Monday, June 29, 2009

Rather Be Writing Ramblings

Today I sorted through print outs of market ideas and contests. I highlighted the deadlines and organized the subjects according to genre and topic. My bed held the stacks as I sorted and cleaned out my writing briefcase. I felt like a regular neat freak for a minute or two. But not for long. I spilled the stacks on the floor and had to re-do them. This time I grabbed some paper clips and attached them to the upper left hand corners to secure them. At least if they slide off the bedspread they will fall into organized piles/ tiles.

It took me about thirty minutes to complete the purge but I felt good when I finished. Clean up is necessary from time to time.

After doing this, I worked on writing a mission statement for a non-profit organization, finished that and sent it off to email-land. I took a little break to read JoJo's FIMMology 101 book. (Foot In Mouth Man is a humorous character who thrives or fails to thrive on miscommunication.) I had a great chuckle and my kids came around the corner to see what their crazy mama was laughing about now. (I laugh out of the blue at thoughts, things I read, etc. so it is not new for them to hear me laughing, they just don't like missing out on the fun and of course I always oblige.) Instead of finding me in front of the computer watching a YouTube Christian comedy routine, they discovered me with booklet in hand and tears streaming down my cheeks. I explained about FIMM and told them that books like this are going to be included in their English classes next school year. They smiled like Cheshire cats.

After the dust settled, I sat on my cleared-off bed with laptop balancing on a tray on my knees. I was overjoyed to discover an email from a Bible curriculum creator. She was very helpful and offered me some choices on which products I desire to review. In one to two weeks, I will receive copies to use and write up information on. (This is done under my role as an independent contractor with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew.) Stick around. I will post the reviews on my Leaders in Learning blog in a few weeks here:

Of course, tonight I am blessed with some insomnia so I've put it to good use by finishing some reading and writing but I can't stay up too late. It's my twelfth wedding anniversary. I don't want bags under my eyes. (Not that we can afford to go anywhere, LOL.)

Hubby is to work during the day and I will be my mama-self, but trying to squeeze in some calls to the doctor's offices as well. I have been absent from this blog for a few days because of feeling so under the weather that I could not think or type. I'll keep you posted if I have any big news.

Meanwhile on the writing front, I will spend some of my spare time as "office hours" tomorrow and work on that file of market opportunities or else the new book idea I came up with recently. If I'm not able, I will be using the time to work on off screen parts of writing--research. I've recently met individuals who have knowledge of things I need to research. I'll be visiting their web pages and looking at their materials for any helpful input for the book.

Many of you are reading this in broad daylight. I wish you a beautiful day. Thank you for putting up with my Writing Rambling today. It seemed fitting that I should do this once in a while. Plus anything sounds good at this time of the night. LOL.

Good day, my friends.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ahoy, Matey! Beware of Pirates



The technology boom in which we live has many wonderful benefits. In a click, we can visit people from all over the world, read an E-book, watch a video, see pictures of anything our hearts desire and communicate with editors, publishers and readers.

Even thirty years ago, writers did not have this information superhighway from which we benefit and yes, detriment. Authors of old did not have instant communication nor the opportunity to put their work in the public eye so quickly as we. With the use of the Internet, there is the need for caution. Not only do we find ourselves concerned about unsavory people stalking us and horrifying accidental pop-ups of unedifying content, but we also now have to be on the look out more for pirates! At this point, you may have spied the intent of this post OR think that I have finally jumped the ship of sanity. The pirates of which I speak are word thieves.

Authors have always been concerned about other people stealing their ideas and words. Determining how to prevent this can bring a wide range of solutions and opinions.

Imitation may be the highest form of flattery but it's best to remember that there is "nothing new under the sun". Others may generate similar ideas, but it is how you, as a writer express those ideas that makes them unique. To have someone quote your work is a great honor but to have your words plagiarized is outrageous!

