody here a child?” I asked without hesitation.

Jesus laughed. “No no, but some are.”

“So,” I hesitated, “We grow older here, too?”

He laughed again, and there was such music in it that I laughed too. “No,” He said. “At least, not in the way that you’re thinking. But why should I deprive anyone the joy of childhood?”

“Did he die young?” I asked.

“So young,” his face looked so grieved for a moment that I had to rally against a lump in my own throat. Then he brightened, “But he’s here now! And We’re spoiling him rotten.” He grinned.

We kept going. Jesus pointed out different plants and flowers along the way, showing me fruit that tasted like candy and streams of water that tasted different from each other. I didn’t get tired, even though the path wound steadily into the valley and back up the other side. We walked for miles with Jesus pointing at houses and telling me about the people who lived there until we arrived at a square on a ridge overlooking the valley. Paths littered with benches, rotundas and lookouts wound down from this square in every direction, disappearing into foliage in places to appear hundreds of yards later, twisting off in a completely new direction, but never confusing its travelers.

Here, He took me to a bench in the middle and I saw that He held a big book. He opened it and pointed to a name. It belonged to the child, Michael. And beside it was a symbol I didn’t recognize.

“Time stamp,” He told me. “From millennia past. I wrote his name in here because I knew he would be killed before he even saw the sun.” Then He pointed at the next name on the list. “This is his mother. I wrote her name on the same day, even though she didn’t seek My forgiveness until fourteen years after the abortion.” He closed the book and the smile on His face wasn’t just joyful, but also hopeful and sad. “His father’s name is in here too, but We’re still calling him.”

We went to one of the lookouts at the corners of the square and Jesus let me stew for a bit while we took in the jawdropping scenery.

Jesus had a little smile on when I finally looked at Him. “Can you explain?”

“You’re wondering why I brought you here to show you this.”

“I think so.”

He laughed. “I know so. I showed you this because I want you to tell the wretched that I died with them in mind, literally. I said even your name in my head before I died because I needed that reminder that it was worth it. It pains Me to have them so locked in their own guilt. I want repentance, not condemnation!

“And now you’re wondering why you,”” He continued. “Easy. Because you are willing.”

I choked. “I can’t!” I sputtered. “I was listening. I was looking, but who am I, Lord? They’ll laugh at me.”

“Child,” he chided gently. “I have never given it to you to be perfect; I have asked for your heart because I know your flesh is untrustworthy. Why do you think I provided My Spirit for you? Because in your imperfection, I am glorified when you turn to me and accept that My blood paid for your failures. Do you think My court will find My blood insufficient when the Day comes? Far from it!”

At this, I fell to my knees, wretched sinner that I am, overwhelmed by His grace. Something gentle and reassuring fell over my shoulders and I saw Him wrap a white robe around me.

When He pulled the belt snug, He put His hands on my shoulders, appraised me and said, “Clean. Now and forever. Serve me with love, child.”

And then I was back at home, deeply empty with longing to see that city again and finally clear of heart and set on Him wholly

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Why Living Your Dream Is Awesome

I wanted to delete this immediately after writing it, but then I remembered what it was like to start pursuing a writing career. It’s lonely and confusing and nobody successful seems to care to explain the difference between journalism and marketing (that’s an actual question we come across, believe me.) If that sounds familiar, this post is for you and for the ones coming behind you.



When I was 17, I was a lot of things and none of them that great. But I had an epiphany one day that I promptly announced to everybody around me. It was the first career goal I ever set for myself and I didn’t even know it at the time, but it became vitally important to me as the years went on.

I don’t know why the impulsively blurted words of an awkward teenage kid had that kind of effect. I like discarding memories of my adolescence for reasons, so why that one emerged unblemished from an otherwise tumultuous period in my memory is beyond me.

But emerge it did, glorious, unattainable and utterly unrealistic. What was it?

“I’m going to get published by the time I’m 25,” I announced that day in a tiny high school computer lab that had been purpose built to house twelve computers without any thought to ventilation. I could have (should have) attributed that particular stroke of spontaneity to the sweltering heat, but I didn’t. That one thing stuck itself to the inside of my forehead and gave me tempting looks for years.

Fast forward two and a half years. My novel writing was slow. I couldn’t stick with a story past 10,000 words. I wanted everything and accomplished nothing, but what more could you expect from a nineteen-year-old who never planned beyond a slapdash dream when the mood struck?

Slapdash dreams indeed. I decided then that I was going to write for magazines and newspapers. I didn’t know what that meant, or what it would require, and I had no idea that magazines and newspapers are actually quite different. All I knew was that this was going to happen because it was writing.

It took about two months before that fantasy ended. I had accomplished nothing, my rent was past due and I wasn’t eating enough. So I got a job like a real human being. I kicked dust on my freelance writing dream and sped on with my life a little morosely, but there was a future to be had.


Fast forward again. In 2010, found a novel I absolutely had to finish, and by the spring of 2012, I was up to my ears in it. I was 23. Less than two years left to “get published.”

