Why I Write

Whether it is a book fair, author fair, a writers’ conference or any event where there are authors and an audience, there is one question that is always asked is, “Why do you write?” or “What got you started writing?”. Usually, this is asked by people who, deep down, would love to be writers. They just don’t know how to get started.

Some authors say they just always knew they were a writer, from the time they learned how to put pencil to page as a child. Some authors say it began due to one defining experience in their life. As for me, becoming an author has been a journey. Growing up, I was always talented in both reading and writing. But, I knew no creative outlet for it.

After my divorce in 1989, I began journaling for my own peace of mind. After God healed and delivered me about four years later I began studying God’s word, that led to writing essays, then Bible studies, followed by the church newsletter and then newspaper articles.

Over the years, I have written for newspapers, magazines, and websites. Then, I took the very long journey to self-publish my first book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims. Today I continue to write for all these opportunities and I write speeches, teach writing classes and speak at writers’ conferences. But, this is only the how.

The writing talent is a gift from God, my creator. When God created me in my mother’s womb he created within me the gift communicating, the gift of putting words together in a way that expresses information and feelings to all who will read and listen to those words.

After I received God’s healing and deliverance after my divorce I asked God two things. First, I prayed that God would show me what He did in me so that I could help someone else come to healing. Second, I asked God to let me do with words what my artist friends did with paint and canvas. God showed me two amazing visions of what he did in me and I share it whenever I share my testimony of healing and deliverance.

So, why do I write? I write to inform people. I write to encourage people. But, most importantly, I write to give glory to the God who created me, saved me, healed me, delivered me and restored me to him after the most painful period in my life. I write to give glory to the God who provided for me, protected me and helped me care for my family and raise my children to love God and who are now raising my grandchildren to love God.

To God be the Glory for all that I am and may ever become. May His will be done.




Summer is over and Halloween is past. We are now truly in the holiday season. I’m not going to take up the debate over what to call this season because it’s not open for debate with me. During this month of November, we celebrate Thanksgiving. In December, we will celebrate Christmas. Thanksgiving is an American holiday where we take the time to be thankful for good things in our lives. Some people even manage to be thankful for trials and challenges. I can’t say that I’m quite so noble. Christmas is a holiday that used to be understood by all. I really don’t understand all the hubbub. If you look in the dictionary the name is defined as the Mass of Christ, a Christian celebration of the birth of Christ, the son of God. The day we celebrate it was chosen since we don’t have a specific date provided by the Bible. If there are others who celebrate other things during the same time, then that is their choice. But, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ.

It’s still November, so for now, I’ll concentrate on being thankful. There is an old saying in my church, “God is good all the time. All the time God is good. I have found that to be true in many ways, even if sometimes I didn’t see it until much later. In the long term, I God was faithful to always provide me with a ride to church when I was too young to drive. As a child growing up with a mentally ill mother, God provided me with people who loved me, mentored me and encouraged me. As a wife and mother, God was always there to guide me, provide for my family and protect us from my abusive ex-husband. In the twenty years since then God has continued to protect, provide and guide me through parenting, employment, and life.

It wasn’t until after my divorce that I learned I had writing ability. But, that writing ability has grown slowly over the last two decades from writing my personal journal to writing the church newsletter, to being published in magazines, newspapers, and websites. He even guided me through the detailed process of self-publishing a non-fiction book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims.

When I was young I could never have imagined I would publish anything, much less the amount that I have published. This last year I finally completed my bachelor’s degree. That was quite a milestone for me. When I announced this accomplishment a friend asked me what I was going to tackle next. I’ve been thinking about that a lot. One thing I’m going to do is look for a job where I can use my writing skills more and earn a better paycheck. But, regardless of what job I work, I am going to build and develop my writing skills because it is something I love to do.

Does anyone remember the original Nancy Drew book series? Well, those books were ghost written. That means different writers wrote different books under one pen name. While I was working as an Education Reporter for The Urbana Daily Citizen back in 2001, we got an article across the AP wire about one of the original ghost writers. The article told that this woman had gone on to write under her own name and finally settled at The Toledo Blade where she worked long after her husband passed away. This article went on to say that this writer was still earning a living writing a part time column, had gone home early and later passed away. She was 95 years old.

