Posts Tagged ‘writing tips’


Heem Still Life with a Basket of Fruit

The fruit of the Spirit is Love – Galatians 5:22

Sometimes I come to my work with determination.  After all is it called work for a reason.  There is a lot to do. I make a list:

Finish Chapter Two.
Write 1500 words.
Rewrite yesterday’s work.

I stay in the chair. I set a timer. I give myself a talking to. I churn out my words.

Other days are different. I take time with God to center and feel my place as his instrument for the work. His love for me begins to overflow.  The words come. I connect with God and He connects me to the reader. The writing is a work of Love.

Here’s my new “To Do” list:

Love God.
Love the Reader.
Love the Work.

Both days are productive but the results are so different. On those days Love keeps me in the chair.

What keeps you in the chair?

Betsy and Laurie

“All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.”— E.B. White

Write, Rewrite, Rewrite, Rewrite


English: Photo of American poet William Cullen...

English: Photo of American poet William Cullen Bryant leaning over a desk and writing while holding his forehead. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The manuscript for The Shepherd’s Song is back from our editor and now the rewriting begins again.

By the time we submitted the book we had written it and rewritten in multiple times.  It’s never done.  There is always one more word to cut, one more word to add for clarification, one more sentence to twist or straighten.

Zinsser tells us,   “Fighting clutter is like fighting weeds — the writer is always slightly behind.”

Hemingway tells us, “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

Einstein tells us, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Our mother tells us “Just cut out the boring parts.”

It’s always humbling to get a manuscript back and see all the extra words you missed, but exciting to know that the writing is getting better.

This week we begin, again.

Betsy and Laurie

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. 1 Chronicles 28:20




Writing Through Pain


The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the midst of the valley and it was full of bones.  Then He caused me to pass by them all around and behold there were many in the open valley, and indeed they were very dry,  And He said to me, son of man, can these bones live?  So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”  Ezekiel  37 :1-3

Sometimes writing (or living) starts with a valley of dry bones.  We are done.  Life has left us dry and scattered.  We look around the valley we are in and wonder if we can pick up the pieces. And we see no help in sight.

In this place God meets us and we begin again.  God says to us as we examine the pieces of our life, “Can these bones live?”  And we are not sure.  But we take a breath and begin.

The dry bone of grief becomes part of a story that will bring life to the reader.  The rib bone of pain, hard to pick up, becomes hope for another. The bone that we least want to use, the bone of bitterness, is transformed to beauty as the character in our story overcomes.  We continue word by word as God breathes life into our dry bones.

The story is done and we are exhausted but there is inside us a hope that was not there before. And when we look down at the page we see that the dry bones have become a living, breathing, army of words ready to march off the page into the lives of others.

“Can these bones live?”

Only God knows. But we can take a breath and begin.

Have you been there?

Laurie and Betsy

Punctuation: Annie Dillard

Drummer Boy

Image via Wikipedia

Learn punctuation; it is your little drum set, one of the few tools you have to signal the reader where the beats and emphases go. (If you get it wrong, any least thing, the editor will throw your manuscript out.) Punctuation is not like musical notation; it doesn’t indicate the length of pauses, but instead signifies logical relations. There are all sorts of people out there who know these things very well. You have to be among them even to begin.  Annie Dillard


Do You Know Where You’re Going?


We’re on our way! Hooray!

 But wait a minute!  Where are we going?

If we don’t know where we are headed it doesn’t matter how fast we are moving.

When we first began writing together we spent time praying and discussing our vision.  We wanted to have a vision statement for our work to keep us in line with each other and more importantly to keep us in line with God.

Early on we chose a Bible verse to guide us:

We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.  Psalm 78:4

This verse has been like a compass to us pointing us in the right direction and keeping us on track.  At first we saw the next generation as children.  We began to expand our vision to see the next generation as adults too.

This statement of purpose helps us in many ways:

  • It helps us make decisions about how to spend our time.
  • It keeps us focused on the goal instead of on small problems.
  • It reminds us that we are not in control, God is in control.

Do you have a statement of purpose for your writing?

Do you know where you are going?

Laurie and Betsy

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Are You Using Everything?

Erma Bombeck

Erma Bombeck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.”

Erma Bombeck

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