Your Message Deserves It: Trusting God & Finding Purpose with Brenda Haire
Do you ever find yourself getting in your own way when it comes to writing and publishing? Have you received a message that you know God wants you to share with the world, but you keep avoiding actually writing it down or going to the trouble to learn how to publish and market it? Or are you struggling with finding purpose and direction for your writing in the first place, feeling discouraged by negative feedback and setbacks?
No matter where you are in your writing and publishing journey, this week’s Publishing Secrets guest, Brenda Haire, has some words of advice and encouragement. Brenda is on a mission to help people put out quality books that do their God-given messages justice, but her journey hasn’t always been easy. Let Brenda’s story inspire you to keep moving forward – because you’ve been given that message for a reason.
In this episode, you’ll also hear:
- Brenda’s journey from being told she was “nobody” to finding purpose and a unique message to share with the world
- The difference between procrastination and creative avoidance – and what you need to do instead
- How to take responsibility for the message God has given you
- Tips to avoid common book cover mistakes
- An upcoming workshop for setting and achieving your writing goals
- Brenda’s advice for writers at any stage of the process
Be sure to read all the way to the end for important links and information!
When it comes to becoming a successful author, talent is certainly important. But so is perseverance, hard work, and – above all else – trusting in the sovereignty of God. That might seem like a strange thing to say, but it’s absolutely essential if you want to be an effective writer.
Why? Because God has a plan for each of us and knows what is best for us. As writers, it’s crucial that we submit our work to Him and trust that He will guide us as we write, publish, and market. We can’t try to control everything ourselves; instead, we need to let go and let God take control. Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t use our own talents and skills. It simply means we need to trust first and foremost that, ultimately, God’s plan is what is best for us.
Brenda Haire has had her own journey of learning how to trust and finding purpose for her life along the way. Now, she wants to remind you how important it is, as you put your pen to paper, that you’re making a deliberate decision to trust in the sovereignty of God. That you’re entrusting Him with your story – whether it’s characters and plots in a fiction book or helping someone make a transformation in a nonfiction book.
So let God guide your steps, and watch your story and your impact unfold in ways that you never could have imagined.
Finding Purpose for an Empty Vessel
While all of us as believers want to be a part of spreading the Good News, God has called each of us to approach that in different ways. And, as Brenda learned, finding purpose for our lives can look very different from what we might imagine for ourselves.
For Brenda, the call to write came even before she was ready to consider herself a writer. Still, she listened, and started researching what it would take to write and publish a book. But when she met with a Christian publisher and submitted two manuscripts, the feedback was disheartening. “We love your work,” the publisher told her. “But you’re nobody. Come back to us when you’re somebody.”
Hurt and unsure of how to move forward from there, Brenda set her books aside for several years, until her grandmother asked her to write about her life.
“That’s when Save the Butter Tubs! was born,” Brenda says. “I knew that would be the title, because it’s something she always did. What I didn’t know is that it was the metaphor for her saving me, that I was ultimately the butter tub that she saved. I was the empty vessel that felt like I couldn’t be used for this writing journey. I was the nobody. And she said, ‘No, there’s a purpose for this empty vessel.”
Creative Avoidance vs. Obedience
In the first part of the book, Brenda shares her struggle with what she calls “creative avoidance.” While many confuse this concept with procrastination, Brenda explains that they’re not quite the same thing.
Procrastination, she says, is for something that you know has to get done. Even if you put it off until the last possible day (or even the last possible minute!), you still do it.
Creative avoidance, on the other hand, is what happens when you know you’re called to do something, or you know it would be a good thing for you to do, but there’s no deadline – and so you keep creatively avoiding it by doing other things instead.
“God doesn’t put deadlines on us. God is not forceful in that way,” Brenda explains. “And then we creatively avoid it for as long as we can. And then what happens? We miss the blessings. But if we would just act so much faster, we would get to the blessing so much faster.”
Brenda is right: God has things for us, but if we’re not obedient, then we miss out on the potential and may even delay the process of finding purpose in our lives. Rather than force us to do things, He gives us gentle nudges and reminders – and it’s up to us to obey or not.
