Brenda Haire is a lifelong Texan. In fact, she lived outside the state for all of six weeks, during a brief stint of training while enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.
She wound up in the military when Brenda attempted to register for college and stood in the wrong line for nearly an hour and a half. When she discovered it was the wrong line, Brenda lacked patience to wait any longer and opted to sign up for the Air Force instead.
She had her first child while in the Air Force, but soon realized driving a forklift was not the most exciting job for a mother. After an honorable discharge from the Air Force, she divorced a short time later. Now a single mother, Brenda went to work in sales and marketing for the Marriott hotel chain. Her experience prepared Brenda for her first business; selling cosmetics as a Mary Kay consultant for more than four years.
“I earned the car and attended all the events. But, in Texas, it was a little hot for me to drive across town to drop off a lipstick,” she explained. “At the time, I didn’t have a ministry heart for it because I didn’t understand that side of the Mary Kay business.”
From that job, Brenda opted to enter ministry directly by working at a megachurch in San Antonio. She worked there for many years before deciding to move to Tyler, Texas. There she entered a college ministry.
Called to write
Brenda felt called to write in 2003. She was 30 years old at the time; but struggled for 15 years to figure out the writing process.
“I was told by a traditional publisher, back in the day, that I was a nobody. There were no social media platforms at the time where I could build a network,” said Brenda. “Because I really wanted to write a book, I had to figure it out on my own.”
She excelled in doing so to the point she became president of the company which originally helped Brenda publish her first book. A few years later, she left that company to become a publishing coach herself.
“Self-published authors know that, sometimes, unprofessional books produced by authors themselves can actually work to hinder the entire self-publishing industry,” said Brenda.
“The muse for my first book was actually my favorite seasoned citizen in my life, my grandmother, who would have turned 100 in 2023,” she added.
Brenda started writing in college, where she worked for the campus newspaper. She would send clippings of her bylined newspaper articles back to her family.
“My grandmother liked what she read and asked me to write about all the good experiences in her life,” Brenda explained. “She had already written some things down and handed me a notebook hoping I could expand on it. That became my first book, ‘Save the Butter Tubs: Discover Your Worth in a Disposable World.’“
Dancing into her 50s
When Brenda turned 50 in 2023, she knew it would be a key moment in her life, and she expected people to make a big deal out of it. But, she beat them to it.
“I follow a woman who challenges herself to do something big, like skydiving, on her birthday. I had been praying about what to do to mark the occasion,” said Brenda. “In October 2023, God said he wanted me to learn how to prophetically dance.”
With the help of a cousin, she figured out how to engage in prophetic dancing. During the learning process, Brenda kept a diary of her experience. Later, she turned that diary into a book titled “A Moved Soul: Boldly Responding to Encountering God.”
“Prophetic dancing involves interpreting music the same way someone would when speaking prophetically,” she said. “You interpret music so people can better understand it for the glory of God.
“I didn’t know anything about it, or even where to get flags to use when dancing,” she said. “There are different types of dances, which use different flags. But, after I learned very quickly, God said he wanted me to dance at my birthday party.”
Brenda shares a birthday month with her mother, so they planned a joint celebration. She planned to dance for people in attendance at the party.
“I told God this was awkward and explained I couldn’t just show up at my birthday and announce, ‘Hey, everybody, I’m going to dance for you.’ That felt weird,” said Brenda.
“But, God reminded me prophetic dance was worship and I would be leading people into worship,” she explained. “So, I shocked everyone and danced on my birthday. Nobody knew I was going to do that.”
Since then, Brenda has opened some of her speaking events with a prophetic dance.
“Some churches are very open to the idea, while some are not,” she explained. “I attend church in the Bible Belt of east Texas where they don’t do that…yet. But, the church allows me to use their stage to record videos.
“Dance has been a part of my whole life, but I hadn’t danced in quite a few years,” she said. “I was very shocked when God brought it full circle on my 50th birthday.”
Now in her 50s, Brenda is leaving her comfort zone to try fiction writing in addition to the line of non-fiction Christian books and reference material she’s working on as well.
“I guess I have a lot of words in my mind. I actually have a to-be-written list of more than 80 titles and book outlines,” said Brenda.
“Writing is a solitary thing and people romanticize it. While that’s true, it is also a submission process,” she explained. “I must be disciplined enough to sit down and share some personal stories or details about my life. I had to say, ‘Okay, God, if this what you’re wanting me to do, I will actually do it.’”
The process of writing has been therapeutic for Brenda. In “Save the Butter Tubs,” she describes overcoming her fears and all the things she was doing to creatively avoid writing.
