38 – A Sip of Cold Water to Refresh the Weary Soul, With Grace Fox

Posted November 2, 2020 | Laura Christianson
The Professional Writer
The Professional Writer
38 - A Sip of Cold Water to Refresh the Weary Soul, With Grace Fox
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“Are you ever going to write a real book?”

The first time someone asked Grace Fox that question, she felt slighted.

Grace, a popular and accomplished devotional writer, reveals how she worked through her internal struggle with writing devotions.

A Sip of Cold Water to Refresh the Weary Soul, With Grace Fox | The Professional Writer podcast with Laura Christianson, Episode #38 | BloggingBistro.com

In my interview with Grace (transcript included), we talk about:

  • Her two-year journey from idea to book contract
  • How she structured her upcoming 90-day devotional, Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions to Calm the Chaos
  • How she has adjusted from writing 850-word devotions to 225-word devotions
  • How she drafted ninety 225-word devotions in 20 days
  • How she comes up with endless ideas to write about, and how nature inspires her writing
  • Her daily writing rhythm – how she breaks up her day so she can “pick up speed” at the time of day when she does her best writing.
  • How she balances writing devotional books and articles with marketing and connecting with readers. Grace, who’s been blogging 13 years, posts weekly to her blog and sends out a monthly “Growing with Grace” newsletter.

Recently, she’s stepped outside her comfort zone to film “Devotions from the Dock,” short Facebook Live   and YouTube videos she publishes four times a week.

We also talk about Grace’s not-so-glamorous-but-always-interesting life on a sailboat in British Columbia, Canada.

If you’ve submitted a proposal that hasn’t gone anywhere, here’s Grace’s encouragement:

“Don’t give up hope! If we believe God is in control of every detail of our lives, He’s in control of our book proposals, too.”

Scroll to the bottom of the page for the transcript.

About Grace Fox

Grace FoxGrace is a writer, speaker, life coach, and global worker whose passion is to connect the dots between faith and real life for her audiences.

She’s a wife, mom, grandma, and sailboat dweller. In winter 2018, Grace and her husband took a step of faith, sold their belongings, and moved aboard a sailboat. She knows how to live simply, and she loves it!

In her writing and speaking, Grace uses personal anecdotes and biblical teaching to equip her audiences so they can…

  • conquer worry and fear to live as overcomers
  • turn painful pasts into ministry opportunities
  • discover and embrace their God-given purpose
  • overcome unforgiveness and develop meaningful relationships
  • experience the blessings a vibrant relationship with God brings

Her writing includes hundreds of articles for magazines including Focus on the Family, and Insights Canada. She’s written nine books including Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation, and the corresponding DVD-based Bible study.

Grace lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband. They’re the national co-directors of International Messengers Canada, a ministry that offers creative short-term and career missionary opportunities in 26 countries and growing.’

Visit Grace at GraceFox.com

Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions to Calm the Chaos

Finding Hope in Crisis - Grace FoxReleases Feb 1, 2021

A diagnosis. Death of a loved one. A layoff. A broken relationship.

Life changes in a nanosecond when storms sweep in, often without warning. With minds barely able to think clearly, we often set our Bible aside. However, in reality, that’s when we need its comfort and strength most. This devotional is written for those longing for hope, but are lacking the ability to focus on a lengthy Scripture passage.

Each of these 90 devotions follows a simple pattern:

  • Key Verse
  • Pause (short devotion)
  • Ponder (application question or action step)
  • Pray (short prayer)
  • Relevant quote

Whether this is for you, a loved one, a friend at church, neighbor, or coworker, this book is for those who are in crisis.

Crisis looks different for everyone. For some, it means facing the fallout of betrayal or divorce. For others, it means a cancer diagnosis, the death of a loved one, experiencing job loss or home foreclosure, or watching an adult child make choices that carry lifelong consequences. Some would say that hitting a relationship roadblock with a friend or family member constitutes crisis, while others would say it’s losing their family pet.

Regardless, their greatest need is hope. They need reassurance that God’s love will never let them go, His presence will never leave them, and His strength will carry them through. Finding Hope in Crisis addresses these needs.

How to Keep Up With The Show

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Thank you!

