As always, it can be so inspiring to hear the writing journey of others – what they write, why, and where they’re headed next.
Let’s jump in. First, a bit about Rachel Dodge.
Writer Rachel Dodge
Rachel Dodge is an English instructor, writer, and speaker who loves to tell stories that bring God glory. She is first and foremost a wife, mother, and servant of Jesus. A fervent prayer warrior, Rachel enjoys encouraging and equipping others to grow closer to Jesus and understand God’s Word through her writing.
You can also find Rachel on
- Facebook (facebook.com/racheldodgebooks/),
- Twitter (twitter.com/RachelEDodge), and
- Instagram (@kindredspiritbooks).
How did you come to writing?
I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. My grandmother was an author, and my whole family is into books and writing. In high school, I realized that I wanted to direct my life and career toward writing. I majored in public relations and creative writing in college and English literature in grad school. I even teach writing now—to college students.
Over the years, I’ve had dozens of writing jobs and worn many writing hats: I’ve written marketing copy for dentist offices, bios for retired professors, press releases for the Fancy Feast Cat (yep, I actually did publicity for, and traveled on media tours with, that white-furred feline!), advertisements for non profits, brochures on water safety, programs for patients after gastric-bypass surgery, textbook materials, tutoring handouts, Bible study content, women’s blogs, and thousands of words worth of marketing copy and web content for churches, small businesses, and ministries. A few years ago, the Lord directed my steps toward a career as a Christian writer.
My focus now is primarily on stories, devotionals, and blogging. It’s been an absolutely amazing journey because it’s just me and Jesus on a grand adventure—and He’s the best boss ever!
What topic are you writing about? Why?
I wrote a children’s chapter book last year that explores the radical love of Christ through an allegory centered on the life of small orphaned mouse. My vision is that it would reach the hearts of lost, broken, and forlorn children and women around the world with the message of the Cross.
I’m also working on a manuscript that I think Jane Austen fans will love (but it’s too soon to say more just yet). I speak and write about Jane Austen for libraries and Jane Austen events, and it’s been on my heart for years to write a book related to Austen.
What has the writing process been like for you?
I love to write, and I often have so many ideas and words welling up in me that I feel as though I might explode if I don’t get them out onto paper. Sometimes I find it difficult to know which project to work on next. When I have an idea blaring in my mind and the inspiration is pumping, I draft like a mad woman. The words fly out of me. But I’m also hugely committed to the art of close, in-depth revision. The intense revision process I employ in all of my projects is often the key ingredient to the “magic” that happens in producing the final product.
How are you hoping to publish or have you been published?
Not yet through traditional channels (other than my articles for the Jane Austen’s World blog). My writing has appeared in print many times, but copy writer/editor names aren’t shared in most cases. I do believe that the Lord is calling me “out upon the waters” and asking me to pursue traditional publishing for a few of my projects.
Do you have a regular writing routine?
My routine starts in the morning before my family gets up. I read The One Year Bible, pray, and seek the Lord for my day, my family, and my projects. Sometimes I’m bleary-eyed and a bit out of it, but I’ve seen over the past 12 years that when I give the Lord the first fruits of my day, the day runs better, I find the wisdom and inspiration I need for the day, and the Lord sets the tone. Once my family gets up, things get crazy for an hour or two (or more).
On the days when I don’t teach classes at the local college, I try to bear down and focus on my writing projects for the rest of the morning. It’s hard to set aside my chores and actually write sometimes, but I find that having a deadline really helps. Once I get started, I can go for hours. (If I’m on deadline, I pretty much write around the clock, whenever I can find a few spare minutes.)
How do you connect your spiritual life to your writing?
Starting my day in God’s Word really sets up the pattern and thought life of my day. Many times I’ll see something in my daily study of the Bible that either confirms something I’m working on or provides inspiration and direction for a project or decision that needs to be made. I also receive direction when I’m worshipping the Lord—whether corporately at church or in my car or home. It is when I’m very close to God and completely focused on Him that he will pour out his plans and purposes for my writing and creative projects.
I also have two habits built into my writing routine: Before I sit down to write, I always pray. Sometimes that literally means I’m on my knees before the Lord, asking the Holy Spirit to guide me and write through me. I ask to be His vessel and a clean, clear conduit for the Gospel. I also try to capitalize on the necessary breaks we all have to take each day. Whenever I need to shower, take a bathroom break, move laundry, or go pick up my kids from school, I pray. Those times are often perfectly appointed.
Walking away from my work to take care of necessary things provides the break my mind needs, and I use that time to ask God how to phrase a tricky sentence or how to rework a wobbly paragraph. When I’m really stuck, taking a quick break often provides the mental space I need to re-focus and move forward.
Thank you, Rachel, for giving us a glimpse into another writer’s life and hopes. We wish you the best!
Who else has a specific routine for writing? Share in the comments. You might give the rest of us a good idea.
There is always hope,