Saturday, November 30, 2013

December Meeting

Saturday, Dec. 7
10:00 - 12:00

High Mountain Church
681 High Mountain Rd., No. Haledon, NJ 07508
We will share a light Christmas brunch 

We have one week to complete our assignment: Write the all-important opening paragraph of a Christmas piece, fiction or non. Read up on Cecil Murphy's posts about Beginnings at, scrolling back to October 15 for his first post. Be prepared to share your paragraph with the group.

November's Focus was Choose your Verb

During the meeting Susan encouraged us to use strong, descriptive verbs. Prior to that, our devotional challenged us to create writing habits that can be described with active, not passive verbs.
It is easy for us to substitute action with intention. Good intentions, careful lists and stated goals can make us feel as if we're actually doing something when, in reality, little is being accomplished.
James knew how readily we fall into this deception about our Christian life. He wrote, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" (James 1:22). He knew that mental exercise is not enough in our Christian walk, physical effort is also required.
The same applies to our writing. Are we active or passive in our writing?
If you are active, what verb describes your writing activity since we last met? Did you type or edit? Stumble or soar? Research or outline? Submit or query? Limp or progress?
Whatever your writing verb is, let it be a powerful action verb.
Take-home thought: Don’t merely entertain good ideas or inspired thoughts. Act. Write. Research. Edit. Submit.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

December meeting preview

For any who missed the November meeting, here's heads-up for our December meeting: 

Barbara's assignment to us for next meeting (12/7/13) is to write the beginning paragraph of a Christmas story. 
We will have a casual brunch at the meeting and share our "beginnings". 

She mentioned Cecil Murphy's blog for writers as a highly recommended resource that we should all subscribe to. He's running a 9 part series on Questions About Beginnings. Here's the link to the blog: back to Tues 10/15 for the first post on BEGINNINGS


Happy writing! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Strong, Stronger, Strongest

November Meeting
Saturday, Nov. 2
10:00 - 12:00

High Mountain Church
681 High Mountain Rd., No. Haledon, NJ 07508

Strong, Stronger, Strongest

Strong words, verbs in particular, pump your writing and propel the reader along. 

Come to the meeting prepared to get "pumped up!" 

We'll be exercising, but with paper and pen! 

For those interested in the critique group, 
please look for a separate email coming soon. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Thoughts from October's meeting

The Well is Deeper than You Think

Are you dismissing writing options because you come up empty? 
Do you feel limited in the scope of your writing?
Are there topics that interest you but you dare not tackle them?
Most people have greater capacity than they realize. Often this is evidenced when they are challenged and, amazingly, rise to the occasion in a better way than they thought possible.
I believe that as writers we have a greater writing capacity that we can tap into if we rise to the challenge.
Writing is a God-given talent, but we need something more from God than talent. We need writing wisdom.

  • At what point in the story do I begin the telling? 
  • What slant should I give this article?
  • Is this the most powerful way I can word this sentence? 
  • Is this a significant point or am I only including it because I like it?

And then there are the publishing questions:

  • Which market is best to pursue?

  • Will I retain my rights? Does it matter?

  • E-publishing or paper? Do I self-publish or submit my piece… again?

Wisdom. You can probably anticipate the verse I’m going to refer to. James 1:5 assures us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God…” The Message Bible makes the point abundantly clear: “If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help...”
We know we can ask - we just read God’s invitation. But I know that often I walk away with a small portion of wisdom, content with just enough to get by. In life, but to our topic today, specifically in our writing, we need to learn to wait for God’s wisdom, His abundantly deep, rich wisdom (Romans 11:33). From the first keystroke of our manuscript, until we hit send, let’s ask, expect, and wait for greater wisdom from God in our writing.
Take-home thought: The well is deeper than you think - the well of our creativity and the well of God’s wisdom.
Next meeting: November 2.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Well is Deeper than You Think

October meeting
Saturday, 10/5, 10:00-noon
High Mountain Church
681 High Mountain Road, North Haledon, NJ 07508
The Well is Deeper than You Think 

Are you dismissing writing options because you come up dry? 
Do you feel limited in the scope of your writing?
Are there topics that interest you but you dare not tackle them?
The well is deeper than you think. Be prepared for a writing exercise that will 
s-t-r-e-t-c-h you. Bring paper & pen, laptop or notebook and let your creativity flow.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Step by Step - the September meeting's Focus Point

There is a simple word that is critical to accomplishing our writing goals. That word is the verb step. 

There are many words to describe our steps. They can be sauntering or hurried; aimless or direct; baby steps or giant steps. Sometimes we step alone, other times with company. At times our steps are fruitless; thankfully, many times they are fruitful.
All steps have these three things in common:

  • They move us from one location to another, from here to there. When we step, we move.
  • Secondly, steps are subject to our decision. The choice to step or be idle is ours. The direction in which we move is also our choice. Will we take a familiar route or step into an adventure? Will we step forward or will we step back?
  • Thirdly, a very basic truth is that every journey begins with a single step. That’s why, when we talk about goals, it's important to define our next step. Even Isaiah’s promise that we will soar like eagles and run w/o weariness, speaks of walking & not fainting (Isa 40:31).

Today’s focus is so basic, I could well have spoken about breathing - we don’t think about taking a breath much more than we think about taking a step. But if we do not take intentional steps, we will not progress in our writing journey. Physical exercise, spiritual growth, intellectual learning... all require a first step - as does our writing.

Take-home thought: My journey is defined by many steps. What is my next step?

A writer's prayer: "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth" (Ps 86:11)... step by step.

Next meeting: October 5, 2013

Friday, September 06, 2013

Summer Success, Fall Focus

September meeting

Saturday, 9/14, 10:00-noon
High Mountain Church
681 High Mountain Road, North Haledon, NJ 07508

Summer Success, Fall Focus
We left our June meeting armed with goals for the summer. Come prepared to share your successes as well as a fresh focus for the fall.

Our meeting topic is Write Tight. Bring materials for writing exercises & note-taking.