Friday, May 22, 2015

A Prayer for Pentecost 2015

[Note from Mary: A poem, a prayer, a powerful word for Pentecost....]

A Prayer for Pentecost 2015 by Christine Sine

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Thoughts of a Naked Alien

[Note from Mary: A poem, a prayer, a paraphrase of scripture that speaks to us....]

Thoughts of a Naked Alien by Tim Good

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One-a-Day Friday 5/22/15 | A Life Worthy

[Note from Mary: A poem, a prayer, a word to each of us who hold on too tightly to things, to dreams, to the past, to whatever hangs us up....]

One-a-Day Friday 5/22/15 | A Life Worthy by Michael Burns

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

4 Ways to Make Sure Your Book Proposal Stands Out - Chad R. Allen

[Note from Mary: These excellent tips come from the Editorial Director for Baker Books - a well-established, highly respected Christian publishing company.]

4 Ways to Make Sure Your Book Proposal Stands Out - Chad R. Allen

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

In a Christian Writer's Life: How to write a book proposal

[Note from Mary: A book proposal will help you to keep on track as you write and also give you what's needed to approach a traditional or indie publishing company in a professional manner.]

In a Christian Writer's Life: How to write a book proposal

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GOD I’m TIRED… The Complaints of a Dream Chaser. | emotional healing | total wellness | balanced living | emotional resiliency

[Note from Mary: If you're unsure of your writing ability or discouraged by the lack of response to your work, this post will help!]

GOD I’m TIRED… The Complaints of a Dream Chaser. | emotional healing | total wellness | balanced living | emotional resiliency by Donna L. Gardner

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One-a-Day Monday 5/18/15 | A Life Worthy

[Note from Mary: Communicators for Christ sometimes think our talks or writings will bring prestige and acclaim, but this post reminds us of Christ's way: to serve God and our readers.]

One-a-Day Monday 5/18/15 | A Life Worthy by Michael Burns

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What Time Taught Me About Authenticity

[Note from Mary: Christian poets and writers need to write accurately and well, but more important is being honest with ourselves and our readers.]

What Time Taught Me About Authenticity by James Prescott

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Man and The Wall: Status: Unfinished

[Note from Mary: Creativity encourages more creativity! Some people scrapbook. Some of us write poems that wind up being a record of our life goals and interests. Some paint or draw what's around them. May God help us to focus on all He creates in and for us in Jesus' name.]

The Man and The Wall: Status: Unfinished by Dan Stombaugh

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3 EZ Tips for Tension in Scenes | Linda S. Clare

[Note from Mary: Attention! Good tips on tension in fiction.]

3 EZ Tips for Tension in Scenes | Linda S. Clare

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Poets and Poems: Wendell Berry and “Terrapin”

[Note from Mary: Christian Poets and all writers interested in nature and the environment, I strongly urge you to read, study, re-read, and enjoy Wendell Berry's poetry for almost any age group.]

Poets and Poems: Wendell Berry and “Terrapin”  by Glynn Young

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3 Reasons We Need to Reflect on Jesus | Before The Cross

[Note from Mary: As we reflect on Christ, we reflect Him more truly in our lives.]

3 Reasons We Need to Reflect on Jesus | Before The Cross by Mike Mobley

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Blogging what, how, why, where

[QUESTIONS discussed by Members of our Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook:]

Do you have a blog? Which Internet site do you recommend and why? What advice do you have for new bloggers or those of us who aren't techno-whizzes? And, just in case our readers don’t know, how do you define a blog?

Steve I like to think of a blog as an irregularly published magazine. Blogs typically revolve around one main idea, and all posts are articles with that idea as the main driver. I actually use the WordPress framework as it is expandable and allows for a lot of automation. For new bloggers? Well, just write. Get a simple site and just post your writing. Lean on blogging groups for developing new ideas. The content is the most important part. The rest is fluff.

Patti I use Blogspot (Blogger) and love it. A blog, to me, is a journal of sorts. Some focus on one idea while others cover a variety of topics.

Joyce I use Blogspot too. I am less than technically skilled yet found it easy to use and have had success, reaching out to the world. Write what you know and love – after much prayer. I find people like it when a photo is included on the post.

Marie I use WordPress. They have free blogs as well as paid themes, but you can pay for your own domain name if you choose. There are free Themes for blogs too! Mine is free.

