Saturday, January 25, 2020

Meeting next Saturday


When is Writing Tight, too Tight?

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

February 1, 10 AM - noon

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

We've had "write tight" hammered into our brains since we penned our first essay, 
but is it possible to write too tight? Come and share your thoughts.

Guests are welcome, whether you're a novice or a seasoned writer.
Critiquing is available for members - please adhere to the guidelines on our website.

Hope to see you Saturday,
January's Focus Point:
Writing Angst
I read a familiar psalm this week—Psalm 37. I listed the phrases that touched my heart and loved the way they simplified my life and instilled peace. That's when I realized I need to apply them to my writing to combat my writing angst.
Do you also have writing angst? Do you wonder what to do next or who to approach? Does lack of time or focus stress you? Do you tense when you edit or search for markets? Do you doubt your ability or insights? At one time or another, I answer yes to all of the above. And then I hear God’s whisper, “Trust me.”
These are the phrases I culled from Psalm 37 that can be applied to our writing journey:
·       Do not fret – Don’t accept angst as a normal part of your life.
·       Trust in the Lord – Does He have a purpose for your writing?
·       Do good – Focus on doing the next good thing.
·       Dwell in the land – Live in the present place God has you.
·       Enjoy safe pasture – He has provided for you.
·       Delight yourself in the Lord – Simply enjoy Him.
·       Commit your way to the Lord – Give it to God—your article, your book, your outline…
·       Again, trust in Him – Can we say this too often?
·       Be still – Rest, quiet your heart.
·       Wait patiently – But wait with expectation!
·       And again, do not fret – Back to where we started
As much as I push us to actively work on our writing, I also regularly remind us that our writing is God’s idea, His gift, and we must let Him have His way. The goals we will share today are good ideas. We need to ascertain if they are God’s ideas and His timing. Then we can move forward with trust and not fret.
Take-home thought: Ephesians 2:10 “…we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Trust Him.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Meeting this Saturday


January 4, 10 am - noon

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

What are your writing goals for 2020? 
Please see the Focus Point below for inspiration. 
By sharing our goals at Saturday's meeting we will give & receive inspiration.
Be ready to also share writing practices, tips & disciplines that work for you, 
whether you're a novice or a seasoned writer.

Hope to see you this Saturday,

December's Focus Point
Let’s Talk about… Opening the Gift
This is the ultimate season of gifts—shopping and wrapping, giving and receiving, enjoying or returning. The Bible talks about gifts God has personally and specifically selected for us. Romans 12:6 says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” One of those gifts is what brings us together the first Saturday of the month—the shared gift of writing.
This spiritual gift is different from a Christmas gift—we didn’t shop for it, didn’t wrap it, and we can’t  return it. We received the gift of writing, nicely wrapped, topped with a colorful bow, which represents of a burst of inspiration.
Once we remove the bow (or, move beyond the thrilling inspiration), we find the unwrapping to be a painstaking process. Generally, we don’t get to tear open the wrapping paper and hastily pull out the gift. More often the unwrapping is a slow process—we rescue the bow, loosen the tape, fold the paper, and tentatively lift the lid.
Unwrapping is what our monthly meetings are all about—remembering that bright bow of inspiration, loosening the tape that holds us back, and removing the wrapping to discover the wonderful product inside.
Monthly, we encourage each other to have patience in the process, to be deliberate in our unwrapping, and to not lose sight of the valued gift inside. This is not a gift to be put on the shelf because it holds the promise of blessing others.
Take-home thought: Let 2020 be a year of unwrapping your gift and using it to bless others.  

Monday, December 02, 2019

Meeting (and eating) this Saturday

Let's talk about Creativity

December 7, 10 am - noon

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

This Saturday we'll meet - and eat - as we discuss and practice our creative writing gifts.

Please bring a simple snack to share, such as veggies or fruit, 
crackers & cheese, chip & dip, or Christmas sweets.
Coffee & tea will be available.

Also bring your tablet or paper & pen for a creative writing exercise.

Guests & first-timers, you are welcome!


November's Focus Point

Let’s Talk about Courage
Making time to write, brainstorming a book or article, and sitting at a keyboard to actually type, takes discipline—but not courage. We’re in our happy place. We’re alone, comfortably dressed, in a friendly environment, playing with words, cobbling together captivating sentences. What follows is when we need courage.
Pitching, submitting, publishing, and, above all, marketing call for courage. Merriam-Webster defines courage in this way: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.
Danger, fear, and difficulty sum up the challenges of today’s topic: Marketing.
In Acts 20:24, Luke wrote, “…my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Whether our work is subtly or overtly Christian, as God’s children our writing testifies to God’s grace and our call is to complete the task given us. Seeing it through to completion takes courage.
In our discussion today, we will heed the words of Hebrews 10:24 and “Consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” toward completing the task God’s given us in the area of marketing.
Take-home thought: God will give us the courage to market our writing for the benefit of our readers and His glory.  