There are many documents published about how to copyright. You will need to do your research before assuming your work is protected. Technically speaking, all written and published work is considered copyrighted; however, proving ownership in a court of law, should the need arise, is difficult without some verification that the work originated with you.
For the writer, knowledge of copyright laws is as prudent as a cook wearing an apron.
As for me, I want to make wise use of the gifts and works to which I am called. That being said, I feel also that some things are not worth fighting over. I've already seen some of my writing plagiarized (and obviously so) even though I'm not as internationally known as people like Beth Moore or Lisa Bevere. I'm known only because I've had a few things in print. In the past, I've been published in small publications and on the Internet but my books and works in progress have yet to be published. So how do word thieves find me to hi-jack my material and who thinks they are getting rich from stealing my words? I do not know and really, I do not care at this point. Small things I can let go. I believe we all "answer to a Higher Authority" as Hebrew National's slogan states it. On the other hand, some things need to be protected. The law is for the lawless. If the need arises, defend your copyright--especially if you feel strongly that it is something meant for you alone to write and publish. It's your choice.

Either way, Christian writers, you have an adversary, the devil. He is the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy. He wants to make you fearful of writing or sharing your work because of the threat of copyright theft. If he can't do that, he send a flesh and blood "pirate" to thwart the expanse and distribution of the message. He wants to stifle all truth. Even if the message you write is your own and not full of spiritual depth, pirating it may distract you from moving on to write more meaningful pieces.
The devil is the original pirate and he trains others to follow in his footsteps. The problem for him, though, is that with a Christian writer, he is outranked.

Here's my Writer's Creed:
  • I believe that God has a supreme will for our lives, even in relation to our writing careers.

  • I believe that He gives us great flexibility within that will and freedom of choice as to how to the use of the gifts He has bestowed on His children.

  • I believe that He is glorified by skillful work and wise use of our resources as writers and people of God.

  • I believe that, if we seek His perfect will rather than our own, in due time, He will move our careers in the direction of success.

  • I believe that we reap what we sow in every area.

  • I believe that He calls each of us to use our lives and talents for the greater good of humanity and for His glory.

  • I believe that we should not fear what man can do unto us but focus on pleasing God. If we do this, rejection letters will not devastate us, public opinion will not sway us away from the goal and we need not fear the pirates who would ruin our careers. Ultimately, God is in control.

  • I believe that trusting God will enable us to know when to defend our rights and when to let it ride.

  • I believe that you should write your best, know your rights and responsibilities and trust God with the result. Do not be afraid of pirates.

There are so many things I could add to that list, but these are the basics for a Christian writer.

Nevertheless, writer be vigilant. Of pirates beware but don't be scared.

If you'd like to get some quick information about copyright laws, visit the first link, below which leads to a string of video clips by Nathan Boehme, a writer, editor and independent film maker in Los Angelos, California. Here you will see short blips with a virtual film strip so that you can select the clip you desire. Recorded in a creative and entertaining style, his videos educate you with all the basics about copyrights right down to a poor man's copyright idea. Have fun.

The next link is direct to the U.S. Copyright and Patent Office. There are almost endless sub links to answer all your questions about copyrights. These are the facts.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fridays Are For Forums

Drum Roll, please! This week's cheerleader is....

One and two cheers, three cheers, a dollar.
All for the "Forum" stand up and holler!
Every writer needs a forum for fellowship, fun and fantastic inspiration. Every forum needs writers to make them interesting and effective.
Faithwriters online forum is an inspiration to me. I've posted a few articles in their weekly writing challenges and read many entries as well. The stimulation and feedback are helpful at least. To add business to pleasure, the site offers links to a critique circle, an online university with free and priced c0urses on genre writing, marketplace tips, author showcasing, job linking/referrals, contests and opportunities to become published in their magazines and books as well as a variety of interactive writing lessons.
You can also track your favorite Faithwriters authors via your own Faithwriters inbox. Of course, there are different levels of membership and service, so you will want to click on all the links to see how what they offer matches your goals.
Whether or not you participate in the challenges and contests is entirely up to you but I highly recommend that all Christian writers join a forum of some type. It's motivating, entertaining and educational. Oh, did I forget to mention "fun"?
Previously,I'd been too busy to browse their pages but went over there today to see what the new challenge will be for the next round. They're on hiatus until July. I decided to click around the website a bit and found way more than I ever remembered seeing when I became a member of this forum. I've decided that I need to make wise use of the money and time I invested and take advantage more of the opportunities provided. Here's a link if you want to check it out:
I've joined other online forums as well. Each one is unique and offers their own specialized areas of training and community to writers. (I'm in several for homeschooling as well.)
If you are an aspiring writer, or an already published author, think about it: forums and you are a good match. The give and take is an important part of community that writers sometimes miss in their physical communities. Birds of a feather flock together. Faithwriters is a good place to flock. Maybe I will see you there.
Here's where some of my fellow Faithwriter Friends' blogs can be found: Terri Tiffany, Inspirational Writer and Founder of Clermont Christian Writers Group. Faithwriters Challenge Winner. Shirley McClay, fellow blogger and Facebook friend, Faithwriters Challenge Winner. Donna Kohlstrom, Short story writer and fellow member of Clermont Christian Writers, Faithwriters Contributor.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Power of Persuasion

