Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Beauty of Creation

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Genesis 1:26-27 and 2:7 was originally written to describe the process of man’s creation. But does it relate to us as writers as well?

It says, “Then God said, ‘“Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”’So God created mankind in his own image,in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them… Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

A couple of things to note:

1) Let “us”- this is the first indication that God does not act alone but chooses to engage in fellowship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit and all together they desire to create something. We need each other! That is why I created this group. I wouldn’t be half the writer I am without those groups I was a part of. God created us for fellowship no only with Him, but with each other. We are not meant to be alone on this journey.

2) I bear His image when I create– 2:7 all of them together take something (dust) and form it into something of value and worth. Are you ready to be used by God when you write? This is not just a hobby or a pastime. With our words, we have the power to transform lives. We have value and worth when we write and we give other value and worth when we write.

3) Our words breathe life into others– In the same way God breathed His life into us, we have the power to breath life into others with our words. As Bernie shared, the words he journals have the power to help him grieve and heal wounds from his past and present. We have the same power to write words that encourage, inspire and heal.

 

What will your words do to promote the Kingdom of God? Ask God what it is He may be using your words to do in others’ lives. 

Avoid the Melodramatic First Paragraph

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Here is another guest post from Kimberly Rae. Enjoy!

Kimberly Rae has lived in Bangladesh, Uganda, Kosovo and Indonesia. She has been published over 200 times, and her novels on international human trafficking and missions (Stolen Woman, Stolen Child, Stolen Future) are all Amazon Bestsellers (Kindle version). Find out more at http://www.stolenwoman.org, or read about Kimberly’s real-life adventures at http://www.stolenwoman.blogspot.com!
 Amazon Bestselling Author
Facebook Group: Sick&Tired

 

Just the other day I learned something from a more experienced and wiser writer than myself. And what he taught me, I shall pass along to you. I hate keeping good information to myself. =)

My writer’s group was having everyone post in the first paragraph of whatever they were working on. I got to read first paragraphs of all kinds of books, fiction and non-fiction. It was fun, and I was really impressed with the writing. Some paragraphs flowed easily and you found yourself at the end of them without really realizing. I noticed on others the writing itself stood out. I started thinking that must be the ideal to strive for–that stand-out kind of writing that makes you think about the author and how they put their words together like that.

Then an author got on who has written lots and lots of books, and his words surprised me. He mentioned he was noticing a lot of dramatics in the first paragraphs, like authors were trying too hard. He said sometimes authors worry so much about that first paragraph and spend so much time making it amazing (or the first page), it doesn’t end up matching up with the rest of the book. I think he actually used the word melodramatic in there.

Um…where to start? It has to be perfect! Aaaah, think I’ll give up and go get some coffee.


I was so surprised! Here I was, impressed at these authors amazing talent, but he was saying you are not supposed to be drawing attention to your amazing writing talent. You’re supposed to be writing an amazing piece. Hmmm. Thinking about it that way, it makes sense. Apparently the professionals out there can spot people who are trying too hard. I’m not really there yet.

But you may be thinking, yeah, but that’s my one shot at getting and keeping a reader’s attention. I have to make it great! True, but here’s this man’s advice. Don’t stall on the beginning of the book. Skip it if you need to. Write the rest of the book or article, and by the end of the rest of it, you’ll know what the focus of the beginning needs to be and you can write it better then. He mentioned some people spend forever on the beginning, but then by the end they realize the beginning won’t work for the whole and have to end up redoing it completely. That would be painful.

So in conclusion, don’t pour yourself into making a dramatic beginning so much that you sacrifice the rest of the work. If it’s stressing you, skip it, write the rest, and come back to that part later. 

Are you a Gap Filler?

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I had a conversation with a friend recently about her calling to serve within her local church. I asked her, “What do you feel called to do?” She said, ” I just fill in the gaps where there is a need for someone to serve.” This made me think about my role in the writing world. What is my niche in the market? Are there issues, topics, ideas that people have written about to which I might bring a different perspective? Are there biblical passages that few or no books have been published that could use some clarification?What “gaps” can I fill in the current publishing market?

This may be a tall order. There may be many things you feel called to write about, yet have trouble narrowing your focus. Here are some tips to help you figure out your “gap.”

1) Pray- Ask God: “What is the one thing you are calling me to write about?” It may be a general idea, or a specific audience. It may be a specific group of people. If your heart leaps at the thought of a certain area of interest, it might be the place to start. 

2) Do research- Create a survey and ask people to fill it out. There are free surveys available at places such as surveymonkey.com and zoomerang.com. Ask people to give you feedback. Ask them questions that are either open ended or give multiple choice answers to help narrow feedback. Some soul searching might be in order to find out your area of expertise.

3) Study the Competition- Websites like Amazon.com are great for getting a general sense of what is being published in your topic of interest. Are there aspects of your topic not covered already? If there are books already published that cover the topic, in what way can you explore the topic differently? 

We all have something special we can bring to the writing world. We just need to find it. 

Is a Critique Group Worth It?

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Here is another guest post from author Kimberly Rae.

Kimberly Rae has lived in Bangladesh, Uganda, Kosovo and Indonesia. She has been published over 200 times, and her novels on international human trafficking and missions (Stolen Woman, Stolen Child, Stolen Future) are all Amazon Bestsellers (Kindle version). Find out more at www.stolenwoman.org, or read about Kimberly’s real-life adventures at www.stolenwoman.blogspot.com!
Thanks again! God bless your day with great joy!
Kimberly Rae
Amazon Bestselling Author
Facebook Group: Sick&Tired

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimberlyRae10

People have asked about critique groups: are they worth the time? Do they help? What if all your other group members have less experience then you?