Laura

Read the Transcript

A Sip of Cold Water to Refresh the Weary Soul, With Grace Fox

Laura: I have a bunch of folders on my computer. When emails come in and I want to save a particular message from somebody, I put it in a folder with that person’s name on it. I have one special folder on my computer where I save emails that I feel are important. They’re encouraging. They’re transformative in the sense that they transform my life in a good way. They’re the emails I want to keep and refer back to again and again.

In my folder there is one email that I have been re-reading several times over the past few weeks. It’s called, “five ways to be a peacemaker in troubled times.”  That email happens to be written by my friend, Grace Fox, who is here with us today as a special guest.

Over the years, Grace, you have been one of the most influential people in my life terms of helping my devotional life. You have been such a wonderful example of a writer and author who is consistently and deliberately growing her brand and connecting with her readers.

A little bit about Grace before we get into our conversation. She’s a writer, speaker, a life coach and a global worker. Your passion is to connect the dots between faith and real life for your audiences and I think you do an admirable job of that.

Grace is also a wife, mom, grandma and a sailboat dweller. I have to hear a little bit about life on a sailboat. You live in British Columbia, Canada. You’re my neighbor to the north; we live about an hour and a half apart. I haven’t had a chance to visit your sailboat yet so I have to virtually figure out what it’s like to live full time on a sailboat.

Grace: We purged almost all of our earthly belongings and moved onto the boat a little over two years ago. My husband grew up with boats. He drove a boat for the first time when he was six years old and I grew up in Southern Alberta — landlocked territory — so boats are not my real comfort zone. But I love practicing hospitality so we make a great team.

Gene is the guy who knows how to deal with a boat.  He actually has a degree in engineering as well and so he has that engineering brain to figure out how to make things work when they break. And I just love to make a welcome space for our neighbors. It’s been wonderful. We’re been developing relationships with our neighbors in the marina, growing friendships with them and I’m sharing Jesus’s love with them.

Laura: You post a lot of pictures of life on your sailboat on your Facebook page and I recall — I’m not sure if it was this winter or the winter before — when there was a lot of snow and ice and you posted a picture of the outside of your sailboat covered with a foot of snow and all these icicles  were dripping down from the side.

Grace: The canvas top that we have – the canopy in the back of the cockpit… we have to knock the snow off that because too much weight can actually punch a hole right through it. But that there was ice on the river as well, so we hear ice chunks hit the hull and kind of scrape along and I had visions of the Titanic. That’s when I’m not excited about living there.  Some people say to me, “You are living the dream,” and I think, “Come visit me in January.”

Grace: The heater went out for 2 weeks and there was only one guy in the area qualified to fix that heater. He would call and say, “I’ll be there at like 11.”

I’d be there, the wrapped up in a blanket I’m just shivering and shaking. A space heater couldn’t take the chill out of the air; it was freezing cold. But we’d wait for him to come and he wouldn’t show up.

So, finally about 2 o’clock we’d get another call: “Sorry I didn’t make it at 11. I’ll be there at 4.”

And then he’d show up at like 6:30 and he’d say, “It’s been a really long day and I’m just way too tired to get into this right now, so I’ll be back tomorrow.”

He did that every day for two weeks. So it really stretched my patience. It grew me in perseverance!

Laura: That’s a nice way of putting it.

Grace: In the spring, everybody comes out onto their boat and onto the dock. We walk past and give each other high-fives. “We survived another one!”

Laura: I hear you saying that living full-time on a sailboat is cool and it’s wonderful but it’s not exactly the glamorous Life that many of us envision.

Grace: Not. At All. It is an adventure and I am glad that we’re doing it.  I know that God called us to do and it wasn’t just a whim… not a whim at all. I couldn’t have done it if it was a whim. It’s definitely a calling and so I’m confident we’re there until He tells us to move.

Laura:  Are you able to do your writing from the boat. Is that your writing space?

Grace: It is. There’s a little built-in desk. I sit there, but when the weather is warm I go out and sit in the cockpit. I take my laptop outside and I plug it in there and I sit there and do my writing right there with the river. I love that.

Laura: Do you find that inspirational, because you’re a devotional writer. When you’re able to go out there — and I know British Columbia is beautiful — the Pacific Northwest is a gorgeous place to live… does that inspire some of the writing you do, just taking in the beauty of nature?

