“Don’t ruin your name.”

With today’s technology, we writers have so much electronic help at our disposal. We put fingers to keyboards instead of pen to paper (for the most part). We have programs that spell-check everything and sometimes will even ask, ‘Did you mean this?’  when we use certain homonyms. Thre’s the Internet with online dictionaries, thesauruses, and a slew of other reference books and so much more.

My favourite gadget is Kindle. When I go anywhere to write, I can take all the reference books I need on one device. My favourite app? MS Word, which is available on most devices nowadays. I save my documents to OneDrive (another awesome tool) and access them from anywhere with my iPhone. Anywhere I go, you can see me jotting down ideas in another great app called A Novel Idea, or working on my WIP.

Okay so we’ve established that technology has evolved a lot over the years, and it has taken our writing to a whole new level. In many ways, I must say it’s a good thing.

There is however one thing—or rather one person—technology will never be able to replace. Your editor. No gadget can do that kind of work as efficiently. I can’t stress enough the importance of having a real live person to go over your manuscript and work not only for you but also with you. Why?

After you’ve read something often enough, you’ve memorize it. When editing, you know what’s coming and no longer see the typos/grammatical errors. Your brain reads what it’s supposed to say but fails to see what’s really there. That’s why it’s so important to pass it to someone else, to get another set of eyes.

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Actual page from my last novel (c)

When I attended my very first Christian Writers Conference, I was still working on my first novel. I went there to learn and hadn’t planned on meeting with any editors or agents. After some prompting from my new writer-friends, I arrived at my first ever meeting totally unprepared. The editor read only half of the first page and stopped. For me, a newbie, the words that followed were brutal. ‘Don’t publish that book. You’re gonna ruin your name.’ Ouch! How that hurt! I knew my book wasn’t ready, but I didn’t think it was that bad. The next day, after I’d given it some thought and re-read that page, I returned to say thanks. Yes, it was that bad. It needed work. A lot of it.

Please understand, I’m not trying to deter or scare anyone who’s planning editor/agent meetings at their next conference. On the contrary, I want to stress the importance of acquiring an editor. If you walk in prepared, you’re bound to have a good meeting and might even land a contract.

My biggest piece of advice to any writers out there: do not attempt to replace your editor with any kind of technology. Yes, some editors may be expensive, I get that, but they’re worth every penny and then some.

Regardless what kind of gadgets you get, or how much money you invest, no amount of technology, programs, apps, or reference books will ever be able to replace your editor. You won’t get all the perks he/she has to offer in any of the above mentioned tools. Ever!

So now, are you done writing that novel? You think it’s ready? Acquire an editor and let him/her be the judge of that. Don’t ruin your good name

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Becoming a writer doesn’t happen overnight.

Recently, an old friend reminded me how as a teen, I always said I’d be a writer someday. He was happy to see I’d realized my dream. I’ll admit, I changed my career goals several times back then, but I never lost the desire to write.

Along the way, I learned many great lessons too numerous to list. Here are those I deem MOST important. 

PERSEVERANCE: Writing is a long, hard journey, but perseverance and dedication can get you where you want to be. I often thought of throwing the towel in, but that would have been too easy. Instead, I pressed on.

WRITE: Logical, right? Some find other things to do. Cleaning house/raising kids is time consuming, yes. Whether you work outside the home (like me), or you’re a stay-at-home Mom, set and stick to a writing schedule. I can’t stress this enough. Hey… if you write just one page a day, that’s a 365-page novel at the end of the year. Two pages? You’ll get one in 6 months.

LOCATION: I realize not everyone has a spare room where they can seclude themselves, but hopefully there’s an area in your home where you can write without interruptions. I rarely ever use my office. I do most of my writing from either my recliner or my bed. Yes, I sit with a back pillow, and my laptop on a four-legged breakfast tray. As long as the door is shut, everybody knows that room is off limit. Coffee shops are great too. 

EDITOR: This one should be number ONE in the list of priorities. When I wrote Stella’s Plea as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge, I knew it wasn’t fit to publish but I loved that story and wanted to do something with it, so I hired an editor to work with me. I couldn’t put it out there until a professional had looked at it. Don’t skip this step.

