Thursday, September 27, 2012

Scripture & Writing Series: Week 2

Just posted our newest writing group lesson over at 1st Writes: Scripture & Writing Series: Week 2. This week's lesson looks at Jude 1:3 and the importance of the letter writing genre.  

Stop on over!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I'm working on a devotion. It's only 250 words. I've been working on it every spare minute for three days straight.  Why is it so hard to find the right words?

I know what I want to say, but...

It's so frustrating!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Spilling Ink - for Young Writers

I picked up a writing book for young writer's (hey, I'm young at heart!) called Spilling Ink by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter. The book looks like a lot of fun. First of all, it is written like a MG book (bigger font, easy to read sections, etc.) and second, the cover is bright yellow with a huge ink spill on it. How could I NOT buy it? I can relate to ink splotches and scribbles and scratch-outs and....well, you get the picture.

Has anyone read this book or bought it for a young writer?  If so, what are your thoughts?

Also, I found the author's website Spilling Ink, which is packed with great posts! A recent one is about writing creative non-fiction. This site is an encouragement to children and teen writers (and me too!).  

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Bad Case of Revision Fatigue

I didn't know that the "blah" I've been feeling lately had a name, but after reading Nathan Bradford's post How to Deal with Revision Fatigue, I now know exactly what I've got.

A bad case of Revision Fatigue...dum dum dum!

My symptoms:

--Disgust when looking at "the pile"
--Feelings of self-doubt
--avoidance of "the pile" 
--filling time with anything else, but "the pile"
 --general blah feeling within 10 ft of "the pile"

As you can see, most of the symptoms are related to "the pile" -- that partially finished stack of scratched out, added in, and completely rewritten words, that resembles a garbage dump. Someday, that horrid mess will be a book. And, it will be a better book for undergoing major surgery.

But, the natural consequence of doing a book revision is fatigue. The only cure is to complete the surgery, as painful as it might be.     

So, if you too are in the throws of this dreaded disease, like I am, make sure you read Nathan's post. It's encouraging and there is a cure.

Just finish the dang thing!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Scripture & Writing Bible Study

Looking for a Writing Bible Study? 

Our writing group is posting an eight session study called Scripture & Writing over at 1st Writes.

Please join us! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to Make a Ribbon Prayer Board

This past Saturday, a friend and I had a "craft" day. She made soda tab bracelets and I made a Prayer Board.

What is a Prayer Board?
A bulletin board that contains photos, notes, and scriptures to pray about. I often finish praying and then remember something I forgot. I wanted a visual reminder. 

What I used:
17" x 23" Bulletin Board (Target - $6.99)
Quilt Batting (used, from closet - $0)
1 Yard Fabric (JoAnn's Fabrics - $4)
9 ft. Ribbon* (JoAnn's Fabrics - $4)
Staple Gun
Push Pins**
Photos of loved ones
How to make:
I used the directions from DIY Network: How to Make a Ribbon Bulletin Board. This has nice photos and descriptions.  Note: I used push pins instead of upholstery tacks. I also used staple gun to secure ribbon instead of hot glue.

*Ribbon Tip: Make sure you have enough ribbon. 9 ft. was not enough, but I made do. 12 ft. would have been perfect.

**Push Pin Tip: Use push pins with longer spikes so it can make it through the fabric, batting, and cork. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Power of Positive Thinking?


I read a daily devotion, Until Today by Iyanla Vanzant. I enjoy reading it, but sometimes disagree with the “spiritual” advice because it doesn't always seem Christian-based. So, I take the nuggets of truth and pitch the rest.

Today’s reading was about the power of positive thinking and how you should focus on the positives, not negatives, because your life will go whichever way you think. In one way, the author had a point. I do know people who constantly look on the dark side and it seems that one problem after another comes to them and then they wallow in misery. On the other hand, I know people who are positive people that are dealt blows. But, just to say “think positive thoughts” – well, that is self-centered, shallow advice.

BLUF: Trouble comes to all. It is how we respond that matters. Simply turning to positive-thinking is not the answer. The answer is putting your trust in the positive power of Jesus. Because of God’s love for us, we can give up the problems of this world to him. Then we are freed from worry and negative thoughts, thus living a positive life.

I’m pretty much a positive person. I do give up most of my worry to God through prayer, but I have to admit that I have been negative lately about my writing. In particular, about my book (my first novel). The lack of progress on the revision weighs on me. I don’t want to work on it, even though I’m close to finishing it.

Negative thoughts creep in:

Who will want to read it?
It’s not important.
It’s not good enough.

All this is rubbish. Don’t I know that God himself anointed the book? Don’t I know that God himself anointed me to write? Don’t I remember the moment that God called me to write? Can’t God use my book to plant his seeds of truth even though it is fiction?

The answer to these questions is YES, YES, YES, YES!

Prayer: Lord God, take my negative thoughts and banish them. You are in control of my life and my book. You can and will use whatever I write to glorify you. Give me a positive outlook. Give me the will to finish the book with a happy heart. In your strength, I can do it! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Writing with Insomnia

It's 2:40 am and I'm up. You gotta love indigestion. Even so, the Chick-Fil-A I had for supper was worth it. 

Anyway, it's given me an opportunity to visit some beloved blogs (I haven't been to many blogs all summer) and to do some writing prompts.

Here's a short one I did over at Daily Writing Practice.

Sept. 6th prompt - Use the first line of a song (give credit).

Here's mine (I used "Miriam" by Norah Jones):

"Miriam, that's such a pretty name."

The words sounded like thick honey coming out of Miss Andreus's mouth. She walked over and placed a beautiful hand on my shoulder. All my anxiety fell away as I looked up at her smiling face.

I was going to like my new classroom.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Summer Book Review - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

My last read of the summer!

Book: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs

What I learned: 
  1. Photos can be used to effectively hook and draw in the reader and help them get a feel for the characters (clothing and looks). 
  2. Good characterizations, from the MC, a 15 year old boy, to grandfather (Polish immigrant), to the limping Miss Peregrine. 
  3.  An author’s first novel CAN be good! Can’t wait to see more from Ransom Riggs.

  What I liked: 
  1. Great opening! Fun story! Loved the grandfather and monster talk. Loved the island and creepy house. Loved the bog boy and Horace’s Peculiar ability…man that was bizarre, but cool!
  2.  I liked the whole idea for the book. It was based on old photographs that the author borrowed from different collectors. He used them to weave this fiction story together. What a neat writing exercise that would make! 
  3.  Perfect pacing – good action and it moved along nicely. I didn’t want to put it down! I read it in one weekend.

What I didn’t like: Some of the story is a little far-fetched (time travel loops, Hollowgasts, Wights – with white eyes). I went with it, in the name of fun, though.

Recommend: Yes. If you like MG, odd stories, with a hint of scary, you’ll like this one. The name of the publisher says it all. Quirk Publishing.