Grace: It does. We live just opposite a bird sanctuary and yesterday I was rewriting a devotional that I’d written for my newest book. The passage from Isaiah that talks about “those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles.”

The day that I wrote that in the first draft, two bald eagles were flying around just above our boat. I can see their nest when the leaves are not on the tree during the fall and winter. I can look across and see that bald eagle’s nest.

Being in nature, I feel like I’m much closer to nature than I am when I’m living in a house because on a nice morning we’ll get up early. We work out in this very limited space. Because of COVID-19 we can’t get to the gym, so we have very limited space to work out, but we do. We open the hatch. If I was living in a house I wouldn’t open my door like that to go outside first thing in the morning, but I do and it stays open all day long on nice days. And so I do feel like I’m much closer to nature and that inspire me in my writing.

Laura: That’s what we’re going to be talking about today. We can talk about sailboats and living on a sailboat all day long, but let’s talk about devotional writing because that is the niche you have felt called to for quite a few years now.

Devotional writers can feel judged, shall we say, by other people who are like are like, “Are you ever going to write a real book?” Have you ever received comments like that and if so, how do you respond to them?

Grace: Yes I have received comments like that. The first time that I received that comment I felt very slighted. I had to think about that and ponder that later. And maybe I felt slighted at that time because I was still struggling with it a little bit myself. I felt like I was maybe being confined by writing devotions.

I was beginning to be regarded as a devotional writer and had written a chapter book, but still, my best sales were with devotions.  I had been struggling with that. I felt like I had more to say. And that just writing devotions was limiting me. So when this comment came, “When are you ever going to write another real book?”  I thought, “Yeah, when am I?” I need to be doing more.”

I remember going for a long walk and struggling with his whole brand thing and saying, “God, what is it? If you if you want me to write chapter books I’m good at that. If you want me to write just devotions, maybe I’m not as good with that. I feel like I’m much more to say, so show me what you want me to do… and what is my brand and who am I as a writer anyway?”  Just putting it all out there.

I remember it was like the Holy Spirit just whispered into my head:

“You are a devotion writer, Grace. And that’s important. It is a high and holy calling because you are teaching my Word but you’re also showing people how to apply.”

Because it’s one thing for people to know God’s Word but it’s another thing to know how to put it into practice. And until people put it into practice, they’re not going to walk a victorious life. If I can do that with short reading, great.

I had received a negative review on one of my devotional books. I remember really struggling with that, because the comment was something about not being able to go into much depth.

And I thought, “Well, how can you do that? These writings were about 275 words long. “Seriously, how much how much depth do you think I can go into in 275 words?”

I vented to a group of writers my frustration with that. And I got an email back from Patsy Clairmont that meant the world to me. She just said, “Grace, hold your head up high as a devotional writer. Because people are so busy nowadays, they need the refreshing that the Word of God gives. Sometimes they don’t even realize it, and sometimes they’re just so busy with life that they don’t have time to stop and take that long deep drink. All they have time for is a little sip of cold water to refresh their weary soul. So give them that little sip of cold water with a short writing.”

That’s what I do. I’m very thankful that God has entrusted me with that role.

Laura: A little sip of cold water to refresh a thirsty soul. That’s one of the reasons why I return to your devotionals over and over again. I am a busy person and I feel guilty if I don’t have half an hour or an hour or two hours to spend studying, but I know that I can read and meditate on one of your devotionals in about 5 or 10 minutes and that I will come away feeling refreshed.

There’s quite an art to doing that. Your devotionals aren’t lengthy. As a longtime devotional writer, tell us about some of the things you see happening in the devotional niche in terms of length of devotionals. A few years ago they were little bit longer than the ones I’m seeing these days.

My first devotional was called 10-minute Time Outs for Moms.” There were several components to each devotional. It followed a template. It was called, upward gaze, inward glimpse, outward glance, one more peek.”  The upward gaze was a scripture verse that focused on the character of God in some way. Then came the story part that was woven around that particular attribute tribute of God in some way. A story from real life… my role as a mother or my friends’ stories as mothers. I had a couple of personal growth questions — that would be the Inward Glimpse — and then Outward Glance was a scripture-based prayer to pray on someone else’s behalf – an intercessory prayer. One More Peek would be related scriptures that they could look up.