Ladies and Gentlemen, God has gifted me with a skill and talent that I can use as long as I nurture it and take care of my health. I would love for my writing to become my full-time income, but I recognize that may not happen. But, my goal and plan is to ramp up my efforts to learn the business side of writing and to develop the discipline of writing so that I am submitting things I’ve written to be published so that I can earn a living from them. Thinking and wishing, even praying about it without having an action plan to do the things necessary to earn a living from writing will not produce writing income. So, that is what I’m doing now. I am studying to learn what plan I need and how to develop it based upon my abilities and schedule. Day by day I will implement that plan so that I can build my writing business, based upon my unique skills and talents.

What are you thankful for this month and this year? What changes are you making in your life to do what you love and glorify God in the process?

Please respond and discuss. God bless all my readers.


Adventures in Creativity

The Bible says that “In the Beginning God created…” Because human beings were created in the image of God we have creative abilities as well. Just look around you at the beautiful creations in art, music, architecture, sculpture and literature. I especially love literature. I have been an avid reader since I first learned to read as a small child. I think I kept Scholastic Books in business in grade school and I’ve probably bought and sold enough books over my life to stock multiple bookstores. For that reason it’s not unusual that I became a writer and a publisher.

This summer I decided it was time to take the next step and open my own bookstore. I call my business Hat Rack Books, LLC and my first act as a new business owner is to host a Christian Author Fair that I call

Adventures in Creativity which is being held Saturday, November 15 from 9 am to 9 pm at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel at the I 270 and Roberts Rd exit in Hilliard, OH. There you will find 9 local Christian authors who will share information about their books, provide books for you to purchase and sign the ones you buy. Check out the Facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/753008828071239/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Be sure to like the page and sign up to let us know you’re coming. We look forward to seeing you there.


Blessings, Writing



I have sung in the church choir for most of my life since I was seven years old so music has always been an integral part of my identity. Music has many times been the source of healing balm for my spirit as God poured out his spirit upon me in worship. Many years ago I endured a painful divorce and for nearly four years I was a spiritual and emotional basket case. During that time I refused to give up on God, although at one point I was tempted, and I continued to sing in the church choir.

One Sunday our choir sang a song, the gist of which was that God would put the pieces of the puzzle of your life back together. As we were singing my heart poured out to God, asking him, “God, how can you put the pieces of my puzzle back together when all the pieces no longer exist?” God so very gently responded, “My child, don’t you see? I can build you a whole new puzzle.”

Many years have passed. My parents are deceased and my children are grown with their own families. My life has taken twists and turns that I would never have considered. In addition to my two wonderful children I now have a daughter-in-law and son-in-law whom I love and four terrific grandchildren I also love and who I don’t see nearly enough of, but then doesn’t every grandparent think that? For more than twenty years I have remained divorced; I haven’t even been on a date.

I haven’t remained single because I have no desire to remarry. For many years I had my hands full juggling multiple plates and trying like crazy not to drop any for fear of dropping them all. But, regardless of my responsibilities or my choices in life God has continued to recreate the puzzle of my life, “guarding and guiding all the way” as another song says. Some day I do still plan to get married but, the who, when and where will have to fit into God’s puzzle. 

What does the puzzle of your like look like?


And God Created

And God Created by Mina R Raulston

Attention all Professional Christian Creatives: that means all Christians who work in a creative career. That includes writers, editors, designers, artists of all kinds, basically any career that is creative. There are only two requirements. First that you are a Christian and second that you work and earn some part of your income in your creative endeavors, full or part-time.

Why am I reaching out to this specific group of people? Because I believe that creativity come straight from God and as he created some people to be business geniuses he also created some people to be artists of all kinds. I also believe that as Christians we need to support other Christians whenever we buy creative works or hire someone to do creative work for us. So, I am developing a Christian Creative Directory so that Christians who want to buy a creative work or hire a creative person to do work for them they have the option of buying from or hiring a Christian Creative first. And, Christian Creatives will have a place to list their information where other Christians can find them.

Aren’t there other Christian directories in existence? Yes, there are other Christian business directories out there but there are few listings for Christian Creatives. They are mostly geared for traditional businesses and non-profit organizations. Christian Creatives are a different breed. Many times we don’t run a traditional business or at least we don’t start out that way.

We begin doing our creative work simply for the love of doing it. A writer can’t not write. A painter can’t not paint. A wood-carver can’t stop him/herself from sitting down with a beautiful piece of wood and doing something with it. It is part of who we are and when it becomes bottled up inside us we become miserable and depressed. So, we create whether we have an audience or not. Some may always do it as a hobby but many of us turn it into our life’s work. After all, what better career can you have than something you love to do?

