Friday, February 21, 2014

Take Time to Learn by Elizabeth Byler Younts

Elizabeth Byler Younts

We live in a fast-pace society, and it’s easy to lose patience when things don’t happen as quickly as we’d like. This tends to apply to many areas of our lives: customer service, traffic, and even how long it takes for the microwave to cook food. But some things just can’t be rushed. Author Elizabeth Byler Younts shares her personal journey to publication and thoughts on why it’s important for writers to slow down. ~ Dawn

Take Time to Learn
I’ve always been a “writer” for as long as I can remember. But in 2009 I walked into a critique group in San Antonio, Texas where my husband was stationed, and God altered the course of my path. It was very intimidating to walk into a group of almost thirty people without knowing a single soul. Through my nerves and self-consciousness, however, I continued to hear the call of God on my writing to go out and seek. To knock on the door He put in front of me.

The writers I met there became some of my dearest friends. I had to take those critiques with thick skin to get better. I attended every writing workshop and conference we could afford…thanks to a very supportive husband. I even hired one of my favorite writers and leader of our critique group, Allison Pittman, to do a daylong workshop at my house with several other writers. She offered to do it for FREE but we gave her a “love-offering” that couldn’t amount at all to her wisdom. The two years I was with this group before another military move, gave me the growth spurt I needed to push me into becoming a forever student.

In 2011, I self-published my grandma’s memoir, Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl, that became a #1 Amazon Bestseller in 2 categories. Then in 2012, while my husband was deployed, I wrote another manuscript and that fall landed an agent and a 3-book fiction contract with Howard Books/Simon & Schuster. The first in the series was release in October 2013.

I owe all of this to the God of Wonders!

“Often the prevailing worldview creates an anxiety to ‘get on with it,’ and drives the beginner to want the practice before the theory or even instead of the theory.” Laurie Bestvater, The Living Page (page 69)

This quote is from a book about the art of learning and teaching and “notebooking” throughout our entire lives, not just during our academic years. As a homeschool mom, one of the most important aspects of homeschooling is always be a student myself in all areas of my life no matter my setbacks or successes.

This concept of not hurrying learning along hit me between the eyes. How often have I given my first grade oldest daughter a ‘get on with it’ attitude one way or another as we go through her lessons? I think the ‘get on with it’ or hurry-up mentality has become ingrained in our culture and I don’t like it.

I found this quote a challenge in not just my outlook on homeschool, but for my writing. I consider myself just a beginner in the world of publication and I want to make sure that I continue to be a student of the craft as I write. I don’t want to just hurry through the theory but take the time to learn it well and let it fuel my best possible writing. Learning should always be an important part of our journey as writers of all stages.


Elizabeth Byler Younts joined a critique group and God altered the course of her path. Click to tweet.

The ‘get on with it’ or hurry-up mentality has become ingrained in our culture. Click to tweet.

Elizabeth Byler Younts on why it’s important for writers to slow down. Click to tweet.

Learning is an important part of our journey as writers of all stages. Click to tweet.

When World War II breaks out, Miriam Coblentz’s peaceful Amish world is turned upside down...

It’s 1943, and Miriam Coblentz and Henry Mast are nearing their wedding day when the unthinkable happens—Henry is drafted. However, since he is a part of the pacifist Amish tradition, Henry is sent to a conscientious objector Civilian Public Service camp. When he leaves for the work camp, his gaping absence turns Miriam’s life upside down. Little does she know it’s only the beginning...

When Henry returns home, he brings news that shakes Miriam and their Amish community to the core. Henry believes God has called him to enlist in the army and fight for his country, leaving her to make an important decision: whether to choose loyalty to the peaceful life she’s always known or her love for Henry. Two worlds collide in this unforgettable debut novel, providing a fascinating and rare look into Amish culture during World War II. While Henry is battling enemies across the ocean, Miriam struggles between her devotion to Henry and her love of the Amish way of life. One question is at the bottom of it all: will she follow the rules of her religion or the leading of her heart?

Elizabeth Byler Younts is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. She is an Air Force officer’s wife and a homeschooling mom with two young daughters. She makes her home wherever her family is stationed. Elizabeth was Amish as a child and after her parents left the church she still grew up among her Amish family and continues to speak Pennsylvania Dutch.

You can learn more and connect with Elizabeth on these sites: