Is Everything Worth Doing Worth Overdoing?

Is Everything Worth Doing Worth Overdoing?

By Shari Weigerstorfer

Is everything worth doing, worth overdoing? According to the Holy Spirit, apparently not.

We struggled over an article I was writing. I had written the basic concept. It was a revelation of relevance, a beautiful gem of wisdom. After I had finished the rough draft, the battle of the wills began:

I wanted another week to work on it. According to Him, it was finished.

I wanted it to be polished to perfection and to shine with an artistic flair. He wanted the point to come across and not be lost and overshadowed by too many words.

I wanted to decorate it. He wanted it left plain.

I repeated a favorite motto: “Perfection is the goal, excellence will be tolerated!” He replied, It’s good enough for what it’s for.

After consideration, I realized my ego was the problem. I wanted readers to notice the messenger. He wanted them to notice the message.

Then the questions came:

Who are you writing for?

Well, actually, I’m writing for You.

Who is your audience?

I have no idea. Only You know where this article may go and who will read it.

Why did I show you that revelation?

So I could pass it on.

And why do I want you to leave well enough alone?

Because if I work on it too much, I can dilute the meaning and distract from the message.

So what have you learned?

I’ve learned that not everything worth doing should be overdone. That You have plans and purposes beyond my knowledge. And most importantly, that I am the pen and not the writer.

Shari Weigerstorfer is a free-lance Christian writer, native to the West Coast of America. When not indulging in her passion for travel, she writes from her home in Singapore. Other articles by Shari can be found on her site at Faithwriters.com

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com-CHRISTIAN WRITER

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Frequent the FaithWriters Forums

Have you spent much time at the FaithWriters Forums lately? If not (or even if you have),  there are several reasons you might want to drop by.

Be sure to read (or reread) the forums posting rules in the Welcome and Info for Using The Forums area before you get started. And stay in that part of the message boards to check out FaithWriters’ announcements, find answers to frequently asked questions, or learn more about the FaithWriters Celebration being planned for next summer.

Looking for writing tips, opportunities, critiques, or lessons by some of FaithWriters’ most awarded writers? Check out the Writing Discussion and Information area. Cheer on friends’ writing successes, ask questions about writing, participate in Jan Ackerson’s latest writing lesson, or find an available freelance writing opportunity. It’s all here!

For those of you interested in the FaithWriters Writing Challenge, there’s a large area of the forums just for you. Here you can get more details about the topic of the week, see the schedule, check out the winners of past weeks, and check out progress on upcoming challenge books. OH – and don’t forget to stop by to throw your brick when you do enter!

There are also areas with all kinds of information for upgraded members, and for those who just want to participate in a general discussion, whether about theology issues, prayer requests, or just getting to know other FaithWriters members (and be sure to jump into one of the fun threads in the Water Cooler – yuck or yum? is entertaining – and ask, and answer, a question of fellow FWers).

There’s lots to do – and learn – at the FaithWriters forums. Why don’t you pop over and say hello?

 

 

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A Couple Techniques to Help Your Writing Shine

There are a lot of different ways to take an idea and get it down on paper – and probably just as many to take a draft and help make it shine. Just search the Internet, and you will find articles on everything from tightening your writing to expanding it, from the use of repetition to ways to remove it. In other words, there is no right way to “fix” your piece.

But I’ve come across a few ideas that can help you take your writing to a higher (or at least more polished) level. No promises they will work for you – but they help me.

But first – just so you know, these are not meant to be implemented when you are starting to write your piece. Don’t worry about things like flow and sentence structure when you’re first getting your words down on paper. But once you have something, and you want to clean it up and make it better, try one of these tips. Who knows – it could take your writing from great to fantastic.

READ YOUR WORK ALOUD

It’s amazing what kinds of things you catch in your writing when you are actually reciting the words. Missing words scream at you. Choppy sentences become so much more noticeable. Inconsistencies you missed when reading to yourself can be heard loud and clear. Even better – have someone else read it to you – and take notes. You can catch places where they stumble or seem confused, and go back and improve the flow (this is especially important when you are writing for children, by the way – as often these books ARE read aloud. But flow is a key component of all writing besides technical manuals). Text to speech programs work too, though you won’t get quite as good an indication of flow.

