Archive of ‘About Writing’ category

Writing: Connecting With the Reader

I didn’t know THAT!

We read to know we are not alone.  C.S. Lewis

Reading is about connection. Therefore writing is about creating that connection.  Whatever world we enter, whatever the setting or the character, the connection comes on the inside when I find my own feelings and story on the pages of a book. Can I write from the perspective of a man?  A person of different ethnicity? A cat? The details of our lives will be different but the emotions that we experience are universal. I learned once that there are only two emotions:  Love and Fear.  All others flow from these two. We are all more alike than we think. Reading allows us to enter the world of another and often to find ourselves there in the story. God uses story to allow us to connect with Him.  I’ve seen my story in the story of Peter who walked on water only to get distracted and fall.  I’ve been in a far away land and decided to come back to the Father like the son in the parable. I’ve been too busy like Martha. I can relate to many people in the pages of the Bible and when I read carefully I can find my own story there. The best books allow us to connect and grow in our understanding of ourselves. Have you ever found your own feelings and story on the pages of a book? Laurie and Betsy

“Who hasn’t had encounters with dogs, or who hasn’t experienced the strangeness of the human world. When we hear stories of others it reminds us of our own story.”

The Cat Diaries:  Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, Laurie Myers

Photo credit: Laurie featuring Samson

Writing: How to Overcome the Fear of Submission

A United States mailbox.

A United States mailbox. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Submission means to yield to the power or authority of another.

As a writer to submit means the moment of terror that I experience when I drop the envelope into the mail slot or hit send on my computer.  Submission means judgment of my work. I love the story of E.B.White begging the mailman to return his just sent manuscript.  I have felt the same desire to hold on one more day.

Can we write with the spirit of submission to God?  What difference would it make to start with submission, instead ending with submission.  If I can submit the work to God first then the fear of submitting it to man disappears.

Catherine Marshall writes in Adventures in Prayer about this Godly submission during the writing of her first book, A Man Called Peter.

About midway in the manuscript, I received devastating criticism from one whose judgment I trusted.  He told me bluntly, “You haven’t even begun to get inside the man Peter Marshall,” And he was right, that was the sting of it.  The realization of my inadequacy as a writer was not only an intellectual one.  It was also emotional; there were plenty of tears.  But out of the crisis came a major realization.

 In my helplessness, there was no alternative but to put the project into God’s hands.  I prayed that A Man Called Peter be His book, and that the results be all His too. And they were.

The book was published and sold millions of copies all around the world.  My best writing comes when I give up control of the results and begin to see my books as God’s books.

May we write today with submission.

Laurie and Betsy

Submit yourself then to God. . . Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

James 4:7,10

What We Have Learned: Writing Tips 11-15

Some more things that we have learned along the way:

11. Protect your writing time.  No one can do this but you.

12. Don’t let anyone read your drafts.  The vision is yours alone.

13. Walk daily. Read your previous day’s work before you walk.

14. Don’t edit as you write.  Get it down first.

15. Listen.  Make space for quiet times.

Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas,

Laurie and Betsy

Writing Sisters

What We Have Learned: Writing Tips 1-5

Here are some tips that we have learned in our years as writers:

1.  Read, Read. Read.  Writing is, after all, creating reading.

2.  Let it cool. Don’t edit right away.  Time can give you perspective.

3.  Read your work out loud.  Listen for places that are not smooth and natural.

4. Get plenty of sleep.  Rest is a spiritual weapon and keeps you sharp.

5.  Love the reader.  Keep in mind the one who will be reading the work.

Would love to hear your thoughts about writing.  Especially about Writing Tip #4.

Writing Sisters

Writing With Nibbles and Nudges

“Writing is like fishing.  A nibble will always come, but all too often we dismiss the little nudge as not worthy of the great works we vaingloriously imagine we will write.” William Stafford

Poet William Stafford claimed never to have experienced writer’s block. His antidote when he felt it coming on was to lower his standards. By accepting the small nibbles and nudges that came to him he was able to keep writing.

The idea in my head will never match the words that come out onto my pages!  Perfectionism is a great obstacle to writing.   I must be faithful to write just what comes today and not to scorn my feeble attempts at the keyboard. When I start to feel anxious about the results of my work, the acceptance of the work by others, or the worthiness of my words I must stop and remember Stafford’s words. I may have set the standards too high.

The same is true of my spiritual life. God accepts us as we are not as we vaingloriously imagine we will be. Listen for the small nudges and whispers. Most of my growth has come through faithfulness to small nudges. When I am stuck spiritually often I need to go back to basics – the small practices of daily prayer, gratitude, journaling and private worship.

In our writing lives and in our spiritual lives great works start with small efforts. Today let go of the pressure to write a great work and simply write from the nibbles and nudges that come.

Happy Writing,  The Writing Sisters

If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.  Luke 16:10

Wise Words

English: David and Golias Česky: David a Goliáš

Image via Wikipedia

“Those who kill giants have stories to tell. They have seen God at work. They know what God can do. They are utterly convinced that God is able. And for this reason they are dangerous.” Mark Crumpler

Sharing the best of our reading this week: Words about the power of story from Mark Crumpler at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA

But David stepped into the valley that day armed with something that no one there could see, certainly not Goliath and not even Saul. It was not weapon that could be held in the hand or placed on the head or draped over the body.

Perhaps David’s most formidable weapons that day were stories and memories: stories and memories of God’s help, God’s deliverance, God’s presence in trouble, God’s power in the face of threat. David had lived this. David had seen this. And it made him confident. These stories had made a giant killer of a shepherd boy.

This is no mere belief in God. When it’s time to face a giant it simply will not do to say “I believe in God.” Killing giants requires more than the kind of agreeable mental assent we often label as ‘belief.’ Those who kill giants have stories to tell. They have seen God at work. They know what God can do. They are utterly convinced that God is able. And for this reason they are dangerous.

So what stories do you tell? When and how have you seen God unmistakably at work in your life? When have you known his presence as close to you as your own breath? When have you sensed his peace taking up residence deep in your chest? Be specific – and remember. Tell yourself and others this story. Rehearse it. It will make you dangerous today against whatever you face.

“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done” (Psalm 143:3-5).

Mark Crumpler from his series: Alive With God

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