Lynn I use WordPress, primarily for a website, but I also use the blog function to post reviews of contemporary poetry. I'm not very technically skilled or confident, but I have found WordPress easy enough. I had someone help me do the initial set up. I use the paid version (it's a very low fee) because I like the extra flexibility. If you want people to read your blog, I think it's most effective to have a particular focus. Think about the blogs you read that you like. What is it about them that you like?

Theresa I would describe a blog as a public platform for anyone to share their interests and opinions, and connect with others who enjoy reading your view or who share a similar view. I use to think blogs were limited to a particular type of platform like Blogger and LiveJournal, but over the past two or three years, it seems like most of those "blogs" are becoming more like website services. I chose to build my blog into a content management system that is centered on growing as new technology emerges. For the non-techie people, I would encourage them to checkout real simple blogs like LiveJournal or Blogger.

Miisrael I would define a blog as a communication tool for professional and amateur writers. The blog can associate ideas, projects, personal and/ or professional experiences. Blog topics have no end of diversities. There are many sources online that have free blogging. I suggest one do a little research to start with a comfortable place to share your writings. Try to use a location that's user-friendly. If you are new at it, start out with simple topics with good sentences. Advantages will grow, and before you know it all becomes easy – and most rewarding to you as well as others who read your blogs. The mainstay is sharing what God has given you in ways of expressions, helpful hints, or lifestyle experiences. The key to your beginnings is getting the knack to pursue! Go bloggers!

Lynn If someone didn't know what a blog was, I would tell them it's like your online Internet home where you send out letters or posts to your friends and soon-to-be friends! I used Blogger until I went to WordPress, paid side. Blogger is a little easier to use, but use the one that best suits your comfort and knowledge. However, if your aim is to have a professional looking site in the future, you will more than likely need your own domain name, which means you pay for it. Therefore, using WordPress free is easier to move your blog to the paid side. (Also) if you are going to blog, be consistent, whether you post once a month, once a week, or every day. Do what fits your schedule.

Jeff My blog is my clay, my hammer, my labor, my skill. As some drive trucks, my fingers pave the path to the cross. My blog is not just a blog; it is a ministry to elevate my Lord Jesus. It blesses others and myself. It is a privilege that I do not take lightly. My motive will be examined one day; all I ask is that I do well. God bless.

Lynn Amen, Jeff! Me, too!

Dawn A blog is short for web log. I have a couple of faith-based blogs: In Spirit and In Truth and Dawn Freeman. I use a couple of different hosting sites for my blogs---Blogger and WordPress. I believe Blogger is more user-friendly, and it's free for bloggers. WordPress is not as user-friendly to me, but it is also free unless you get the paid version. WordPress does also offer options to have a paid hosting service for blogs and/or websites. Just try out one or both of those hosting services for blogs to see which one you like the best.

Jeanne My blog is hosted on Blogger right now. Blogger is free and easy to build yourself, but I do teaching blogging workshops for hands-on help. My blog is a way of reaching my world with a message. It is a way to reach people I would not normally reach (except for) the Internet. Blogger has more capability than the free WordPress version.

Patti Writers have opinions on practically everything, and if nobody's asking for them, well, we now have a way to put the brilliance out there for the world to marvel at, use at their will, and make us feel better about ourselves! It is such a good thing – like a letter to whomever, whenever, wherever! Win! Win! And prayerfully, carefully, hopefully God is totally glorified!

Shellie I didn't "get" blogging at first. Then, I learned I could give through my blog. I could share there and give little bits which might help others. That's when I began loving blogging. We use WIX, which is not free. My husband manages it because I'm not a techie, but I love getting feedback from readers, and I love seeing what I've written shared with others. For new bloggers I'd say, take your time finding your niche. What is your core message or theme behind all you speak about or write? Find that common thread. Then, write two or three month's worth of blog posts at once. That will help you get your voice and a rhythm. Finally, set your schedule, prepare, write ahead, and stick to it. Persistence and consistency will pay off. Hope this helps!

Mary Good responses everyone! Keep it coming! Jeanne, you made a statement I'd like to know more about – that Blogger has more capability than the free WordPress site. Could you give us a for instance? I've been thinking about switching back to WordPress because I heard it could do more, but maybe bloggers always mean that the paid version does more. If so, I'll stay put. Thanks for any info you can share on the subject.

