Friday, 31 July 2015

Write What you Know but Learn as you Write by Theresa Grant

Write what you know…

I have heard it said that you should write about what you know. When you do there is reality that readers connect with. This is perhaps one reason why biographies are so popular as it is easy to connect with the reality of a person’s life.

I am currently working on my first book which is about The Lord’s Prayer. This is something that I know a lot about already as The Lord’s Prayer has been central to me growing in prayer over the years. It is very personal to me, and this biographical element will help the book to be real for the readers.

I am also starting to move out in preaching, and I preached my first sermon as a member of the preaching team at my church last Sunday. I was preaching on Jesus as Lord of the Sabbath, again it is something I am familiar with.

… but learn as you write.

When it comes to writing and preaching I still have my ‘L’ plates on. I am aware of both how God has gifted me, and also well aware of my shortcoming. I have much that I need to learn, and with writing and preaching my learning curve seems to be going up exponentially!

If I do not seek to improve and to up my game then all I will give people will be mediocrity, something below my best and not suitable for those I aim to encourage in their walk with God.

I am sure that you have tried to read books (whether commercially or indie published), or listened to music, when you have felt that the writer is either coasting on past success, or they have not learnt the importance of seemingly basic things using like professional editing services.

If our writing journeys do not involve learning then we are doing those we seek to serve an injustice. Our readers expect our best, not perfection but still our best. If we ever think we have arrived then we will cease to learn, and to cease to learn is to cease to grow, and to cease to grow is to cease to live. Let’s learn live and grow in all we do.

We have much to learn from Peter, Paul and Apollos. They were all ‘lifelong learners.’ Peter and Paul were taught by Jesus himself and others, and Apollos (who probably wrote the letter to the Hebrews) was taught primarily by Priscilla and Aquilla, and Priscilla must have been an exceptional woman.

Let’s write what we know so there is a reality in what we write, but let’s always be learning as we write then our legacy will be one worth leaving. Let’s face it when God made all things ‘good’, they were excellent not just mediocre, and all we do should be the same.

About the Author

Theresa is Andy’s wife and Isaac’s mum. She works as a catering assistant at a local primary school over lunchtimes, and enjoys reading, writing and learning in her spare time.

She has a heart for God’s presence, prayer and for revival. She is currently working on her first book on The Lord’s Prayer and part of the preaching team at her local church.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Emotional Writer by Hilary Hughes

As a writer of poetry and reflective work mostly, I find that my emotions are often heavily involved in what I produce as I write. Fear, joy, sorrow, pain, anger and curiosity flow in a strange current through my days and pour out into my work.

Over the years I have come to embrace my writing as a gift, mainly because others have encouraged me and exhorted me to keep it going. For a long period I felt it was an indulgence and a selfish pastime, but gradually it has become a therapy, a lifeline and then a mission and a ministry.

Many writers will acknowledge and understand this, especially if you're a more introverted personality. As a teacher I am used to being 'up front' and relating in a perhaps lively, dramatic way towards the children and students, but I would not describe myself as an outgoing person.

I find I’m easily moved and captivated by the natural world: rivers, seas, mountains and forests and by new and exciting places. Increasingly, I’m inspired by the urban environment and the challenges it brings. Justice and compassion also feature in my work – often out of anger at their opposites.

Then there is anxiety! (I also suffer from an acute anxiety syndrome – eek!) Anxiety and hurt are, at least in part, worked through by putting pen to paper – there's a sort of cathartic process that goes on very often, so that at the beginning I'm asking questions and by the end have answered some of them by turning to God!

It’s possible to think things through, be very pragmatic and also cerebral about life; for some people that is how they cope or succeed. Indeed, my writing can be infused and informed by fact and research. However, the more I write and share my work: use it for the benefit of others by composing something specific, or in the context of worship or in the community, the more I want to write and the more people begin to understand the medium of poetry in particular as a fantastically effective and expressive voice.

What I am learning is that, even in the dark times, the periods of acute emotional upheaval, I can thank God. I thank Him that, while I do not welcome these emotions, I experience them and am able to express them, (if not freely in my behaviour or actions, then in the written word, which later can be spoken in an appropriate context!) Sometimes our emotions take over. We're human. God knows this and He still loves us. – I cannot ignore my feelings or emotions but I try to handle them and turn them into something profitable through my work. God is bigger, He can transform and He provides!

