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Showing posts from May, 2015

Reading and Commenting on Blogs by Susan Sanderson

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Oh, hello! Thanks for dropping by.

Are you a reader, a writer, a blogger, all three, or two out of three?

Blog is an ugly word, isn’t it? It started out as weblog, being a log of a life uploaded regularly to the World Wide Web.

The name was shortened, but the scope was widened. Nowadays a blog may be used in the original manner, but there is far more variety in blogs.

A blog may be about any single topic or a mixture. It may be written by one person, a team or (like this one) many individuals taking turns. What distinguishes a blog from writing in a diary or notebook is that the latest entry (or post) appears first. This is a common feature of social media. Facebook, Twitter, message boards, Soundcloud (and no doubt all the other platforms I have managed to keep away from) all work the same way.

At first I hid behind a username and a photograph. I still use these to comment on most blogs. Is this confusing?

I had no intention of blogging about my faith. What changed is another s…

Sunflowers by Amy Robinson

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Over the last few weeks, three separate childcare establishments have sent my children home with sunflower seeds stuck in a pot.

I’m sure other mothers receive these with delight, and have children who eagerly run to water them every morning. Since we are the Robinsons, one pot sat in the boot of the car for a few days while another, wrapped in clingfilm, mouldered forgotten in the bottom of a school bag for a week.

Pot number three suffered an accident: my son turned the whole thing upside-down in a disastrous over-estimation of how much he needed to tilt the pot to peer in. I attempted to comfort him by sweeping everything into the pot, guessing which end was shoot and which root, and sticking them back.

That pot caught my attention this morning. In contrast to Clingfilm Pot and Car Boot Pot, which still have only a few leaves barely peeping over the edge, the hastily replanted seeds have shot up to about 20cm high and are growing longingly towards the window. One of them raced u…

About Memoir by Abbie Robson

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Memoir is big business. People are inherently curious - if not nosy! Christians in particular like testimony - there is power in it (1Thes2:8, Rev12:11) and it gives us hope, for ourselves and others.

When people find out I’ve written a memoir of my struggles with self-harm they are full of questions, some of which pop up with monotonous regularity.

Was it cathartic?

Yes and no. Researching, yes, writing, no. In some ways, revisiting the past, through both memory and journals, was healing. But writing the book wasn’t cathartic, and nor do I think it should have been. My aim was to get the message out, not to resolve it from within. I had to deal with the issues before I could write a book that could help and encourage others. Catharsis is for journals, not memoirs.

Was there pressure on you to be so open?

Yes, and no. Neither publisher nor editor put me under pressure to share more than I wanted. The pressure came from me because I wanted to write something real. But being real doesn’t…

God From Behind the Words

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Guest post by Annmarie Miles

It’s great to have the opportunity to share some ponderings with this wonderful group. Having moved from the Republic of Ireland to Wales in December, I was eager to connect with Christian writers in the UK.I’m delighted to have found you.

A couple of weeks ago a lady in church asked if she could buy a copy of my book. I hesitated before answering and had a moment of plummeting confidence, combined with sheer panic.

Inwardly I said,“Book? Me? I didn’t write a book. Who told you that? OK, yes, I wrote a book, but... you want to read it? Well, you can’t. OK you can, but you won’t like it. And even if you like it, you won’t approve. Please don’t make me give you a book. Why did I do it? Why did I even write it? Who’s stupid idea was it anyway? I want my mummy!”

Outwardly I said, “Oh thank you. I’ll bring one next week.”

Now I love my book. I’m immensely proud of the finished product, and am besotted with a number of my characters. It is a collection of short…

Tracing the Journey, by Lucy Mills

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Recently I took part in a 'blogging from A to Z Challenge'. This takes place during April. Each day, except Sundays, you write a blog post. And yes, you work your way through from A until - you guessed it! - Z.

You can write about anything, using that day's letter, but some choose to have an overall theme for their posts.  I chose to do it that way - and my theme was 'My Writing Journey'. (You can see all my posts in this category here.)

This was inspired by a talk I'd given a few months ago on that very theme.

I had been amazed, when it came to it, how much there was to say - and this prompted me to explore it further.

Often we get hung up on all our 'haven'ts' and 'not yets'. We dwell on what we have not done and never feel able to do.  But by putting that aside, and looking at the journey in a more organic way - in terms of our own growth as writers - we can be encouraged.

These days I look back and am glad my early pieces were rejected.  …

The Jelly Bean Fairy

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By Fiona Veitch Smith
Earlier this month I visited the offices of my two publishers. SPCK publish my previously self-published children’s books and Lion Hudson, my new mystery series for adults.
I was warmly welcomed at SPCK and was introduced to seven different people who were all working on some aspect of my books; from editorial, to distribution, to marketing, to sales, to design and stock management. I noted wryly that not so long ago I was doing all seven of those things on my own. No wonder I was exhausted!
It’s said that it takes a village to raise a child, and the same can be said for publishing a book. Even though I used to do most of it on my own, I know that it can now be done with much greater efficiency and much less threat to my physical and mental health.
Publishing is team work. And even when I was largely on my own, I wasn’t entirely. I had a wonderful illustrator and designer – Amy Barnes Warmington – and my husband Rodney, who managed the website and e-sales. Then …

One Word at a Time by Fiona Lloyd

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It's that time of year again. (Those of you who are teachers might want to look away now.) I work as a peripatetic violin teacher, and I have 110 reports to write between now and the beginning of July. I'm worried I might die of boredom in the process: there are only so many ways you can say Chantelle has a good bow-hold (and believe me, I've used them all).


I'm trying to be pragmatic. I've learned a few short-cuts over the years, although I must be a slow learner as it took me a while to realise that if I signed my name at the bottom electronically before making multiple copies I wouldn't have to write my name out over 100 times each year. And while there are some parts of the report that have to be individually written, there are other sections (such as course content) which are repeated over dozens of forms. At this time of year, I'm the copy-and-paste queen.

Still, I always feel in late May / early June that I have an unassailable mountain to climb. It&#…

To Do or Not To Do—Writing courses

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I’m currently studying for a degree with the Open University, and over the last two years I’ve worked my way through the Creative Writing and Advanced Creative Writing modules.
With both courses, we had a dedicated forum for sharing and critiquing our work. Tutors warned that students who didn’t use the forums tended to get lower marks. Despite that, few people took advantage of the opportunity to have their work critiqued—or to offer their thoughts to other students. There were many reasons for this, including fear of allowing people to read their writing, fear of giving someone else the wrong advice, and of course lack of time. Interestingly, most people seemed to interpret the tutors’ warning as a threat—‘If you don’t put in an appearance, you’ll be marked down’—rather than recognising the correlation between feedback and improving our work.

I started the Advanced course with a tutor who was completely wrong for me—or perhaps I was completely wrong for her. Either way, it was a d…

Created to create - by Helen Murray

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I like to write. I like to start with nothing but an idea – sometimes even a vague one – and try to make something from it. I like to play with words and arrange them on a page, to tell a story, to explore an idea. To share something with other people.
I love the idea that I might create something that changes the world, even if only a little tiny bit. I want to make something that adds beauty, or gives inspiration. I’d like it if people were to read my words and feel a bit happier for having read them, or to change their mind, or to make them nod in recognition and realise that they’re not alone.
Earlier on I was watching my daughters draw and paint and colour. I watched them make wonderful imaginative things out of paper and sticky tape. They snipped and stuck and pretended and built and designed; it comes easily to them. They don't doubt that they can do it. They have confidence that they can put down on paper their ideas and they love making. If we don't have the materials…