Evelyn Blogging for me is an extension of the book I'm writing. My memoir chronicles the first six months of my son’s life which he spent in a hospital. The blog shares my experience raising a child with dwarfism. I use WordPress. As far as advice, I highly recommend Michael Hyatt's book, Platform. He suggests a blog be no longer than 500 words. Use 2 to 3-sentence paragraphs. Engage your readers by asking them questions.

Cherrilynn Blogger is easy to use. A blog has a different focus. It can be someone's daily diary, educational site, musings. Mine is based on Bible scripture lived out.

Susan I used Blogspot for several years, then switched to WordPress, where my blog became one part of my website, which I like much better. (I’ve) been blogging for almost 8 years, posting 3 times a week. A couple of years ago I created "themes" to organize my blog: Mental Heath Monday, Writing on Wednesday, and Faith on Friday. I try to keep posts under 1,000 words, and I use lots of art/photos. Using tags and links to your posts on Facebook and Twitter will help draw readers to the site.

Janis I keep a poetry/writing blog at WordPress. I teach creative writing online and require my students to blog. I believe it's an important way to preserve your work and extend your audience, if that is your wish. Also, it's a fun, creative outlet. I feel like it's easy to learn, and I would be willing to mentor someone if interested.

Beth I use WordPress and (to learn more about it, I) borrowed a lot of books from the library. I watched video's and learned as I went. I still am learning.

Dorothy I haven't blogged, but I have my own website to help others and to show my poetry too -- over 30 pages now I have whole books on there and some poems.

Gail A blog is my voice – a place to share my heart and to teach. I use Blogger / Blogspot and find it very easy. They have tutorials to help you get started. Very user-friendly, and I highly recommend it to new bloggers.

Donna A blog is what the content posted makes it. I began mine on WordPress four years ago on the advice of a blogger who used it to get his started. I'm no computer program wizard, but I sprang for a paid site for my own domain name. It started as devotional/ essay posts with occasional poetry posts. When I realized my poetry drew more new readers I began just posting poetry 3 to 5 times a week. It's all Christian poetry from a female believer's point of view. My limits of understanding the ways to market my blog hampers its growth, but I'm doing what I can to write for the purpose of furthering God's kingdom.

Mary Learning time usually means down time from writing, so I went with Blogger aka Blogspot because it's Google-owned. As it turns out, that did not help catch the interest of search engines, but the blog was so easy to set up, I set up several, each with its own theme. For example, I review new Bibles on the Bible Reviewer blog and post prayer-a-phrased Bible Prayers. My blog In a Christian Writer's Life discusses various aspects of writing from a Christian perspective, while the Poetry Editor & Poetry blog focuses on poetry forms, techniques, and poets. I have a couple others, but those are my most active blogs.

Jeanne Quickly, (to answer your earlier question, Mary), the free version of Blogger gives you more options, gadgets, etc. than the free version of WordPress. And, I have found Blogger easier to navigate. I will get back to you soon, but the other WordPress is good for those who want more. I am getting ready to make the jump because I want my blog and my website under the same site. I am a newbie at WP, so I really am anxious about this but think it is time for that step.

Allie My blog is through WordPress. I look at my blog as one way to influence the world for good. Our adult Sunday school class at church is studying the effects of social media and ways we can positively affect the culture. There's so much bad out there on the net, but rather than hide our heads in the sand, individual blogs allow us to light a candle in the darkness. I focus my blog on how I see things as a mother of four, wife, Christian, recipe developer, thinker, and pastor's wife. It's not necessarily a Christian blog, although one of my goals is to help people think and logically come to right conclusions about God. I also share many poignant stories about our adventures living with our youngest son who has Down syndrome. I've always loved telling stories because truth is stranger than fiction, and humor and storytelling are a big focus of my blog. The humor wins friends and in turn gives me the relationships to say the deeper things. It seems Jesus was the Master storyteller.

Nellie I went to Blogspot because it was easy to setup, and I would recommend it for newbies like myself. I would not recommend Weebly because mine was blocked from Facebook, and I know several others who have said the same thing. My Weebly was a Christian devotional blog, so I have no idea why it was blocked. FB blamed it on Weebly, and Weebly blamed it on FB, but I like Blogspot really well.

