Monthly Archives: March 2009

Scriptures for Scribes

I love journals. There’s something exciting about a blank book with a beautiful cover just begging to be written in! I have journals for all sorts of things. But one of my favorite journals is one I collect Scriptures for Scribes.

In this journal, I write down every Scripture that I find that encourages me as God’s scribe. I often pick up this journal and read through it to remind me why I’m called to write.

Here is just a sample of the verses my special journal contains:
Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were printed in a book! -Job 19:23, KJV

“Let’s go at once and take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” -Numbers 13:30, NLT

Be sure to stay busy and plant a variety of crops, for you never know which will grow–perhaps they all will. -Ecc. 11:6, NLT

The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know what to say to all these weary ones. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. -Isaiah 50:4, NLT

Gentle words bring life and health. -Proverbs 15:4, NLT

-contributed by Nancy I. Sanders

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From Lightning Bugs to Doing the Dishes

Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

I can see you nodding. Read on for more great quotes on writing:

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”  Anton Chekhov

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  Toni Morrison

“The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.”  Isaac Bashevis Singer

“A poet can survive everything but a misprint.”  Oscar Wilde

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”  William Wordsworth

“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”  Elmore Leonard

“Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.”  Orson Scott Card

“A poem begins with a lump in the throat.” Robert Frost

“Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.”  Author Unknown

“I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.” Peter De Vries

“I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.”  English Professor  (name unknown) Ohio University

“Language is the dress of thought.” Samuel Johnson

“A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell another one.” Baltasar Gracian

“When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.” Enrique Jardiel Poncela

“God is the perfect Poet.”  Robert Browning

“A man will turn over half a library to make a book.”  Samuel Johnson

“A notepad by the bedside accounts for half the earning of my livelihood. If it weren’t for bedtime, half my novels would still be stuck at dock.” Ever Garrison

“There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes.” William Makepeace Thackeray

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”  Thomas Jefferson

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”  Robert Frost

“Eloquence is the poetry of prose.”  William Cullen Bryant (a DISTANT relative on my family tree!)

“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”  Agatha Christie

Sherri

Dinosaur?

DINOSAUR?

 

I don’t have an I-pod, I-phone, or a Kindle.  I’m not on Facebook, and I don’t Twitter, text, or TiVo.  The few pieces of technology I do use are, obviously, the  computer,  and e-mail is my best friend.  Eventually I figured out how to write on our group blog.  I use my cell phone (but seldom have it turned on) and know how to program a VCR.  Does all of this make me a technology dinosaur?  Probably.

Ten short years ago, I’d barely gotten online (with dial-up) and most of the above terms and products were unheard of.  As each came into general use I did my best to learn the ones that were most important to me.  Often, the learning curve was more than I wanted to tackle, and I moved on without them.  Others I’ve embraced completely.

 

The biggest change in the writing world, of course, is the computer.  I well recall the days when manuscripts were (sometimes laboriously) typed on a typewriter, even if it was electric.  Unless one was a master speed typist, the words per minute were usually less than what we discovered we could achieve at a computer keyboard.  Then there were the trips to the copy shop if we needed multiple copies, or worse, the dreaded carbon paper (ugh!)—not to mention the various forms of Wite-Out for mistakes.  And of course, cut-and-paste was exactly that—cutting various paragraphs and sentences, pasting or taping them where we wanted them to be, and then re-typing the whole thing.  How delighted we all were to be able to do all these things, and more, in a fraction of the time with a computer!

 

And what would a writer do without e-mail?  Not only is it a quick way to query editors (and hopefully get a quick reply,) but increasingly, manuscripts can be submitted electronically, which is faster and easier than old-fashioned “snail mail,” (although I do retain a certain nostalgia for the mailman’s arrival, with, perhaps, an acceptance,) but it also saves postage, not a small consideration.

 

Of course, the Internet has opened up whole new worlds of information and research.  Everything we need to know is usually at our fingertips.  Fewer trips to the library saves times and gas.  But, again, there is something to be said for the quiet and ambience of working in a library.  Then there is the serendipity of browsing through a book, looking for exactly what you need, and stumbling upon something else that perfectly fits what you are working on or is the inspiration for another article, story, or book.

 

So, when it comes to technology, how much is too much?  With all this time-saving aspects, computers can also consume huge amounts of time, if not actually waste it (think computer Solitaire and the ubiquitous fwds. many people  insist on sending!)  There are all kinds of interesting blogs, groups, and websites calling to us—-information to be gleaned, fun stuff to read, comments to be made.  It would be very easy (and less work than actually writing!) to spend a whole day just keeping up with it all.  Time is finite, but, it seems, ways to use the Internet and other technology are infinite.

 

So, I believe as writers we need to pick and choose which technology works best for us and leave behind those we don’t need or want.   When we make use of the time-saving aspects of technology and not let ourselves get caught up in all the peripheral attractions, we can use our time efficiently, and more important, creatively.