So, Attention All Christian Creatives: If you are interested in listing your Christian Creative business of products or services to sell, contact me by email at   christiancreatives@minaraulston.com with your name and email address and the type of creative work you do. Once I hear from you I will send you a brief questionnaire to see if you meet the requirements and spell out the directory parameters between you and Christian Creatives. Once I receive your completed questionnaire and you are approved I will send you more information on when the directory will be available, etc.

Also, if you know of other Christian Creatives who might be interested please tell them to contact me at the same email address christiancreatives@minaraulston.com

God bless you and keep on creating.

Mina R Raulston – President – Christian Creatives


Putting Words in Other People’s Mouth

Putting Words in Other People’s Mouth

After writing for newspapers and magazines for more than a decade I came upon a new way to earn money writing. A friend of mine who is both a writer and an editor referred me to a company that specializes in speech writing. The name of the company is EZ Speech. They hire speech writers from various locations on a contract basis then assign them speeches to write from their pool of clients. Even though I’d never written speeches for others before that time I had written my own speeches as a member of Toastmasters and for the classes I taught. I contacted the company and soon found myself writing speeches for people from all over the world.

I only wrote a few speeches at first but over time some months have been slow but other months I’ve written multiple speeches a week. The work has been interesting, challenging and varied. Sometimes writing for hire can be dry because the writer can’t choose the subjects about which he or she writes. But, speech writing is a unique type of writing. You are not writing instructions nor are you are not writing information. You are taking information provided by the client to the speech writing service and create a speech tailored to the event, place and amount of time.

During the time I’ve written for EZ Speech the variety of speeches has been tremendous. There are wedding speeches, business speeches, key-note speeches, graduation speeches. Some clients are male, some are female. Clients come from all over the United States and some from other countries. The company doesn’t give me contact information as all contact is done through the company. I receive my assignments via the company website and my email address then once I write the speech I upload it to the company website. All I need is my computer and internet service.

The most common speech order is for wedding speeches for brides, grooms, best men, maids of honor, fathers, and mothers. Every point of view is unique and the things people want included in their speeches are as different as they are the same. Some are funny, some are sentimental, some are predictable and others are surprising. One of the most interesting wedding speeches I wrote included a family where the bride’s family lived in Australia and the groom’s family lived in New Zealand. The couple lived and worked in the United Kingdom. They were having a destination wedding on an island off the coast of Thailand.

Another common speech is a graduation speech, whether it is for high school, college or special training program. Some graduates know exactly what their future plans are at the moment. Others are just glad they finished school. Some of them know exactly what they want to say while others give me a brief list of facts and leave the rest to me.

Business speeches are also common. Short or long, written for the public or for employees, they too offer great variety. Some clients are experienced speech makers but simply don’t have a lot of time to write their speech. Many have never given a speech before and need a little advice along with the speech.

Some clients say nothing about the speech you write and just accept it as is. Some will ask for some minor changes. A few will respond with a complement. For any writer receiving complements is a great encouragement.

Writing speeches is an interesting, challenging and fun way to earn a second income. It’s certainly better than trying to work a second job where I have to juggle two work schedules. I can write at a time of day that is convenient to me and I can write from the comfort of my home. It’s not a full-time income but that’s ok. I have a full-time job and I am developing other ways to earn money from my writing.

How about it writers? How do you put your talent to work for you and have fun at the same time?


Who Do I Write About

Who Do You Write About

I grew up during a time when children were to be seen and not heard, young people were not supposed to question their elders under any circumstances and women were supposed to know their place and stay in it. So, when I began writing I thought more about what ideas to write about than people. People were sources for my articles; people were a means of communicating the ideas in my articles. But, they were not the subject of my articles. It wasn’t until I began writing for newspapers that I learned how to write with people as the subject of my writing and learned how to interview people for those articles.

Learning how to interview people was a challenge indeed for someone who was taught not to question others. Thankfully I never fully accepted that teaching. At one point I toyed with the idea of joining the military so I could afford college. It was a plus that my father, who didn’t see the value of college, had great respect for the military and liked that idea. I think he was disappointed when I changed my mind but he accepted my decision. I knew myself well enough though to know that in the military when they say “jump” the only acceptable response is “how high?” but my response to that question would be “why?”. I have always questioned those in authority over me whether I spoke the questions or not. So, I just had to learn how to let that side of me blossom when I started writing.