What did that even mean? Why was it so important?

To put it tactfully, I’ve never been that great at punching clocks. I hate monotony. It drains the life out of me. The words of a lazy person, I know. And I worried about exactly that for years. But there, finally, I was about to find an answer.

The family business closed down that spring. For years, the recession hammered a business that was just coming into its own. I watched my dad work around the clock to keep it afloat, but even that wasn’t enough and it crashed and burned just before things got on the upswing. It’s an awful story of bad timing and worse luck.

But that forced me to make some decisions, so I manned up and took a summer construction job, building concrete foundations for grain bins. Because “yarrrr, money,” but also because I wanted to prove that I could work.

I made it through the summer. Or, at least, I emerged on the far end of it. I felt somehow successful despite everything I’d lost to the harshness of those 4-5 months. It’s mostly banished to foggy memory by now, but I came out with two things: money for an engagement ring and a deep, insatiable desire to write and make a living with it.

And that’s where I found the answer to my years-old question. Why was it so important to honour my goal of publication? I had tried to enjoy “regular work” for years. I’d tried jobs I was good at and jobs that threatened to cut me to pieces and bury me in the concrete (quite an elaborate threat, honestly. They deserve some credit.) But in the end, I hated every last one of them and it wasn’t laziness.

I needed to write and be published because it would prove to myself and everybody else that I was talented enough that I could do what I loved and make money doing it. I knew how damnedly slim my chances were, but I needed to do it. More for myself than anyone around me. I’d grown into a certain degree of apathy by that point. If I was going to accomplish my dreams, it was going to start and end with me. I didn’t need anyone to give me the go-ahead.

So I started studying what it meant to write, who to approach and how to write something they liked. That took three months.


Near the beginning of December, a trade magazine I had pitched responded with a request for samples. My heart sank then. I had no samples. I wasn’t an accomplished writer. I had nothing to show.

But reality be damned, I buckled down and searched for the most interesting industry news I could find. Then, I wrote three articles in 24 hours and sent them off, fingers crossed, teeth clenched and a profusely sweating brow. (A seasoned freelance writer would tell you that is exactly the wrong way to approach a potential client. Editors can smell the desperation.)

What I got back a week later was a response somewhere along the lines of, “Sure. Here’s an article for you.” I only read the first line before I lost it. I jumped up and down and ran around the house, trying not to yell at the top of my lungs. Somebody liked my writing enough to offer to pay me for something.

I sent the article off two weeks before my 24th birthday and it was published in February of 2013, 11 months ahead of my schedule. Around the same time, I got a tidy cheque in the mail for about $650.

It took almost seven years to validate that one, tiny thing, but it has changed the way I see the world. Encourage your dreams, polish them, cherish them. Frame them above your mantelpiece, put candles around them and hold vigils for them. Pour as much energy into them as you can afford.


Because, somehow, eventually, one day, you might actually see them become reality. And even if that reality is never as good as you wished it would be (Good Lord, the bills! The bills!), it’s still a way of thumbing your nose at everything that goes wrong and that’s worth something in and of itself.


Questions? Post them in the comments and I’ll try to sound all aloof and intelligent at you! But seriously, ask away. I might have an answer or two.

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Why You Need to Know the Product You’re Selling

I had a weird thing happen a few years back. My girlfriend (now fiance) and I were walking through a mall, playing dodge-the-annoying-kiosk-salesperson, as you do.

Source: Turningpa.com

Well, we tried to dodge them as well as we could. It didn’t last long.

We got approached by a friendly gentleman who was manning a kiosk on his own that day. My lady friend really liked the hair straighteners he was selling, but there was a problem.

See, our friendly gentleman was bald. Not a hint of hair anywhere on his head. This might be the first time in my life I could be called out for discriminating against the unwigged, but the guy didn’t have any way of demonstrating his product except on potential customers. And a demonstration like that crosses dangerously over the hairdresser intimacy line.

Okay, silliness aside, he didn’t make his sale. As nice as his product was, it was expensive and he didn’t make much of an effort to convince us that it was worth the price. He went straight from, “You look like you need this” to “Guys, my wife left me.”

Straight from intruding to sob story. He didn’t generate any empathy at all. This sale just went downhill so fast. Eventually, we had to forcefully pull ourselves away while he begged us just to let him “open the books today.”

It was terribly uncomfortable, and it all came down to one issue. He didn’t understand his product well enough to convince us to consider it. He probably could have, even though he was exactly the least likely person ever to use it, but he just hadn’t made that step yet.

Business doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, at its simplest level, it’s very simple. It’s not easy, but the math basically does itself.

Me? I’m in the business of selling writing. Why? Because it’s what I do. I’d do this even if I didn’t get paid for it, so it makes perfect sense to start tailoring it specifically toward people who want it.

The only thing that’s left is coming up with reasons why they want it.

Are you a writer? Thinking of becoming one? I’m a member of the Freelance Writers Den*, an online community of aspiring and professional freelance writers. The forums there are full of active discussions on how to improve your writing and marketing and the site has a huge supply of classes and resources to help grow your freelancing business. Check out the link at the top of this paragraph to see more!