WATCH THE REPETITION

You probably don’t realize it, but you have several favorite words – comfortable ones – that you use frequently in your writing. Some of them, most likely TOO frequently. For instance, when I write fiction, my characters sigh a lot. And I mean A LOT. Every page or two a lot. Other people might overuse the word “that,” or repeatedly use “very” when a stronger word might be more effective. You get the idea.

The problem is: how do we figure out what these words are? You could use search in your word processor if you have a good idea what you might be overusing (or check this list of commonly overused words, and search for them) – or you could use one of my two favorite tools for discovering how often you use certain words:  TagCrowd and Wordle. Just take your text, paste it in the box, and it will show you a picture of the most commonly used words. Once you know, you can decide what to do with that information.

Another type of repetition to look for is sentence structure. Do most of your sentences sound pretty much the same? Try rearranging some of them, or combining shorter, related ones into compound sentences. Vary sentence length. The possibilities are endless.

Give these ideas a try – you never know what technique might take your writing from good to great!

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Stay Tuned: Writer Celebration Next Summer!

If you have been hanging around the FaithWriters Forums or the FaithWriters Facebook group lately,  you probably know that there has been talk of some sort of in-person get-together of FaithWriters folks in the future. Well, it’s official. It will be happening!

While dates and details are not yet firmed up, the FaithWriters Writer Celebration/Gathering will be happening in July 2016 in McDonough, Georgia (about half an hour south of Atlanta). According to Deb Porter (the face of FaithWriters and so many other things),  this is not going to be a “conference,” as such, but rather a gathering of the FaithWriters’ family, to help, encourage, and love on one another. A place to develop skills, learn some new ones, or just hang out with likeminded people and get some writing done. Very low key. No class room type lessons.

God willing, Deb herself will be there to spend one on one time with you regarding your manuscripts, and will be looking for fresh talent to publish. There is also talk of small groups of hands on subjects led by attendees with experience in that subject, and other writing groups of like-minded people (poets, songwriters, novelists, etc.). Lots happening, but you can do as much or as little as you want. Fellowship is just as important.

But most important of all, this will be a time to be blessed and be a blessing. FaithWriters members sharing their skills with one another and having lots of fun at the same time.

The date has not been set in concrete yet, so stay tuned for more details as they unfold. Watch the blog, plus the FW Writer Celebration area on the FaithWriters forums, for updates. And, God willing – see ya in July!

 

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Are You Working On Your Page Turner?

It’s already the middle of August. Can you believe it? Among other things, it means we are just a few months away from the deadline for this year’s Page Turner Contest.

Maybe you’ve got a half-written manuscript gathering dust in the bottom of your wardrobe. Perhaps it’s something you wrote during NaNoWriMo last year. It could even be an idea that’s been brewing in the back of your mind for years. Whatever the stage of your novel, this contest may be just the spur you need to get writing and polishing – and we will even give you until the end of October to get your entry ready.

Any Platinum member (click here to upgrade) is eligible to enter the first chapter and a synopsis of their fiction manuscript with a Christian worldview in this contest by the October 31, 2015 deadline. The winner will receive a $500 cash prize, free editing of their manuscript, the offer of traditional publishing with Breath of Fresh Air Press, free publicity and marketing of their book on all FaithWriters’ sites for twelve months following publication, and a Page Turner Champion award plaque. Two runners up will each receive $50 cash, a Page Turner award plaque, and consideration for future publication by Breath of Fresh Air Press. You can find more details here – and even more here if you are already a platinum member.

So, get busy on your fiction manuscript. You could be the next Page Turner champion!

 

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Have You Found Your Way to the Writing Zone?

Have You Found Your Way to the Writing Zone?

