Tuesday, December 29, 2015

When Life Happens...

Life happens.

I hear from clients all the time. I'm just too busy. I know. I know because I've been there myself. In fact, I'm too busy now.

Writing is not happening.


Do I feel guilty? 

No. And neither should you.

You see, good writers build their manuscripts off of experience. Off of the things the Lord is teaching them. Off of things that truly matter. And we cannot accumulate those things without down-to-earth, real-life happenings. Real life is good. Realizing that the writing journey is one that takes flexibility is good.

But being swamped with regular life does not mean that you abandon writing altogether. I am swamped with preparing for my wedding and moving four hours away from my family. Oh, and Lord willing, we will be heading to the Philippines to do missionary work two weeks after our honeymoon. (Details HERE.)

But all that does not mean that I have abandoned my next book. One can brainstorm while they do the dishes. One can glean ideas from watching a good, old-fashioned, swashbuckling action movie with the family. One can watch people on a continual basis and study human nature. And God is always teaching us things that can be the spiritual side of our manuscripts. 

So don't be discouraged when life gets in the way. Just be creative with your time. Remember that there are seasons in life. And appreciate where you are and how your experiences right now will shape your next book. 

How is your writing coming? 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Encouragement

Hello everyone! I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been busy lately, right? Anyway, because of that, today I’m posting an article I wrote on my personal blog two years ago; I had just published my first novel and was in a pondering mood. (It seemed to resonate with people then, so I’m thinking it’s safe to share it again!)

Every writer is different. “No, really? You don’t say!” But, I make that statement because sometimes we writers don’t take that to heart. Am I the only one who occasionally wishes she had certain other writers’ gifts? Maybe they’re very prolific and their stories generate effortlessly like rabbits. Maybe their writing style is as lyrical and inviting as a song. Maybe they’re so well-informed, intelligent, and profound that their books are life-changing. If only you could write like any or all of the above…!

But every writer is different. God has different plans for each one and has gifted them accordingly. Maybe you’re meant to write just a few long and weighty tomes in your lifetime. Harper Lee published only one book, To Kill a Mockingbird, but look at its legacy. Maybe you’re meant to write down-to-earth stories that resonate with practical people more than a poetic style of writing ever could. Maybe your books are meant to entertain and cheer readers up rather than stretch their minds.

And then there’s the realization that writing isn’t all there is in this world, even for writers. If you’re like me, you get depressed on a weekly basis over how little time you have to write. How will I ever get anything written if I never write? But God doesn’t just give writers one gift—oftentimes there are a multiple number of things that any one writer is valuable for. Maybe it’s mother- or fatherhood, or a day job, or a special talent in music or art…there are lots of important things to be done in this world. Writing is only one of them.

So, the next time you feel discouraged, remember that writing is profitable in many, many different ways and on many levels…even something written for your eyes alone is worthwhile if it helps you. Our desperate aim is always to get everything in our heads onto paper or into type and to as many readers as possible, but if we managed to accomplish that, our writing days would be done, and we wouldn’t want that, now would we?!

My conclusion, to myself and to anyone else, is to remember that the essential thing is to work hard and write for God’s glory, and the results are up to Him.

Kelsey Bryant is an author, blogger, and copy editor who loves the Lord. She revels in many things: the beauty of God's Word, the music of English, the wonder of nature, the joy of creativity, the freedom of motion, the richness of literature, the intrigue of history ... and much more. To learn more about her, visit her website or blog.
 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Short Story Contest at Becoming Writer ($500 in prizes)

Greetings all, John J. Horn here.

A contest announced last week inspired me to take a quick break from my Work in Progress to craft a short story.

The writing community Becoming Writer is celebrating their one-year anniversary with a short story contest offering $500 in prizes.

Check out the contest here.

It's mandatory to submit your short story for critique by fellow writers before entering in the official contest. My short story is in the Becoming Writer workshop now, and it's very helpful to get feedback and a variety of perspectives from the other writers in the community.

Go check it out!

John J. Horn is a Christian author from Texas. Purchase his Men of Grit series from Amazon here and sign up for his newsletter at johnjhornbooks.com.

Friday, December 4, 2015

A Dry Well of Ideas

I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving! It’s hard to believe it’s December already, isn’t it? Throughout this busy month of the year, it’s hard to make time to write. I understand why some people take a break; we all need them, so December is a sensible choice.

Sometimes what’s harder (at least for me) is having ideas ready for me when I do get time to sit down and type. We’ve talked before about “writing when you’re not writing”—which means using the blank spaces of time when you’re walking, driving, riding in a car, washing dishes, et cetera, to plan what you’ll write when you next have the opportunity. But sometimes the idea well is so dry that no matter how far you dig, you can’t come up with anything. When that happens, small thought sessions aren’t enough.



Here’s what you could do to dredge up fresh ideas when you’re so stuck no amount of staring at your computer screen or blank sheet of paper or otherwise forcing yourself to think will help.

  • Pray. Every time I’ve been discouragingly stumped and I’ve prayed and rededicated the story to the Lord, the solution came to me. Sometimes in the same moment!
  • Talk to someone. Even if they don’t know exactly what’s going on in your story, mulling over something aloud can turn up fresh ideas. Or something they say could give you the spark you need to keep going.
  • Read an inspiring book. It could be about your subject, or totally different; just whatever you think could get your juices flowing. I find how-to write books creativity inducing.
  • Watch an inspiring movie. Since movies can be such a strong influence, I think the best selections would somehow pertain to your WIP...you don’t want to get distracted or inspired in the wrong direction!
  • Research. Sometimes you just need to know more about what you’re writing.
  • Write to yourself, explaining your problem. It can be more effective than thinking or speaking because it’s the same action as what you need to be doing. You may even write something you can use for your WIP!
  • Reread parts of your story, or revisit your notes. The answer you’re seeking may be there, and your memory may just need refreshing. That may be all it takes to get you over a mountain.

What have you done to get out of a seemingly hopeless writers’ block?

Kelsey Bryant is an author, blogger, and copy editor who loves the Lord. She revels in many things: the beauty of God's Word, the music of English, the wonder of nature, the joy of creativity, the freedom of motion, the richness of literature, the intrigue of history ... and much more. To learn more about her, visit her website or blog