We welcome author Jill Holler to our site today.
Tell us, Jill, when did you decide to become a writer, and what made you actually sit down and write something?
Unlike many authors, I never had dreams of becoming an author as a child or young adult. It was something God revealed to me slowly as I grew in His Word over the past decade. I am an English teacher, and I have always enjoyed reading and have done well at writing essays, but to become an author was never a consideration.
However, as I started growing in my faith, I began journaling about Scripture and the things on my heart and mind. I started to realize how clearly God spoke to the circumstances of my life through His Word. Writing became a personal, active conversation with God, and it was something I began to treasure dearly. As an avid reader of devotional books (especially Streams in the Desert), I realized I wanted to offer my meditations on God’s Word to other people too. This is where my devotional book, Life in His Hands: A Call to Godly Surrender and Purposeful Living, began.
Every writer is eventually asked this question, but where do your ideas come from? Why do you write what you do?
My ideas come from the overflow of spending time in God’s Word. On my own, I have little to offer, but as I spend time in God’s Word, praying for Him to open my eyes so that I may understand the Scriptures, He faithfully reveals things to me. He astounds me with the wonder of who He is and shows me truths I have never fully considered. He shows me that His Word is not simply a guide for living, but the driving force of power in my life. God is the greatest treasure in my life, and I want to keep seeking Him to know Him even more.
I write to help spread a passion for God—to draw readers closer to the heart of God—so that they will be encouraged to live for Christ and love Him enough to give Him their all. It took me a long time to realize the importance of this myself, and I want to do anything I can do to help propel people toward a life of purpose in Jesus Christ.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you? How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I prefer to see where an idea takes me. When I began writing my devotional book, I didn’t know exactly where it would go, but as I wrote, I realized God was leading me to write about surrendering to a life of purpose only He could provide. What I wrote was not planned out—but instead was prompted by the circumstances of my life and the direction God was leading me through Scripture. The words in Life in His Hands were lessons for my own soul, ones I needed to instill deeply into the foundation of my faith. I have been through some deep, dark valleys, but God’s light has shone into my life, and I want to share this hope with readers.
After writing my first devotional book, I feel I have come to terms with the fact that my plans for books, blogs, or whatever I am writing, always take back seat to whatever God is up to next. I can have a plan for the direction I am going in my writing, but I always want to be open to the likely possibility that God may lead me somewhere different. I have come to expect the unexpected with God…and that is a good thing because His plans are always better than what I can create on my own.
What is the hardest thing about the creative process of writing?
Sometimes I struggle with the ability to be patient. I may want to sit down and write all day long, but God may be asking me to wait. I think the creative process of writing requires some time for just reflecting and waiting on the Lord. If I try to rush it, I don’t write well, and I can easily get frustrated because things aren’t going my way. So I’ve been working on simply trusting God in His timing and goodness.
Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.
1) Keeping up with all the latest marketing and social networking I need to do, 2) wishing I could devote my whole life to writing, yet realizing I need a little extra income, and 3) struggling with the concept of promoting myself as a writer (and as an introvert!).
On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?
When I think about writing, I get so excited because even though I don’t know where God will lead me, I know it will be good. I can’t wait to unearth a treasure from God’s Word or sit in awe as God reveals truths to me that speak right to my life circumstances. I know through writing I will grow deeper in my faith and my love for Christ—and there is no greater joy than that.
What are you reading at the moment, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?
I am currently reading Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. He reveals so clearly what the crucified life really looks like—to put everything else aside for the cause of Christ and live unashamedly for Him. As a Christian, this is how I want to live, and this book has made this concept come to life for me.
L.B. Cowman’s Streams in the Desert is a book I read daily and has been an inspiration to me as a devotional writer, so she is definitely one of my favorite authors. Also, I love anything by Timothy Keller and Christine Caine. Christine Caine’s books Undaunted and Unashamed have been invaluable to my faith walk.
Tell us about your most recent book.
It has been the joy of my life to write Life in His Hands. This devotional book has drawn me so close to God, and I pray that it will do the same for others. I pray that the words in this book will speak to readers in a real, authentic way and captivate them through the power of Scripture. This book, as the subtitle suggests, is “A Call to Godly Surrender and Purposeful Living,” which arose from my own struggles to do so. It is a tender cry to believers to give everything for the cause of Christ, even in the midst of the struggles and circumstances of life that try to steal our joy. I pray those reading it will be abundantly blessed by the knowledge that there is no greater hope in our lives than Jesus Christ, the One who saves us and loves us with an everlasting love.
Jill, give us your social media links and websites so our readers can follow you.
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/jillholler
And where can readers purchase your book?
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/life-in-his-hands-jill-holler/1124705660
Thanks so much, Jill, for joining us today. We are trusting God to do great things through your book.
Jill Holler is a mother, wife, teacher, and writer who holds a master’s degree in English from Western Illinois University. She has taught writing classes at both Joliet Junior College in Illinois and Muscatine Community College in Iowa. Yet far beyond her education and career, the words in the Bible have opened her eyes to truths that have forever impacted her life. Once blind to the power that resides in God’s Word, Jill now seeks it with all her heart, knowing that within the pages of the Bible are the truth and life she has been longing for.