Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Need inspiration? Find it this Saturday!

Kick off 2018 with a dose of writing inspiration at NJCWG's first meeting of the year.

January 6, 10:00-noon

Cornerstone Christian Church, Wyckoff,
in the Barn (red building on the right as you enter)

Saturday's Focus: The Joy in Writing

We will share our writing goals for 2018 and discuss the hindrances that hold us back, as well as the joy that propels us forward.

Published and novice writers are invited. Find encouragement for your writing endeavors.  

Image compliments of

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Writing Inspiration at Christmas

A blessed Christmas to all our readers! May God's written Word enrich your lives as writers who write for Him. We hope to see you in 2018. Our first meeting is January 6. You will find the Focus Point from our December meeting below. 
The Power of Words

Luke's account of the angels' appearance to the shepherds is familiar, but let's look at it from a writer's perspective. What was the point of the angels' visit? They came to pro-claim that the Messiah was born, but note the progression of their message (Luke 2:8-15):
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
Although the angels arrived on the hillside with an important announcement, they first gave the shepherds a moment to focus with their first words, "Do not be afraid.” They had the shepherds’ attention but needed to prepare them to listen. In fiction we may throw our readers right into the story, but nonfiction needs heart preparation.

The angels still didn’t make their announcement; they stated their purpose—"I bring you good news...” In our writing readers like to know where they’re headed, why they’re reading this piece. They need additional preparation.

Finally, the announcement was made,"A Savior has been born to you.” Once the shepherds were prepared, the angels told them the heart of the matter, followed by a simple explanation. As writers, when we introduce our theme it should be simple and straightforward.

The angels conclude with details, which are also a teaser. "You will find a baby…lying in a manger.” They don’t tell the shepherds what to do, but entice them to discover the truth for themselves. The result is action:
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." (v15)
Isn't that the goal of our writing? We offer our readers hope, encouragement, and information with the hope they will make it theirs and take action.

Take away: Just as God is gentle with us, be gentle with your readers. Patiently prepare a path of understanding that whets their appetite for more and, hopefully, inspires action.
Photo compliments of

Monday, December 04, 2017

Check it out!

To pre-order the 2018 Christian Writer Market Guide for $18 postage paid, click here. Deadline Dec. 20. 2017.

Tidbits from Saturday's meeting:

  • You may be surprised by this Grammar quiz  from
  • Here's the infographic of 25 Tips:

25 Tips to Tighten Your Copy:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Saturday Brunch Meeting

Saturday, December 2, 10a-12p

Expect to enjoy a delicious brunch that will include our usual writing fare:
  • A Focus Point
  • writing exercise 
  • Time for critiques
Regular members, if you did not yet RSVP, please email Susan at and tell her what you're bringing. Guests, you are welcome! We're eager to meet you. Last month's Focus Point is below.


Just Do It
During an advertising agency meeting in 1988, Nike coined the slogan JUST DO IT. According to Wikipedia, “one of the campaign's objectives was to target all Americans regardless of age, gender or physical fitness level which led to Nike becoming worn as a fashion statement, not just as fitness gear. (Nearly 80% of Nike’s running shoes are not worn for their intended purpose.) In other words, you don’t have to be a pro to play.
I suggest that the “It” we’re supposed to “just do” is whatever is in your heart to do. Don’t think about perfection or scoring or fans, just put on the sneakers and play. You don’t need to be on a court or a field, JUST DO IT.
In writing, we don’t need to be professional, perfect or popular; we just need to do it—we need to write. Sure, it’s more fun with the roar of a crowd, but we can’t let silence rob us of the joy of using our gift. We write for the pleasure of the Giver of that gift.
I told you about my disappointment when the editor who wanted to see “everything” I write told me he was now too busy to consider new authors. I thought my book was a shoo-in and now I felt like a failureuntil I realized I didn’t fail God. I did what He put on my heart to do, I wrote H-O-P-E for the Journey. I succeeded.
However, the silence that meets me at my keyboard these days is discouraging. The only way to continue writing is to JUST DO ITbecause it is mine to do. I write for the Creator, not the crowd.
I want to echo the words of the servant in Matthew 25:20, “Master, you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.” Our talents, financial and spiritual, will only increase with investment.
Take home thought: 2 Timothy 1:6-7, “Fan into flame the gift of God… For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” Write, and write some more.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Dec. 2nd meeting - Annual Christmas Brunch

Christmas Brunch
Sat. Dec. 2
10 am  - 12 noon

At our next NJCWG meeting, we will hold our annual brunch. 
As always, we look forward to breaking bread together 
as we continue along on our writing journeys. 