“After being shut down and rejected as a writer by that publisher, I started feeling, maybe, I wasn’t good enough to be a writer. I was doing a lot of things to avoid writing,” said Brenda. “But, God stopped me in my tracks with Lyme disease.”
Contracting Lyme disease
Brenda has no idea how she contracted the illness. She had not been hiking in the woods or spending time outdoors where she could have come in contact with any ticks.
She had been in San Antonio over spring break to visit her parents, who were actually recovering from different medical issues in two separate hospitals.
“When I came home, I woke up with a bug bite on my leg. I can only describe it as a burning ring of fire,” said Brenda. “I posted a picture of the bite on social media and asked if anyone knew what it might be.
“A friend responded that she suspected I had Lyme disease and needed to go to a hospital right away,” Brenda explained. “Sure enough, a day later, my whole world was literally spinning. I could not sit up straight, and I was confined to a bed for 30 days with absolutely nothing to do.”
Although she knew God wanted her to become a writer, Brenda tried running away like Job in the Bible. She enrolled in college hoping to launch a safe and secure career as a professor of communications.
“I felt writing was not a safe career. I wanted a job with a salary, 401-K plan, summers off and other traps of security,” she explained. “But, God said, ‘No, you’re not doing that.’“
During the month she was confined to bed, Brenda wrestled with God regarding the direction of her life.
“God said, ‘I already told you what to do and, until you do that, you’re not getting out of bed,’“ Brenda explained. “So, I tried compromise. I liked school and wanted to finish my degree. I explained I would only go back to complete my degree.
“Again, God plainly told me, ‘You’re not listening. You do not need a backup plan. This is the plan I have for your life,” she added. “So I caved in. I didn’t know where all the book ideas were coming from and I knew I couldn’t write those books fast enough. But, I relented and devoted my life to being a writer.”
A tsunami of book ideas
Brenda has so many ideas for books to write, both fiction and non-fiction, that it sometimes feels overwhelming regarding everything she could write about.
“I had been collecting titles for a while just because I thought they sounded cool. Then, a funny thing happened in 2023. God started filling in the titles with substance, and laid them out very clearly for me.”
For example, she was prompted to create an entire collection of books, which Brenda calls the “Worth Collection.” In the collection, each series consists of a memoir, Bible study and journal. A process collection may wind up with 10 different titles.
“God already lined up what the books in each series will be about by using titles I had been collecting all along,” said Brenda. “I went down the list of titles and determined this one belongs in this series and that one should go there.
“Strangely enough, a few titles didn’t line up anywhere, which I thought was rather weird,” she explained. “That’s when God told me those are to be my fiction titles. Now I have a plan for four fiction books.”
Brenda invests between two and four hours every day just writing. However, she also developed a system to engage in a more concentrated period of writing.
“I call it a ‘staycation,’ and it’s actually an accountability session available to other writers,” said Brenda.
“In the morning, we chat about what we’re working on that day. Then we go our separate ways to write for two solid hours before coming back for half an hour to discuss how it went,” she added. “We talk about progress we made and address any hiccups. Then, we break for two more hours of intense writing before we have another wrap-up session.
“If I am still in the right mindset, I keep going for another two hours,” said Brenda. “Ideally, I could write for six hours straight.”
Staycations are very beneficial for people who have an idea to write something, but lack the motivation to begin working on it; or see it through to completion.
“It’s all about accountability and getting past hurdles,” said Brenda. “I have one client who has been collecting blogs and other material she wrote over the years. Now, she wants to put them all together in a book. I help her develop a framework for the book, and she uses staycations to work on what’s next. It really helps her to focus.”
Whether a writer is working on his or her first book, or writing their eighth manuscript, staycations are an effective tool for accountability and concentrated focus to get it done.
“Sometimes writers need others to bounce off ideas or see a way around hiccups which have them stuck,” said Brenda. “Getting past that sometimes takes a team of other writers.”
Author Business Network
To help writers turn their books into businesses and online platforms, Brenda developed the Author Business Network. For a monthly fee or annual commitment, members can participate in group coaching and tap into a wealth of resources in her content library.
“Staycations are designed for people who may need focus and accountability to write,” said Brenda. “The Author Business Network is designed for people who could benefit from the nuts and bolts of writing, publishing, marketing and building their author business.
“I am a natural integrator, so I can help people with whatever they are working on, whether it is book, workshop or course,” she explained. “I also work with people who don’t necessarily consider themselves to be writers, but have an idea for a platform to help others.”
What Brenda likes most about coaching writers is being in the trenches with them as they develop ideas and draft out their messages.
“The publishing industry changes so quickly that it’s hard for people to actively keep up with what’s going on,” she explained. “Minute little changes can really mess you up if you aren’t aware of the publishing process.