PROOFREADERS: They’re vital people in your journey though you may not realize it until you’ve completed your book. By the time you type The End, you now know the story inside and out. So does your editor. When you read a sentence, paragraph, or page, you no longer see the typos because your brain knows what it’s supposed to say. Yes, editors can miss things. They’re humans too. I asked four people to read my story. Yes FOUR. The MOST particular of them found several mistakes the other three had missed. THAT’s how vital they are.

CONFERENCES: They are a MUST for every writer. Why? It’s where:

  • you’ll learn the tools of the trade by amazing authors who’ve been there/done that;
  • you’ll walk away with awesome new knowledge;
  • you’ll develop wonderful friendships with other writers
  • you may even exchange business cards with agents/editors who may be interested in your story.

    Give these a try and let me know what happened.

    Blessings always, and good luck in your writing endeavours.

 

Tips for Maximizing Your Writing Time – Jennifer Slattery

Hello and welcome back. I’m so pleased to have as a guest today, Jennifer Slattery. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to read what she has to say. Jennifer is sharing great tips to help you maximize your writing time. Jennifer writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her teenage daughter and coffee dates with her handsome railroader husband. And now, without further ado, I’ll let her do the talking!

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Jennifer: Today I’d like to share a few ways to avoid time-sapping pitfalls while maximizing every moment for optimum productivity. In A Woman After God’s Heart by Elizabeth George, she talks about foregoing the good to find the better and foregoing the better to find the best. In writing, this means evaluating each moment in order to determine the best use of your time.

Organize your day around your creativity. For example, I need silence when I write. It took me a while to realize this, and initially, I went through my day following my to-do list without really evaluating each moment. As a result, I’d start with household chores and sometimes leave writing until the evening when my husband and daughter were home. Now I’m proactive about my schedule, making the most of my creative times.

Stay focused! This is a biggie and takes a bit of self-control. Especially if you have an iPhone that beeps every time you get a message or text. You might need to shut off your phone and disconnect your internet until your creative writing time is done. Here’s why…to write effectively, you need to immerse yourself in your work. Every time you pop out of story or book world to check an email, send a text, or pop in on Facebook, you’re breaking the flow. If you’re teetering between reality and story, you’re largely remaining on the surface of your creativity.

Watch out for the email monster. Between Gmail, Yahoo, and Facebook messaging, I’m always buried in emails. If I’m not careful, checking and responding to emails can take up a large chunk of my time. Now, I deal with emails at one set time. (I will periodically check my iPhone for important messages.) Knowing I only have so much time encourages me to skim and delete the unimportant ones.

Utilize every moment. I don’t watch television or movies because they don’t stir my creativity. (You may not be able to say the same.) Novels and books, however, show me strong writing and awaken my muse. Because of this, I read to relax. This means even when I’m relaxing, I’m learning. I also have projects and tasks that I can pick up whenever a spare minute arises. Let’s say I have five minutes between dinner and church each Wednesday. Five minutes a week over the course of a month equals just over a half hour.

I refuse to give in to writer’s block. When I hit a wall, I hit my knees. I believe God has called me to write and has a purpose in everything I write, therefore, I trust Him to give me the ability to follow through. (You can read more of my thoughts about this here in a post entitled, How Big is Your God.) And He’s been faithful. Every time. In fact, I start each day with prayer, laying out my responsibilities and asking God to help me fulfill them. If I hit a major block, I assume He’s asking me to spend more time with Him, so I do. The result has always been exponential.

What about you? Any time-saving tips to share?

~ Jennifer

Thank you so much Jennifer for such awesome tips. I look forward to putting them all into practice. For anyone out there who’d like to contact Jennifer, here’s how:

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. 

Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently on sale at Amazon for under $4 (print and kindle version)! You can get that here: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-I-Do-Jennifer-Slattery-ebook/dp/B00MMRRCZU/

When Dawn Breaks:

As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution propel her north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. However, he’s dealing with a potential conspiracy at work, one that could cost him everything, and Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. Then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?

Read a free, 36-page excerpt here: http://issuu.com/newhopedigital/docs/slattery_sampler/1

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You can buy a copy here:

On Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/When-Dawn-Breaks-A-Novel/dp/1596694238/

On Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-dawn-breaks-a-novel-jennifer-slattery/1120694122?ean=9781596694231

On CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/when-dawn-breaks-a-novel/jennifer-slattery/9781596694231/pd/694231

 

The Busyness of Business

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Is it break time yet? Did you ever get in a “I don’t feel like doing anything” mood? A time when even the things you feel most passionate about no longer appeal to you? I did.