*Affiliate link to the Den.

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When It’s Time to Get Off Your Ass

A friend asked me today how my writing was coming along. When I tried to explain that I thought nobody liked it, he blindsided me with this: “Have you not spent the last six months being paid to write?”

Guidoux's profile at stock.xchng

Photo credit:guidoux at stock.xchng

Over the past few months, I’ve let myself slide a little. The magazine I was writing for had a bad habit of giving vague assignments and forgetting to specify deadlines, so we stumbled through a lot of miscommunications. To make it worse, I never heard back about articles I submitted. A cheque would arrive in the mail and that would be all I saw from the article at all. No requests for revision, no pointers on what could maybe be polished next time. I know I can’t possibly be such a good writer that my work doesn’t need some refining every now and then. That should just be par for the course, I thought.

Anyway, that somehow snowballed into me thinking I couldn’t do any writing properly. It was that or conclude that I must be a magical writing fairy who never makes mistakes and I knew that couldn’t be it.

I took it hard. Not all at once, of course. It was a sort of gradual crunching up, going a little more fetal every day as I asked people for work, and eventually started pleading. It was bad.

I knew something had to be done, so I started looking around for some help. I’d signed up for the waiting list at the Freelance Writers Den* a while ago, but had no idea what to expect there, so when they opened a few positions to new members, I paid the membership fee hesitantly. What could I possibly gain from a gated community that I couldn’t find for free elsewhere?

Anyway, I joined despite my reservations and set to asking questions. Most of them were probably very stupid questions, born of almost nonexistent confidence and a desperate need for work. The magazine I mentioned earlier was running way late with some cheques, so I needed to do something for money, but even more importantly, I desperately needed to do something that would get appreciated.

But all of that desperation and hopelessness got smashed by that simple question. It got me thinking. How long am I going to spend trying to get clues from “the successful?” I could waste months learning and never get anywhere because the more I read about these other writers making six figures, the more I thought I’d never be able to do everything they did.

So, this is me getting off my ass. I learned everything I needed to know to sell my writing when I got my first assignment. Letting other people get between me and that knowledge is just another way to give up on my dreams.


* That’s my affiliate link to the Freelance Writer’s Den. If you’re a freelance writer or you’re thinking of becoming one, the Den has a ton of resources that have more than paid off for me already. It’s worth checking out if you’re serious about moving up.

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Nothing Like a Nice Cup of Morning Coffee

Alright, folks! I’m back, more or less, though I won’t be posting as regularly as I used to.

You might have noticed that the posts on this blog disappeared for about a week. I was doing some work on a new site and needed to get a few things sorted. Nothing to worry about.

And speaking of a new site, I have one! It’s my official freelance writing website, so if that interests you, check it out here. It’s likely that I’ll move this blog over to the same domain eventually, but I’ll give plenty of warning if I decide to do that.

I’m fighting a particularly debilitating cold this week, so putting one word in front of the other feels a little complicated. My brain wants naps, you see, but I know that naps are the embodiment of evil and shouldn’t be had. Not that it stops me. Curse you, brain!

Okay, I’m cutting this post short before I start rambling. Nobody likes a rambler. I have had some neat ideas I wanted to share lately, so I’ll be back in quick order. Just as soon as I remember not to put commas everywhere they don’t belong.

Morning Coffee: Needles and Haystacks


So yeah, hi. Been awhile.

I took a few days off my regular person job to finish a few articles I have going, so I thought I’d also look for more. You know, so I can stop working the regular person job.

It turns out (and this is not surprising, but it “turns out” anyway, so deal with it) that finding regular work as a freelance writer is a bit like trying to find sand in a pile of dirt. It’s there for the taking, but it’s often impossible to differentiate between the good and the bad.

I recently came across a tech blog that was looking for writers. I won’t name names because that would be silly and it isn’t the point, but their articles were mostly just summaries of press releases. Which is fine. The blog looked like it got a good number of views and comments, so I thought I’d give it a shot. What I got in return was a little surprising.

In short, I got offered $150 to $250 for a minimum of 17 articles per week. The offer promised each article would take one hour to write, but I’ve done this enough times to know that would be a best case scenario. However, if we assume it would take one hour to write an article like that, I’d be working 17 hours per week, which could, yes, be done in two days, for up to $250 per month. That’s around $58 for two full workdays. And that’s the best case scenario.

But it doesn’t stop there. No, after watching those numbers get flung at me, I was told that all of this glorious pay would only take hold after I had proven myself. So now I’m being told that I get to work for free with $29 per day to look forward to.

not sure if stupid

not sure if stupid

For the record, when a job offer ends with, “some of our writers make up to $350 a month,” run. Just run. Your most generously compensated contributors make less than they would flipping burgers, and probably work close to fulltime doing only that? For what? A resume?

If you’re worth hiring, you’re worth paying. Simple as that. It shouldn’t be complicated.

John Scalzi had something to say about this as well.

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