Author Bio

I'm a teacher and writer with a grown-up family. I love language: teaching it, playing with it, composing, creating, expressing, responding - to places, people, events, struggles ...

I kept on being told I should 'get my stuff out there', so I have! My book, 'HIT THE GROUND RUNNING – muses, reflections, poems, prayers and rants on life's crazy journey' was published in May 2013. I continue to write regularly, often using my own photography. I also write spoken worship, run workshops and encourage others to express themselves through writing.

I have a dedicated FACEBOOK page for my work: HILARY JANE HUGHES CREATIVE WRITER

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Work in Progress by Liz Manning

When I was a teenager, my Mum used to wear an embarrassingly loud green sweatshirt complete with a cartoon yellow tortoise and the words ‘Please be patient – God hasn’t finished with me yet’. In fact, she continued to wear it into old age until I got over my embarrassment.

But I love that sentiment: the idea of promised improvement and illusive perfection just somewhere up ahead. We are, to borrow a frequently used writing acronym, God’s WIP.

I write poetry. For me a poem often starts with the juxtaposition of a few words, a rhythm of alliteration stuck like a scratched record in my head, or as a barely grasped wisp of an idea on the edge of my mind. My poems are not like Aphrodite, rising fully formed from the foam – they go through cycles of writing, revising, and rewriting. So many times, I have to stop, reread, and correct in order to get both the details and the overall flow right. I’ve already changed this paragraph about 18 times!

Frequently a draft poem gets put to bed, then shaken out and refined a day or a month later. Poems I thought were finished even years ago can still be tweaked. I have to continue to experiment with adding or removing, reordering and remoulding before I am happy with it. This year I let some of my poems out for the first time for a more public airing, which led to more prompts for improvement.

I think, to misquote Thomas Edison, my poems are 1% inspiration and 99% editing.

The word ‘poem’ comes from the Greek ‘poiema’, literally meaning ‘a thing created’, its earlier variant from ‘poiein’ meaning ‘to compose’. In Genesis, God composes His own creation poem, editing and embellishing the world over 7 days. ‘Poiema’ is the word used to describe us in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians ch 2 v10, usually translated ‘handiwork’:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Sometimes in this verse, ‘poiema’ is translated as ‘masterpiece’. What a thought – that we are each God’s masterpiece! Now I rarely feel like a masterpiece but what if we used our writerly word ‘poem’?

“We are all God’s poem”.

I love the thought that God sees me as some kind of work of art, especially as that’s not a term I would use to describe myself. But the Great Word Himself has created me as His poem. The One who used words to bring the universe into being and sent His Word to be the light of men created me and you as His poem(s) to the world.

And that leads me back to my Mum’s sweatshirt. God hasn’t finished with me yet: He is still patiently editing, revisiting bits that aren’t quite right, moving things round, trying out a new part here and there. I am God’s Work In Progress. My life is God’s poem.

About the Author

Being the only female in her household and captain of a Boys’ Brigade Company, Liz Manning sometimes thinks her autobiography would be called “Surrounded by Men”. Working as an Occupational Therapist at her local hospice, however, balances this out.

Liz writes for her church magazine, has had a book review published in Woman Alive, and enjoys the challenge of making BB Devotions challenging, relevant, and interactive for both boys and staff. This year she found the courage to share some of her poetry in the closed Facebook group ‘Poetic Countdowns’.

Liz has started writing more regularly with two aims: to find a way to use her poetry beyond her immediate circle; and to develop her Bible Story Gyms* into a full resource for BB nationally. Her idea of heaven is escaping into a good book with a bottomless jug of Rwandan coffee and a large supply of (as yet uninvented) calorie free Galaxy chocolate. You can find her on Facebook.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Moral Lessons for Writers Without an Ordnance Survey Map of the Publishing World by S.C. Skillman

The life of a writer, as for any creative person, can be packed with frustration and disappointment. It can seem that we will never reach our destination; the path to our goal is nowhere to be found; we are always longing for a special way through, which is constantly beyond our reach; we find our way cut off by new, previously-unimagined difficulties.