By the time I had all those components written in there, those things were anywhere from 650- 850 words long. Those were quite lengthy. Maybe it didn’t seem quite as long because they were broken up into those very distinct sections, even on the page visually.

I just completed an assignment for Guideposts earlier this spring. They’re going to be releasing a new devotional next year and they did a survey among their readers to find out if they’d be interested in one-minute readings. And the answer came back as yes. So they’ve come up with a compilation and I’m a part of that one as well.

My newest book that we’ll talk about in a bit is very short for a specific reason. Like, really short.  But they’re designed that way for people who are not in the frame of mind to read anything long.

Laura:  You recently signed a contract for a 90-day devotional titled Finding Hope in Crisis. Your publisher wants to release that in early 2021, correct?

Grace: It will be available for pre-orders in January 2021, and will be available in stores in February.

Laura: You have been writing about 9 hours a day on that, or you were up until you got the first draft finished.  You’re working on edits, now?

Grace: I’m going through from the beginning, from devotion number one, and editing. Some of them I look and I go, “Oh, uhhh, I have to rewrite that.” Or I look at the quote that I picked to be on the opposite page… “I can do better than that. I’ll find a better one.” A couple of them I want to rewrite completely, but others are a few little tweaks here and there.

Laura: How did this book come about?

Grace: This is a story where I can see God’s hand all the way through. I really hope that this is an encouragement to writers out there who have maybe submitted a proposal and it hasn’t gone anywhere to not give up hope.  Because if we believe that God is in control of every detail of our lives, He’s in control of those book proposals, too.

Two years ago I wrote a proposal because it had been in my head probably a year before that. I knew I was going to go to a writers conference and I knew I wanted to put that proposal before a couple of different editors. So I wrote it up. I had five samples included in the proposal and they were deliberately short because they were written for people in crisis. That word kept coming to my head: crisis.

So people in crisis might be somebody sitting at the hospital bedside of a loved one. That person’s maybe been in an accident and they’re hanging on by a lifeline right and so the person sitting at their bedside is not in that mental headspace to study the Word of God or to even read a chapter. They just can’t go there.

I wanted to write to that person, and for that reason they would be very short and very focused so that they could remember the nuggets. Because sometimes people in that headspace can’t remember. Sometimes they forget to eat right because they are not in that headspace.  That was the person I wanted to write to.

I showed that proposal two 3 editors. They all said, “Send it to me.” One never got back to me. One said, “Could you make them maybe fifty or seventy-five words longer… little bit more? Could you do that and then we’ll show them to the committee.”

So I did that. And the committee still rejected it. They liked it but it just wasn’t for them.

The other editor said, “I love these, but the publishing  committee said they’re just too short for our purposes.” But she said, “They are so good. You need to find somebody who will publish them as they are.”

But I got busy with life. I did more international traveling or speaking. I just put it away in a file, but during that time, every time I thought about it I thought, “The title. I’m not happy with the title. I need something better than that. But titles aren’t my forte.” So I never really sat down to work them through.

So in January of this year (2020) I went to a different conference. It was a writers conference but I was sitting talking with a friend during that time and she was telling me how she had just spent four months living with a couple, and the wife was dying of cancer. She was there at their request just to be with them through that journey, because this woman in her 50s who is dying, she’s already lost her own mother and her mother had been the best friend of this woman who was telling me the story. So I was listening to her and everything she’d experienced while she was walking through this valley of the shadow of death with his friend.

In the middle of that conversation, boom, it was like a download came and it was that title, Finding Hope in Crisis. I remember just sitting there with my friend and saying, “You’re never going to believe what just happened. I know that’s the title.”

We were split into small groups at this conference for prayer. I shared that with my small group and we began to pray that God would do something with this title and with this proposal. But then I got busy the rest of January. I had other mission conferences that I had to attend for a ministry that serves Gene’s ministry. I had to meet other writing assignments.

And then my mom was been diagnosed with a benign brain tumor on Christmas day. She had to undergo radiation therapy to shrink this thing and then I flew out to Alberta to be with her for 10 days. So, beginning of March.

