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Showing posts from September, 2019

Block

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There are several aspects to writer's block, one of which is fear. Others include anxiety, misery, over-thinking. The list can continue and will be different for each person.

Fear and anxiety are the easiest two to deal with for most people, so I'll start with them.

The first step is to ask 'what are you fearful/anxious about'? It won't be just one thing, despite what your mind tells you. Most of the fears and anxieties are hidden in your subconscious, but can be teased out with a pen, a piece of paper and some free time.

Start with what you fear. Write it out longhand, then examine it. The chances are it's a real fear and not something you can easily dismiss. Instead, address it. How likely is this to happen? Who can I turn to for help with it? How can I avoid it?

Let's say your fear is people reading your first draft and not liking it. Don't show it to anyone. That's easier said than done if you want feedback. But it is an option. Write your firs…

Flash in the Pan

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I’m not unbiased when I say every writer should try flash fiction writing. I write in the form and take every opportunity to sing its praises.

I hope flash fiction can lure the reluctant reader in and who knows where  folk might go from there on their reading journeys. The important point is to get them started. Nobody starts with War and Peace after all!

So why say this? How can I back that claim up? I think only by showing what flash fiction has done for me.
Flash fiction has taught me to write with precision and cut waffle, which is never a bad thing.It has taught me to write to specific word counts with helps with the above!It has shown me what my wasted words are (and we all have them). I  look for these when editing, regardless of what I’m writing. It gets my first edit off to a flying start just removing those. I wish I could stop writing them at all, but I don’t worry about that as I used to do. I know they’re not staying in so that’s fine.What matters is getting the first draf…

Write about it; write about it; write about it: It’s a Justice issue! by Trevor Thorn

I make no apology for returning to the theme of Climate justice. At the beginning of this week, Pam, my wife and I attended a two day conference called ‘Once in a Lifetime’ organised by the Amos Trust. Amos work with some of the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged communities. To quote their publicity material 'We are a small, creative human rights organisation. We challenge injustice, build hope & create change'.

Inevitably, with such a vision, Amos Trust has become acutely aware of the massive impact that climate change IS HAVING - note; not will have, IS HAVING on the poorest and least able to advocate for themselves, and the way this trend is growing exponentially right now.

Amos had gathered representatives from Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth, Operation Noah, 1010 (Ten, ten), SEED, Extinction Rebellion and other organisations, all of whom repeated the message of the urgency of tackling Climate Change which involves being prepared to challenge the broken world or…

Holy Author Signing by Tracy Williamson

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I've recently been to the CRT where I had the privilege of doing a book signing for my new book, A Desert Transformed. I must confess that I do love signing books for people.  I love feeling that the book has been personalised and made more valuable because of my signature.  I've connected and engaged with that person and although the book is by me whether or not I sign it, it seems to take it to a new level because of writing my name in it and often the person's name too. Every signed book that I receive from other authors means so much to me and I have a lovely little collection of them at home. 
It gives me a deep sense of achievement and joy that others will read something that I've written and want my signature on it. It's as if that signature is saying (to the book) 'I am proud that you are mine, you were birthed out of my heart and I loved creating you.  God and me worked together to make you beautiful. . .'  If I was ashamed of the book I wouldn'…

Shout-out for the Bookshops by Nicki Copeland

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I’ve recently returned from the Christian Resources Together (CRT) retreat. This is an annual event that brings together Christian bookshops, publishers, suppliers of Christian gifts and cards, authors and anyone else involved in the trade. (If you want to know more about it, have a look at https://www.christianresourcestogether.co.uk/welcome.htm.)

I’ve been to the retreat for the last few years with my Instant Apostle hat on, working on the stand and meeting retailers, authors and fellow publishers. One of the things I love about it is the sense of community and of all being in it together.