The internet is full of advice for us. Some of this can be very encouraging if it happens to be appropriate to us, and then we might apply it to our lives. A lot of it is probably irrelevant. Because we’re all so different, we can vary in our response to this advice.

But here is my contribution, from my own experience.

My two teenage children and I were walking our neighbour’s dogs at the bottom of our road, where one may access a bridge across the River Avon via a new housing estate.

Just beyond the bridge, walkers reach a lane; on the left it leads down to the Rock Mill; straight ahead is a high bank topped with trees, and to the right one may follow the lane up to re-join the main road from Warwick to Leamington Spa.

I was searching for the footpath which would take us through the woods, parallel to the river, and eventually bring us out onto Milverton Hill, and finally to the Saxon Mill. I already know how to reach the Saxon Mill by walking along a major road, but hoped to find a woodland path instead.

But hard as we looked we couldn’t see the path which would lead us to our destination, so eventually returned home, thwarted.

However a few days later, I approached the same area down the lane which leads from the main road. There ahead of me, clear as anything, was a signpost saying: To Saxon Mill. If we had walked a little bit further on the previous occasion, we would have found the entrance to the footpath, hidden by overhanging greenery. I had only seen the entrance because I approached it from a different direction.

You may think the moral of the tale is to purchase a good ordnance survey map. However, this experience reminded me of two things which I then realised applied to me in my life as a writer too:

1) If you just go a little bit further, you may find what you’re looking for.

2) If you approach the problem from a different angle, you could find a resolution.

Remind yourselves of these two things over and over again in your life as a writer. It is very easy to give up just short of the goal; and even easier to consider a problem insurmountable, because of the particular angle you are taking onto it.


SC Skillman writes thriller/suspense fiction. Her first novel Mystical Circles, psychological suspense, was published by Blue Lily Press, and is available as a paperback and an ebook. Her new novel, A Passionate Spirit, will be published by Matador on 28th November 2015. As a child she was inspired by Enid Blyton, and started writing adventure stories at the age of seven.

She studied English Literature at Lancaster University, and her first permanent job was as a production secretary with the BBC. Later she lived for nearly five years in Australia. She now lives in Warwickshire with her husband David and their two teenage children.

Visit Sheila’s website at

Follow Sheila’s Facebook Page: SC Skillman Author & Blogger

and her author blog at

Monday, 27 July 2015

The long way round, by Lucy Mills

Do you worry, sometimes, that you’ve left it that bit too late?  Whatever that ‘IT’ may be? Once when I was reading one of Margaret Atwood’s novels I came across the phrase, ‘potential has a shelf life’. It was a phrase that stuck in my mind and haunted me.

Does it? Does potential have a shelf life?

‘You’ll go far!’ Someone told may have told you, way back when.  ‘I can’t wait to see what you accomplish.’ ‘You’re such a great writer! You’ll be a bestseller one day!’

But what if you feel you haven’t got very far at all?

There are times in life when I’ve felt I’ve lost it. Lost that ‘factor’ people would remark on, once upon a time.  And as the years seep by, I’ve been tempted to tell myself: it’s too late now.

I hear it all the time.  ‘Oh, I could never do it now.’ ‘I’ve left it too late.’ ‘I’ve wasted my time.’ ‘I’m too weak/lazy/busy/old/insert-your-situation-here.' And then followed up by that old chestnut: 'It's all right for you to say!' But how do we know what another person has had to overcome? We don't all conform to the same template.

The very words act as inhibitors. That very mindset prevents us from doing whatever That Thing is. With writing, too. ‘I’ve left those dreams behind me,’ I’ve heard people say. ‘I know I’ll never do it now.’

The phrase ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ comes to mind.

All right, so things haven’t gone as we’ve planned.  Things have blocked us, limited us, wounded us. We may not have caught the first train, and have spent a lot of time waiting at stations.

We’re not as adept as we’d like to be.  We haven’t practised as we might have done and still stumble over the keys instead of playing a symphony with our eyes closed. Should we give up playing the instrument, give up the potential to make a beautiful sound?

Perhaps we need to stop thinking about all we haven’t done. What we might have done. What we could have written but didn’t. When we should have started something but never got round to it, and now it’s all still there, waiting and it’s huge.

