Friday, September 26, 2014

Meditation for the coming night

Into this earthly place of life 
Intense and stressful times rush in.
They heap upon you their surprise and 
Crash with disarming urgency.

Believer, dig deeply into
who you are
in Christ Jesus.

Here is your
Peace of Mind and your Joy.

Do not despair.
Christ in you is the
hope of glory, and the Spirit of God 
works within you.

You have ways to resist the
Discouragement that 
threatens to Overtake the world.
Remember the night will turn into
another day of sun or shadow.  
Put on your Armor
from Head to Feet.
Do not fear
the dark or any pestilence.  

Breathe in the holy life in the day, and 
Pray unceasingly in light and
in the night's long hours.

Listen for the Quietness within you, and rest there. 
In spite of aberrations, noise, and clamor, affirm your trust in God.

Rely upon God who
strengthens and who Loves you. 
His Everlasting Love
expressed in the Beloved Son
invites souls now in this wearying world,
Guarding them for a Brighter day.

This is cause for the release of "Halleluia!" praise 
that honors 
this Wonderful Savior and God.


Photo by JPP. Butte, Montana open mine.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Let yourself change for new writing paths

In times past I wrote bureaucratic reports, funding proposals, and research papers. I felt comfortable doing that kind of writing because I wrote at a distance, objectively reporting, analyzing, or info-gathering.

Then I began to write a book, a highly personal story. Events of change in my life had been so dramatic and had brought such joy and peace that I wanted to describe going from relationship pain to healing, and to tell some of what I learned along the way. My story walked a path of biographical, emotional, and spiritual discoveries.

Writing a personal narrative book required letting go of certain habits, including perspective. Writing from a distance had to change to writing close at hand. I needed reporting and analyzing skills in a different way, and I had to let my guard down and use "I" and "we." The transition was and still is one of the most difficult of my life as a developing writer.

I came to writing late, being 40 years old before I realized that I had been writing all of my life. It was a bit like breathing, a feeling many writers have. A few of my articles had been published, but I was not serious about reaching publication. I kept that part of my life private, for whatever reasons.

Only in recent years have I realized that I do have writing ambitions, for myself. I have mentored other writers, and increasingly I know that I want to pay more attention to my writing. I want to get it right, better, and yes, more popular: more than ever I want to connect well with readers, and I have to work hard to move out from my distanced mode. I long to show the meanings I find and to connect with others' desires for change. There are ways to write about relationships while guarding others' privacy. 

One of my blog posts that gets recent reading was posted in 2011. I reread it today and saw the same sort of reporting I enjoy doing, yet I had let my guard down a bit to share from biblical resources. I have dreaded being labeled a "religious writer." There is nothing wrong or odd, I tell myself, about having read from Genesis to Malachi as much as from Matthew to Revelation. I thought of Habakuk and Jeremiah for the nuclear story about a storm that damaged a Japanese reactor, threatened a population, and inspired strangers to rush to their aid.  

I have always admired the essays of C.S. Lewis. Yet, as much as I admire and reread his works, I need to keep developing my form of probing expression. That has become very important to me, although I do not entirely understand this longing.

I also want to write a novel, a coming of age story about a girl in the South, where I grew up. Traditional wisdom says every first novel is largely personal. Lyly's (pronounced Lily's) story involves a Ku Klux Klan incident, being in the middle, grandparents, old ways, mistaken assumptions close to home, target practice, and discoveries to push a young girl forward in her less-certain life. I had none of Lyly's exact experiences, yet the themes of her story affected me while I was growing up in North Carolina.

How do you or I transition our writing to fit what change will require? The same old answer, I guess, which is to read really good writers, to know our chosen genres, to keep working hard at it, alone and with help. I still struggle with the idea of making writing more personal, yet I want to do that. And I want to find ways that will somehow be distinctively my own.

If you have made a big writing transition, if you are making one, or if you want to make such a transition, I hope you will not give up on it, and I hope you will share with other writers what you learn.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Affordable Ideas and Actions for Writers

"I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
—Harper Lee - "72 of the best quotes for writers"
The writer cried, "Help!" for writing. He used Google for writing help. A list of possible resources appeared, many with unaffordable, for the writer, price tags, "unaffordable" meaning "no disposable cash on hand to cover the entire package."

The writer felt downcast, lacking the necessary disposable funds. He (or she) did not realize then that there was no requirement, at least not yet, to pay for as much help as assumed.

Here are a few key no-cost steps the writer could take now:
  1. Find the best local writers' group for your needs; if you do not find a helpful group, then form one, based on shared writing needs and interests;
  2. Read often about the writing, proposal, query, and relationship skills you need to improve, and take time to study and practice them;
  3. Find good, free resources on-line;
  4. Write, write, write!
  5. Be aware of a published writer or teacher who might agree to mentor you or your writing, for whatever agreed time; it does no harm to ask.
Note: If a good professional relationship develops with a mentor, be sure to treasure the other person's willingness to advise or encourage you; guard against taking for granted the help or insights received. As a mentor to many writers for over 12 years, I appreciate every sincere "Thank you" every time.

Cut through any shyness you might have about asking other, more skilled writers to read and react to your new articles, short stories, poems, or chapters. Most writers are generous to give at least some feedback. Note: consider the feedback while not starting a debate if you feel wounded by it. Aim, instead, to consider and possibly advance because of it.

I hope that you will use any of these ideas that fit your needs now. I encourage you to grow as a persevering writer without any regrets about spending finances you did not have, could not afford, or did not need to spend, regardless of the availability of financial resources.

Things to think about, link.

If you found this article helpful, I hope you will share it on, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other networking groups .