Saturday, March 28, 2015

5 qualities of great leadership | The True Vine

[Note from Mary: As Christian poets and writers, we're leaders - movers, shakers, people who not only write but help to influence others. This post gives us important points to pray about and consider as we write in Jesus' Name.]

5 qualities of great leadership | The True Vine by Jeff Perry 


Lent Day #38: The heart opens from the inside | lorisprayercloset

[Note from Mary: Most of us have heard the Bible verse about Jesus' standing at the door, knocking, but have you ever thought of that as the door to the church? I hadn't! Thanks, Lori, for this powerful post.]

Lent Day #38: The heart opens from the inside | lorisprayercloset by Lori A. Heyd


The Man and The Wall: God's First Responders

[Note from Mary: Whether we speak to the people God puts in our path or write for readers we may never meet, our words can respond to needs and minister healing in Jesus' Name.]

The Man and The Wall: God's First Responders by Dan Stombaugh


Sherry's Light Blog: Panting Yet?

[Note from Mary: As Christian poets and writers, we know that getting close to God comes first, but doing that doesn't always come easy! This post helps and blesses.]

Sherry's Light Blog: Panting Yet? by Sherry Carter


Answering God’s Call | Hearts Set Free Blog

[Note from Mary: What a wonderful example of obedience and courage to en-courage us!]

Answering God’s Call | Hearts Set Free Blog by Elaine Miller Creasman


Faith, Fiction, Friends: Saturday Good Reads

[Note from Mary: This eclectic mix of articles will interest many Christian poets and writers.]

Faith, Fiction, Friends: Saturday Good Reads by Glynn Young


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Applying the Gospel to culture | The True Vine

[Note from Mary: We often think of ourselves in solitary terms as Christian poets or writers, but this article helps us to see how our ministry gifts and work fit into a much, much larger pattern that might make us be Contextualizers for Christ!]

Applying the Gospel to culture | The True Vine by Jeff Perry


Lent Day 37#: Waiting for our Salvation | lorisprayercloset

[Note from Mary: What a blessed way to start the writing day any time of year!]

Lent Day 37#: Waiting for our Salvation | lorisprayercloset by Lori A. Heyd


In a Christian Writer's Life: Writing to heal the Body of Christ

[Note from Mary: How easy it is to murmur against Christians who don’t do things the way we prefer! How difficult – but crucial – it is to find areas that reconnect us to one another and revitalize the Body of Christ. May the Holy Spirit draw us together as a major force of God’s love and healing presence in the world in Jesus’ Name.]

In a Christian Writer's Life: Writing to heal the Body of Christ


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Christian writers talk about writing conferences

QUESTION: Let’s talk about writer’s conferences. What thoughts, experiences, and recommendations do you have?

Beth I love them and have been to two of them in the past three years. Classes and appointments help me to develop as a writer, and I get a little exposure to publishers and editors. You also get to talk shop with other writers at mealtimes! I have to admit though, it's intense. I'm exhausted when it's all over!

Deborah I went to one last year: Christian Writer's Boot Camp. I enjoyed it and got to meet a lot of nice people. It was at The Cove, which is a beautiful facility. I was able to speak with a publisher and other people to gain their insight. The classes and workshops were really good. I enjoyed it, but like Beth said, it is intense, and you may need a few days to rest and absorb it all afterwards.

Christine I've only been to one several years ago, but I enjoyed it and learned a lot. They are expensive, but some provide scholarships.

Jewell The first one I attended left my head spinning. I was hesitant to go for many reasons, and nervous when there, but it was the best push I ever gave myself. Since then, I've published something somewhere every year. It teaches, inspires, criticizes, but gets you on the right path. The biggest lesson I learned is that writing is hard work. Unless you're a writer you don't realize how hard. Outsiders think ideas fall in our laps, we put pen to paper, and sweet publishers say "bravo." I've attended Marlene Bagnull's conference Write His Answer.

Adeline I attended a Steve Harrison conference (works with the authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul) in Philadelphia last year. I haven't had a chance to publish yet, but it gave me the vision and hope that some day it will happen for me too: Intense for sure, but great goals are often achieved out of singular, focused desire. I will definitely go again and hopefully meet some potential publishers.

Cherrilynn I highly recommend them. I have been to two: the New England Christian Writers Conference and the Writer to Writer Conference. I am a new writer and now feel more equipped to write. The money you spend is tripled or quadrupled by the wealth of information you receive. My writing has improved, and I now have many resources. The best part is meeting so many people on the same journey, and we help each other.

Whitney The Breadloaf conference (at Breadloaf Mountain in Middlebury, Vermont) was one of the best gifts God ever gave me. Breadloaf was encouraging and something like Marine Boot Camp! It was very intense and academic. (Although secular) I did find some like-minded sisters in Christ while I was there. Overall, however, it was more of a worldly environment than I would seek for myself now. The main thing I learned was to ignore writing for what's "marketable" and simply DO what I Do. So I did – and I do!