We’ll make mistakes.  We may end up taking the long way round, but we might pick up some unexpected lessons along the way.

Perhaps we need to consider, as Anne of Green Gables might say, that every day is new ‘with no mistakes in it’.

However long it’s been since we picked up the pen or opened the ‘W.I.P’.  However long it’s been since we dared to aspire to something more.

Let’s not let the things we haven’t done in the past dictate the future.  It’s not too late, wherever we may be standing.

Don't we believe in a God of restoration?

Let’s give ourselves permission to play with our dreams again.


Lucy Mills

Lucy's first book, Forgetful Heart: remembering God in a distracted world, was published in 2014 by Darton, Longman and Todd (DLT). She's written articles, poetry and prayers for various publications and is an editor at Magnet magazine.

Previous More than Writer posts:
Lucy on Twitter: @lucymills
Lucy's Facebook page

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Jots and Tittles

About to start editing the galley proof of The Jazz Files
I’ve just spent the last ten days reading through the galley proofs of my soon-to-be-published novel, The Jazz Files. I was told only to look at factual issues and text that I wanted to reword - not because it was wrong, but because I might want to rephrase it. Someone else would be dealing with spelling, grammar and layout issues. I actually found this very tricky to do – not commenting on errors. To comfort my inner pedant I put a pencil circle around any ‘typos’ I found but didn’t write them up into my list of author corrections that I submitted to my publisher.

The thing is it isn’t my job to point out those errors. If it ends up that the things I circled for my own records are not corrected, I will be frustrated, but I need to learn when to speak and when to hold my tongue.

It reminded me of when I was twelve years old and I publicly corrected my uncle’s grammar. He was furious with me and told me – publicly – that it was not nice to correct people like that. In my defence I said: “But it’s wrong.” And I will never forget his answer: “No pet, what’s wrong is to make people feel you know more than they do and to show them up in front of folk."

As writers, we are people who love words and more often than not, the correct use and presentation of those words. It frustrates us when we see or hear the English language misused. However, we must be careful that our passion for the language does not come across as judgmental or unkind; pointing out someone’s poor spelling or grammar – on the internet or in ‘real life’ – is humiliating.

I was recently the recipient of this and I thought back to how my uncle must have felt all those years ago. In this day and age of quick emails / posts / texts, often written on the hoof and typed on miniscule keyboards and subject to the tyranny of auto-correct, mistakes are made. But does it really matter? Unless the purpose of the post was to teach grammar or correct English usage, is it our job to point out errors? Surely what is more important is successful and gracious communication between people.

Some people wear their inner pedant like a badge of honour and think others should be grateful that they have corrected their sloppy writing. Now don’t get me wrong, I like a well-written piece of text as much as the next writer, but I need to remember that speaking the truth in love sometimes means not speaking the ‘truth’ at all.

Fiona Veitch Smith is a writer and writing lecturer, based in Newcastle upon Tyne. She writes across all media, for children and adults. Her formerly self-published children’s books The Young David Series, are now available from SPCK. Her mystery novel The Jazz Files, the first in the Poppy Denby Investigates Series (Lion Fiction), is due out in September 2015.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Rest for the Soul by Fiona Lloyd

      Veronica Zundel was reminding us recently of the importance of taking good physical care of ourselves. (Put your back into it?) But what about our spiritual selves? Many churches and Christian organisations seem to exist in a maelstrom of activity. There’s a real risk of equating busyness with maturity, as if we can earn extra divine brownie points by signing up for 76 different rotas.  

      On a personal level, I find the concept of stopping to recharge my spiritual batteries a constant challenge. I blame my dad, whose idea of a relaxing holiday was to climb 17 mountains before breakfast. (Okay, I’m exaggerating…but only a little.) I’m inclined to be a Martha rather than a Mary. My mind flits, moth-like, from one tantalising thought to another.

      Over the last four years I’ve been involved in helping to run a series of quiet days at a retreat centre on the outskirts of Whitby. A group of 15 or so of us come together for prayer and a short teaching session. The main feature of the day, however, is the opportunity to spend time on our own with God. The setting – and the views – are stunning, there’s tea and coffee on tap, and the phone signal is almost non-existent.