by Edie Melson

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call THE WRITING ZONE.
Okay, I confess. I borrowed the intro from a television cult classic. But truthfully, have you ever read a better explanation of what it means to be a writer?
Today I’m offering some tips to help you find your way to the writing zone.
1. Be Willing to Call Yourself a Writer: Yes, this one is controversial. There are many who argue that we must do much more than just call ourselves a writer to become a writer. I would only say this, I believe that calling yourself a writer is the first step on becoming a writer. Without that step, it’s hard to move forward.
2. Spend Time Writing: This may seem like a no-brainer, but spending time talking about writing—as opposed to actually writing–is fairly common. Don’t be one of those who only dream; be ready to walk through to The Writing Zone by spending time writing.
3. Invest Financially in Your Writing: Take classes, attend conferences, buy books, join organizations. Do your homework first, but be ready to put your money where your pen is. Here’s a series of posts I wrote about Dollars & Sense for Writers.
4. Develop the Art of Patience & Enjoy the Journey: Finding success in publishing rarely happens overnight. Realize that you’re in it for the long haul and do the next thing. Relax and enjoy the journey, but keep moving forward.
5. Make Writing a Priority: In the beginning, it’s hard for some friends and family to understand the commitment it takes to become a writer. Beginning writers don’t often get paid for writing and it’s easy to assume it’s a hobby. For some writing is a hobby, and that’s fine. But if you’re serious, then act like it. If you don’t take writing seriously, then no one else will.
6. Realize that Failure is an Option—a Good One: We often learn more when we fail. If we never experience failure, it’s a sign that we’ve never tried anything difficult.
7. Talent is a Very Small Part of the Equation: Talent won’t take you far. Diligence and perseverance are where you find the strength for The Writing Zone.
8. Don’t Try to Go It Alone: While writing is a mainly solitary pursuit, we still need others to help us. We need to be a part of a writing community so we can give and receive encouragement and get perspective on what we write.
9. Don’t Kill Your Creativity with Negative Self-Talk: We all do it. But talking down to ourselves will have a negative impact.
10. Comparison is a Death Trap for Writers: It’s easy to look at others and think we’re gaining perspective. The truth is, we aren’t. Everyone’s writing journey looks different. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor.

11. Keep the Faith: There is a reason you started on this journey. Write it down and put it where you can see it. I believe God made me as a person who processes life through words. If I tried to give up writing, I truly think I’d die.
These are the things that have helped me find my way to The Writing Zone. What would you add to the list? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
**
photo-1 copyEdie Melson—author, editor, and blogger—is a leading professional within the writing industry, as well as a popular inspirational speaker and mentor. She’s the author of While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military (Worthy Inspired). She’s also the military family blogger for Guideposts at While They Serve. In addition, as a respected expert in social media, Edie has the proven expertise to teach others how to plug in without sacrificing valuable writing time. Her bestselling eBook on this subject has recently been updated, expanded and re-released as Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers. Connect with her on her popular blog for writers, The Write Conversation, which reaches thousands each month, and through Twitter and Facebook.
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Introducing Jules Clark – Xulon Raffle Winner

Julie “Jules” Clark has been writing poetry for over 30 years, and has  been a FaithWriters member for quite a while – and she will soon have a new book on the market – thanks to Xulon Press. Read on to learn more about our Xulon raffle winner!

JOANNE: First of all, congratulations on winning the Xulon raffle! What was your reaction when you found out you had won?

JULES: I was rather shocked. I haven’t really won a lot of prizes. Actually, a little bit of me doubted it was true,  but when it sunk in I was absolutely thrilled. I’m looking forward to getting started.

JOANNE: Do you have a book ready to be published? What do you plan to do with your prize?

JULES: I write poetry and have been since I was 17 (I am now 49). I’m thinking about doing a series about the I ams of God which I have been planning. Another possibility is about the way I see Jesus being a gentle gardener; that would be a devotional.

 JOANNE: You’ve been at FaithWriters for quite a while. Can you tell us what brought you there? What is your favorite part of it?

JULES: I enjoyed sharing my writing with people who are also Christians. I also enjoy the comments I get. I am looking to do the Writing Challenge more, as this would improve my poetry. I have started looking at the many types of poems but I find them very confusing sometimes.

JOANNE: Why do you write?

JULES: In the earlier days, I used writing to get feelings out: fear,  anxiety,  frustration and trying to think things through. Now it’s my way of serving the Lord and ministering into people’s lives the awesomeness of God.

I am just a mouthpiece for the Holy Spirit.

JOANNE: Tell us a bit about yourself and your family.

JULES: I have known Jesus all my life and was baptized when I was 16. I am very thankful to God for all His love, grace and mercy through times when life got rather bumpy. God was always there with me.

I am married and have two teenaged boys at the moment; my eldest will be twenty in September. We go to a local church which is just a five minutes’ walk. and my older son writes songs and loves the choir. My youngest is doing computer programing and my husband has his own business. I find poetry such a comfort and God my inspiration.

JOANNE: Is there anything else you would like to add?

JULES: I  already have a book on your site called I am Your Peace.  I am very thankful for your support and hope to put the new one up there too.

JOANNE: Thanks for letting us get to know you, Jules! Congratulations again!

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Congratulations to the winners of the Xulon Raffle!