Leslie I run a writer's workshop on a remote island in Alaska, where I live and commercially fish each summer. I've taught creative writing in both undergraduate and graduate programs, and I can attest to the power and efficacy of formal programs and also the informal writing conference and workshop. Many people don't have the luxury of enrolling in a two-year MFA program. Writing conferences and particularly workshops provide an intensive shot of what writers need most: community, inspiration, and instruction. I've seen dramatic growth in many writers in just a week's time as they immerse in excellent texts as well as one another's manuscripts, strengthening their reading skills and their own editorial skills for their own work. Networks and deep friendships are formed as well, salving the isolation many feel as they return home to work alone. There's nothing more exciting for me than to see these transformations!

Anne Years ago I attended the Write to Publish Conference in Wheaton. Both times I attended it was a wonderful experience. I was able to sit and talk to an editor from Guideposts. Also, a card company was interested in 6 of my 10 designs for cards, but they would not agree to putting my name on them and they didn't want to work with royalties.

One of the most important pieces of information I received was that you need to wait a while after you have gone through something traumatic before you write about it. Distance is very important.

I attended workshops and had a lot of questions answered. I had the opportunity to recite a couple of my poems and one piece of prose and the feedback I received was invaluable.

They even let me sell some of my matted, illustrated pieces of poetry. That was a thrill. All in all, great conference. I would suggest reading up on the different companies represented by the editors who will attend. We went with a writers group I used to be part of. There were six or seven of us, and we were so excited for anyone who had good feedback for a piece they brought. Going with a group made the whole experience even more meaningful.

Patti I've attended the Oregon Christian Writers summer coaching conference, and all I can add to what everyone else has said is a resounding, "Ditto!" They teach you, pump you up, love you, critique your work, provide a ton of fun, and are totally worthwhile. People also rave about the one in California called Mount Hermon, which is a Christian camp/resort in the mountains, and the other biggie I hear about is the Maui, Hawaii one.

Brenda Writers conferences are beneficial in so many ways. First the training received through the workshops provided are like taking a college course. Yes, they can be very intense, but you can't learn how to write effectively alone. You have opportunities to make appointments with bestselling authors, agents, and editors to discuss your writing. On top of that add the network of friends and associates you come away with. You can't beat it. My favorite conference in the east is Montrose Christian Writers Conference held at the Montrose Bible Conference Center, home of R.A. Torrey. The atmosphere is so homey. Everyone, including the faculty, is relaxed and willing to help newbies as well as old friends. It's very common to sit on the big front porch in wooden rockers or at a meal beside an agent, editor, or author and just chat about life. Of course, writing is bound to be on topic. And you can discuss your work-in-progress. But more important, you can make friends.

Robin I attended my very first ever writers conference last August, and I will not ever miss another one if I have the say. (You know God has the final plan.) I entered the poetry contest and even though I did not place (really did not expect to since it was my very first time to enter) the judge of the contest stated to me that I had a very good writing style and my meter was like that of Robert Frost. She said she would like for me to make the corrections she marked and reenter the same poem this year. Yes, writer's conferences are very good. You learn a lot, and you meet great people who can give you so much insight and constructive critiques.

Lynn I've attended several, and they can be overwhelming but also stimulating. And I've often been able to meet writers face to face with whom I've only had a "virtual" relationship with before, so that's always gratifying. Last spring I attended the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, MI. Even though it's large, it was particularly friendly. It occurs only every other year but is well worth it.

Marcie What I'm finding out is that writer's conferences are all about networking - meeting other writers, editors, and publishers and learning from them. I attended my first one in February, and it was awesome, but it was very intense, and there was a lot of information to absorb. The great thing about this one is they provided for a small sum (recordings) of all of the classes given, so we can download and listen to them anytime we want. I highly recommend praying about which one God would have you attend and then go for it. If you feel the call to write, then you not only need to write but to learn your craft in every way possible. I can't wait to attend more conferences!

Lynn I'll add that conferences can be particularly energizing for those of us who live in rural areas where we don't have much chance to attend readings or other writerly events locally.

Donna Here is a blog post I wrote after attending a writer's conference.

Bobbie Conferences can help forge links to peers which for writers can reduce isolation. It's important to read the detail of what is being offered, however, and to attend events that are worthwhile for where you are at in your personal writing journey. Though I love to make friends, I am not up for spending 100’s to rub shoulders with hobby writers now.

Mary Thank you all for this good discussion! I’d never attended a writers’ conference until I was asked to teach, since, by then, I had a few books out with Christian publishers. So it’s been interesting – and helpful – for me to see that you all felt just like I did – totally overwhelmed! Oh, what an exhausting week! But, yes, so worth it and such a blessed time of finding like-minded people – from newbies to well-published authors to editors, who often felt overwhelmed too!