      Forcing myself to stop and rest in God’s presence is an effort, but it’s always worth it. I can feel the tension sliding off my shoulders like a discarded cloak. Sometimes I sense God speaking clearly, in a words-of-one-syllable kind of way even I can’t fail to understand. Other times it’s less tangible, but I still leave feeling refreshed and invigorated.

      I also feel inspired. More and more, I’m discovering that when I let down the barriers and give God my full attention, he motivates me to write. It may be something private, just between the two of us, or it might be for a wider audience. What’s clear, though, is that taking good care of my soul benefits my writing.

      Funny, that.

Fiona Lloyd works part-time as a music teacher, and serves on the worship-leading team at her local church. She enjoys writing short stories, and is working on her first novel. Fiona self-published a violin tutor book in 2013, and blogs at She is married with three children. Fiona is ACW's membership secretary.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Christian Writer of the Century

Soon after J. R. R. Tolkien was voted Writer of the Century I had the good fortune (with two colleagues) to be commissioned to write a book about his relationship with the English language. Already a lifelong Tolkien enthusiast, I have written a number of papers on the same theme in the decade since that book was written and have come to appreciate his achievement even more. 

For me, Tolkien is also the Christian Writer of the Century. His personal faith, the foundation of his writing, was deep and intense, tested in youth by the death of his mother from sickness and poverty. He himself described The Lord of the Rings as a Christian book: and yet there is not one word of religion in it!

Added to this was the sense of a call that arose among his group of four close friends who, as they grew up just before the First World War, felt that they must do something to remedy the state of society. Two of these young men died on the Western Front, explicitly handing on the torch to Tolkien, who was saved by illness from a similar fate.

Next in his growth as a writer we should consider Language and Myth. Tolkien was a lover of both from an early age and devoted his professional life to studying and teaching them. But this was not just expertise: imaginatively he inhabited those Northern landscapes, those medieval realms of Faerie. And, as C. S. Lewis aptly said, ‘he had been inside language’.

The spark that ignited his writing was the War. The desolated landscapes, the violent engines of destruction, the death and pain, entered in and set fire to the waiting materials. But Tolkien did not rush off a Dulce et Decorum est or a Goodbye to All That, in anger or revulsion. Instead he went home and became a university teacher and family man. It was a controlled inner smouldering that produced his most powerful work. Perhaps it was fanned back to white heat by a second world conflict but that was not its cause.

What he produced instead was a many-sided, unclassifiable masterpiece. To attend to it one must enter through a low and narrow gateway. It celebrates the ability of the humble, ordinary person to influence a cruel world. It exposes the facile, banal mockery of evil. It opens magic casements on to faerie lands. It is an elegy for a beautiful, passing world. It is a song of hope raised by people who have not yet heard of the resurrection.

Tolkiens are born, not made. Can we learn anything from him? Yes. We can wake up from the sleep of worldly compromise and let our faith permeate our whole moral outlook. We can listen for a call to change the world. Our imaginations can come to dwell in the worlds we want to write about. And we can write from our sufferings, not in bitterness but constructively.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

It's a kind of magic... by Helen Murray

Right. This might be the most tenuous link yet for a post on the More Than Writers blog, but here goes.

I’m writing about it, so that’s the link to writing. Fervent prayers were said, so that’s the link to Christianity. Is that ok?

I shall push on, regardless.

This happened.

The other night I woke up in the early hours. It was unsurprising as we’ve been having hot, humid nights and bouts of thunder and lightning, and it was one of those nights. The rain had subsided and the thunder moved on to terrorise other people some distance away but the occasional lightning flash lit up the room for long seconds at a time.

I glanced at the clock only to find that it wasn't there. Well, it was still there but I couldn't see it because the digital display had gone. More groping about revealed no lamps, no central light, no electricity at all. As I pondered this I noticed that I could hear music, and assumed that it was a neighbour who has a tendency to play his tunes too loudly and inconsiderately late into the night. I may or may not have muttered something unfriendly as I climbed out of bed and opened a window to confirm my suspicion. However, as I leaned out into the cooler air, the music became softer, not louder.