Writing about people as a career was not as simple as researching that person’s history and life in the library and then producing a term paper, although my early articles sounded like some of my school term papers. As my skill improved I remember telling someone that when I wrote my first draft I would read it over and think, “That sounds like a good book report or term paper.” Once I re-read it, edited it and polished it I could declare, “Now that is God’s work in my writing.”

Not that I think my writing is inspired like the Bible, I’m not so arrogant to compare myself to God’s word. But, it was only after doing the labor of research, putting all that information together to create the factual article and then going back over it and adding the creative touches and removing some of the more boring details that few would remember, that the creative touch of God would show in my writing.

The earlier steps were necessary but there is a huge difference between compiling facts and figures and putting words together in a way that breathes life into the people, places and ideas of your articles. Business writing, as in customer service writing tends to be very bland because you are usually trying to soothe an upset customer, win back a lost customer, or explain a situation to an existing customer. This is not the creative writing of marketing. This is the day-to-day communication of a business to a customer. With nearly 40 years of customer service experience, from dealing with customers face to face to talking to customers from all over the world over the telephone, my communication style leans toward instruction and explanation rather than the creative genius of fiction.

I am currently working to stretch my wings and develop the creative side of my writing talent. One project I am working on is a memoir about growing up with a mentally ill mother and how her illness affected everyone in the family in one way or another. My hope is to help others who have lived with and cared for a mother in this way. My other project, which will probably take longer due to the learning curve, is a novel. Since that genre is so new to me I will keep the details to myself for now until it is closer to fruition.

Who do you write about or who do you plan to write about?


When Do I Write

When Do I Write

All the writers web sites that offer advice for writers advises that a writer find that “best” time for them to write and then write at the same time every day. The purposes for this are many. First and foremost writing at the same time of day develops the discipline of writing. Writing is a skill but it requires discipline to develop that skill. And you must exercise any discipline regularly and consistently if it is to grow.

Writing at the same time of day is very important because most of us have a “best” time of day when we are our most productive. For some of us it is early morning just as the sun is rising. I know people who rise at the crack of dawn whether they need to or not. My own father spent most of his life getting up with the sun. First, he grew up on a farm, then he served in the military and later he worked in a window factory. But, the job he worked for the last twenty years of his life was for the United States Postal Service where he worked second shift. Despite working until late at night my father still rose with the sunshine, telling my mother there was no need for her to get up with me for school since he was up already.

Some people are their most productive later in the afternoon, needing to be up and about for several hours and get other things out-of-the-way so they can concentrate. These people most likely prefer a sunset to a sunrise. Part of this may be because they work a “day” job and must do that early in the day. This group of people may sit with their laptop and write while their family watches television or does homework around them. I have one writer friend who actually writes throughout the day and evening, depending on the writing projects she has and their deadlines.

As for myself, I prefer to write late at night. I am a true night owl. I remember even as a small child I would doze on the school bus on the way to school in the morning, eating only the lightest breakfast because my system just wasn’t awake enough to digest food. That was reinforced when my father took his second shift job and I stayed up late to see him. On weeknights if I didn’t stay up late I would not have seen him until the weekend. Today that experience serves me well because in my “regular” job I work in a customer service call center, most of the time working second shift and sometimes working until after midnight.

Since I need time to unwind when I arrive home I don’t get to bed until some time later which means I sleep very late in the morning. So, no early morning or evening writing for me. Instead I write very late at night, after midnight many times. What I have learned to love about this is that the world is quiet at this time of night. The rest of the world is asleep. During this time I can read either for profit or just for fun; I can write; I can do research. When everything is quiet the words just seem to flow. I can turn off the internet and I know the phone won’t ring. There are no noisy cars and trucks or planes and helicopters overhead (I live near a major airport).

So, when is your best time to write? Have you found it yet or are you still trying to find it? 


How Do I Write

How Do I Write

Writers have always existed, in every culture, in every society, in every time period. Some have been called historians, others chroniclers, some priests. Some worked for the church, some for the government, some just wrote because they couldn’t do anything else. Throughout history writers have used stone tablets, papyrus, paper, animal skins, any surface they could find where they could make a mark.

