Tuesday, November 18, 2014

December Meeting ~ Christmas Brunch

Sat., December 6th

Please join us for our annual Christmas Brunch.

In the High Mountain Church cafe:
681 High Mountain Rd.
No. Haledon, NJ 

At our last meeting and through email, a few people stated what they are bringing (listed below). Please rsvp if you can come and what you are bringing.  
RSVP to this email or njcwgroup@gmail.com.   
  • Elaine: quiche
  • Maude: salmon spread  
  • Barbara H: paper goods
  • Susan P: winter salad
  • Chris S: chocolate meltaway cake
  • Sr. Jane: fruit salad

Our focus will be Fun with Words. Using Christmas objects, we'll practice the use of literary devices such as simile/metaphor, personification and alliteration.  

​Hope to see you all there!! 

ps - Leslie, John, Karen, Barbara R: we'll miss you! Wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Search is On

Thoughts to ponder
from our November meeting

 The Search is On
Do you ever fixate on a word? You’re writers - I know you do this. I was thinking about the word search, realizing how active it is. You can’t be a passive searcher. Then I thought about the fact that God likes us to search. He commends a searching heart and promises in Jeremiah 29:13 that if we search for Him, we will find God when we seek Him with all our heart.
The Bible also tells us to search for wisdom, search for the lost, search our hearts, and search the Word. It says a searching heart will not be disappointed, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matt 7:7).
As a writer, my least favorite aspect of writing is the search
·                     Searching for the right words
·                     Searching for answers - research
·                     Searching for publishers
·                     Searching for platforms, illustrations, anecdotes, pictures for blogs, opportunities…
It can be tedious and, for me, at least, it’s the number one cause for procrastination.
But think about it - without the search, there’s no joy of discovery. There's no aha moment. Be encouraged. Searching, researching is part of the writing package.
Take Away Thought: Searching is part of the journey and, without it, there’s no joy of discovery.
Do you play with words? How about letters? I recently had fun with the letter P. I invite you to take the P challenge on my blog, barbarahigbyhope.com

Our next meeting will be a Christmas Brunch on December 6th. Details will follow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Our November meeting is Saturday, 11/1

God graces His people with gifts. Ephesians 4:11 mentions five of God's many gifts: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Do you notice what they have in common? Each one is a gift of words. Whether or not we have one of those specific gifts, we have been graced with a love for and talent with words. It's what unites us at this meeting (or at this website).

We will meet from 10 am to noon at High Mountain Church of the Nazarene.
See website sidebar for location & general information.

  • Elaine O'Neill will share tips from the writing conference she attended.
  • Come prepared with paper & pen, laptop or tablet for a writing exercise.
  • We may forego critiques, but if you have something you're ready to submit to a publisher and need feedback, please bring it. 

                                                      Thoughts to Ponder 
                                                     from October's meeting

Later in the chaper we learn why these word gifts were given: “to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Wrapped Gifts
Wrapped Gifts by Marina Shemesh     

They are given to be shared and to bear fruit:
·         To prepare God’s people to serve
·         To bring unity
·         To increase the knowledge of Jesus
·         To become mature believers
In verse 29 we read that our words should build others up and benefit them. Like any gift, words come with responsibility and with a high calling.

Take Home Thought: Our words are more than print on paper. They have power and purpose to bring encouaragement, unity, maturity and knowledge of Christ as they prepare readers to serve. 
Barbara Higby

Monday, September 29, 2014

Next Meeting - Sat. Oct. 4 - "Lessons Learned"

NJCWG meeting
Saturday - October 4
10:00 am - 12:00 noon
High Mountain Church, 681 High Mountain Rd., No. Haledon

Susan Panzica will share some lessons learned from attending a writers' conference, addressing both the craft and the business of writing.

Then we will break into small critique groups. Please bring 4 copies of your work to share with your group: no more than two pages, double spaced. Please note critique guidelines in blog's sidebar .

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September's Thoughts to Ponder

Just start… or restart

Ideas swarm a writer’s mind, buzzing at inopportune times, like when we’re at our day job or trying to sleep at night. Thoughts are plentiful; the challenge lies in pinning them down. We need to sit at the keyboard and just start. In my case, an even greater challenge is to restart. To take that piece I thought I honed to perfection and rewrite it. One of the most dreaded words a writer hears has to be rewrite.