One thing that comes across in conversations year after year, though, is how tough the Christian book trade is. And that’s right across the board – for publishers, writers and retailers – and it isn’t getting any easier. I love to chat to the bookshop owners and workers and listen to their stories about the difference they’re making in their local communities, and to hear the creative ways many o…

Beyond Brexit by Eileen Padmore

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No, this is not a political rant.  It has very little to do with politics at all.  Was the word 'Brexit' even in the English language five years ago?  Now, it seems to have taken over.  But it's not about the word either and sorry, no writing tips – unless to say don't side-step around tricky subjects!

What concerns me is the polarisation.  You have to be in one camp or another with each convinced they are hanging on to the coat tails of democracy.  Even strong families are split down the middle and some think the constitutional crisis the worst since the civil war.

Christians in both camps are convinced that God is on their side and I am not neutral.  Several friends have invited me to sign petitions that my conscience has led me to decline.  I respect their views but my response has been a plea to agree to differ and instead, follow the guidance laid down in the Bible to pray for our leaders – even if we don't like them.  Tough, because it takes the power away fr…

Writing Reviews

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For us writers—most of us would agree—browsing in a bookshop is one of life’s delights. A vivid teenage memory: visiting the local book shop and trawling through those poetry books from Faber and Faber—T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, and Sylvia Plath—and plays like Waiting for Godot or Look Back in Anger—introducing oneself to grown-up literature full of the angst that appeals to mid-teenagers. While at school we would be reading Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and Milton. Anyone who ends up writing has always loved to read.
And to chat about books. One of us has a website with a section—Mari’s book club—where she’s posting reviews of the books she’s currently reading. 

What makes a great review? Firstly, remembering that it is different to a blurb which intentionally introduces the main characters and outlines the plot, or summarises the angle of the subject in a non-fiction book. A blurb is PR: it seeks to sell people the book, talking it up so that they’ll feel compelled to read it. A reviewer’s…

Author signing

New Beginnings

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New Beginnings



Obligatory back to school picture.



It’s back to school month!

As a teacher, September is very much a time for looking back at what’s been achieved the previous year as well as looking forward to what comes next. For me, this means looking again at what my vision is for the centre and how my team and I can make that a reality. Many people hate the return to school or work and I have to admit, getting up early takes some getting used to. However, I tend to have more energy at the start of a term, having had a decent chance to rest and recharge over the holidays. 


Feeling relaxed and creative in Nottingham. in August.

There’s also the advantage of having perspective. The problems that seemed insurmountable before the holidays, when I was exhausted, now seems easier to break down and start solving.


Writing is often like this, too. Taking a break and coming back to our work can have many benefits: this is true of both completed work and work we’ve got a bit stuck on. Another way w…

Stop And Smell The Roses, Write? by Emily Owen

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As a child, I remember waiting impatiently en route to the park - or somewhere equally exciting - while my granny stopped to smell any roses we passed. As an adult, I remember stopping to smell the roses with her (probably not en route to the park by this time, but you get the point). We paused to enjoy wonderful fragrances. We slowed down, together. Granny had taught me to stop and smell the roses. I still think of her, every rose I smell.

I was recently at a church where the following picture was displayed. 
I thought it beautiful:



I was reminded of a time, years ago, when I was asked to speak on Psalm 139. 
Quite a familiar psalm, isn’t it? 
Many people have read it, spoken on it, written about it. 
I decided to try and ‘slow it down’. 
To give us opportunity to really think about each bit.
Which is where John 3:16 (the verse above) and Psalm 139 meet. 
I took a similar approach to the one pictured...


O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
You know everything.All about my hopes, my dr…

Back to the future...4 - Moses

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"Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear an oath. He had said, "God will surely come to your aid , and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.  

Exodus 13:19










It would be 430 years before Moses approached Egypt's Pharaoh saying, “Let my people go.” Moses an Israelite, rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter grew up in the palace before killing an Egyptian and fleeing to Midian.  There he married Zipporah and had a family. Had he, in what was a ‘long time,’ given up hope of helping his people when a ‘strange sight’ drew him to meet with God?Commissioned to release his people he trusted God, but feeling inadequate God released into him a supernatural power and I believe the understanding in having being raised in a palace and years learning desert survival, he'd been prepared for this.