Meredith A blog, as far as I am aware, is a good thing to have if you are a writer. It is a place to share work and build an audience for that work and can often be a springboard for other developments. I will definitely be reading other comments on this, thanks!

Mary I just discovered that Blogger does not provide access to my posts written prior to 2012! I'd saved some of those hotlinks, which I gathered onto a new post for the Poetry Editor & Poetry blog, but if I didn't record the full URL address, it's gone! Thought you all might want to know this info.

Jeanne Here is an article about WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org that might help. And this article looks at all three, Blogger, WordPress. com and WordPress.org. Hope this helps. If you are looking for free with no ads, I suggest Blogger. The free WP doesn't allow plugins, and you do get pop up ads.

Mary Good to know. Thanks.

Lynn As a side note: if you want to use WP dot com, you can always use AdBlock.

Jeanne I will soon be going to a WP.org site because I am ready for that step. But I am feeling a little daunted by the learning curve.

Alan I used to use WordPress but found difficulty in making it look like a 3-column newspaper. Then I (set up a blog with) wix.com and kept to the free bit. Seems excellent and easy to me, though to add new items it is usually easier to pretend to edit old one first rather than add direct.

Vctory I run a Christian blog on WordPress. I chose WordPress because after much research and questions, I found out that it was one of the top platforms in the world, and they are ever improving. I am still running on the free WordPress platform intentionally.

Samuel Thank you, Mary but how to you set it up (on Blogger)? Please step by step will be very helpful.

Mary Samuel, go to the Blogger site to set up a blog and just follow their instructions.

Kate I use WordPress because my posts get circulated if I tag them properly. I purchased my domain name for $13 per year.

Jeanne Thanks, Kate . I have also bought my domain name and will have a WP site soon. I do have help from someone with the set up because I am a bit boggled by it. But, I will learn it--eventually. Blogger is a great place to start, and for some it will meet their needs quite nicely. But with my ministry I felt it was time to upgrade

Lillian A blog can be anything you want it to be! It can be about you, your writing, your life, or all of the above! I have 2 different blogs; one is for devotions, and the other is about me and my writing life. I use WordPress, but when I first started I also tried Blogger but found WordPress to be easier. That might just be me. Either one is good!

Meredith Do they bring in any kind of an income, Lillian?

Lillian I haven't tried to go that route. The purpose of the devotional site is to share God's Word. The purpose of the other is to have a place for my readers to connect with me and to learn more about my books.

Beth It can be a diary, a place to vent, tell life stories or tall tales, or even a place to gush over your favorite people, places, or things!

Mary Thank you all for your helpful responses. To make it easy for us to find this discussion again and also share with your poet-writer-friends, I'm posting this lightly edited version. God bless you all.


© 2015, Mary Harwell Sayler is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church. As a freelance and assignment writer for Christian and educational markets for many years, she has 27 traditionally and indie published books in all genres, 3 Kindle e-books for poets and writers, and over 1400 poems, articles, devotionals, or children’s stories. She also discusses writing and various Bible topics on several blogs as listed on the Writing Resources page of her website.

Friday, May 8, 2015

What the Bible Says about Love: For the love of Christ

How do we reveal ourselves as true friends of Christ? By loving one another in Jesus’ Name.

What the Bible Says about Love: For the love of Christ

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How to Read the Bible and Love It | April Yamasaki

[Note from Mary: The more we read God's Word, the more our minds align with the mind of Christ.]

How to Read the Bible and Love It | April Yamasaki

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Repost of It’s Pointless blog | Hearts Set Free Blog

[Note from Mary: Apparently God thinks Christian poets, writers, and other communicators for Christ need encouragement today as I'm seeing a theme going in today's posts. Don't miss this one!]

Repost of It’s Pointless blog | Hearts Set Free Blog by  Elaine Miller Creasman

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The Writing on the Wall: If God has Brought You To It.....

[Note from Mary: When one book or manuscript is finished, then what? Read this for a good idea.]

The Writing on the Wall: If God has Brought You To It..... by Vicky Kaseorg

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Say Once More | Poetryquick's Blog

[Note from Mary: Feeling burnt out? Discouraged? This post will help.]

Say Once More | Poetryquick's Blog by Marie Quick

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