Technology is a wonderful tool but does it speed things up? Does it help us do things faster so we can have more time to do other things? I need someone to tell me: Where is that ‘extra time? In the busyness of life, we all need “Me-Time,” but do we fit enough of it in our routine to see a difference? Sadly, I don’t.

Being a writer is a demanding job. You may be trying to juggle motherhood, your kids’ soccer games, ballet, and piano lessons with your writing. On top of all that, some people have to fit a full or part-time job outside the home. Writing wasn’t a priority when my kids were growing up so I can’t imagine what your schedule looks like, since mine was full. But the main question of this blog post is this:

Do you ever take time for YOU?

Away from your family? From writing/editing/promoting? To read your favorite author’s latest release? Watch that TV show you like but is over after you put the kids too bed? You don’t even take time to watch the taped episodes because you’re ready fall on that pillow that’s been calling your name since you came home from work at 5 o’clock. Come on, admit it! You need a well-deserved break.

Having two grown-up/out-of-the-nest kids doesn’t mean I’m less busy. I may be done with the task of raising two very active boys, but I still have meals to prepare, laundry to do, dishes to clean, a vegetable garden to maintain (I love growing my own food), as well as a rotation-shift/full-time job that takes me out of the house 5 days a week. I thank God daily though, He blessed me with a wonderful husband who helps with the chores. A man who supports my writing, 200%.

Recently, hubby and I decided we needed a “get away. <Insert irony here>. We took our 2-year-old grandson with us, an active little boy who kept us on our toes two full days.

I didn’t get done what I’d hoped to do because I didn’t make time for it. When my husband and I talked about that getaway, our idea was to rent a cabin on the lake, and spend quality time together. While he wanted to do some fishing, I hoped to do some writing. We ended up taking our grandson to the zoo, and visited great friends. Don’t get me wrong, we love our grandson immensely and we had a great time with him and our friends. BUT, it took me a few days to recoup!! I didn’t even catch up on sleep.

Quiet moments daily out of our ‘busyness’ are a vital part of every writer’s life. Whether you take 15 minutes a day to do nothing but reflect, half an hour to read before bedtime every night, or even an hour to do whatever pleases you, go ahead, fit quiet time into your schedule.

A young woman used her two 15-minute work breaks, half hour commute on the bus (both ways), and one hour after the kids went to bed to pen a few extra words to her manuscript. Do the math. Two hours a day, 5 days a week, it adds up at the end of the week. It may take her a little longer than the average to write a full manuscript but with this kind of dedication, she’ll probably get it done in less time than some of us (myself included) who can’t get motivated because we don’t make time for ourselves.

If we can afford to spend so much time on others and on our work, isn’t it just as (if not more) important to add some “Me-Time” in our daily routine? If we don’t take care of ‘us’, who will? I’m starting. Right now. Are you with me?

Tell meDo you fit ‘Me-Time’ in your schedule? How? When?

What Mama Didn’t Tell Me…

(Or Things I’ve learned As An Indie Author – Part One).

I dedicate this post to my Mother, whom I miss dearly. And Happy (Belated) Mother’s Day to all moms out there.

As a reporter, my mother had a major influence on my life, even when I didn’t realize it. However, growing up in the 70’s, there were things she never could have predicted or taught me, especially about today’s technology. So when I published my first novel, Stella’s Plea (2012) as an eBook, there were many thing I didn’t know. And there’s still a lot for me to learn.

Last week, I receive an email from a dear writer-friend I’d met at the Write to Publish Christian Writers Conference in 2012. Rebecca wanted to feature me on her blog. I never turn down these opportunities. And when people help me, I like to pay it forward. I prepared to write about what I’ve learned since I published my novel. But there’s so much to tell, I split the post in two. This is part 1. Wednesday, May 14, make sure you read Rebecca’s blog for part two, to find out the other amazing things I’ve learned.

Self-publishing has been quite a journey. Last week I signed up for two major (and free) challenges. One is a fifteen-day writing challenge where we receive a daily prompt, and must write between 50 – 300 words about it. As its name suggests, some of the prompts are challenging, but it keeps the brain constantly active and thinking. The second challenge is a 30-day “course” on book marketing, something that can be hard and quite demanding for those who don’t know what they’re doing (like ME when I started). Perhaps that’s why many go through a traditional publisher who will do most of the leg work for them. I wish I’d had this course two years ago because I totally lacked marketing savvy so the road was twice as difficult for me. But I made it. Why am I telling you about these two challenges?