I joined one hesitantly, wondering all the above questions. Now that I’ve been part of one for about year, here are my non-professional thoughts on critique groups:

1. Are they worth the time? Yes.
The group I’m in has one submission per week, around 1,000 words. So I get a turn every couple months or so, and on other weeks I critique other people’s work.

2. Do they help? Yes, but not for the reasons you might at first think.
I expected it to help when I submitted something and got feedback. But I’ve found the most helpful aspect has actually been critiquing other people’s work. You can get a singular focus when the only work you think through is your own. When you’re looking at someone else’s work, it’s easy to see their weak spots and you have to think through how they can fix them. It has made me hone my own writing skill by having to think through how they can improve theirs, which just makes you a better write all around.

3. What if the other members are less experienced than you?
I’m part of one group where I’m one of the most experienced, and another group where I may be the least experienced. Both have been good. The first, because I can help, and being in the “helper” position keeps me checking and learning so I can give good advice. The second group is good because it reminds me I’ve still got such a long way to go, and that I need to be a learner. Also, I’m learning great tips from them about moving forward, and then I can pass those tips on to others.

I think one of the best things about being part of groups has been the community feeling. I never knew another author for years, and didn’t have people to share with who really understood the whole process of being a writer and all that comes with it. Now I regularly connect with other writers, and it’s encouraging to hear from them about where they’re headed and what they’re experiencing. We help each other, we learn from each other and we encourage each other to keep going.

So in conclusion, I would highly recommend becoming part of some kind of writer’s group, especially a critique group. It’s great to learn to not only accept constructive criticism, but to welcome it and even want it, so your writing becomes as good as it possibly can be.

Three Motivators To Get You Out Of That Writing Rut

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As some of you know, I am just settling in from moving to another state last month. I took some time off to wade through boxes, put things  away and organize. Although I am still not completely finished, I am settled in enough to where I can begin to establish a normal routine. But, if you are like me, it is tough to pick up where I left off and get motivated to write again. As I unpacked, I came across three motivators that I use whenever I need to begin writing again after an extended time away.

1) An “inspiration board”- I have a bulletin board in my office above my desk that features quotes, e-mails and notes from friends and people in the industry who believe in my ability. It helps when I get stuck to look at the board and be reminded why and for whom I write. My writing is not just a hobby or an activity I enjoy but it is a  calling. Those encouraging words from fellow brothers and sisters in Christ motivate me to keep going  when things get hard or I am in a writing rut. I even posted a few bad reviews of my book to remind me that I always have room to grow and helps me to practice the art of writing so I can hone my skills.

2) The book 642 Things To Write About by the San Francisco Writers Grotto. It is set up a journal that contains writing prompts in all genres. It helps when I get stuck and need to get my writing juices flowing again. I don’t spend too much time there, however. Otherwise, I would spend too much time journaling and not enough time completing the writing tasks ahead of me.

3) Inspirational Music- I love music. I work well with music in the background. Others do not. You must know what works for you.  Sometimes I  put on a CD with nature sounds to quiet my heart and soul. Other times, if I want to think outside of he box, I’ll listen to those artists who have changed the course of music through their creativity and original melodies. If I want to impact the world through my writing, I try to get in touch with those who have already done it.

Do you have any motivators to get you back into the swing of things? I welcome you to submit a comment below.

Rejection- It’s Not As Personal As It Feels

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This is a guest post from author Kimberly Rae. She graciously has offered to help me out as I settle into my new home.She will guest post once each week for the next month.
Enjoy!
 
Kimberly Rae has lived in Bangladesh, Uganda, Kosovo and Indonesia. She has been published over 200 times, and her novels on international human trafficking and missions (Stolen Woman, Stolen Child, Stolen Future) are all Amazon Bestsellers (Kindle version). Find out more at www.stolenwoman.org, or read about Kimberly’s real-life adventures at www.stolenwoman.blogspot.com!
 
Amazon Bestselling Author
Facebook Group: Sick&Tired

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimberlyRae10

 
 
You pour your heart into writing something. Then, with fear and trepidation, you risk sending it off to a potential publisher or magazine or devotional.

You wait. And wait. Then finally, word comes. In some generic form, you are told thank you very much, but your piece doesn’t meet the editorial needs.

 

You feel as if someone just rejected your baby, or said she was ugly. How can they do this to you?

Okay, so maybe it’s not that dramatic (then again, maybe for you it is!). I remember how devastating rejection used to feel for me. It felt very personal. They didn’t like me. They didn’t like my writing. I should just give up, etc.

Know what I mean?

Well, here are a couple of facts that might help in that department.

1. When you first get started, plan to get rejected 9 times out of 10. You’re at the very beginning of the learning curve and you’ve got a long way to go. (I know this sounds discouraging, but the intention of me telling you that is to give yourself permission to be rejected without feeling like it’s a terrible thing, means you’re a failure, or you should stop trying. The more you do this, the easier it gets. Really!)

2. Sending out a story is like applying for a job. There are LOTS of other applicants. You have to expect not to get the very first job you apply for. Life just doesn’t work that way (at least for most of us).

3. If an editor is looking for an article on snails, no matter how amazing your article on the Eiffel tower is, it’s going to get rejected. That had NOTHING to do with you–it had to do with snails. =)

4. Sometimes you just have more to learn. If a rejection does come with a reason, take it to heart, learn from it, adapt and move on. All of us have a whole lot more to learn, so it’s not an insult or a bad thing that you do, too!

If that didn’t make you feel better, hold out till next week. I’ll be giving practical tips on sending out submissions that will hopefully result with you get less rejections, and that will feel better instead!

Conclusion: Don’t assume a writing rejection is personal. 
You’ll save yourself a lot of stress and heartache in writing if you can accept that 
rejection is just part of writing. Let it go and move on to the next try!