Right. It must be one of the children. How on earth were they playing music with no electricity, and more to the point, why on earth did they think it was ok in the middle of the night? Preparing my speech, I marched onto the landing only to stop in confusion as a realized that the music was coming not from either of my daughters’ rooms, but from downstairs.

Using the light from my phone to navigate, I crept downstairs in the dark, lit occasionally by lightning flashing through rooflights over the stairwell and into the hall. There was so much adrenalin in my system that I had a funny taste in my mouth. 

The music was coming from the kitchen, and it was loud.

‘It’s a kinda magic…’

Queen. My iPod was sitting on its dock in the deserted kitchen, its screen casting an eerie pale green glow over the fruit bowl, playing ‘It’s a Kind of Magic’ at top volume.

So what goes through your mind when you come downstairs in the middle of the night amid flashes of sheet ligtning, with a power cut and ‘It’s a kinda magic…’ playing loudly?

Was this the work of a burglar who'd seen too many films and was luring me downstairs with some nefarious intent? Why would he play the iPod rather than nick it?  Calm down, take a breath. What benign reasons could there be for music playing spontaneously in the middle of the night? 

When I finally worked out how to move again I whipped the iPod off its stand and jabbed at some buttons. It fell silent. I tried the doors but they were locked. Windows closed. Valuables seemed where they belonged. Deep breath. Heart beating like crazy.

I looked around the ground floor, creeping from room to room with an iPod in one hand and an iPhone in the other. I had no idea what I thought I might find, but I was armed with Apple. Everywhere black, except when the lightning filled the house like a strobe. 

Common sense kicked in at last and I hauled the vacuum cleaner and swimming kits out of the way to inspect the fuseboard in the cupboard under the stairs. The switches for the whole house had tripped. I flipped them up again and yelped in fear as the whole house leapt back into life. Computers beeped, the DVD player clicked and blinked, the landline phone chippered, the printer revved up and did some exercises and even the shower made a strange noise. Digital displays lit up with random times and numbers and flashed, demanding to be reset. Every room seemed to be beeping or flashing or whirring.

I scurried back to bed.

Not going back to sleep for a while after that. I might as well have downed a couple of espressos.

I worked out that the electricity must have gone off for a while, and then come back with a surge that tripped the fuses. The surge must have switched on the fully charged iPod even though the dock went down again when the fuses tripped.

'It's a kinda magic'.


Well, it makes a good story. I thought about how I might insert it into the middle of my WIP but decided it might come across as a little far-fetched. Funny how the things that seem the most unlikely are often the ones that are true.

And so it came to pass that God and I had an unscheduled (by me, at least) little chat in the middle of the night. Or actually a rapid succession of little chats with varying degrees of urgency between 2am and 4.30am. It was a good job we did, to be honest, because at 7am when the alarm went off I was so tired I was pretty much beyond all coherent conversation. 

An early night tonight, I think. 

Helen Murray lives in Derbyshire with her husband, two daughters and her mum.

Having spent time as a Researcher, Pastoral Worker and Hand Therapist, Helen is now a full time mum and writer, currently working on her first novel. 

As well as writing and reading, she drinks coffee, takes photographs, swims and breeds Aloe Vera plants. The Mother Plant has just had her fifth litter, so now there are 33. The kitchen window sill is a little short on space.

Helen has two blogs: Are We Nearly There Yet? where she writes about life and faith, and Badger on the Roof where readers are treated to a blow by blow account of her novel-writing progress, or lack thereof. 

You can also find her here:

Pinterest: @HelenMMurray

Twitter: @helenmurray01

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

What do you do on a Book Launch day? by Marion Stroud

What do YOU do when the longed for ‘Launch Day’ arrives and you finally see your work in print? I’m thinking particularly of a book but this could apply to a magazine article , a set of Bible reading notes, or even the more ephemeral world of the Internet. Go out for the day? Have a special meal with your nearest and dearest? Phone everyone you know to tell them? I’ve done all those things and more. But I have never yet done what my friend Cynthia Ruchti does ... but after reading her blog post ... next time I will do differently!

This is part of the story of her Launch Day:

“Today, I held the new arrival in my arms, looked into its soft face, and said, "It's a book!"

So how am I spending my first day with this new baby?