Every good writer has the power of persuasion at his or her disposal. To learn that our words are not just words is an important lesson for the writer. More than that, though, the person who has realized the power of his or her words, will use them to fight good causes and not merely to prosper one's own career.
The pastor at our local Calvary Chapel gave me a good reminder, Thursday night, of how words can be powerful and last forever. He spoke about Judas, Pontius Pilate, the angry crucifixion mob and even some of the disciples whose words live forever in infamy for the evil or for the good. Generations will remember our Lord's mother Mary's words, now referred to as the "Magnificat", or Peter's confession that Jesus is the Lord, the Christ, the Son of God.
We also have some modern day examples of people whose words were captured forever on the Internet or cellphone text messages. Their words condemned them to criminal sentences.
As a writer, I pray that the "words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart" are acceptable in my Savior's sight. I pray that the words I pen may be used for His causes and His eternal purpose. I pray that I may edify and not tear down, that I may expose but not ridicule, that I may encourage but not embarrass. I pray, along with some of my friends, that my speech whether verbal or written, may always be "seasoned with grace". Not only that, but may I skillfully write so that the message of my heart may be heard and understood--and that people will be touched and moved by the words that form on the tip of my pen.
Ultimately, what we write defines us even though when we write, we do so to define others and other things.
Consider these quotes:
Words-so innocent and powerless as they are, standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.--Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Then pen is a formidable weapon, but a man can kill himself with it a great deal more easily than he can other people. --George Dennison Prentice.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Which part of me came first, the analytic mind or the writer? I do not know the answer to this question but one thing I do know is that I tend to analyze things to death. I once had a colleague who told me to stop thinking. "Some things just are!" she said, "You don't need to think about things so much!" But I can't help it. Nothing and no one is just as they appear-not even God (or should I say, especially not God?).
So I analyze and I dissect, chew it up and nurse the thoughts until I have a nugget. I do this with every kind of writing. I'm still trying to find my niche but meanwhile I write about everything that crosses my mind (well, almost).
As a writer, I've been dabbling in just about every type of writing and genre, loving every minute of it and wondering when and in which slot I will eventually settle down.
I find much of my online writing falls under the essay category. Much of my life experience sets me up to do just that. I think that this aspect of writing is where I can be truest to my heart's cry as it is a more direct approach then poetry and fiction seem to be for me.
I met a new friend, Melinda, at my critique group. She is an essayist, who, as far as I can see, has a similar outlook and background to me-- though there are many differences that could be pointed out between our viewpoints and style. She is very sweet and yet has a skill for being direct and poignant. I think I have found another kindred spirit. (I've been blessed to meet several of those this year.) I look forward to reading her essays. So far, I've been blessed and surprised.
There are many places that essays can be used. Of course, you have online forums, magazines, newspapers or Christian publications. I blog most of my essays. What makes a good essay? How do you cater it for the market in which you wish to publish it?
Here are some links to help you get started. Leave me a comment on how you write essays and what your cause and motive are for writing them.

Enjoy visiting the links BUT don't forget to come back here and leave me a comment with your ideas and opinions on essay writing! Some of my readers are good at this topic!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Write Here, Write Now

The following are some random thoughts about my writing at this time:

  • Today's writing journey was a fun one. I finished all the critiques for tonight's deadline and worked on a mega review for the TOS Crew. (I'll be posting that shortly on my Leaders in Learning blog.)