Because I met many writers in the process who took an interest in my writing. Why is this so important? One of the MOST most valuable lesson I’ve learned on my writing journey is the importance of connecting with other writers.

PamelaSusanConnie         Doris and Domeniek Penny and Pamela

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write to Publish, at Wheaton College, IL was my first major writers conference. Pictured above, top row, Pamela (L), Connie (C) and Susan (R), next row, Penny and Pam (L) and Doris and Domeniek (R) are some of the many fantastic writers I made strong connections with at this conference. I have many more pictures of that conference on my Facebook page. Most of us have kept in touch on Facebook, Twitter, and/or via email ever since. This year, I attended Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in Felton California, and again met wonderful and amazing writers and teachers. It’s an experience one simply cannot forget! While a famous author once told me writing is of necessity a solitary profession, I can’t help but ask myself: Does it have to be? I may write the book on my own, but I’ve had a lot of people ‘walk’ with me on my journey. These people have taken on several roles, a people with many hats, you might say. They became:

  • Encouragers while I worked on my novel,
  • Prayer warriors when I hit a few bumps in the road (writing and/or otherwise),
  • Supporters when I neared publication,
  • Promotional agents who spread the word around and helped me sell my novel.

Two years later, I’m still in touch with most of them and it’s my turn to encourage, pray, support, and share their new books on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. Word of mouth goes a long way, and friendship is a two-way street. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain at a writers’ conference. I believe it’s where you acquire the most valuable tools as a writer. But don’t just take my word for it, go ahead, attend one of them. Your writing journey will never be the same. WIN_20140413_214037 Now I remind you – again – to circle your calendar and visit Rebecca’s blog on Wednesday May 14, for part two of the things I’ve learned as an indie author. Until then, blessings. Renee-Ann <><

I Write Because…

Sarah Butland

Thanks Sarah, for allowing me to use this picture.
It ties in perfectly with today’s post.
Picture: Sarah Butland, writer. Photographer: Deborah Carr

While getting ready for work, one thought ran through my mind: I need a blog post idea. I’d just tried my hand at a poem – a very long one, I might add – and submitted it. I love challenges, and I’m no quitter. But I must say, if I weren’t writing it for a contest, I most likely would have given up. It was harder than I thought, and I’m glad it’s done.

When I posted about this “feat” on my Facebook wall (any poems longer than 9-10 lines is a feat for me), Patricia Linson, a fellow-writer commented:

“I have been told that trying to write other types of the written word is good for one’s development as a writer.” (she heard this at a conference but forgets who said it).

I agree. I enjoyed it, for the most part. The greatest lesson I’ve learned, however, writing this 473-word poem, it’s not my forte. And this exercise has given me a much deeper appreciation for poets. I tip my hat to all of them.

So, scanning my email before logging off and going to work, a heading caught my attention. It said WHY DO YOU WRITE. I glanced at my watch to make sure I had time to read it! You can read it HERE!

It was at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference (BRMCWC for short), that M.B. Dahl, a writer, sat in one of author/speaker Cecil Murphey’s workshop who posed this question: Why do you write? Dahl goes on to say, one person shared her burden for families fighting cancer. Another offered up his desire to give hope to a grieving world

As I read, all sorts of ideas popped in my mind. Yes, some write about personal experiences to a hurting audience who went through something similar. Others write domestic violence victims, and the list goes on. I tried hard to answer this same question.

First: Writing is one of the few things I’ve always enjoyed (I get bored easy). For this reason, I do believe it is a God-given desire. I started writing as a teenager, though I never took it seriously until a few years ago.

Second: As a Christian, I have a desire to bring lost souls to Christ, and love doing this through my stories. In my first novel, Stella’s Plea (Nov 2012), Stella becomes angry with God when her daughter nearly dies of meningitis, and loses her hearing. Just one year later, this same child disappears from the local park (This is not a spoiler, it’s in the book blurb/first few chapters). How does Stella feel about God now? Will she ever trust him again?