Monday, October 28, 2019

Meeting this Saturday

Let's talk about Marketing

SATURDAY, november 2, 10 AM - NOON

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

If there's one topic that generally unsettles writers, it's marketing. But, like we tell children: no vegetables, no dessert. Let's face that helping of vegetables together this Saturday and see if we can make marketing a little more palatable. Pasquale Russo will join me and share from his writing background.

Members, please bring work for critique, as per the guidelines on our website.

Looking forward to seeing you there,

October's Focus Point

Choose your Verb

Verb: a word used to show action

Writers know the difference between active and passive verbs. We choose active verbs in our writing because they’re strong, whereas passive verbs are weak. Though our readers may not realize it, their pleasure in our writing is increased by our careful choice of active verbs.
We have the same choices in the act of writing – are we active or passive?
  • I’m thinking about an idea for a novel -or- I’m making notes/writing an outline for a novel.
  • I have so much to learn about my topic -or- I’m researching my topic, one aspect at a time.
  • Someday I’m going to write a devotional book on this theme -or- I’m writing rough drafts of devotionals that will become my first devotional book.
  • Since blogging is a first step for an author, I set one up and, when I’m ready, I’ll start posting -or- I’m writing three posts to publish on my blog.
  • I’m considering a book about _______ -or- Every week I write a few pages in my book.

Good intentions, careful lists, and distinct goals make me feel I’m doing something, but in reality, little is being accomplished. James understood the discrepancy between active and passive living. In James 1:22 he wrote, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” He knew that mental exercise was not enough, physical effort is also required in our Christian walk.
Let’s choose action rather than passivity in our writing as well as in our living. This does not disparage allowing our work to simmer, or waiting for the proper timing, or recognizing seasons of life. But, if God has put something in our hearts, it’s not enough to think about it—we need to be proactive. Every baby step is a step forward.
What verb describes your writing activity? I hope it’s one of these: researching, outlining, querying, rough drafting, editing, submitting, SMART goal setting, marketing, etc. Wherever your writing is, let it be described with an action verb.
Take-home thought: No one will benefit from the inspired thoughts in your mind. Take steps to get them out there. Write.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Meeting next Saturday

our next meeting:

SATURDAY, october 5, 10 AM - NOON

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

Don't walk your writing journey alone. Join us for encouragement, tips, and conversation, wherever you are on the writing road.

Members, please bring work for critique, as per the guidelines on our website.

Hope to see you Saturday,

September's Focus Point
Putting forth Effort 
In his second letter, the first chapter, Peter tells us that we can share Jesus’ divine nature. This nature is a gift that increases by knowing Him. He is the Giver; we are His cooperative followers. Peter clarifies our part: we are to make every effort to add godly virtues to our lives. Paraphrasing verses 5-7, He wrote
Because His divine nature is available to you… make every effort to add to your faith goodness… knowledge… self-control… perseverance… godliness… brotherly kindness… love.
Let’s look at what these seven qualities mean as Christian writers and how we reflect them in our writing. Goodness and godliness are obvious—as God-followers, we don’t glorify cruelty and evil, but promote righteousness in our writing. We commend kindness and love—we don’t write from vindictiveness or a mean spirit. The three remaining qualities, however, require us to “make every effort” as we include them in our writing.
  • Knowledge – We research and read up on our topics, facts, and references. We discuss ideas and interview others. We cannot write recklessly or off the cuff—we are called to excellence.
  • Self-control – We each know we need discipline to actually get our ideas on paper. This is why we share our goals and progress at our meetings. It is why we encourage each other to stay focused and remember our purpose.
  • Perseverance – We keep on when writing is difficult, whether from complications in our personal lives, discouragement in our writing, lack of clarity, writer’s block, rejection letters…

Peter assures us in verse 8 that if we possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in our “knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We don’t want to be ineffective or unproductive in our faith, nor do we want to be ineffective or unproductive in our writing.
Takeaway: God has saved us, given us His divine nature, and gifted us to write. Let’s “make every effort” to be effective and productive as we grow in knowledge, self-control, and perseverance.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Next meeting: September 7

Hope to see you Saturday, September 7, 10 am - noon

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

Don't walk your writing journey alone. Join us for encouragement, tips, and conversation, wherever you are on the writing road.
  • Be prepared to share your current status, writing goals, and effective habits that keep you at the keyboard. 
  • Members, please bring work for critique, as per the guidelines on our website.
Looking forward to Saturday,
Image by hojun Kang from Pixabay 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Meeting this Saturday

august 3, 10 AM - NOON

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

  • Join us for an informal summer chat session.
  • Bring your writing questions, interests, discoveries, and projects and join the conversation.
  • Members are encouraged to bring work for critique.
Hope to see you there,