A to Z Devotions for Writers

A To Z Devotions For WritersToday I’m happy to welcome Pamela D. Williams author of A to Z Devotions for Writers. Her book is a must have for any writer. Not only is it full of inspiration, it’s full of great tips and writing exercises.

Pam August 2012

Pamela D. Williams, Author of A-Z Devotions for Writers

To start off, who is your favorite author and is your writing style similar to theirs?

My two favorite authors are Gladys Taber and Jan Karon. My writing style is similar to Taber’s and my life is similar to the one Karon writes about.

What’s your favorite part of a book?

The ending is always bittersweet for me—I love the resolution to conflict and the time to reflect but I miss the characters.

Who are your target readers?

For A to Z Devotions for Writers, my target audience is writers, of course. My other writing is mainly aimed at the average adult who is a Christian.

What are the major themes of your work?

God’s grace and His power to change us is the foremost theme of my work.

What is your writing process?

I usually jot down a few sentences that capture the gist of what I want to say. I pray about the direction to go with it. Then I flesh it out, followed by edit, edit, edit.

How do you get your ideas?

I really feel God plants them in my mind and heart and I just write them down.

How many hours do you write each day?

It varies. Some days I write nothing; other days I write for three or four hours straight. If I averaged it out, it would probably amount to about an hour a day, usually in the early morning.

Who inspired you?

One Christmas my mother gave me three books by Gladys Taber. I feel in love with her style, read ALL of her books, and decided I wanted to write like she did. However, I truly feel, writing is a call from God—He just happened to use Taber to get my attention.

Did you always want to write?

No, I always wanted to read; writing grew out of my love of reading.

How have your personal experiences affected your writing?

My personal experiences provide fodder for my writing.

Finally, do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Pray, edit ruthlessly, and research the markets very thoroughly before submitting.

Thanks again for dropping by! Here are the links to order this must have book!

Amazon

Barnes And Noble

Crosslink

8 More Writing-Themed Halloween Costumes

One of my most popular posts last year was 8 Writing-Themed Halloween Costumes. So after some brain-storming I’ve come up with 8 more for this Halloween.

If I was going to a Halloween party as a writer, Janet Evanovich would be my first choice. I love her Stephanie Plum novels and re-read all 18 over the summer. A cute, short red wig, a black motorcycle jacket and black Converse sneakers make an easy Janet ‘costume’.

Another option would be to dress as Stephanie Plum – the title character of her ‘Plum’ novels. To become Stephanie, I’d wear a brunette curly wig, a fitted t-shirt, jeans and Converse sneakers. I’d complete the costume with a black shoulder bag filled with the essentials – hairspray, mascara, pepper spray and a stun-gun (with a dead battery). For the guys, Evanovich offers plenty of great characters to choose from – Joe Morelli – laid back cop; Ranger – sexy swat guy; Mooner –  stoned hippy; and don’t forget Sally Sweet – no words except Janet’s do Sally Sweet’s description justice :)


Another writer I adore, isn’t really a writer at all, she only played one on TV – Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote. Going to a party as Jessica Fletcher requires a classic trench coat, a silk scarf and an all-purpose pocketbook.

For this next idea, I’d use a plain white sheet, but not to make a ghost costume; I’d use it to make a blank sheet of paper.

Or instead of going as a blank sheet of paper, I could write my favorite excerpt from my novel on the sheet and go as my own manuscript.

A square cardboard box worn around my chest is ‘writer’s block’ -insert groan here :)

The simplest costume I came up with this year is ‘blogger‘. I’d wear whatever I wanted and just add my laptop bag.

And my final costume idea comes with the following disclaimer – I’ve never read this book! – 50 Shades of Grey. My costume for this book involves three shades of grey eye shadow, three shades of grey nail polish, grey hair extensions, grey layered clothing and a grey scarf. I’m sure this doesn’t do justice to what the book is actually about, but it’s a symbolic costume and what’s more writerly than symbolism?

See*Photo*Write Challenge Response (Father’s Day Edition)

Daddy’s Girl

My daddy hung the moon, at least in my eyes. I love both my parents, but can’t deny a special fondness for my father.

Growing up, there was nothing my dad wouldn’t do for me or give to me, but it wasn’t until I was leaving for college that I remember him speaking the words, “I love you.” Oh, I knew without question my entire life that he loved me; he just wasn’t the type of guy to say it all the time. If I said those three little words to him, he grunted. To this day, he still grunts in response to words of affection, although he is more likely to return the sentiment in words now than when I was a child.