On my knees. The labor isn't over, of course. Marketing, publicity, speaking related to the book, articles related to the book, author events, blog visits, the wonder of interacting with readers.

But I intend to spend this day on my knees.

I'm spreading the cover before me, laying one hand on the cover and one hand on my Bible and praying, "Lord, I know how these two books are connected. Please help readers see the link, too."

I'm turning to the title page and praying for my publishing house, editor, publicist, marketing manager, sales team, publisher...

I'm opening to the dedication page and praying for those for whom the book was written.

I'm asking the Lord to breathe life into the pages, to touch them so that those who pick up the book sense something that can only be Him.

My prayers include practical things like face-to-the-carpet prayers for good reviews, good sales, and readers, readers, readers.

I'm spending time on this Launch Day praying for the real people whose lives resemble the characters in the story. Praying for the answers to THEIR plot problems. Praying for the kind of grace my characters found.

Part of my Prayer Launch includes a praise session--thanking God for the privilege of serving Him through writing. I'll thank Him for causing the proposal to catch the eye of an editor and for the joy of working with both the freelance editor and the publishing house editor that helped me polish the story.

I'm going to spend time before the day's over praying bold, brave prayers, trusting in a limitless, powerful God who loves to give good gifts to His children. I'm going to ask for His favor on this novel, as I've asked from the first word committed to the page.

I'll pray with gratitude for those who prayed for this book, for the endorsers and influencers and blog hosts and reviewers and those who will spread the word to their friends, those who will give it as a gift, those who will hand it to their mother for Mother's Day and start a conversation.

I will lay my Bible over the novel so I can only see the book I call "mine" through the book He called His.

And when the day is done, I will petition God to ask Him for the joy of having a Launch Day again and again and again.”

Cynthia is a remarkably productive lady. At the moment she is writing one fiction title and one non-fiction book a year. This year she is also publishing a Christmas novella. Find out more about her at

How do you pray for the books to which you give birth? What is the prayer of your heart on Launch Day? I'd love it if you'd share your ideas with me. Together, we'll build a repertoire of prayers that both cover our books and propel them out into the reading world. Cynthia concludes her blogpost with an interesting question

How do you pray for the books to which you give birth? What is the prayer of your heart on Launch Day? I'd love it if you'd share your ideas with me. Together, we'll build a repertoire of prayers that both cover our books and propel them out into the reading world.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Potting Shed by Ruth Johnson


Eph.3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you, being rooted and grounded in love... 19: to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Recently I awoke in the early hours of the morning.  Stumbling across the room to the toilet I clearly heard the Lord say, “It is time for the shed.”  
Puzzled, and half asleep I asked, “What shed?”  His answer was equally clear, “The Potting Shed.”

My mind immediately went to Adrian, our lodger, who is now involved in a start-up project for addicts.  If God is providing a potting shed, I felt He was saying that He wants to take their roots in addiction and repot them in the soil of salvation.  With that I returned to bed and immediately fell asleep.  

My first thought when I awoke was ‘the shed’ followed by the verse in Mark 11:23 which says, “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.”   Now the message of the night seemed more personal.  For several days I’d been praying about the ‘religious’ mountain where faith has been locked up in doctrine instead of a fulfilling relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

So significant did I feel that brief conversation with the Lord I have shared it with my church intercessors' group, and other groups I pray with.  It’s been fascinating the different perspectives God has brought to that, which as it unfolded, I have blogged 5,000 words!  

But I share here encouragement to my fellow Christian writers’.  I’ve felt pot bound for years, and have come to see this as a secure place, as my little plant is healthy.  There have been times when I have pushed my roots out of the bottom of the pot, but success has been limited. Yet I believe God’s hand is in my writing.  You may feel the same.  As this has unfolded, I felt He carefully tipped me up, shook off the remaining soil, teased out those tight roots and I await Him to replant me where I can grow to my full potential and be fruitful. 

My recent visit revealed the potting shed looked as above picture. Full of  tools and stacks of new pots far more than I could use.  I sensed the shed was my heart, I in Him, and He in me.  You are welcome to visit my shed, use the tools, replant your pots and bring fresh insight into this.  My personal blog details are in the tags below.