Third: I’ve been involved with the deaf community for years as an “interpreter” at our church. These people have always had a soft spot in my heart. I know several hearing folks who know very little if anything about them. So deafness has become a recurring theme, and in all my stories, I have at least one deaf character. And I love to dispel myths and educate my readers. Here are three myths:

a. Did you know according to the WHO (World Health Organization) 360M people worldwide have some kind of hearing loss? (328M of those are adults). Now THAT’s a lot of people, contrary to the belief that There aren’t “that many” deaf people in the world.

b. Did you know that not all deaf people can read lips? Yet, there are many who think that All of them can.

c. Did you know some deaf people can speak – and very well, I might add, contrary to the popular myth that deaf people are mute.

The three points I elaborated on answer very well the question Cecil Murphey asked in his workshop. So now I ask you to complete this sentence: I write because…

I look forward to reading your comments. Until then,

Blessings, Renee-Ann <><

Prayers for Writers? Of course! We need them too.

Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1Thessalonians 5:17-18

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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This is going to be a short post (less than 400 words). I sincerely hope when you’re done reading it, you’ll read THIS ONE as well.

Recently, I blogged about Janet Sketchley’s post, “What’s in the heart,” which inspired me to write on a similar subject. It happened again this past week, and I must share.

I belong to several Facebook and Twitter writing groups, and have read a lot of prayer requests in the threads of comments. Some want prayers for ill-health, some for their writing journeys, while others ask us to pray for their loved ones. None of these are no less important than others. No matter the request, we, as Christians, are called to lift each other up in prayer. The best part is in what Jesus tells us in Matthew 18: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Saturday, I really enjoyed Bobbi Junior’s post and hope you’ll join her – as I do in her movement. Writers, like everybody else, have needs too. As you read their books, we ask you to keep them in prayers.

I like to think of myself as a prayer warrior. When I find myself doing nothing (which isn’t very often), I talk to God. Working in a call centre where it’s not very busy, I like to follow God’s command as told by the Apostle Paul, and I pray continually. I pray for whoever He lays on my heart, I thank him for the things He’s done in my life, and that of others. I like to pray first thing in the morning (my day just isn’t the same when I don’t), last thing at night as I lay my head down, and anywhere in between when He nudges me. I love talking to Him every chance I get.

Some think prayer are only required when we’re in desperate need. I do ask for His provisions in those times, but also praise and thank Him in the good times.

So as you read the words of the authors you enjoy so much, will you please take a moment and pray for them today? Let’s all join Bobbi’s movement and pray for writers.

Blessings, everyone.

Renee-Ann <><

photo credit: amorph via photopin cc
photo credit: Curt Fleenor Photography via photopin cc

 

Writing Poetry Vs. Novels… Isn’t all writing the same?

Last week, I heard about a contest where the organizers were looking for poem submissions. I debated whether to try my hand at it or not. After all, writing is writing, right?

Not in my books! I’m a novelist, I tell stories. I’m certainly not a poet. I know, poems tell stories too, but they’re written differently. While I realize the following are not always a must, things like imagery, rhymes, the amount of syllables in each line/stanza, they often play a role in poems. There’s a rhythm, or pattern. A novel isn’t written this way.

As a teenager I wrote poems – just for fun, I should add – but never paid attention to these factors except I always made sure lines 1 and 3 rhymed, as well as lines 2 and 4.

When I heard about this contest, I found myself wondering whether to enter because I really don’t know how to correctly write poems. The prizes are quite generous, making it more tempting, but adding another writing credit to my portfolio is just as – if not more – important.

So I turned to two fellow writers/friends for help and asked for their opinion. Greg told me to go for it.  “After all,” he said, “you wrote two books.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle. This guy had more faith in me than I had in myself. I replied: “Because I write novels doesn’t mean I CAN write poems. It’s like thinking I can play guitar because I know how to play the piano. They’re two totally different instruments. The same goes for poems and novels.”

Knowing Sarah – another fellow writer – might be interested in this contest, I forwarded the information to her, telling her I wasn’t sure what to do. Using a play on word, she said: “Write about not being able to think about what to write about.” Then she added: “Seriously, poetry is not a challenge if you try it, and beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. Take that quote you shared as a jumping off point.”

Huh? What quote? Oh yeah… I’d shared on my Facebook wall something I’d read on Twitter. I don’t know who the author of this quote is but it went like this:

A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking,

because its faith is not in the branch,

but in her wings.

Believe in yourself ~ Author Unknown

Touché, Sarah. Thank you. I needed this push!