To avoid making my dad uncomfortable, I decided several years ago to share all my really mushy feelings and thoughts in an annual Father’s Day letter. It’s an almost perfect form of communication. Through my gift of writing, I get to tell my dad how much he means to me without worrying about his reaction.

Therein lies my one and only regret –that I never see or hear his reaction to what I’ve written.

So what are the questions I want to ask my father?

  • “How did my father’s day letters make you feel, Daddy?”
  • “Did they tell you how much I love you?”
  • “Did they touch your heart?”
  • Do you still have each letter?”

***

Are you ready for the challenge? Visit 1st Writes today!

Encouraging Words – Pass Them On

Greetings and salutations, my fellow Insecure Writers!

On May 19, 2012, I attended a memorable and inspiring writing workshop by award-winning author Joyce Magnin. For a detailed report on the workshop, check out my post – Of Mice And Christian Writers.

I whole-heartedly recommend attending writer’s workshops, presentations, or speaking engagements in your area. There’s nothing quite as inspiring as hearing a successful writer tell you your dreams are within reach. Joyce shared a great deal about her writing process and her path to publication, but more than anything, she encouraged every person in the room to embrace being a writer. From the very beginning, she bolstered our confidence-

  • You are an artist!
  • God made you an artist!
  • You craft with words!
  • You are special!

Hearing isn’t always believing especially when you say you are a writer and someone inevitably asks, “So have I read anything you’ve written?”

We’ve all heard this question in various forms at one time or another. It can be discouraging and frustrating. Joyce has heard it too. How does she respond to this inevitable question? “Have I seen any of the tax returns you’ve prepared?”

She admitted to picking on accountant that day, but her point remains – don’t let anyone make you doubt who you are and what you’ve been called to do. We are made in God’s image and God is the Creator. We have no reason to be ashamed, afraid or insecure.

If you know you are a writer in your heart, embrace it, celebrate it, thank God for it and above all – keep writing!

Embrace it!

See*Photo*Write Challenge Response

I’ve been neglecting my writing exercises lately. When our writer’s group (1st Writes) meets weekly, we do a timed writing exercise together. It’s so fun and a great way to keep the writing muscles working. When we don’t meet, I slack off and rarely do any exercises, even though we have a weekly photo prompt exercise on the 1st Writes blog. For some reason, I spend way too much time thinking about what to write, rather than just sitting down and writing. So this week, I was determined to sit down and write for 15 minutes on the See*Photo*Write prompt. I did not waste time over-thinking it. Here’s the photo and my response –

Tea Time

“You’re crazy, Edna,” Louise held her hands up in exasperation.

“Crazy? I am certainly not crazy!” Edna looked away from her best friend of 30 years. “I may be old. I may loose track of the days and I may forget where I put my teeth at night, but one thing I’m not is crazy!”

“Now, Edna,” Louise leaned forward to pick up her teacup.

“And furthermore, when you invite a friend over for tea, it’s the height of rudeness to insult their sanity,” Edna took a quick, angry sip of her lukewarm tea.

“Don’t get your dander up, Edna. I wasn’t insulting you. I’m simply pointing out that you’re crazy if you think your husband looked like Gibbs! Robert was short, round and bald. He looked more like a bowling ball and nothing like the handsome and debonair Mark Harmon.”

“Well, I never,” Edna pressed her lips firmly together, unwilling to admit that Louise’s description of her beloved Robert was spot on.

Of Mice And Christian Writers

Did you know that if you boil a mouse, its skin falls off and you can reconstruct the bones?

Award-winning author Joyce Magnin

No? Me neither. And like me, you probably could have gone your entire life without knowing that morbid piece of information, but I bet you never forget it – just like I won’t forget the very memorable and inspiring workshop on writing that award-winning author Joyce Magnin gave at a meeting of Lancaster Christian Writers this past Saturday (May 19, 2012).

The ‘mouse’ tidbit came up while discussing quirky and eccentric characters. The inspiration for Joyce’s off-beat characters stems from her own quirky personality and her mother, who was a special woman and who encouraged Joyce, even if that meant allowing her to experiment on a dead mouse. I don’t know about you, but if my mother had discovered I’d boiled a dead mouse in one of her pans on the stove, she would not have been calm, cool and collected about it! But Joyce’s mother was, and in the process, helped Joyce grow to be confident and true to herself.

