For I know the plans I have for you," declares the
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
"Your dream is about to come
true." That's the real message the Prophet Elisha spoke into the Shunammite
woman's heart and womb when he proclaimed, "Next year about this you shall have
a son." (2 Kings 4:15)
Her response? "O man of God, don't lie to me like that."
I know exactly how she felt.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, I fell in love with journalism in 1977 after
reading Joseph Pulitzer: Front Page Pioneer. It was assigned reading for
an eighth grade journalism class. It changed my life. I knew I wanted to
become a writer.
First I served as editor of
my eighth grade newspaper. Next I was editor of my high school's newspaper and
yearbook. Then came college.
At Utica College
of Syracuse University (UC) I found the
strong journalism major that I needed. At the end of my first semester I
switched to a dual major of public relations and journalism.
One of my professors was key
to my success at UC. He was supposed to retire the year I entered.
Somehow God allowed him to hang on for another four years. I could not
have asked for a better Advisor. His encouragement, and gentle correction
enabled me to remain focused on my scholastic and career goals. I graduated with
honors (cum laude), and was one of two “Outstanding Seniors.”
With my mentor’s assistance I
landed my first career position. After working for several other large
companies in corporate communication, I played with the idea of magazine
writing. Two things happened that radically changed everything: I gave my life
to Jesus Christ in August 1989; I left my job in 1990 to launch a freelance
career as a
Even though I failed
as a freelancer, I picked up valuable experience. Then in 1991, I
worked for five months for a Billy Graham Rally office and for a year at the
New York Bible Society, the former founding office of the International Bible Society
(known for its New International Version -- NIV -- of the
When I met the editor of the
now-defunct Christ-Centered Singles magazine, I offered to work for free. Meanwhile, a newspaper editor for whom I also worked passed my name along to an
Urban Family editor. When he called, I assumed it was a subscription
solicitation. "Karen gave me your name," he said, and in a moment, the Lord
changed me from am aspiring freelancer to a feature writer.
Working with Urban Family
gave me courage to seek other opportunities. In 1993, I mailed letters of
introduction to several Christian magazines, including Charisma. A few
evenings later I came home to a white napkin slipped under a refrigerator
magnet. On it my brother had scrawled "Charisma called." Twirling around
the kitchen, I shouted, "Praise the Lord." My family came running to see what
all the excitement was about. The next morning I received my very first
By 1995, I wrote magazine
articles and provided publicity services. For my church, I provided ghost
writing for several books. I also served as a special guest interviewer and
roving reporter for our TV program on Black Entertainment Television. Although
I secretly felt called to TV, I had successfully sidestepped the call until that
time. It was an absolute blast!
Moving to Maryland was a
lifeline to me. I had experienced several traumatic life changes, and
Maryland proved a balm in Gilead. It also provided opportunities for me to
serve in ministry. Presently, I serve as a Sunday School teacher for the
5th/6th grades. I am also on the Board of Directors of S.T.E.P. USA.
(Positions at my previous church include: Deacon (1998), Minister (2001) and
Elder (late 2002). From Summer 2003 - Summer 2004, I also facilitated a
Friday Night Women's Bible Study/Fellowship.)
After a four-year hiatus, the
Lord called me back to freelancing in 2000.
I answered the call, but wasn't sure if I could handle the responsibility.
But, every time I worked on my computer, I felt God and my many cheerleaders whispering, "You can do it...we know you can."
As I continued seeking
freelance jobs, I discovered online writing groups. During this time, the Lord
compelled me to join
Christian Writers Fellowship International. I did so and immediately signed on to the email forum,
and also joined
Fellowship of Christian Writers' online discussion group. I
served as a moderator of that group for about a year before joining
The Christian Writers View as a
co-moderator and panelist.
nearly eleven years (wow, time is flying), I
have lived online – marketing my work, connecting with other writers, learning
new markets, and mentoring writers. I especially enjoy online discussion
Today, roughly 98% of my work comes through the Internet.
My primary inspiration
continues to be Psalm 26:7:
"That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving
and declare God's wondrous works."
When I embraced that
Scripture in 1990, I never envisioned winning the 'Writer of the Year" award at
the 2004 Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. I didn't
envision publishing a magazine -- let alone the
website receiving a prestigious
award before its first anniversary.
I could not perceive that God would open the door for me to pen a book similar
to the one on Joseph Pulitzer that sparked my love of writing. And, I
would never have dreamed that an offer to write a parenting book about teen
money matters would result in my first two books being released the same year
(2006). Wow. My limited vision and unbelief, however, could not hinder God’s
purposes for me. Thank God.
Trust me: I know what it is to fail as a freelancer, and I
know what it is to succeed. Because I have "been there, done that" I
get great pleasure out of helping other communicators cross the chasm of
doubt, fear and unbelief to settle on the shores of dreams fulfilled.
One of the ways I do so is by serving on the
of writing conferences. Another is by serving as a mentor with the
Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild,
which I highly recommend for aspiring writers. Feel free to
email me with questions about the
My advice? Whatever your passion, turn it over to God. And, Know
that hope and a good future are available to you (Jeremiah 29:11). Finally,
follow your dreams. And, never, ever give up. Remember, with Jesus
Christ all things are possible.
Walt Disney once said, "It's kind of fun to do the impossible!" He was so
right. I am writing more, sleeping less, and in great need of a wonderful
housekeeper. Juggling my many responsibilities is not easy. But, it's a dream
come true – and it's fun!
Want to learn more about my writing journey? Please