“Our network includes a good mix of published authors and people looking to write their first books,” she added. “We have members who are writing memoirs, poetry or working on curriculum for classes they want to teach.”
Brenda and a business partner, Amanda Painter, prepared a series of books to help writers. The first, “I’ve Been Told I Should Write a Book,” answers many questions first-time authors have regarding the book-writing process. The second, “The Book Writing Process Workbook,” provides tools and guidance to help people write a book so they can build a business around it.
Joy of Pursuit
The two women formed a business, Joy of Pursuit, to restructure the creation process and implement systems to support it.
“We believe there should be joy in all the things we pursue, and we do that by simplifying processes for them,” said Brenda.
The women developed dozens of resources pertaining to marketing, human resources, finance, planning, public speaking and, of course, writing.
“People can purchase materials and services individually, or in a packaged bundle,” she explained. “For people who want one-on-one consulting, we offer that by the hour as well.
“We help people create a book cover or design a website. We really enjoy helping authors to build full businesses around their books,” said Brenda. “We especially like à la carte services because not everyone needs the same things. We don’t want to put creative people in a box.”
Some authors just want to write a legacy book for their families, while others need an entire e-commerce system to support their businesses. Brenda and Amanda can provide whatever the situation requires.
“I worked with a new author a while ago who went through a training program that convinced her she needed to be a coach and public speaker. But, coaching wasn’t in her heart,” said Brenda. “Her husband was retired and she did not want to be tied down to a coaching schedule. With tears in her eyes, she thanked me for giving her permission not to do coaching in order to have a successful business.”
At Joy of Pursuit, Brenda evaluates the full scope of what clients want to do, then helps to customize a business around those preferences. If she can’t create something on her own, she will connect people to resources when necessary to help them accomplish their goals.
“I really want to help people understand their grace-given gifts and how to use them in the best way possible,” she explained.
Brenda takes a unique approach to helping people identify their passions and determine what to pursue with purpose after turning 50.
“When God created us, he gave us specific talents we can use to serve him. When we use our gifts, skills and experiences in a way that honors God, we are actually worshiping him at the same time,” said Brenda.
“I encourage people to inventory their life to look for moments when they felt most alive,” she added. “Then, take a reality check by asking what you are capable of doing now, in your 50-year-old body, which you can still pursue. The answer probably isn’t too far off what you dreamed about doing when you were younger.”
People should never use age as a limitation, she warned.
“If God is calling you to do something, you’ll be surprised and what he will carry you through,” said Brenda. “Pray about it and see where God leads you.”
Preserving your legacy
Everyone has a story in them based on their life experiences and lessons they learned along the way. The best way to preserve those stories is by writing a book, even if it never goes on sale.
“Self-publishing has changed the industry dramatically. It is a great option for many people,” said Brenda. “You don’t need to pay overpriced vanity presses or hybrid publishers to create books for you. If you are willing to put in the work and learn the process, it is possible to publish a book by yourself.”
A vanity press lends authors its name, called an imprint, which appears on back of the book. Authors pay those companies to publish books on their behalf. A hybrid publisher creates and distributes books through their channels, and shares costs as well as revenue with authors.
A traditional publisher incurs all costs up front and pays royalties to an author based on book sales. People can also have manuscripts printed locally to give away as gifts to others.
There are good vanity presses serving the market, as well as great hybrid publishing companies, Brenda explained. They all serve a purpose, however, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to capturing and preserving a legacy.
“So, be cautious when exploring your options. Learn for yourself what you can do and what you want to do, whether it is put a book on the market or create it for your family to enjoy,” said Brenda.
One mistake she made in publishing her first book was deciding on a final cover based on what she saw on a computer screen after it was designed.
“With my first book, ‘Save the Butter Tubs,’ initially the words were in red, but they didn’t show up well against a blue background. It looked very muddy when printed,” she explained. “It looked great on a computer because the image was backlit on the screen.
“Now I coach my authors to actually print a picture of the cover on photo paper at a photo shop,” she added. “If your cover will be glossy, then have a photo shop print the picture on glossy paper.”
Many drug stores or Walmart locations have professional equipment that will print photos from a digital file.
“That gives you a really good idea of what the printed cover will look like,” said Brenda. “If I had done that, it would have saved me a lot of money. I had ordered a large number of books and marketing materials with the wrong cover. I had to go back and make those changes later.”
People who want to connect with Brenda can do so at www.thejoyofpursuit.com. There is also a link on that site to buy books and resources created by Brenda, or to join the Author Business Network. Her personal author website and her Writer’s Retreat Box and Staycations can be found at brendahaire.com.
If you order a book from one of the above links, Forward From 50 may receive a small commission.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.