  • I learned a great deal about writing tonight at Palm Group. Though all of the authors and writers attended for the purpose of critiquing each other's works, there was a hidden opportunity to learn more about writing in general. When I hear another writer's perspective, I am inspired to see how the same words can impact readers in different ways. I am reminded of the power of word usage and personal voice. How easy it is to see when someone has thrown words onto a page which are not genuinely from the heart or which do not, with accuracy, express the intent of the writer because they are the wrong words. How carefully, then, must we choose phrases and symbols that communicate what we really believe and feel. I love to watch the impact of a powerfully written poem or short story and how it strikes a chord in the other writers' hearts. When an author shares a testimonial, he or she never knows who is going to be touched and how. It's exciting.

  • As one truly infatuated with writing, I struggle with wanting to sit at my laptop all day long and all night long so that I can write about the desires and deep seated feelings of my heart but still knowing that life must be lived in order to proceed. Yet, I feel guilty when I do something other than to write. This is how strongly I desire to put words into print, even if it for only my own eyes to view. It occured to me today that not all of writing is sitting down to type. Some of it is discovered in the daily living and pondering of life. Some of the best thoughts have come to me not only at my desk but also along the way-while doing the dishes, driving down the road, taking a shower, reading another book, watching television (on those rare occasions). Most wisdom is not thought up but discovered. So you see, you are still writing when you are not writing-if you will allow those moments to also be used for reflection. Think about life. Think about everything. There is much hidden meaning. We just have to pay attention to what we see and hear...and that on which we meditate will encompass that which we express in words.

Consider these quotes from famous authors:

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable. ~Francis Bacon

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out of the window. ~Burton Rascoe
Use the time to your advantage. Use even the moments when you are away from your desk to write. No time is a lost opportunity. Stop feeling guilty like I did. You can do it. Write here. Write now.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Writing Homework

I'm taking a vacation so I can do my writing homework. (I wish.)

I have a pile of writing and reading to do:

  • Completion of 7 more critiques for Palm Group to finish by Monday night.
  • A 375 page Educational Planner to use and review for the TOS Crew.
  • Entries for couple of contests that I desire to enter, but have not found time to think about.
  • Catching up on FaithWriters and Writer's Circle challenges.
  • Working on at least one of my new book ideas.
  • Keeping up the blogs.

All joking aside, I find it challenging to work from home where there are so many distractions and chores calling my name. Add a couple of wiley boys to the mix and I really have a struggle keeping on task. It's no wonder I am up late after everyone else has been in bed for hours. That is when I have a quiet office in which to work. (My office is mobile. It can be the couch, the bed, the porch, the doctor's office, the car or wherever I have some peace and quiet. We don't have the luxury of a separate room right now so I make do with what we have.)

My boys need a great deal of attention and so I've come to the conclusion that in order to complete all the goals of my writing agenda, I will have to plan some time away and to myself. I think I will "hire" my husband to watch the boys once or twice a week while I spend a few hours at the library with my laptop. Better yet, I will send them all away to the gym or skatepark for a few hours, or perhaps the mall. At any rate, I've decided that I will need to give myself periods of time when I pretend I am not such a people person.

I read a quote that showed me how I will need to think at times in order to accomplish my goals and finish my writing "homework".

Here is the funny philosophy one famous writer reported to have for himself:

Tell everybody that you live in one hotel and then live in another. When they locate you in the other, move to the country.When they locate you in the country move somewhere else. Work everyday 'till you're so pooped that about all the exercise you can face is reading the papers.

--Earnest Hemmingway

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Everybody Needs A Cheerleader

What does cheerleading have to do with writing? Absolutely nothing! Then why on earth did I say such a thing on a writing blog?

If you are a paper and pencil geek like me, you may not be good on the ball court but my, oh, my, are you the champion of the page...until you receive your 20th rejection letter in six months. It is then, my friend, that you will need a cheerleader--a source of encouragement to keep you motivated in the field. (Hopefully, you aren't receiving that many rejection letters and that the reason for not getting them is not resultant from a lack of submissions. Hint, Hint. If you are getting rejection letters, that could mean you are working hard toward your goal but haven't found the right venue. It could also mean you need to polish your work. Either way, you will need a cheerleader.)

The shoulder on which I cry often belongs to a fellow-writer who, in turn, will offer advice or words of cheer. Encouragement can also be found in a book or article.

