Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Meeting this Saturday

May 4, 10 am - noon

Cornerstone Christian Church, Wyckoff
In the Barn (2nd building on the right)

Join us on Saturday for 

An Open Conversation about Marketing

Image by narciso1 from Pixabay 
Bring your opinions, research, tips & experience with FB, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, surveys, video, guest blogging, and audio presentations.
Be prepared to add to the discussion and build your platform.

All are welcome - visit to see if NJCWG is a fit for you. 
Last month's Focus Point is below.

Take Advantage of Counsel
Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

I admire confident people who have a humble spirit. Humility is the difference between being confident and being cocky. Hopefully, one’s confidence stems from careful thought, thorough research, and wise input, which is the kind of confidence I want each of us to have as writers.

We give careful thought to our words. We research endless resources and comb through the truths of the Bible. We seek wise input through trusted advisers (such as in this group) and submit our work for critique.

We are well aware that the labor we exert in writing is not for ourselves but for our readers. We are not journaling—we’re writing to be read by others. This is why today’s topic is of value—it will teach us how to understand the needs of our readers. Their opinions will not to compromise our convictions, but hone the effectiveness of our presentation.

Proverbs 11:14 compliments the verse we just read—"For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.” Our victory in writing is not measured by words on the page or hours at our computers. We are successful when others are encouraged, directed, informed—when we enable them to become more by reading our words.

We write for an audience of One… and also for those He draws to our writing.

Takeaway: Improving our listening skills will improve our writing skills.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Next Meeting: April 6

Let's try this again...

The Value of Surveys & How to Conduct Them
Presented by Shirley Blankson

How can a survey tune us in to our readers? 
How can we learn from the opinions of others? 
How can this positively affect our writing and our audience?

All writers are invited, regardless of writing experience. 

April 6, 10 am - noon
Cornerstone Christian Church, Wyckoff
In the Barn (2nd building on the right)

Our last meeting was canceled due to snow, but we don't expect a repeat performance! Please join us this Saturday,

Friday, March 01, 2019

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Meeting this Saturday

March 2, 10 am-noon

Cornerstone Christian Church, Wyckoff

In the Barn (2nd building on the right)

The Value of Surveys & How to Conduct Them
Presented by Shirley Blankson

How can a survey tune us in to our readers? 
How can we learn from the opinions of others? 
How can this positively affect our writing?

All writers are invited, regardless of writing experience. 

Join us this Saturday.

February's Focus Point

Identifying Your Theme
I love themes. When my children were young they chose a theme for their birthday parties and I'd run with it—Holly Hobby, Big Bird, baseball… When I participate in planning a church event, I’m all about the theme. I blog best when I’m working with a theme.

Years ago I had a pastor whose preaching theme was grace—every sermon boiled down to grace. Coming from a reformed background, that was great! Currently, our pastor is preaching from Galatians and the recurring theme throughout the book is found in a Tim Keller quote, “You are more sinful…than you ever dared believe, but more…loved than you ever dared hope.” 

David, it is commonly believed, authored Psalm 119, the longest psalm in the Bible. It is written as an acrostic poem using the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, with each stanza containing eight lines, and there’s a theme—all 176 verses extol the merits of the Word. 

Verse 54 inspired today’s focus point, “Your statutes are [Word is] the theme of my song during my earthly life.” (HCSB) His life theme was the Word of God—its preciousness, its power, its beauty, its comfort, its reassurance, its truth. 

What is the theme of your song "during your earthly life"?

At one of our meetings in 2018 we considered if our writing had a recurring theme and many discovered it did. Identifying that theme proved enlightening and sharpened our focus. Today I pose two questions I think are worth pondering:
  • If your life was a story, what would be its unifying theme? 
  • The piece you’re writing is a story, what is its unifying theme? 
Takeaway: Discover your theme, embrace it, and run with it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Meeting this Saturday

February 2, 10-noon

Cornerstone Christian Church, Wyckoff

All writers are invited, regardless of writing experience.