Please rsvp by Tues, Nov. 28.
To rsvp: click REPLY or email: 
And please indicate in your reply if you are bringing a brunch item. 
If you can indicate what item, so much the better! 
If you are new to the group or just not able to bring something, 
please come anyway! 

Looking forward to seeing you on the 2nd! 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Meeting this Saturday

November 4, 10 a.m. - noon

Cornerstone Christian Church, Wyckoff,
in the Barn (red building on the right as you enter)

 Saturday's Focus:

How to be a Writer

There is only one way to become a writer and we'll talk about it this Saturday. Whether you're a novice or already published, 
we welcome you to join the discussion.

Hope to see you there!

October's Focus Point

First of All, “Why?”
Let’s talk about why we write in general and then, in our workshop time, focus on the specific why of our current project. Understanding our why provides motivation for writing, but also gives us a connection with readers, agents and publishers.
Face Forward
Jesus said, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). He was talking about following Him as a disciple, but He was also stating a life principle. One cannot move forward when looking back. We move in the direction we face. Lack of focus slows us down and the “plow” we’re pushing will veer or stall.
I confess that I can be found looking up, down and all around during my writing time. There is no lack of distractions, even writing distractionsother topics I want to write about, research that becomes a rabbit trail, sources that I get lost in.
When the day is over, I find it easy to fudge my writing progress. What did you do today, Barbara?
I worked on my book.
What exactly did you work on?
Well, I tried to flesh out an outline, considered title options, thought about anecdotes.
In other words, I played all around it, but never zeroed in. I didn’t plow one straight row because I forgot why I was writing.
I need to remind myself why I'm writing, be honest with myself and stop looking around, set a clear goal for the day, get my thoughts on paper, and plow forwardwhich is today’s take-away. 
Take home thought: Remember why you're writing. Stop looking around. Set a clear goal. Get your thoughts on paper. Plow forward.  

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Meeting this Saturday

October 7, 10 a.m. - noon

 Cornerstone Christian Church, Wyckoff,
in the Barn (red building on the right when you enter)

 Saturday's Focus: Face Forward

Image courtesy of
Whether an experienced writer or a novice, you will find encouragement and camaraderie at our meetings. Visit and see if NJCWG is a fit for you. 

Members, come prepared to pitch your book, article or blog, prioritizing your why. See the Simon Sinek video and read September's Focus Point below. If you bring pages for critique, please review the guidelines on our website. 

Hope to see you Saturday,

September’s Focus Point

First of All, “Why?”

Why do we write? In general and, specifically, why this book, blog or article? Defining our why reveals our motivation but also becomes a connecting point with readers, agents and publishers.  
Jean Matthew Hall* tells the story of swinging in the back yard with her grandson. He wanted to go higher & higher—to touch the clouds. Of course, they didn’t touch the clouds, but in Jean’s words, “It sure was fun trying. It was exhilarating.”
She later realized that she does the same thing with writing—stretching herself, straining to become a better writer and to attain publication. Not satisfied with merely writing her thoughts in a private journal, her heart shouts, “Higher, God. I want to go higher—to touch the clouds with you, Lord!”
Then she wonders why—why does she want to touch the clouds? Why do we?
Jean asks, “Is it that seed of creativity God planted in my heart before I was born? Is it some innate unrest I have? Is it pride? Do I have a burning message to spread? Or, is it God’s Holy Spirit urging me upward?
“I suspect it is a mixture of all these things. But mostly, it’s because I want my life to have a wider circle of influence... I want to impact as many people as I can for Christ in my lifetime and beyond.
“Writing… is one way I can do that. It is one way I can reach for the clouds. And even if I don’t touch them it is fun trying. It is exhilarating to stretch myself and use the gifts that God has placed within me. It adds beauty and joy to my life and… that makes writing and rewriting worth the extra effort.”
In Job we read, “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life” and “…it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding” (33:4 and 32:8).
We write because God has breathed life and understanding into us. As Christian writers uniquely made and individually called, our personal why is the motivation for what we are writing. Our mouths speak and pens write out of the fullness of our hearts.
Take away thought: Remember your why. Let your Spirit-breathed calling, gifts and inspiration be the impetus for your writing.
Hear about identifying your why with Simon Sinek.