Showing posts from August, 2015

Giving it all to God by Philip S. Davies

We all know in our heads that everything comes from God. As Christians we accept that God is our Creator, and that He gives us everything we have, including our bodies, minds, hearts, souls, relationships, possessions, and so on. This should be a source of endless gratitude, whereas most of the time we take it for granted. As writers, we acknowledge also that whatever talent or skill we have comes from God. He gives us imagination, creativity, inspiration and dreams which cause us to write in the first place. He gives us ability with language, to learn words, and to string those collections of letters into sentences, that convey meaning. What an amazing skill that is! So it follows that whatever we write is not only ours, but also God’s. We like to think that we own the copyright to whatever we write, but the fundamental truth is that He owns us, and everything else too, so our claims to ownership and rights seem somewhat petty. I find this a freeing thought. When I write novels, they’re…

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

I'll admit it - as much as I love email, FaceTime, Skype and the like, there is nothing as precious to me as sitting down and writing a letter. As old fashioned as it may be, I have a couple of old friends with whom I only converse by letter - not because there is no other way, but because it has always been that way, and we treasure the now somewhat antiquated method of putting pen to paper. We have been writing letters for twenty years now, and these surrogate mums of mine offer as much wisdom now as they did during my tumultuous university years. 
I asked a friend of mine what she thought about letter writing. She said, 'Stick to tweeting. That way if you're totally boring people at least it's over in 140 characters.' Accurate maybe, but slightly sad. Maybe the problem is that we try to be a little bit interested in a lot of people instead of authentically interested in just a few. There is something special about knowing a friend finds me interesting enough to …

Do Your Best by Susan Sanderson

ACW’s latest magazine cover announced:
“There is only one real sin, and that is to persuade oneself that second-best is anything but the second-best.”Doris Lessing
I think this quote fits the category of hyperbole.My definition of sin is any wrong-doing, which separates us from God.Doing what we want, without thought for other people is sin.We need to confess it to God and apologise to the person we have offended.Then with God’s help we might not make the same mistake again.This is not setting out to be a post about sin, however, rather about aims and aspirations.
As a child setting off for school, there were a few regular words from Mum.
“Have you got your handkerchief/everything?”
“Off you go and do your best!”
What is my best? How do I know I am doing my best?If I am trying hard, can I try harder?
Perhaps I was naturally competitive; perhaps these words of encouragement led to my competitiveness.
By the time I was in my teens, I had developed the philosophy that if I was doing bet…

More Than Just a Ball of Fluff by Dawn Wedajo

My rather hectic weekend was drawing to a close, fortunately I had managed to catch up on all the necessary tasks which needed to be done, it was time to get on with some writing. I sat in my favourite chair, determined not to slouch, ready to complete an assignment.

In an instance without fanfare or fuss my curious moggy walked slowly into the room, her steely green eyes glowing like torches in the dim evening light. Her bashful gaze fixed in my direction. She ambled towards me gently brushing her silver grey head against my knees before settling down on the sofa. I reached over to flip the lamp switch on.

The environment was quiet and relaxed, the kids were sleeping. The words began to flow, alas it wasn't long before my thoughts drifted, I began to reflect on the last 48 hours. My focus interrupted, the words dried up. I stared rather glumly at the ceiling and than at the white computer screen before glancing at the family pet who was now neatly curled up into a furry ball, e…

The Power of the Backstory, by Lucy Mills

Why do we do what we do? This question underpins a lot of my next 'Big Idea' (yes, those tentacles I talked about taming in a previous post). Therefore, today I want to talk about motivation. Not in the '10 ways to get you going!' or '13 steps to success' kind of way. Not in a cheesy, 'I'm so glam and I've got it down' kind of way.

More of a heart-deep, spirit-centred way.

Motivation is a funny thing. It might seem easy to try and explain what motivates us but often our answers are not the whole truth. We may not be false in intention – but we don't always know what goes on within us, what triggers every impulse, what lies behind every story.

Fiction writers work on creating backstories for their characters – back stories that aren't presented in one big lump in the manuscript (we hope!), but threads of motive, of reason, of 'why do they behave like this?' woven through the whole. We don’t join all the dots for our readers but the…

To launch or not to launch

– by Fiona Veitch Smith
I am currently planning the launch of my book The Jazz Files. Most publishers these days will not pay for launches, so if a launch is desired by the author, then it’s up to you to organise it.        This will be my eighth book launch, but the first for a ‘non-self-published’ book.  For my self-published books it was an opportunity to gather people together who might want to buy them. As my books were primarily sold through bookshops – who required a 40% retail discount, or Amazon (who took considerably more!) – it was a chance to sell a substantial number at full price. This was essential to give me a chance to break even on the title.        It’s significant that the one and only launch I held in a bookshop for a self-published book is the only book that is (or was) running at a loss, despite it selling more volume than any other. That’s because books were bought from the shop directly and I only received 60% back. I learned from that, and future book launch…

What's stopping you? by Fiona Lloyd

I’ve always had a soft spot for Moses. He spends the first 40 years of his life in pampered luxury, followed by another 40 tending sheep in the desert.
Then, one amazing day, he encounters God in a burning bush. 
“Take off your shoes,” says God. “This is a holy place.”
He goes on to spell out to Moses the plans that he has for the Israelites, and how Moses will be the one to lead them out of slavery and into the Promised Land.
“Fantastic!” says Moses. “I feel honoured that you’ve asked me to do this, and I have absolute faith that you’ll be with me every step of the way. I’ll go and speak to Pharaoh immediately.”
Except we know that’s not quite what happened. Moses concocted a vast array of excuses. Suppose Pharaoh doesn’t listen? Come to that, suppose the Israelites don’t listen? Oh, and by the way, I’m not really much of a public speaker. God – being God – dealt patiently with each objection, and after a while, Moses ran out of ideas. But he still had one thing left to say:
“Please God, …

‘The honour is almost greater than the pleasure’

My first published book was commissioned. Lucky me? Hah, but I was in the employ of the publisher and I was instructed to write the book as part of my job. I had an enjoyable few months away from routine work. The volume was part of an overall publishing campaign, and the publisher promoted it vigorously. It had several reviews, one from Kingsley Amis even.  It was put into half a dozen different formats and repackagings. You could get it cheap off the back of the Sunday newspaper. It was translated into Russian. There was a second edition. The book sold unknown thousands of copies. It must have earned a lot of money—but none for me. I’d already been paid.

Book 2: 39,702 sales They asked for a follow-up, so I suggested book number two: I thought the subject would be interesting and fun to write about. I had a co-author, so the royalties were split. I can’t remember much promotion or many reviews. It did modestly well. It’s now been rewritten by a third author and reissued. A few roya…

On the hard shoulder - by Helen Murray

There are times in my writing life where the words come in such abundance that they’re falling over themselves to get to the paper. I’ve had seasons in the last few years where I'm flying! I can’t decide which idea to explore first; my blog has multiple posts waiting in draft, my desk is festooned with post-it notes and my notebooks are all open at different pages. Those are exhilarating times. They’re like harvest times where the fruit is right there, ripe and beautiful, ready to be picked.
Then there are other times where I know that I’m doing the hard work of planting and tending and it’s all a bit of a trudge, but necessary. I know what I should be doing, and although it’s undramatic and laborious, it’s progress – still forward motion.
And then there are times when the ground seems hard and cold and I can’t seem to get the tools to work, and I haven’t the energy… I’m making no progress. There aren’t any post-it notes. The scribbled ideas seem irrelevant or incoherent, and the …