 

Contributed by Marjorie Flathers

 

 

 

Quotations to Inspire, Amaze, and Entertain

Today I have decided to share with you some of my favorite quotations. You might be inspired or amused. You might think a particular quote is just what you needed — or you might disagree strongly with what the author says. Whatever your reaction, it is a reaction — and that’s what writers often need to get out of the slow lane. Enjoy!

“I have forced myself to begin writing when I’ve been utterly exhausted, when I’ve felt my soul as thin as a playing card . . . and somehow the activity of writing changes everything.” (Joyce Carol Oates — novelist)

“In the novel you get the journey. In a poem you get the arrival.” (May Sarton — poet)

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” (E. L. Doctorow — novelist)

“Creation, whatever its form, is not an act of will, but an act of faith. “(Lloyd Alexander — novelist)

“How to write a poem? Carve a rock you love down to its essence — but keep a weather eye out for crystals of surprise.” (Kay Kidde — poet and literary agent)

“Journalism allows readers to witness history; fiction gives its readers the opportunity to live it.” (John Hersey — novelist)

“Writing is communication, not self-expression; nobody in this world wants to read your diary, except your mother.” (Richard Peck –novelist)

“You don’t have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.” (John Ciardi — poet and essayist)

“There are three rules to writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” (W. Somerset Maugham — novelist)

“Fashion passes, style remains.” (Coco Chanel — fashion designer)

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” (Robert Frost — poet)

“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” (Elmore Leonard — novelist)

“You must sit down and write every day for three or four hours. You do it like piano scales until you have a story to tell.” (Anne Lamott, novelist and essayist)

“Too often I wait for the sentence to finish taking shape in my mind before setting it down. It is better to seize it by the end that first offers itself, head or foot, though not knowing the rest, then pull: the rest will follow along.” (Andre Gide — novelist)

“When we read, we start at the beginning and continue until we reach the end; when we write, we start in the middle and fight our way out.” (Vickie Karp — poet)

AND FINALLY: “Just keep the thing going any way you can.” (Tennessee Williams — playwright)

Contributed by Marilyn Donahue

Rising From Rejection

I got word the other day that a picture book manuscript my friend and I had sent out back in December had been rejected. We had worked so hard on that opus and  the carefully worded cover letter that went along with it. Unfortunately, the story did not meet their current needs.

As writers rejections are common. They’re disappointing, but it shouldn’t mean we toss in the towel and give up. We need to rise up from our rejections, realizing that there are many reasons for the lack of interest. One very important reason as Christians is to realize that a particular publisher may not be the avenue our story was meant to travel.

Giving our writing to God means we accept the closed doors as well as the open ones. We are to trust His provision of opportunity, or lack thereof. We are called to work on the gift and talent He has given us, even if it means receiving hundreds of rejections before a yes nod finally comes through.

So what keeps me going? What keeps me sending out those manuscripts even though there is a 50-50 chance of rejection? Because I believe what Philippians 4: 13 says, ” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Contributed by Catherine L. Osornio

Writing And Breathing

There are many reasons to write. Not all of them are necessarily for publication.

Should a person bother to write if only a few people read what they write? What if no one ever sees the words? Why labor to put onto paper words if only limited people will see them?

To a writer, writing is like breathing. Like breathing, it can be labored. At other times it flows effortlessly. Either way, it must be done in order to live.

Maybe you write in order to expel pain and frustration. Maybe it’s to chart a path for your children and grandchildren. Perhaps you write in hopes of helping others not make the same mistakes you did. Or, perhaps write to help the family income.

Whatever the reason for writing, there is a bond between all of us who do it . . . who love it like we love breathing.

We are a community, a family, united in desire to put down on paper our thoughts, feelings, dreams. Whether anyone reads those words is really irrelvant, even though we may hope they will. The important thing for our family of writers is that we have done it and done it well.

Thankful to be part of the family of writers, Gloria

The Best of Times, or the Worst of Times?

Sometimes when we look back on the tough parts of life we can see the picture a lot more clearly than when we were in the middle of “stuff.” Knowing that God sees the big picture of our lives in minute detail from beginning to end is a tremendous comfort to us, especially as we realize He has had His hand on us the whole time. There are things we have to forget so we can move forward, but things we must remember, too.

As we write, one thing to remember is what we owe God, but also what we owe our readers. I know we’re all agreed we don’t ever want to slide into the slippery slope of slime just to make money. Can we reflect our Lord even if we aren’t writing about Him? Absolutely! Philippians 4:8 gives us a list of things to think about, including “pure” and “lovely.” When we write about pure and lovely things our readers will be thinking about them, too, instead of “gruesome” and “nasty.” A worthy calling, don’t you think?

Submitted by Shirley Shibley