The quick-responders and the slow-processors: we need you all! by Lucy Rycroft

It has been interesting to observe and engage in writers' communities during this world pandemic.

Some writers are keen to serve their audiences by pumping out as much relevant content as they can right now. Others are struggling to know how or what to write, and have put down their pens while they process what's happening.

Some write for a job, and therefore have to keep doing it, like it or not. And still others would love to write, but their lives have just accelerated to new levels of busyness, caring for children or elderly relatives in addition to the farce of 'working from home', and there is simply no time.

Mulling over this, I marvel at the diversity of us all, and the creativity of God in making human beings so different. Isn't it awesome that some people are able to write and encourage at this time? Isn't it wonderful that others are brilliant at offering space for people to grieve and lament right now? Isn't it great that still others know to pr…

There's Still Writing by Wendy H. Jones

It's a strange old time, where we are all stuck indoors with many of us on our Jack Jones. Our heads are full of a virus, not literally I hope but the knowledge of said virus. Time and energy is subsumed by it. A lot of writers are saying they are struggling to write as their mojo has flown out of the window. I get that. My Mojo is telling me it needs a holiday. Whist this is okay for a short time, it is not good in the long term. If this social isolation carries on for any length of time, we need to slap our mojo around the 'not keen' and drag it back to work. 
As well as being the Webmaster for the Association of Christian Writers, I am also the President of the Scottish Association of Writers and run an ACW and SAW affiliated writing group. This found me cancelling the yearly conference and calling a halt to the writing group, which means I am thinking of ways to motivate, inspire and keep members writing. If you are in a similar boat here are some ideas to use.
1. My …

Fashion in print and language

Earlier this year the centenary of my father’s birth passed without comment (outside our family).

Dad worked in the printing industry. He was a (printer’s) compositor for most of his working life. He usually had inky fingers and occasionally a burn from hot lead. Compositors worked standing up. In the years approaching retirement he became a reader – a sedentary job. He had been a reader from the age of eight, but in printing ‘reader’ is short for proof-reader.

After he retired he offered me two reference books, which I accepted eagerly being an aspiring writer. Recently I consulted one of them to check the rules for punctuation in dialogue. What I found surprised me as it was the reverse of what I remembered from my school days.

At primary school we called quotation marks ‘speech marks’. The opening ones resembled the figure 66 and the closing ones 99. Inside speech marks any quotations (not ‘quotes’ in those days) were in single quotation marks. In the 38th edition (1978) of Hart’s …

But If Not...

I can be very fussy in my likes and dislikes even when it comes to books.
That doesn’t mean I only read books I like. In Secondary school we had to read a long list of books in Dutch, German and English. (My only memory of my German Literature reading was an endless letter by Martin Luther sent to some king.).
I like books with happy endings. Not the soppy ones, where they can’t stand each other in chapter one, knowing full well that by the last chapter they’ll be married with a baby on the way. That’s almost as annoying as the main male character having blue eyes and dark wavy hair. People having smooth, easy lives without any clouds once they are saved is another one to get my eyes rolling, reading faster than ever. (One will never stop reading a book one has started. Ever. Not even if it’s a sixteenth century letter to a king. In a foreign language.) Very, very occasionally I will read a book more than once. It will have to be pretty amazing for me to do so.
On my shelves is an o…

Feeding Your Writing by Allison Symes

How do you feed your writing?

I mainly do so by reading inside and outside of my genre, including non-fiction.

Other ways to feed my writing include:-

Mixing up what I read in terms of type.

I read novels, flash fiction, articles (and have been known to read the back of a cornflake packet in my time! If there is something to read, I’ll usually give it a go!)

Mixing up how I take in stories.
Reading is the obvious way but don’t forget audio books. There’s an extra dimension when you hear a story, I think. It’s a lovely link to the oral storytelling tradition too.

Film is fantastic for getting people into stories they wouldn’t read. I know someone who would never read Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings but was glued to the films. Visual storytelling has its place.

Making myself enter competitions.
My main market is in flash fiction but I go in for the longer short story field too. I love competitions. Open themes challenge you to devise something unique.

I prefer the set theme though. Boundari…

Confinement: A Prayer Walk - around the flat, the house or the garden by Trevor Thorn

During the confinement of many of us to our own homes, we probably cannot write all the time! So here I offer a suggestion that might from time to time refresh us - and bring God into the very centre of our place of unexpected ’sabbath rest’.

Usually a prayer walk is round a village, around a parish boundary or round a common area in a neighbourhood. During the walk, the prayer group will stop and pray for each street, each public place, any schools, any shops and any other community provisions. It can be very moving.
Obviously we can’t engage in such an activity now!  But we could all very easily modify the idea, to celebrate God’s very presence in our own homes. The restrictions upon us could be a very special opportunity to  put God at the centre of our lives in a new way. Let’s think the idea through just a little. But before we do, I want to digress for a moment. When I was working at Ridley Hall, the Theological college in Newnham, as their fundraiser, I had a very interesting con…

Glimpsing God's light by Tracy Williamson

In the midst of a global health crisis where we are all at war against an invisible rampaging enemy is there any light by which I might navigate this stark terrain?  Yes, for although Fear and Sickness walk hand in hand and the night sky appears totally black, yet as I look more closely I realise it is full of tiny pinpricks of light and the more I gaze upon those pinpricks, the bigger they seem to be and to my amazement the very darkness is transformed before me.  Pinpricks of light, the presence of Jesus in me; In myself today I've been rather fraught and agitated, drifting, unfocused, unwell, yet He is here.  Here in the kindness of strangers offering to take my dog for a walk; here in the actions of a neighbour checking if we need anything in the shops; here in the freshness of the wintry breeze blowing in childlike playfulness around me as I peg up the first wash of the spring;  As the breeze tossed the clothes on the line and performed its merry invisible dance between the t…