Thursday, September 24, 2015

7 Essential Habits


Habits. We all have them. Some are good, some not so much. I have a habit that began when I was very young - the habit of writing every day. Truth be told, I write almost all day long. When it’s not happening in a notebook or on a computer it’s happening in my head. I can’t help myself. It’s how I’m wired.

So there are a few things I have to be careful of lest I let this habit take over my life and destroy aspects that need to be there. I have to make sure I make room for other important things – like my relationship with God and my family. I’m a pastor’s wife so there has to be time for church events and relationships being built there too. And there has to be time to take a break – time to enjoy the amazing world around me and just be. I have to make sure I’m learning and growing in all these areas of my life, not just the writing life. Balance is key and priorities often have to be adjusted.

That’s why I was thrilled to hear about InScribe’s new anthology, 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers. That’s why I was thrilled to know that my submission, Front Pew. Sunday. would be part of it. As I wrote that piece I realized the lesson I learned that day is one I will likely have to keep learning over and over again. Life has a way of wearing us down, of pushing the things we know to be true, the things we have learned the hard way, into the background. We need the reminders to bring out the truth again. We need the habits, the good habits, built into our lives and set in stone like a concrete foundation that holds us and keeps us strong.

7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers is a tool that will help all writers of faith take the steps needed as they grow in all aspects of their lives - in their career, their calling, their faith and their family.

And no one can deny we all need all the help we can get.

I love the variety this book contains:

-Written by 28 Canadian authors

-Poetry, articles, devotionals, and short stories

-7 themes: time with God, healthy living, time management, honing writing skills, crafting a masterpiece, submitting your work, and marketing

On Friday evening, September 25, 2015, InScribe Christian Writers' Fellowship will be launching the paperback edition of the book. You can still join in the celebration by purchasing a ticket for the banquet (http://inscribe.org/product/fall-conference-banquet/). Better yet, come join us for the whole conference! (http://inscribe.org/events/fall-conference/) You can also purchase your own copy of the book in either e-book or paperback format at http://mybook.to/ChristianWriters1.

Right now, you are invited to follow along as many of the contributing authors of 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers participate in a blog hop. I encourage you to click on the links below to see what each author shares. Comments would be appreciated, and if you like what you read remember to share the post on your favourite social media sites :)

Ruth L. Snyder http://ruthlsnyder.com/blog/ Monday, September 14th

Brenda Wood http://heartfeltdevotionals.com

  Wednesday, September 16th




Janet Sketchley http://janetsketchley.ca/tenacity-blog/ Friday September 18th 

 Jack Popjes http://www.jackpopjes.com/category/blog/ Monday, September 21st

Kimberley Payne http://kimpayne.wordpress.com Wednesday, September 23rd
 


Steph Nickel https://stephseclecticinterests.wordpress.com Monday, September 28th

Sally Meadows http://sallymeadows.com/blog Wednesday, September 30th

Tracy Krauss http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com Friday, October 2nd

Glynis Belec http://www.glynisbelec.com/blog.html Monday, October 5th







Monday, September 14, 2015

Blog Hop Starts Today







On Friday evening, September 25, 2015, InScribe Christian Writers' Fellowship will be launching the paperback edition of the book. You can still join in the celebration by purchasing a ticket for the banquet (http://inscribe.org/product/fall-conference-banquet/). Better yet, come join us for the whole conference! (http://inscribe.org/events/fall-conference/) You can also purchase your own copy of the book in either e-book or paperback format at http://mybook.to/ChristianWriters1.

Right now, you are invited to follow along as many of the contributing authors of 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers participate in a blog hop. I encourage you to click on the links below to see what each author shares. Comments would be appreciated, and if you like what you read remember to share the post on your favourite social media sites :)

Ruth L. Snyder http://ruthlsnyder.com/blog/ Monday, September 14th

Brenda Wood http://heartfeltdevotionals.com Wednesday, September 16th

Janet Sketchley http://janetsketchley.ca/tenacity-blog/ Friday, September 18th

Jack Popjes http://www.jackpopjes.com/category/blog/ Monday, September 21st

Kimberley Payne http://kimpayne.wordpress.com Wednesday, September 23rd

Marcia Laycock http://www.writer-lee.blogspot.ca Friday, September 24th

Steph Nickel https://stephseclecticinterests.wordpress.com Monday, September 28th

Sally Meadows http://sallymeadows.com/blog Wednesday, September 30th

Tracy Krauss http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com Friday, October 2nd

Glynis Belec http://www.glynisbelec.com/blog.html Monday, October 5th













Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Take up a Stone



Poet Mary Oliver wrote, “Instructions for living a life: pay attention, be astonished, tell about it.”
 