My summer goal was to sew up three projects I had finished - research publishers, write proposals, submit them, and be done with them. I was eager to do this and set fresh goals for the fall so, in June, I tackled the book I most want to publish. I suspected that I repeatedly used a weak phrase, so I purposed to speed read through the manuscript and edit that phrase. My quick scan was a disaster. Reading the manuscript with fresh eyes, I realized the writing was terse and disjointed. With growing alarm I realized I needed to rewrite it. The idea of rewriting what I thought was a finished project, overwhelmed me. I prayed my despair and, that night, lying sleeplessly in bed, a fresh approach took shape.

It’s September and today we will share the fall goals we want to start. Mine is not what I imagined or hoped because my goal is to restart. I will rewrite the book I thought was finished. I will pick through the rubble and rebuild my manuscript.

Facing this task, I considered the Israelites’ dilemma when they faced a destroyed temple and the overwhelming task to rebuild it. In the book of Haggai they were asked, “Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?” (2:3). That’s how I felt about my manuscript. Any former glory I thought it possessed now seemed like nothing.

Three times Haggai told the people to be strong. Chapter two, verse four reads, “’Be strong, all you people of the land,' declares the Lord, 'and work. For I am with you,' declares the Lord Almighty.” That’s what I needed, a cheerleader telling me to be strong and work, assuring me that God is with me.

Then the Lord said, “The silver is mine and the gold is mine” and promised, “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house” (2:8-9). I acknowledged that my ability is His, my gifts are His, my time is His, my life is His. Something better can come out of something that was good because of God’s supply and direction.

Take Home Thought: As we begin our fall goals, whether they include starting or restarting, let’s be strong, and work, for God is with us and equips us - for His glory.

Our next meeting is October 4, 10 am -12 noon. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

September meeting

Saturday, September 6, 10 am - noon

Seasoned writer? Beginning writer? Wannabe writer? All are welcome.

High Mountain Church
681 High Mountain Rd., No. Haledon, NJ
10:00 am - 12:00 noon

Our Fall Start-up Meeting

Come prepared to share your progress over the summer as well as new goals for the fall.

Leave ready to start - or restart - a writing project.

Start - to do the first part of something; to begin doing something
Restart - to make something start again after it has stopped

We are ready to encourage you, wherever you are in your writing journey.

In the second half of our meeting, we will break into small critique groups. If you bring work for critique, please remember these guidelines:
  • two pages, double-spaced, with your name on each page
  • it should be work you have already edited
  • if you have one, share the name of a prospective publisher, periodical or contest 
  • please note that we no longer email our work ahead, but bring it to the meeting
I'm looking forward to getting together with you on the sixth.

Write for Him,

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

July is here!

Summer is well under way. I hope you're making time to stretch and write. The following was NJCWG's June meeting focus. If you didn't make the meeting, I pass these words on to encourage your writing gift. If you did make the meeting, I pass these words on to encourage your writing gift again. 

Thoughts to ponder

Focus: Making an Investment
Many of us are familiar with the parable Jesus told in Matthew 25 (v.14-30). A man was going on a journey and entrusted his estate to three of his servants. One was given five talents to care for, another two talents, and another, one talent. Each of the first two servants “put his money to work” and it multiplied. The third servant wanted to keep the money safe, so he hid it.
When the master returned he was pleased with the first two servants and said, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things…”
The third servant said to his master, “I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.” The master was displeased and called him wicked and lazy.
What do you think the master expected of the servants? I don’t believe he praised the first two b/c they made money for him - he commended them for being faithful. They saw their entrustment as precious and made an attempt to grow it. What if their investment didn't double? Would the master have praise them? I believe he would have. The servants had no insurances that the money would double, but they did their best.
The third servant was called wicked and lazy - how harsh! Just what did he did wrong? In his own words, he let fear dictate his actions. He didn't respect the money he was given as an entrustment. He didn't make an effort to research possibilities but took the easiest way out and buried it.
As a writer this parable encourages me in two ways. First, I will not allow fear to hold me back - burying my talents is not an option. Secondly, although I can’t ensure results, I will be faithful and take action - investment is my only option.

Take home thought: Am I investing the talents entrusted to me?
May your summer investments reap a great reward! 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

June Meeting Date Change

NJCWG's next meeting is June 14

We will meet upstairs in the conference room at 10am

Please bring two pages for critique & clear, measurable summer goals

This will be our last meeting until September

Remember that May 31 is the early registration deadline for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference - there is a slight increase in cost after that. Check it out - philadelphia.writehisanswer.com


Thoughts to Ponder, from our May meeting 

Telling Secrets

Solomon said, “Of making many books there is no end…” (Eccl. 12:12)
A quick search showed me that in the US in 2011 (the latest year listed), 292,014 new books were published. That same year the United Kingdom published 149,800 titles. In 2012, China published 241,986 books. The total of those three nations is 683,800. This says nothing of periodicals and e-zine publications or blogs.
Between Solomon's observation and the staggering number of titles being published, the amount of work writing involves, and publishers’ demands for an impressive platform, why bother? Why not spend our time reading books instead of laboring to add to their number? Why should we write?

