Coal mining in the 20th century many times included taking a caged canary into the depths underground. These birds were sensitive to carbon monoxide, a potentially deadly gas devoid of color, taste or smell, that often formed in the mines. A dead bird in the cage meant the miners needed to be alert–deadly conditions were at hand.
Watching the political banter over the past months has been telling. Pointing fingers and one-upping from both sides of the aisle took front and center stage while pressing issues were left untouched.
I think the Canary has stopped singing. Please, let’s heed the issues at hand that can be deadly. We still have time.
Distractions when writing is one of the greatest challenges for a new or struggling author. Pretty colors. Cleaning the oven. Organizing your closets. The strangest distractions can seem important when ideas aren’t flowing. Or perhaps the more visible success of fellow writers has you in a bit of a funk.
Snap out of it!
Regain your focus. Remember what your purpose is. Revisit the reason you decided to sit at the keyboard in the first place.
Take a break if you need it. Read this post if you’d like. But get back to work. You’ll be glad that you did.
Writers tend to play the comparison game. When that happens we lose sight of what’s right before us: we are individuals. Our walks are different from anyone else’s. Our insights are different, too. Experiences. Challenges. Blessings. The sum of these plus others attributes make up the characteristics of who we are. But make no mistake, we are even more–we are Sons and Daughters of the Creator of the Universe.
Hey friends! I’m speaking in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on November 5th for the 2nd Annual Keystone Christian Fiction Writers’ Conference! If you’re in the area, come and spend the day with us. It’s going to be fun, informative and hopefully inspiring. I would love to have you stop by my class and share some time with me there. Agents from Hartline Agency will be there. Jeanette Windle is the Keynote and other published authors will be there to share their knowledge and support.
I always thought being a Christian fiction writer was the next thing to sainthood. Not only did the author write the most entertaining story possible, but they also left the reader with a message. Their story had a purpose.
When I decided to write fiction I struggled with all the criteria I felt I needed to meet. Would my story be believable? Could I show Christ like I wanted to? Would my words sound preachy? I stressed over my fears for months until I remembered a simple quote from Mark Twain that set me free.
“Write what you know.”
I am a Christian. I live a Christian life because of my love for Christ. I strive to do good, but so often fail. I know what it means to live in a fallen world. I know heartache and other emotions—sorrow, joy, fear, disappointment, struggle with vengeance—all the makings of a great novel.
So I write what I know.
Nowadays my challenge has changed. Writing has taken on a different meaning. I need to be selective in sharing what I know. What experiences do I know that could connect with readers? What emotions can I express on the page that would connect with a reader to pull from them their own emotions? Sorrow? Joy? Disappointment? Struggle with vengeance?
I still read novels by others so I can learn more about my craft. I go to writers conferences to sharpen my skills as well as participate in critique groups to stay connected with like-minded people.
But I always come back to what I know.
I challenge you to do the same. Attend this fall’s writers conference. Connect with fellow writers on Facebook and share your ideas. And write what you know. You’ll be a blessing to others when you do.
Did back-to-school shopping freeze your brain? Has the weather thrown you for a loop?
If you’re looking for topics to stir conversations, check out Edie Melson’s September’s Idea Starters. If you haven’t done so, follow her blog. She never runs short of informative as well as inspirational items for writers.
How many times have we questioned why sand has been kicked in our face on the Beach of Life? Circumstances doesn’t go as planned … we suffer an incredible loss … our words get twisted then used against us. We stomp our foot and scream to God, “This is not fair! Where are you, Father? Why don’t you make this right?”
But we hear nothing back—radio silence from our Heavenly Father. What do we do? We want to roll up our sleeves and fix things. We know exactly what we’d do to fix things. But Scriptures begin to come to mind: “Never will I leave you nor forsake you,” “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” “In all your ways submit to God, and he will make your paths straight.”
August 1983 The cool air and the long rays of morning sun greeted the three of us as we traveled the long driveway. It took everything in me not to start crying.
“Today’s a great day!” I said, with too much pep in my voice. I wanted to make sure I told him all he needed to know for this special day. “You’ll meet new people and it’ll be terrific!”
We continued to walk, hand in hand as we always had in the past. He stopped, looked up into my eye, and with a sober voice, “It is a great day, right, Mommy?”
Little Sis skipped along singing Great day, It’s gonna be a great day … She had no idea the somberness of this moment. But how could she? How could she know what it felt like to lose a baby into an Unknown World?
People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.But Jesus called the children to him and said,“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little childwill never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17
I recently read a Facebook post that made me cringe. A woman was ranting about how she was tired of people being so self-absorbed, they actually brought their children with them when they visited her favorite Starbucks. “They have no consideration for others,” she went on. “All I want to do is enjoy my coffee in peace and quiet. Is that asking too much?” I leaned back and said to myself, “Been there, I get you sister,” until I realized how self-absorbed I was by thinking that way.
There’s nothing wrong with looking forward to appreciating a great cup of coffee in a stress-free atmosphere, but, dear friends, there are so many more important things in life.
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:11 – 12
Elijah—a powerhouse for God—experienced one of the greatest stories of the Old Testament. He was invited to see God. But he had to experience destruction before he heard God’s voice.
Isn’t that how Life turns for us? When life’s winds and storms fill our world, we call out to see the power of God. Somewhere in our heart we hope He’s greater than our current storm.