Once a week, I will share tidbits which have given me hope along the way. While doing this, I will review items from my personal writing library. We will call them our "cheerleaders".

Today's cheerleaders are the books, #1. Writer to Writer, by Bodie and Brock Thoene, and #2. How to Write a Bestseller in 40 Days or Less, by Barbara DeBolt.

The first book, by the Thoenes is your basic "How-to" guide for writers with many facts covering genre writing but it is not written in a monotone voice. Instead, you will read quirky quips, proverbs, inspirational platitudes and deep wisdom from one who has been there and done very well for herself. (The Thoenes wrote several historical fiction series.)

The Thoenes know well that every writer has a potential hindrance to his or her goals. For some, it is rejection, fear, lack of knowledge or confidence. This hindrance, they name "The Lion" after Proverbs 26:13 which tells us, "The sluggard says, 'There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion is roaming the streets!"

"With this in mind, it is now time to put the lion to sleep!" say the Thoenes, who then encourage readers to list their lions and ask the Lord whether each is an excuse or a reason and then give them all up to Him.
As one who has been chased by many lions, I found this encouraging. Excuses are worthless and reasons can be overcome--especially when you have a book like Writer to Writer to tell you all the "secrets".
As an aside, there is one cheerleader recommended by the Thoenes that every writer must have: The Writer's Market Guide. Along with it, may I recommend the Christian Writer's Market by Sally Stuart.

The other book I referenced, by Barbara DeBolt, is pure energy with practical steps to writing your 40,000 word book, chunk by chunk, in 40 days. It even gives you ideas for using spare minutes in your day to add to your word count. The book is only 108 pages long but every page is a gold mine.

"If you write just one page a day, by the end of the year, you will have written a 356 page novel," writes the author. Imagine what could be done with four or five pages per day!

Other cute quotes are: "Why have you let your dream become your nightmare?" and "If you let
these everyday excuses become obstacles, you will never find time to write." Wow! I think I will dust these books off and read them again!

How about you? Do you have a "cheerleader" story you wish to share? A book that encouraged you in your writing goals or a friend who said just the right thing?

Join the conversation. I'd love to hear from you.

To the Editor Or Bust

I will write and you cut.
I do NOT like it but
'Tis conciseness, I know,
Is the way I must go.
So, please, snip and then clip,
Make it all look real "hip".
Line it up- make it fit
But do not hide my wit.
I've a voice--I do care.
No! Please. Don't change it there!
What I aim now to say
Can not be said that way.
But you shave and you nip
Faster than an old whip.
Firm it up, make it fine
Though I whine and I whine.
In the end, I concede,
It's in the Writer's Creed:
Fixes come from the pro's-
Only the editor knows
What looks best on a page,
What appeals, age to age,
What the publisher craves,
How he reads and then raves.
When the words, fit in form
Yield applause like a storm
From the readers abroad
Who will scan and then nod.
So I write, bite my nail,
Attach the piece to email
And I send it, I must
To the editor or bust!
After a little inspiration from the talk show hosts at Grace Talk Soup, who wrote their theme song in true Dr. Seuss Style, I decided to give it a try myself. I hope you had a chuckle out of reading this. (To listen to Grace Talk Soup, click on the badge at the end of my blog.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Getting To Know You, Getting to Know All About You

In honor of a song from one of my favorite musicals, The King and I, "Getting to Know You", today's post will be a just- for-fun-game.

This was also inspired by my writer and speaker friend, JoJo Tabares, from Art of Eloquence and Communication FUNdamentals

The way the game works is that you post your answers on my blog(s) and and then come up with your own questions to post on your blog or website. This will enable us to get to know one another better. I can't wait to see what questions you all create for yourselves.

1. What is the name of my work in progress fictional novel?

2. What are my two other blogs called?

3. What talk show program that I listen to online airs on Thursday mornings?

4. What writing "job" have I recently undertaken which will also benefit my family?

5. What part of my body recently became unreliable?

6. What sport do I reference as being like training multiple children?

7. What did I call a dangerous game?

8. What two people or people groups did I say were important to a writer?

9. What frequent topic that I write about can affect how you view your life?

10. Where can I find your "Getting To Know You" Questions?

TAG! You are it now.