Showing posts from 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 n

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 u

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, t

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 ri

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 kn

Jots and Tittles

by Fiona Veitch Smith 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 m

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. Th

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 Tol

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

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

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, an