When I first began writing I used legal pads and a specific fine tip ink pen. Wherever I was, whenever the urge to write struck I pulled out my pen and tablet and just started writing. This is called free writing. You allow your pen at the end of your hand to just write what it wants to write. Later I would go back and fine tune and hone whatever I wrote.

Eventually I would type what I wrote into my computer so I could edit my work. That made it so much easier. No paper wasted with re-writes. Later I wrote on my computer and printed out my final draft to give it a last visual edit before I submitted what I wrote to an editor or client. These days I rarely print anything unless it’s required or I don’t have my laptop with me. If I’m writing at my regular job I have to do it with paper and ink because I’m not allowed to take my computer into the workplace.

So, you see I have evolved in my use of technology. I know how to use most modern technology, if I see a use to it. But, like I’ve told my children, to the younger generations technology is a toy just waiting to be used and advanced. I’ve watched younger people. They can’t wait to get their hands on a new technology even before it’s released to the public. They are like children on Christmas morning, anxious to tear into their newest toy.

Unlike them I see technology as a tool. I love to see what new technology is invented but not in the same way. In my world, technology does what I tell it to do which means I research new technology to find which ones will serve my needs best. I love that using a laptop means I’m not tied to a desk when I come home from work after spending eight hours tied to my desk. I love that some days I can pack up my laptop with me to go to the library or the bookstore. It means I can take my laptop with me when I visit my daughter who lives in another state and not miss a beat. It means if I’m traveling and I find something to write about I don’t have to wait until I get home because I have my laptop so I can write it while I’m there in the midst of the creative stimulus.

The wonderful thing though is that there are times when I still want to sit down with a legal pad or a notebook and my favorite, fine tip, flowing ink pen and free write. There is something to be said about the tactile experience of just letting the words flow out of your heart, down your arm, out your hand into the pen and onto the paper. It’s just not the same with a computer of any kind. I can always type it up on my computer later but right then, at the moment of inspiration, I can simply grab my pen and paper and let my thoughts flow.


So, what’s your favorite way to write? Tell me here.

Domestic Violence, Writing

What Do I Write About

What Do I Write About

Every one asks a writer what they write about and how they come up with ideas. The answer to that question can be as varied as the writer. But we all started somewhere. The first things that I wrote were personal essays that I only had the courage to show to a few close friends. The first articles that I wrote that were published were about domestic violence, education and articles related to family concerns. The first article that I was paid to publish was about domestic violence and was published in The Evangel Magazine for the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee. That was in the year 2000, three months after I first became a grandmother and three months after my mother died. My one regret was that neither of my parents lived to see my publishing success.

In the years since then I have written many articles. I have been published in several newspapers and church magazines. Then, after years of research, college courses, interviews, and volunteer training all my notes and articles began to form a book. At first I didn’t have the courage to think I could actually publish a book. But, there was no denying that a book was coming together, whether I had the courage or not. As I seriously worked on a book project that would not allow itself to be denied I also began to study and learn how to submit book proposals and how to obtain endorsements. I studied publishers and the difference between traditional and self publishing. In the end I decided to self publish for a variety of reasons but mostly because I knew the material needed to be published and I wanted as much control over my book as possible.

I formally self published it in 2009 and finally self published it with the ISBN, etc in 2012. I knew God was in this book because of all the blessings he provided in the production of it. I was able to hire a good friend who is a professional writer and editor to edit the manuscript. One of my best friends and co-worker created the cover art. One of my newspaper editors referred me to his graphic designer who I hired to combine my cover layout with my friend’s cover art into a wonderful book cover that has been commented about repeatedly at book fairs. That same editor referred me to my first book packager to have the book printed. The last blessing came to me quite unexpectedly. One of the writers in my writers group offered to do the text formatting as her contribution to the book project because she supports domestic violence awareness. With everything else in place I finally purchased my ISBN number and went back to my graphic designer and had it incorporated into the book cover. Up to this point I have been selling my book personally to individuals, at book fairs in various communities, whenever I gave domestic violence awareness presentations and in my church’s bookstore, as well as on my website,.

Tonight I made the next step in my book project. I submitted my book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims, to the Writers Digest Self Published Book contest. Now I patiently wait until the contest is over and put myself into newer projects, new articles, new subjects, and new books.

What do you write about and what fuels your desire to write about it? Tell me about it here.