The day I flew home was the day everything but was beginning to lock down and I couldn’t go to Poland like I was supposed to at the end of March. April speaking engagements got canceled and I thought, “Okay, now is the time to pull this proposal out, dust it off, and tweak it with that new title.”

So I told my agent about it and he said, “Let’s do it.”

So I sent it to him, and it took about five weeks. Three publishers answered him. One of them said:

“We had a similar project in the pipeline but it fell apart, and we’ve been looking for a substitute. This is it. How fast can your author write this book?”

That was on a Thursday. He shot me that email back. I had put three months in the proposal. I thought to myself, Oh. My. Word. If she is asking how much time I can shave off, I don’t know what I’m going to say. I need to leave little white space for emergencies, especially with my mom being ill. But I said, “Okay. I’ll do it in two.”

And at that point I’m thinking, “Oh, God, it’s going to take a miracle, doing two months.” But that’s what I said.

She took it to the publishing committee the next day and they approved it the same day. That’s never happened in my life, so I had that contract in hand a couple weeks later. I started writing on it before I even had the contract in hand. I needed every minute I could get!

I was in a crisis of my own, thinking about my mom and what’s going to happen to her and she can’t be on her own anymore. I had broken or cracked my tailbone just a few weeks prior, so I’m starting to write standing up at this point. I was on the brink of frozen shoulder just not sleeping at night. I was sleeping maybe 3 hours at night because of the pain when I lay down at night.  So I’m in my own personal crisis, but I’m writing on finding hope in crisis, crying out to God every single day.

I completed the first draft in 20 days. Where I thought two months was going to take a miracle, I did it in 20 days. I don’t even know how that happened.

Laura: You wrote 90 days’ worth of devotions. What’s the length on each day’s devotion?

Grace: We’ve got the key verse and then we go into Pause, which is read the story and pause — think about it for a moment. Then Ponder is one little question to reflect on, and then Pray is a one-sentence prayer to apply.

From beginning to end is about 225 words. There isn’t a title for the reading… we’ll just bypass titles. At this point in the draft, I have Day 1, Day 2, right up to 90 We might even take that out, because why bother? We don’t need that.

If they come back to me in editing and they say they want the little two -word or three-word title, I can do that.

Laura: What is the process you go through when writing each devotion? Coming up with 90 different topics to write about seems intimidating to me.

Grace: I have taken out a hard copy calendar, put it on my desk. I’ll sit down and I’ll look at that thing and I’ll look at the target completion date. And from where I am that day to completion date, I write down how many devotions I need to write in a day in order to get it done. I need to leave enough space so that I can breathe so if unexpected things happen or I don’t want to write on Sunday (I want to take Sundays off), and so I’ll leave Sunday blank.

What I might do is say, “On day one, I want to get 5 devotions done. Day 2, that would be Tuesday, but that’s the day my blog needs to come out. So I need to leave space, either to get up really early and write it, or I need to do that on Monday so it’s ready to come out on Tuesday morning.

And today, one of my First Five writings came out for Proverbs 31 Ministries. That means I need to be online, interacting with the readers with the comments that are happening there.

So I look at my calendar and I say, “Okay. I know that on such-and-such day one of my First Five Bible studies is coming out and I need to spend a bulk of my day — at least two hours of my day on that — I have to look at my calendar and what else I’m working with and then I’ll schedule around that.

But I need to come out with 90 (devotions) before the completion date because I need to allow myself time to edit, as well. If I have that to eyeball, that really keeps me on task. So that would be the first thing that I do.

For ideas, with this particular new book, I have been gathering ideas for two years because it’s in my heart during that time. I subscribe to different devotions online, and so if they would come into my box and they seemed appropriate for that type of message or that audience — people in crisis — I would take that and put that into a file, much like you said you keep a file of transformative articles. So I would do that. I also have a hard copy file cabinet — not on the boat but in our ministry office — and I’ve collected stuff for years, so I use that just as a little backup in case I start running dry. I can go back in and read things.

Quote books are also something that trigger ideas in my head so I keep a couple of little quote books on my boat. But now you can go online when you can look up Christian quotes on hope or peace or joy or whatever you want. Sometimes, all it takes is a quote like that and it will trigger something.