Alright! I’ve decided to do exactly that: believe in myself. I’m going to take a stab at this contest, and see what I can come up with. Greg later suggested I write something I’m passionate about. I have an idea and I’m going to try. What’s the worst that can happen? I won’t win? But I can’t win if I don’t try.

Talk to me! What do you write? Poetry? Novels? Short stories? All of the above? Is it all the same to you? Share your thoughts.

 

The Words we Speak, Read AND Write…

Who’s your audience? 

I read a great blog post by Janet Sketchley, entitled “What’s in the Heart.” I strongly recommend you follow the link (click on her name) and read it too. 

It made me think about the books I read, but even more so about those I write.

Personally, and I don’t mean to offend anyone, but regardless how great a story is, I simply can’t enjoy a book when it contains coarse language. I enjoy it even less when the writer misuses the name of God throughout. His Name is Holy and should only be used that way. I’ve deleted several books from my Kindle for that very reason.

Our local Christian radio station says: “What’s in your radio goes into your ears, into your heart, and into your mind.”  Shouldn’t it be the same for what we read? Does it matter, since we didn’t ‘write’ these words? To me, it does.

But what if we turn this around? What about the words we write? Does it matter what we tell our audience? After all, who is our audience that we should be mindful of what we tell them? In Proverbs 21:23, God’s word tells us: “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”

When I wrote Stella’s Plea, someone told me, regarding the cops and ‘bad guys’ in my novel: “Tough guys are supposed to swear.”

Huh? Really? Perhaps they do, but with all due respect, I must disagree with the fact that these words must be included in the pages of our novels. I’ve read fine Christian novels where the person swears but it’s not spelled out.

In his novels, when wanting to show his readers the character swore, Christian author Jerry B. Jenkins simply says: He swore. Some authors might add under his breath or something along that line. But it’s sufficient to show readers the character is angry, upset, etc. and it describes the action.

In the third chapter of the book of James, we read about the taming the tongue, though it says in verse 8: no human being can tame the tongue.

The dictionary is filled with four-letter words. Why use the offensive ones?

My audience begins with God. Who’s yours?   

Sweet Thoughts and Writer’s Block

One day, recently, as I stared at my computer screen with a bad case of writer’s block, my husband came in from work. My office is next to the entryway, so from where I sat, laptop on its tray, and the tray over my lap, I asked about his day.  

“Good. I brought you a flower,” were his first words.

“Oh? What’s the occasion,” I asked, somewhat baffled.

My husband is a real romantic in his own way, and he knows chocolate and flowers are NOT at the top of my ‘want’ list. (I know, some of you are shaking your head wondering why I don’t want chocolate). But notice he said “brought” and not “bought.”

“No occasion,” came his reply, as he took off his work boots dropped them at the bottom of the closet. “Maybe I’m kissing up for something.”

I could hear him smile. “And for what might that be,” I chuckled.

“I don’t know yet.”

Okay, he wouldn’t tell me why he brought me a flower (he always gets them in bunches), and I needed to see what he was up to. And I needed to see this flower.

I moved my laptop tray, and stepped out of my office. Then my mouth dropped. This was priceless. There, on the bench next to him, was a huge piece of cake, with a large rose made of frosting.

cake

“It’s pink too, and a corner piece.” he added, a proud look on his face. Pink is my favourite color and I love the icing. The sweeter, the better. Usually!

The occasion? My husband’s co-worker had retired and they’d held a small go-away party for her in the office.

“The cake,” my husband went on to tell me, “had two large flowers like this one. The other one was white.”

My guy is a keeper. Very romantic in his own way and I love it when he does these small, random acts of kindness. But little did he know, in the process, he’d help me with two things.

First, this gave me an idea for today’s blog post. So I hurried to get the camera and took a picture of the cake.

Second, after eating part of it (trust me, it took a lot of willpower for me to stop, I could have eaten all of it), I returned to my little office, put the tray back on my lap, and I let my fingers do the typing.

Pheasant

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting the sugar rush unlocked writer’s block, nor am I saying everyone should eat a piece of cake when the ideas stop flowing, and words won’t come. But for me, simply walking away from the computer, even for a short while, helps. Spending a few minutes talking with my husband, or looking at the pheasant outside my window now and then can trigger ideas. For those who may be wondering, I live in the city, closer to downtown actually, yet we see this guy (and a bunch of ducks) around our property all the time.

What do you do when you get writer’s block? Please share what works for you.