Listening to Joyce was a real treat! I laughed a lot and learned a lot about what God has to do with our writing, which was the theme of her workshop.

Highlights of Joyce’s presentation:

  • The truth is we are children of God; we are beloved; we are sisters and brothers in Christ. We must embrace who we are in Christ first and foremost.
  • Once we accept that God loved us so much He sent His son to die for us, we should also accept that God loves us and has given us a gift – writing. He wants us to use that gift.
  • If God is in us, He’s in our writing. Don’t stress about conveying the message of salvation or teaching the gospels. God will lead the reader to the truth He wants them to find. To me, this was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders!
  • Writers have an incredible responsibility to share the truth. Joyce suggested that writers are like pastors in between Sundays. During the week, we turn to books, magazines, blogs, articles, devotionals, television and movies for education, encouragement and inspiration. Writers have many opportunities to minister with their words.
  • God gives us the ability to write, but it’s not enough to be born with it; we must practice and develop our writing skills. When success comes, and Joyce warns that success will come in God’s time and that we may have to wait, but when we succeed, we should remember not to turn our eyes from God, and instead remember to be humble and give God the glory.
  • Once we’ve accepted the truth and developed our talent, we must then fine-tune our technique. It’s okay to want positive feedback on our creations and it’s beneficial to our talent and technique to hear constructive criticism. We grow as writers by reading, writing and critiquing.
  • So, what does God have to do with writing? The answer, in a word, is…everything!

Final encouraging words from Joyce –

  • God created us for His story.
  • We are a part of His narrative.
  • We are all characters in His creation.

I highly recommend –

26.2 – The A-Z View

Last year, in my 2011 ‘Reflections’ post, 26.2 A Different View, I likened the A-Z Challenge to running a marathon. Continuing with that metaphor, I admit I had my doubts about my ability to finish the Challenge this year. I had really hoped to write my posts before the Challenge even started. When April 1st arrived, and I only had outlines, rough drafts, and notes for just some of the characters who would be ‘blogging’ @ Bible Bloggers, I thought I was doomed. I was sure I’d hit the wall and collapse before making it to the end.

I’m happy to admit I was wrong. Unlike last year, I trained for this year’s challenge. I read, researched and contemplated possible entries. I may not have written the full posts, but I was prepared to write them when the starting whistle blew. When training for a marathon, I don’t run the full 26.2 before race day; instead, I prepare by gradually building my mileage. Around letter ‘R’ I realized that was what I did for this year’s A-Z. And the training paid off. Every ‘blog’ was posted at exactly 8am every day of the Challenge. There were even some letters I wrote two entries for! And as the miles, um, letters passed, I managed to pick up my pace and get a few days ahead every once in a while.

Of course, like with running, I ran this race mostly on my own. Busy concentrating on my own pace, I only briefly looked around at those running beside and in front of me. Of the new blogs I did get a chance to visit during the Challenge, there are three stand-outs I want to encourage you to visit too:

Inspiration Art and Creativity ~ Amanda’s theme for the challenge was dementia. I found myself relating to her thoughts and feelings and connected with her pain. Despite the painful topic she explored during the Challenge, her blog is full of hope, encouragement and inspiration for the creative soul.

Overcoming Loneliness ~ Jody is an amazingly powerful writer! Her passionate words reached right into my heart and stirred the passion of my own faith.

Here to Find Him ~ Megan is writing her first Christian fiction novel and shares all the ups and downs of the process. As a Christian and a writer, I felt an instant connection with her.

Finally, to this year’s A-Z Team, I’d like to say, ‘Thank you!’

Tossing It Out (Arlee Bird)
Amlokiblogs (Damyanti Biswas)
Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex J. Cavanaugh)
Life is Good (Tina Downey)
Retro-Zombie (Jeremy Hawkins)
The Warrior Muse (Shannon Lawrence)
The QQQE (Matthew MacNish)
Author Elizabeth Mueller(Elizabeth Mueller)
Pearson Report (Jenny Pearson)
No Thought 2 Small (Konstanz Silverbow)
Breakthrough Blogs (Stephen Tremp)
Coming Down The Mountain(Karen Jones Gowen)