In this case, with this book, something happened that’s never happened before. I had that whole file with dozens and dozens and dozens of ideas in there all ready to go. On the day I started writing, I did a brain spill on a piece of paper with my pen in hand. Ideas just started coming to my head so I just wrote them down as fast as I possibly could. I just started working off that paper. In the middle of one idea, as I’m writing it out in a first draft, another idea would pop into my head, so I would just grab that piece of paper and write it down. Or in my own quiet times throughout that process, throughout those 20 days, things would come to mind as I was reading the scriptures for my own quiet time or was doing a Bible study that I’m working on. Something would just grip me and I would job that down too.

Laura: Idea after idea after idea was just flowing.

Grace: One day, I’m sitting in the cockpit writing and thinking, “Okay, God, I’m ready to start a new one. What is it you want me to write on this time?”

I’d look down at that piece of paper and see if something gripped me. If it did, I would start on that.  But that day, as I was praying that prayer, I glanced up to the road that goes past the marina, and there was a guy — one of our neighbors from the next dock over. He’s going along with this dog on one of those things that looks like a battery-operated skateboard. And he’s rolling down the road on that thing with his little dog run along behind him, and then he stopped and picked his dog up and carried him in his arms. Immediately, scriptures about how the Lord promises to carry us came to my mind, and from that I was able to write a devotional about how He carries us when we’re weary and worn. He carries the young ones too, like the lambs in his arms, close to his heart.

Laura: Did the dog and the skateboard end up in the story?

Grace: It did. That’s how I opened it. The other day I was sitting there and all of a sudden I realized there’s this thing hanging on the rail of our boat. It’s called Life Sling. It’s a piece of safety equipment on the boat. It’s for man overboard. So when somebody, heaven forbid, falls overboard, we throw this thing to the person and they should be able to grab it or we can circle the boat around and pull them in. On that Life Sling packaging are the directions, very simple because who has time to read a long set of instructions when you got somebody that’s overboard? But it’s got three or four pictures of what to do with a sentence or two on how to use it.

And then the thought came into my head: When we feel like we’re drowning… which, a person in crisis will feel like they’re going under… are they going to come back up? They feel like they’re drowning. This might be the end of them. Our life sling would be the Word of God and the promises that we find in His Word. The promises of His presence. The promises that He is there for us; he will never leave us or forsake us. That’s our life sling. That’s what keeps us from drowning.

So it would be like, one idea after another after another, whether it be off that piece of paper or whether it be the word or just open my eyes to see something. We’ve lived on that boat for two years and I’ve never seen that Life Sling with that set of eyes.

Laura: You got the life sling idea from looking at that on your boat. Do you just sit down and stream-of-consciousness, write the entire devotion, or do you just jot down a couple of notes? What does your process look like?

Grace: I usually write the whole thing at once. It’s rare that I have started writing and felt like I was banging my head on the wall. I have felt like that at times and I thought, Something’s wrong here. This is not coming so there’s something wrong. If that’s the case, I will leave it and start with something fresh and come back and look at that days later. My head’s in a different space days later and it might all of a sudden resonate with me and I can figure out what was wrong and why it wasn’t working. But usually, I sit down and I write the whole thing. Every writer has her own rhythm, as well.

When I was working on this new book, I got up for two weeks during that time at 4 in the morning to write. I enjoy that. I’m a morning person anyway so it wasn’t a hardship for me. I felt really fresh and invigorated.

My husband was still in bed so I had that sailboat space all to myself. I really enjoyed those two hours before my husband got out where it was just the Lord and me all by ourselves.

And then I would do other things… I would work out and do breakfast and go for a walk and get my quiet time and then answer emails. But by the time I was done with all that stuff, it was noon.  So then I’d make lunch my husband and I, and I would finally sit down to seriously start working again about 1 o’clock and I might work till 9 at night.

My rhythm is I pick up speed at about 4 in the afternoon. Earlier in the day some of those devotions might take me… some would take me 3 hours. 225 words, 3 hours! But it’s hard, and then as I pick up speed, occasionally I could do one in about 45 minutes.

Laura: Other things that you’re doing in addition to writing this particular devotional book as well as other devotions… you mentioned earlier that you’re blogging. I know you send out a newsletter because I subscribe to that. You send out a blog post once a week, right?