I offer three compelling reasons from I Corinthians: 
1.  Chapter 2:16 tells us, "...we have the mind of Christ." 
2.  Then, in 3:17, we read that we are God's sacred temple and the Holy Spirit lives in us. 
3.  Following that, in 4:1, we're told that we have been entrusted with the secret things of God.

What compels us to write is not our talent or creativity, not to gain fame or royalties, not to fill our time or spout our opinions, but to share what has been given us - a perspective and a story from God Himself.
We have Christ’s mind; the Holy Spirit resides in our temple; we have been entrusted with the secret things of God. More specifically, the passage says, “men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.” The world may not know it, but they’re looking to us for answers. We have a unique voice. We must write!
Take Home Thought: 
“Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him….” (Matt 12:34-35) 
Write good things from the fullness of your heart! 

Be a blessing,

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

May Meeting - Social Media, Who Needs It?

Social media. Who needs it?
If you’re a writer, you do!

Come to the May 3rd meeting and find out the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of social media as it relates to writers. 

Presenters Susan Panzica, Elise Daly Parker, and Tanya Dennis will answer your social media questions afterward, so please email your social media questions to NJCWGroup@gmail.com.

NJCWG meeting:
Sat. May 3
10:00 - 12:00
High Mountain Church
681 High Mountain Rd., No. Haledon, NJ

And speaking of social media, don't forget to "LIKE" our facebook page:

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

April's Focus: Courage

Last month we talked about the joy of discovering nuggets of revelation from God and the responsibility of responding when He nudges us to act. Our Take Away Thought, in part, said that we need to pray for courage to respond and follow through. This month I’d like to pursue the topic of courage a little further.
Recently I combed the Writer’s Guide in search of a market for my children’s book. I used all the discernment I could summon to read between the lines and make viable choices. Even though I eliminated many, I was left with fifteen options. Where do I start? If only a few publishers were possibilities, it would be easy, but fifteen intimidated me. I was discouraged in a situation that calls for courage. I need courage to make a choice that could prove to be a poor choice, to follow a path that may dead end, to be prepared for a dozen plus rejection letters. Mostly, I need the courage to fail. That courage does not come from within me.
If I look at myself - my time, my effort, my need for affirmation, my possible rejection - I won’t find courage. But if I look to the One who knows when I sit and when I rise, who perceives my thoughts, who knows my going out and my lying down, who is familiar with all my ways (Psalm 139), I do receive courage because nothing is unseen by God and nothing is wasted with God.
In Ephesians we read that He works out everything to conform with His purpose and His will (1:11).
In Proverbs we read that our steps are directed by the Lord (20:24).
And from Romans we know that God works out all things for our good (8:28).
So let’s not hold back! Let’s go for it and trust Proverbs 16:9, that in our hearts we plan our course, but the Lord determines our steps. It may be failure that leads us to the very place God’s wants us. But if we don’t take a step, we’ll go nowhere.
Take Away Thought: If we believe the Lord determines our steps, we must cooperate and take one because, when we sincerely honor God first, there may be detours, but there are no dead ends. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Our next meeting is APRIL 5 at 10am

Last month's meeting's success warrants a repeat performance in April. Come prepared to share an update of your writing/publishing journey and bring five copies of two pages for small group critiquing. Be mindful that we will meet at our regular time, 10am to noon. 

Write for yourself or write for others but, above all, write for Him.

March's Thoughts to Ponder

Discovery's Responsibility
In February we talked about the joy of discovery. Our Take Home Thought was “Stir the anticipation of discovery; still the angst of the unknown.” Discovery, or revelation, is a joy, but it also raises our level of responsibility. Every new nugget is a treasure for which we are responsible.
It may be something we need to tend to personally - an action or attitude that needs our attention.
It may be something we're to pray about - something between us & God.
It may be something we’re given to share - a nugget that will help someone else. (Isn’t that true of all discoveries, in one way or at one time or another?)
As writers, we need to be sensitive to God’s nudges to share the revelation of grace and truth He shows us. We are responsible for our discoveries, just as we are responsible for our gift. 
1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.” 
                Gift - given by God 
                Faithfully - loyally, devotedly, dependably 
                Various forms - How many venues & genres are available for us?
Why do we use these gifts? Verse 11 tell us why - “… so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.” 
Take Home Thought: When the nugget and the nudge collide, we must respond with our gift. Pray for the courage to follow through.