If I were attending a conference now, I’d look for one with speakers, workshop leaders, editors, and publishers who are well-established in my chosen genre. Then I’d get a book proposal ready and make an appointment with my top preferences in publishing houses or literary agents who represent writers of poetry, nonfiction for Christians, and/or manuscripts for children as those are what my writing focuses on now. I’d take some of my books to autograph and sell at the book table that most conferences provide, and I’d also leave plenty of room in my suitcase for the free handouts, writer’s guidelines, workshop outlines, and, of course, those books autographed by you that I’d want to buy!

© 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 blogs on Bible topics, the Christian writing life, and poetry and provides one-on-one critiques and a variety of writing resources on her website.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One-a-Day Tuesday, 3/24/15 | A Life Worthy

[Note from Mary: Artists move all around an object to see it from every angle and get a feel for the size, depth, and essence of the subject matter. Christians, poets, and writers need to do that too! This post will show what I mean.]

One-a-Day Tuesday, 3/24/15 | A Life Worthy by Michael Burns


Thoughts of a Naked Alien: A Teacher's Tongue.

[Note from Mary: Often, writers have gifts of teaching too. This post draws on scripture to show us a true teacher and communicator for Christ.]

Thoughts of a Naked Alien: A Teacher's Tongue. by Tim Good


The Heart of God: FAQ # 7 Patience in the Waiting

[Note from Mary: Every now and then, Christian poets and writers feel singularly uninspired! In those times of waiting, we might be urged to read the Bible, cover to cover, and read this helpful post too.]

The Heart of God: FAQ # 7 Patience in the Waiting by Jane Glenchur


God is Waiting on the Outside: Moving Beyond our Theological Boundaries in Pursuit of Jesus

[Note from Mary: Communication often breaks down because of assumptions, opinions, or misconceptions that keep us from truly hearing one another. May this post help us to investigate, rather than judge, and do all we can in our writing to administer healing to the One Body of Christ in Jesus' Name.]

God is Waiting on the Outside: Moving Beyond our Theological Boundaries in Pursuit of Jesus by Jeff Clarke


Writing POV Changes | Linda S. Clare

[Note from Mary: Everyone has a point of view - in real life and in fiction! This post gives helpful tips on how to handle that POV effectively.]

Writing POV Changes | Linda S. Clare


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Walk Humbly by Faith | The True Vine

[Note from Mary: A right attitude helps writers write in a blessed way in all genres.]

Walk Humbly by Faith | The True Vine  guest post by Kate Leach


Boomer Bucket List Suggestions | WORK-PLAY-WORSHIP

[Note from Mary: Want to draw young people to church through your writings? This article will help.]

Boomer Bucket List Suggestions | WORK-PLAY-WORSHIP posted by Adeline Blumer


Ask not what your church can do for you... - 364 Days of Thanksgiving

[Note from Mary: May we, too, draw our readers to Christ, the church, and the embrace of reconciliation in the Body of Christ.]

Ask not what your church can do for you... - 364 Days of Thanksgiving by Andrew Schroer


Poetry Editor & Poetry: World Poetry Day with new poems by Gary Snyder

[Note from Mary: What better way to spend World Poetry Day than with Gary Snyder – a Pulitzer and other prize-winning poet, who embraces life, the environment, peoples all over the world, and The Now in his new book, This Present Moment.]

Poetry Editor & Poetry: World Poetry Day with new poems by Gary Snyder


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bible Reviewer: Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) reader edition

[Note from Mary: The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) provides a contemporary translation that, unlike some new versions, wisely retains such key words for Christianity as “justification,” “sanctification,” and “redemption.” As a writer and poet who aims toward compression, I seldom like the use of ten words when one will do – especially if the precise word carries the weight of centuries of faith and theology.]

Bible Reviewer: Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) reader edition


13 Reasons Why We Don’t Achieve Our Dream of Becoming Published Authors |

[Note from Mary: Working with other poets and writers for many years through correspondence courses and critiques, I found that people didn't get published because they didn't write! Now many people seem to write, publish themselves, and think that's all there is to it! This post provides a realistic view of what keeps us from writing - things to admit, pray about, and, with God's help, overcome.]

13 Reasons Why We Don’t Achieve Our Dream of Becoming Published Authors | by Robert Ssempande


5 Bible Verses That Should Scare Leaders - Joseph Lalonde

[Note from Mary: As Christian poets, writers, or other communicators for Christ, we have wonderful opportunities to influence people toward Christ and the church - and an awesome responsibility too!]

5 Bible Verses That Should Scare Leaders - Joseph Lalonde


Writing Resources - Mary Harwell Sayler

[From an online spiritual "retreat" to information on grammar, copyrights,  researching, publishing, publishers, and more, these resources will help you as you write, revise, and aim to place your work in all genres.]

Writing Resources - Mary Harwell Sayler

Five Takeaways from a Book Launch

[Note from Mary: Excellent tips from a well-published Christian author!]

Five Takeaways from a Book Launch by Diane Stortz