Grace: Right. I do a devotional blog every Tuesday.

Laura: You’re very consistent with that, and that is one of the things I’ve been following for many, many years, is your blog posts and your newsletter. I can count on you Every. Single. Week. to have a blog post. You’ve been doing this for years.

Grace: Oh, my goodness, when I look at the files I’ve got! 13 years, maybe? I started out doing maybe 5 posts a week. What was wrong with my thinking at that point that I think I can do five a week! But then it decreased to three, Monday-Wednesday-Friday. And then it went to Monday and Friday, and now it’s just Tuesdays.

Laura: Hear this, listeners! She says, “Just Tuesdays or “just once a week.” So she’s blogging still, once a week. Plus, once a month you send out your “Growing With Grace” newsletter, which is quite extensive and it also has a devotion in it or you talk about something that’s going on in your personal life. But you weave devotional aspects into that, and you encourage people through that, too.

You’ve also started posting daily devotional videos called Devotions from the Dock on your Facebook page and your YouTube channel. What’s that experience been like for you?

Grace: That one started during the pandemic because I thought, I’m connecting with my readers through the written word and that’s okay. But if everybody is in isolation then there’s this thing happening to people. People may be lonely. I can have a different kind of access to them… build a different kind of relationship with them during this time if I can connect them with my voice and my face.

I did it the first time on a walk. I had my camera with me, and doing this Facebook live thing was way out of my comfort zone. But I was out for a walk and I thought, I’m just going to give a little word of encouragement. So I turned on his Facebook Live. My hand is shaking because I’m holding my phone. I wasn’t even sure how it would post. Before I knew it, that thing had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of views. It blew me out of the water. I thought, “Well, that was interesting.” Then this idea for Devotions from the Dock came into my mind. I thought, Why don’t I do that? I could do that.

So I started. First, I thought every day of the week. But then I thought, No! That’s just too much for me. Then I thought, Tuesday is when my blog gets posted. That’s too much for readers; I don’t want to overload them.  So if I do it Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays.

Then I fiddled around with the time length…what is too long what’s too short. What they’ve landed at typically, is anywhere from 1 minute 45 seconds to 3 minutes max. If I can keep it to 2 minutes 15 seconds or 2 and 1/2 minutes, then I’m happy.

I do that now with my phone. I recorded on my camera and then uploaded it to my YouTube channel. Then I would go and take the YouTube link and put that on my Facebook page and say, Here is Devotions From the Dock.

But…  I started looking at the difference between Facebook Live and just recording it on my camera and posting it directly to YouTube. I found out that if I do it on Facebook Live then hit the button that says save and it goes into the camera roll, then you can upload that to YouTube. There’s way more views on my Grace Fox Christian Author Speaker [Facebook] page then I would get if I posted the link to YouTube.

Laura: The reason for that is that Facebook wants you to stay on Facebook and YouTube wants you to stay on YouTube. Facebook makes it so that videos that you upload directly to their platform, instead of posting a link from a YouTube video, are going to get more play in the newsfeed. The number one top type of post right now on Facebook is Facebook Lives. They give that the greatest distribution in the news feed.

Let’s recap: You’re starting by doing a Facebook live video. When you’re finished recording that, you save that video and then you upload it to your YouTube channel.  The one that you’re putting on YouTube is not edited; it’s just whatever the Facebook live was?

Grace: Nope. I’m just letting it go.

Laura: Thank you so much for the service in the ministry and that you do. Is there anything that you would like to add in closing that I may have neglected to ask?

Grace: If people want to connect with me, go to my website, gracefox.com.  There’s a place there or they can subscribe to my monthly newsletter, which is Growing with Grace. They can subscribe to my weekly blog there as well, thanks to you, Laura, the mastermind of my website.

Laura: Full disclosure: My team did build Grace’s website and designed her logo. Yours is a site that I use as an example with every author I work with, because you do so many things under the umbrella of your Grace Fox Ministries brand. And yet you have your content on your website organized so clearly and efficiently, that visitors can easily find exactly what they’re looking for with one click of the mouse.

Grace’s site is a great place to visit if you’re looking for inspiration for how to build your brand as a writer, but to sign up for her devotionals, her videos, her blog posts… and you will be encouraged.