  • Prepare to share: What are your writing goals for the next six months?  They don't have to be lofty but they do need to be distinct - goals you've weighed and prayed over. 
  • Also, bring questions & comments from our last session about creating video presentations. If time allows, we will discuss any writing related questions.
  • Members (those who have attended more than one meeting) are invited to bring work for critique. Please adhere to the guidelines on our web page.
Hope to see you Saturday,

January's Focus Point

Memories, Goals & Vision
My first blog post of the year addressed making memories. I wrote that even though we chose to make good memories (of course), bad memories will also be made. The bad memories come uninvited, but the good memories come from intentional effort. I want to apply this to our 2019 writing goals since we will share them in February.
When we mesh memories and goals, my default memories are of failed goals—everything I didn’t accomplish. My memory doesn’t readily recall the vision and good intentions that inspired the setting of those goals. Rather than considering an unmet goal as failure, let’s regard it as a pause.
We mustn't allow the discouragement of unmet goals to hinder us from setting new ones or from pulling out last year's unmet goals and refreshing them. Maybe our timing was off. Maybe our circumstances were prohibitive. Perhaps our goal needs tweaking or prioritizing. Or maybe (grimace) we need to let go of a goal and move on. Could an old ambition be standing in the way of fresh vision?
It’s a new year. There is no scarcity of vision—there is always more to discover from the God who is infinite in creativity and wonder, and eager to share with us. What will He show us this year? A new process, genre, format, opportunity? We may step into an area that’s new to us, or dabble in writing something we’ve not tried before, or research an unfamiliar topic or genre—perhaps today’s presentation on Creating & Posting Video will become a 2019 goal.
Next month we’ll share our writing goals for the first half of 2019. Let’s talk to God about them with an open heart and ask what aspirations He has for us. We know from the book of John that the Holy Spirit is our Counselor—He will teach us, direct us, supply us—and surprise us.
Takeaway: My 2019 goal is not to make good memories, but God memories. I will seek His wisdom, inspiration, and direction.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Don't miss Saturday's meeting!

Creating & Posting Video

presented by Phil Brainerd

All are invited to learn about the popular blogging option: vlogging. 
Come and be inspired!

Saturday, January 5, 10 a.m. - noon
Cornerstone Christian Church, Wyckoff
Meeting in the Barn (2nd building on the right)

Seasoned writers and novices, bloggers and blogger wannabes, we welcome you. 
I hope to see you Saturday,

Thursday, December 06, 2018

December's Focus Point

Since there are Christmas references in December's Focus Point, I'm posting it now. Our plans for the first three months of the new year are listed below.
No Excuses
My blog this week was about Joseph and Mary’s trek to Bethlehem and the disagreeable conditions they met when they arrived. I pointed out that God was in it all—the donkey ride, their sub-par housing, the timing. Not only was He in it, He had orchestrated it.
The struggle I had in writing the post and the topic itself, helped me realize how particular I can be about having the right circumstances. Many pressures and concerns were pressing in on me. My addled brain wasn’t cooperating and I craved a quiet space to write, with no interrupting calls, demanding emails, or weighty obligations. Instead, I was given a stable—and God was there.
In spite of everything screaming for my attention, I put my fingers to the keyboard and found that, even in my relatively mundane writing task, God’s grace was sufficient. I wrote the blog, engaged in the conference call, responded to the complicated email, and prepared for today’s meeting. I was amazed that although my thoughts were still scattered amid the demands, I satisfactorily completed what I needed to do.
When our hearts yield to God’s nudge to extend ourselves, 1 Cor. 9:8 says He “is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
Takeaway: When we press on in spite of our limitations and insufficiency, we experience the sweetness of God’s presence and all sufficiency.

2019 meetings:
  • January 5 – Creating & Posting YouTube Videos – Phil Brainerd
  • February 2 – The Value of Surveys & How to Conduct Them – Shirley 
  • March 2 – Social Media – Elyse & Nyah