Featured Critique Group:
Oregon Christian Writers
Contact: Current Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) president: Mary A. Hake
Email: Oregon Christian Writers
Membership: 350+ members, open to new members. OCW has many aspiring and long-time published authors among its membership. There are professional authors in virtually every genre, such as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, newspaper journalism, etc.
Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) sponsors three one-day conferences annually to educate, encourage, and promote professionalism among aspiring and published authors. OCW also sponsors a four-day Summer Coaching Conference held at the Canby Grove Conference Center in Canby Grove, Oregon.
Next one-day conference: May 17, 2008 at Northwest Christian College, Eugene, Oregon.
JENNIFER ANNE F. MESSING is an author and poet who resides in Oregon with her husband, Michael, and their three children. Her articles, stories, and poems have appeared in over forty magazines and book compilations including: Standard, Evangel, Live, Seek, The Secret Place, Bible Advocate, The Proverbs 31 Woman, More God’s Abundance, Families Can Bounce Back, and Romancing the Soul. Jennifer Anne is also the author of a poetry gift book. Ms. Messing previously served for four years as president of Oregon Christian Writers (OCW), a statewide writers organization with 350+ members. She has a bachelor’s degree in Christian Education and a diploma in Freelance Journalism. Ms. Messing was born in Manila, Philippines.
Q. Share one highlight of your writing career.
A. It’s difficult to pinpoint only one highlight, because there have been many in my writing career. But I definitely found it a highlight when I published my first book in 2004, an inspirational book, In the Shadow of His Wings~Prayers, Poems, and Passages to Inspire. (ISBN #1-4137-0737-8, Available for ordering at http://www.JenniferAnneMessing.com, borders.com, or at barnesandnoble.com.) Another memorable moment was having an author booksigning at a local Borders bookstore in Gresham, Oregon.
Q. What how-to-write books are on your bookshelf?
A. In addition to having annual subscriptions to magazines such as: The Christian Communicator and The Writer, I have found two books very helpful and inspirational:
A Complete Guide to Writing for Publication, Edited by Susan Titus Osborn, ACW Press, 1999
The Writer’s Handbook, Edited by Sylvia K. Burack, 1990 Edition, The Writer, Inc.
I am confident that subsequent editions of The Writer’s Handbook are also very helpful and informative.
Both of the above mentioned books feature chapters by various authors who are specialists in different genres of writing such as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, personal experience articles, etc. I have read and reread these books over the years. They are excellent!
Q. How have you grown as a writer through being a member of a critique group?
A. I was a member of a writers critique group for over five years. We used to meet once a month in person. My involvement with this group was very helpful. First of all, I grew as a writer because I had to grow in my editing skills when I critiqued the work of my fellow writers. I learned to become more objective and better at identifying what made an article or story work or not work. I also learned how to accept the comments and suggestions from others and use them to improve my writing. Instead of becoming defensive or sensitive when others made suggestions, I often discovered that when I made a few editing adjustments based on their input I would end up selling those articles and poems to editors.
Q. Describe specific ways you try to encourage each other in your group.
A. In our critique group, we had specific guidelines. One guideline was to always mention at least one positive thing about a fellow writer’s article or story. We also took time to listen to what each group member had accomplished or published since the previous meeting. We also suggested writing markets to each other.