After four months, we now have winners for the FaithWriters Xulon Raffle. Congratulations to the following members:

1st Place – Julia Clark wins a Xulon Best Seller Publishing Package courtesy of Xulon Press Publishing.

2nd place – Cinda Carter wins a Platinum membership upgrade courtesy of http://www.tblfaithnews.com/.

3rd place – Geraldine Arbuckle wins a Gold membership upgrade courtesy of http://www.tblfaithnews.com/.

Watch for an interview with Julia Clark on the blog soon!

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As God Whispers

DON’T FORGET – The deadline to enter the Xulon raffle is TOMORROW, August 1, at noon ET. Enter!

As God Whispers

By louis gander

Don’t give me a brand new computer
to type all the words on my mind -
just give me an old scrap of paper
and maybe some words I can find -
to write with my old, stubby pencil,
a poem or two I think of,
to soften the hardest of hardened hearts -
and write a few words of God’s love.

And no, I do not have erasures.
I used them up long, long ago -
for mine was the worst of all wicked hearts -
and lowest of all of the low…
I tried to erase every one of my sins,
that I scribbled for years on my heart -
but only a cross where Jesus shed blood
could give me a “born-again” start.

Though I am not better than anyone else
no matter how I have been livin’…
There’s only one thing that has set us apart -
and that is, through faith, I’m forgiven.
So please give an old scrap of paper,
to someone contented to be -
writing, as God whispers breezes,
in shade of this old willow tree.

Copyright 2004-2015 louis gander ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
***READ OTHER GREAT SHORT STORY POEMS AT:  www.ganderpoems.org/
Written 7-27-15 by louis gander.   FREE to print  but only with copyright information included – NOT for resale.  Thank You!

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

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Market Yourself BEFORE the Contract: Social Networking

Market Yourself BEFORE the Contract:

Social Networking

By Suzanne Hartmann

The quickest way to start building name recognition and let people know you are an author is to use social networking. It’s easy to join and to find friends, family, and other writers.

The first thing you need to do (after you set up your account and profile) is to get past the term “friend.” In the world of social networking, “friend” simply means a connection to someone. So to build your network of “friends,” you need to think beyond the people you actually know.

Start building your network by finding and sending friend invitations to:
1) personal friends
2) family members
3) neighbors
4) fellow church members
5) fellow members of organizations you belong to
6) critique partners
7) co-workers

Next, dig a little deeper. Look for the following
1) friends from churches you used to attend
2) friends and neighbors from communities where you used to live
3) former co-workers.
4) people you’ve lost touch with
5) former classmates (yes, even go back to grade school

Now you can move into networking mode
Find and join groups set up on each social media. Then start sending friend invitations to the other members of the group. Send a message with the invitation that tells the person how you are connected (e.g. Hi, NAME. We are both members of GROUP, so I thought we might want to be Facebook friends.) Don’t join groups willy-nilly just to say you’re a member. Look for groups that match your interest.

Here are some examples:
1) Writing groups (Christian writers, genre writing groups)
2) Hobbies (collecting something, quilting, scrapbooking)
3) Sports (your favorite team or the sport in general)
4) Favorite activities (camping, hunting, fishing, barbecuing, cooking, etc.)
5) Religious affiliations
6) Favorite charities
7) Political groups
8) Work related (associations for accountants, computer programmers, teachers, etc.)
9) Any other major activity or interest in your life (homeschooling, MOPS, etc.)

Before you know it, your number of networking friends burgeon and you will have a ready made way to easily reach out to hundreds of people.

**

Suzanne HartmanSuzanne Hartmann is the author of the novels Peril and Conspiracy, Christian suspense she calls fiction with a twist of the unexpected. For the last several years, she has also stepped into the editorial side of writing, with her work at Port Yonder Press and now Castle Gate Press. She offers a plethora of easy-to-understand writing advice on her blog, Write This Way, which she has compiled into a book of the same name (available at her blog). When not writing, editing, or homeschooling, she enjoys scrapbooking, Bible study, and scouring local library sales for good deals. She loves to encourage fellow authors, so stop by her Facebook Page and drop her a note.

LINK for Write This Way: Write This Way Blog: http://suzanne-hartmann2.blogspot.com/2007/01/write-this-way-take-your-writing-to-new.html

LINKS for Suzanne:

Facebook – Suzanne Hartmann – Author

Twitter – @SuzInIL

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