As Brenda has learned, obeying God’s call instead of creatively avoiding what we know He wants us to do keeps us in a good place spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. But when we’re disobedient, it creates the exact opposite result. As Brenda says, “the best self-care someone can give themselves is to be obedient. Just be obedient to His word.”
Know Your Worth
Now, Brenda’s work extends beyond just the one book, and she says the essence of her mission has to do with worth: “I want people to know and understand their worth and act accordingly.”
Her business, The Joy of Pursuit, helps people do just that by identifying and finding purpose in what they naturally do best. “We believe that there should be joy in the pursuit of the things we do,” Brenda explains. “And I believe that by knowing your grace-given gifts and understanding your worth, you can find the joy.”
That’s not to say obeying God is always easy, but Brenda believes that by understanding the gifts He has given us, we can grow closer to Him and His will – and He will be with us through whatever difficulties we face as a result.
Brenda also believes it’s important to understand your unique gifts and calling, because not everyone is called to the same pursuit. While many people are called to combine writing, publishing, speaking, and coaching, that’s not necessarily for everyone – and that’s okay.
For some people, your current job might very well be where God has called you to serve. “I want to help you understand your purpose in that job, in that role, and use your grace-given gifts there,” Brenda says, “and not make you think that you have to become something different in order to fulfill your calling.”
Often, we hold ourselves back, thinking we need to arrive at a certain place before we can use the gifts God gave us. But, as Brenda has learned, we have opportunities right here and now to use those gifts.
Referring to the story of David and Goliath, Brenda reminds us that David couldn’t wear the armor that was presented to him. Rather, he used what he already had: a sling and stones. “It’s using what’s in your hand,” Brenda explains, “beginning with where you are.”
Once again, it comes down to obedience, because we might not always see the gifts God has given us or understand how He wants us to use them. But as we learn to listen for God’s direction and step out in faith, He will guide us into what He has planned. Truly finding purpose in our lives, then, is all about trusting and obeying God, whether or not we understand where He is leading us.
Your Are Responsible for Your Message
Brenda’s journey to becoming an author and finding purpose beyond authorship has been full of ups and downs. From being told she was “nobody” to being hired as a coach for the owner of a vanity press company and then becoming president of that same company, she can now see that God’s hand was at work through it all.
Now, Brenda helps authors learn how to professionally self-publish their books. “I believe most people that have a book in them – have multiple books in them,” she says. “And if they learn the process, they can continue it themselves.”
To that end, Brenda walks authors through the entire process of publishing and distribution, helping ensure they put out the professional-quality book their message deserves. It’s a very important service, because too often truly great messages are hidden in not-so-great packaging. And, much as we’d like to believe that a reader will look past imperfections in the cover or grammar missteps in the book, in reality, the smallest mistakes can end up being deal breakers that cause an author’s message to go unread.
We as authors have a responsibility to address anything that prevents our message from getting out to more people. Sometimes that means getting help from someone like Brenda to polish the finished product. Other times it means getting out of our comfort zones and learning to market our books ourselves. Regardless, we are each responsible for the message we have been given.
Book Covers: What Not To Do
Often, even after an author has pushed through and finished the book, they get in their own way all over again by making poor choices in designing the book’s cover. Speaking from experience, Brenda shares a few quick tips for a better book cover.
View It Printed First
Brenda shares that when her book was finished and she’d decided on a cover design, she ordered 750 copies, only to realize the colors she had chosen made the title difficult to read. It looked fine on her computer screen, but the final printed product was a very different story.
To avoid wasting money, Brenda advises printing out your own proof copies first at your local Walgreens, Wal-Mart, or wherever you usually print photos. Then you can see what the printed cover will look like, and just how different it is from the digital version.
Make Your Images Unique
A common misunderstanding Brenda has seen among authors is choosing a photograph for their book cover, purchasing the rights to use it, and thinking they will have exclusive rights to that photo. But that’s not always the case – often, those rights are limited, or may have been used previously by other authors or marketers.