That’s good advice for living a writing life. It’s a writer’s job to step back from the moment and ponder what might be happening, what might be important, what might be worthy of being recorded. The job comes with responsibility.
When I recently had the privilege of sitting in on the rehearsals of my play, A Pattern in Blue, the director gave me this advice: “Be sure you sit where you can see and observe the audience. Look around to see how they react.”
I did observe and was glad he had given me that advice. My heart soared as I watched that riveted audience lean forward to catch every word. I was glad I was paying attention to them as they paid attention to the performance. The experience was a gift from God’s hand, one I will never forget.
I’ve had many moments like that in my life – watching others watch life as it happened. I remember watching my two year old nephew’s eyes widen with wonder when I turned his head so he could see an iris that had just bloomed. I remember seeing the light in my mother-in-law’s eyes when her son showed up unexpectedly with a bouquet of flowers. I remember learning what the word cherish meant as I watched a man who thought he’d never have children shower his daughter with affection. I have written about all of those moments, moments in time when I paid attention, was astonished and went on to tell about it. Those moments too were gifts from the hand of God.
Like all gifts, those God gives us through our talent and skill as writers are not meant only as a blessing to us. They are meant to be signposts pointing to Jesus. As the Hebrew people entered the promised land, a moment in time that was recorded for us in Joshua chapter 4, God instructed the people to take stones from the river and construct a memorial, not just to mark the moment, but to turn the heads and hearts of present and future generations toward Him.
We writers of faith are, in a sense, the bearers of such stones of remembrance. We are to build words into stories like stones piled up into altars and memorials. It is up to us to write words that point to the beauty in our world, words that turn heads so they will look and see the true character of God, words that cry out for mercy and justice.
And as we place these stones carefully and deliberately we too are blessed because they aren’t just stones, they aren’t just words. They are holy instruments of God.
“Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder... to serve as a sign among you ... these stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever” (Joshua 4:2-7).
Sounds like good advice for living a writing life. It’s a writer’s job to observe, to step back from the moment and ponder what might be happening, what might be important, what might be worthy of being recorded. The job comes with a responsibility.

When I recently had the privilege of sitting in on the rehearsals of my play, A Pattern in Blue, the director gave me a little advice. “Be sure you sit in a spot where you can see and observe the audience. Look around you to see how they are reacting.”

I did observe and I was so very glad he had given me that advice. My heart soared as I watched that riveted audience lean forward to catch every word. I was very glad I was paying attention to them as they paid attention to the performance. The experience was a gift from God’s hand, one I will never forget.

I’ve had many moments like that in my life – watching others watch life as it happened. I remember watching my two year old nephew’s eyes widen with wonder when I turned his head so he could see an iris that had just bloomed. I remember seeing the light in my mother-in-law’s eyes when her son showed up unexpectedly with a bouquet of flowers in his hand. I remember learning what the word cherish meant as I watched a man who thought he’d never have a child shower his daughter with affection. I have written about all of those moments, moments in time when I paid attention, was astonished and went on to tell about it. Those moments too were gifts from the hand of God.

Like all gifts, those God gives us through our talent and skill as writers is not meant just as a blessing to us. They are meant to be signposts pointing to Jesus. As the Hebrew people entered the promised land, a moment in time that was recorded for us in Joshua chapter 4, God instructed the people to take stones from the river and construct a memorial, not just to mark the moment, but to turn the heads and hearts of present and future generations toward Him in all his goodness, power and glory.

We writers of faith, are, in a sense, the bearers of such stones of remembrance. We are to build words into stories like stones piled up into altars and memorials. It is up to us to write the words that point to the beauty in our world, words that turn heads so they will look and see the true character of God, words that cry out for mercy and justice when what lies before us is corrupt and unjust.

And as we place these stones carefully and deliberately we too are blessed because they aren’t just stones, they aren’t just words. They are holy instruments of God.

“Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder... to serve as a sign among you ... these stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever” (Joshua 4:2-7). 

****