If you use the same photo as another author – especially if that other book happens to be in the same genre or niche as yours – your book will not stand out. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to avoid this problem when you find an image you love.
- Do an image search: This is quick and easy, and will show you where the image has already been used.
- Manipulate the image into something new: Don’t just use the image as it is – combine it with other images, or find some other way to make it unique to your book cover.
Branding is important. If you’re using the same image that other people are using, in the same way they’re using it, people won’t be able to easily distinguish you and your message from all the other authors and messages out there.
The Success Process Workshop
Brenda has seen firsthand the importance of effective branding, so in addition to coaching for authors that covers the writing process all the way through publishing and distribution, she and her team also offer branding consulting to walk people through creating brand guides, business plans, and more. Because finding purpose and your God-given message is only one part of the equation: you have to take that message and communicate it in a way that makes people want to listen.
Brenda is also gearing up for a Success Process workshop on June 11, 2022, which she hopes to offer again in the future. The workshop will walk people through evaluating and setting goals, and then creating deadlines and expectations to keep them on track every single day.
“What I love about this process is that you wake up every single day, and know exactly what you need to do for the day,” Brenda explains. “There’s no guesswork, there are no more decisions to be made. There’s no more, ‘Should I write today? Should I not write today?’ It’s on your calendar: you have to write X amount of words today if you’re going to make that goal that you set for yourself. And because that goal is set on the foundation that you have laid out, you know you’re more likely to actually follow through with it. Because it means that much more to you, because it’s aligned with your core components.”
Brenda is excited to offer this workshop, because she’s truly passionate about the subject. “I’m a natural integrator,” she says. “That’s one of my grace-given gifts. And so seeing a big picture and then breaking it down into tangible, bite-sized little steps and processes is what I do. I love helping people create a process to their goal.”
Nothing New Under the Sun
Let’s be real: the author journey is challenging, and there are much easier ways to make a living. But if God has called you to write, He has called you to it for a reason. But as you work through finding purpose and putting your message out into the world, there are going to be days when you are tempted to get in your own way, either through creative avoidance or through falling into common publishing and marketing mistakes.
No matter where you are in your writing and publishing journey, Brenda’s advice to you is to remember that, as Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun.” With that in mind, Brenda passes on two pieces of advice given to by a friend in publishing. The first is that “It’s not your book – it’s God’s book. He called you to write this book, so get on with it already.”
The second piece of advice is to give your book a 10-year lifespan. “There’s a journey,” she explains. “There’s a reason why you’re writing it. And so look at that long-term plan, instead of just looking at the short-term plan. Because when you look at the short-term, you may be disappointed.”
Once the excitement and busyness of the book launch wears off, it’s easy to fall into thinking that it’s all over, and to lose direction. But having a long-term plan for 10 years down the road will keep you moving forward.
Brenda is a truth-teller and an open book. She’s had over 40 jobs and has been working since she was twelve. She’s never been fired, and is not ashamed of her work history. Brenda always worked her way up, out, and onto the next adventure. Many see this as risky and call her fearless. She would tell you that fear was always a factor, she just chose faith instead.
After being told she was a nobody by a publisher, Brenda struggled with her identity as a writer. Not one to give up, she pursued her dream and released her first book Save the Butter Tubs!: Discover Your Worth in a Disposable World. She believes knowing your worth changes everything. Brenda was hired by her publishing agency immediately after her book was released, and she went on to become the president of the company. An entrepreneur at heart, once again she left on top, and now uses her experience to serve individuals and small businesses around the world.
As a purpose, process, and publishing consultant, she helps individuals and small businesses identify their purpose, simplify their process, and publish their messages. Her passion is awakening the grace-given gifts in others and simplifying systems to amplify JOY in your business and life pursuits.
Her core philosophy on work and life is: “Knowing your worth changes everything.”
Brenda and her hubs (as she lovingly refers to him on social media), Darren, are both military veterans. They enjoy hiking and chasing waterfalls across the United States and live in Texas with their beautifully blended family and their loyal Jack Russell, Maggie.