Showing posts with label writing schedule. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing schedule. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Christian writers on writing

QUESTION recently asked of the members in our Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook:In what ways do you need prayer and encouragement in your writing life?

Michael-Lori (I need prayer and encouragement) to write my lyrics with God leading me in the way to touch and help others.

Donna Rewrites! Although part of writing, I feel like (revisions) sap my creative energy and stifle me. I'd rather get it right the first time.

Mary The problem with getting it right the first time, Donna, is that puts you in two separate jobs at once: writing from the right brain and editing or revising from the left! Hopefully, you have a computer, which makes revisions much easier, so you might try letting the writing flow without censoring yourself. Then wait a day or two before going back and seeing what needs to be changed - if anything.

Cassie Sticking with it! I have limited time to write due to kids, so I'll get excited and start something, but then I don't have time again until later. Because of this, I start a lot of things I don't finish.

Mary Oh, I know the feeling, Cassie! I was a stay-at-home mom with my kids and am now a stay-at-home grandmom. However, my first published poems, articles, devotionals, and children's stories arose from these times.

Anointed To get a book published I sometimes wonder too much about who will like it and who won't! Will they give good or bad judgement?

Mary Your emphasis on being Anointed and chosen is the ideal faith and focus to have from start to finish! If God gives us something we're drawn to write, surely God can draw our readers too.

Barbara (I’m) physically unable to sit for long periods of time, and therefore, it's difficult for me to collect my works together, edit, and prepare a book. I so desire to publish. God willing, this too shall pass.

Mary I'm sorry to say I have that problem too. May God give us all the strength and energy we need to do what we've been given to do in Jesus' Name.

Eve Courage to step out…. I've spent 3 years writing and editing, and now it's about faith – to step out and allow God to bless others with this word He has given. I am not worried about selling copies; I just want to hear His voice say, "Well done."

Mary Yes! And every time I read where Jesus said, "It is finished," I get God-bumpy. May God en-courage us all.

Janet (I pray) that the book would honor God and only speak truth.

Mary Janet, yours is surely a God-blessed goal! Reading the Bible cover to cover again and again gives us the mind of Christ, praise God, but I try not to depend on my faulty memory. Isn't it wonderful to have so many translations on the Internet where we can easily check quotes and context?

Christine (I need) to step out and take risks, write what God wants when He wants, and in general, let Him lead and my heart follow, even when my head tells me differently.

Mary Tricky one, Christine! I kept fretting over that, too, and thinking I wasn't trusting myself to hear God even though I'd prayed and prayed. Then it dawned on me: I can trust God to speak loud enough for me to hear. May the Lord bless our minds and ears with God's Word to and through us in Jesus' Name.

Cherrilynn Time for prayer and steadfastness…. Praying for all….

Mary Thanks, Cherrilynn! We need it. And may God remind us each morning and throughout the day to pray for one another.

Shira For me it normally always is the same thing: How can what I write make a difference in the lives of others? What would you have me to say, Lord?

Cherrilynn Shira, what has changed your life or made a difference with you? Write about that. Many people will be blessed. My blog is all about how God changed me. It is raw and realistic.

Mary Shira, I find that whatever troubles or blesses me will most likely speak to others too. Then keeping it short, to the point, and honest will keep readers interested. But, from what I've seen of your work, no problem! You're doing it.

Shira I try my best to keep it real at all times. Thanks for the advice. God bless you all.

Cyn My devotions today were in 2 Corinthians12:8-9. I have chronic illness that causes episodes of nonproductivity, and I beat myself up over it. Add my distractibility, and nothing gets done. Here's where He is glorified: when I push through and do what I can.

Mary Oh, no, no, no, Cyn. No beating up allowed! Only upbeating.

Cherrilynn Cyn, I did not know you had chronic illness I will pray for you. I have chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. It is difficult to push through, but I do. May God breathe strength and life into us as He did with the bones in Ezekiel.

Shari I write Mystery Dinner Theater (scripts) with a twist – not only write them but cast, direct and produce them too! They're biblically based, and some of the general themes include God's timelessness. Each year, they sell out, and I know they are spirit-led because, when I sit down with each cast for the first time for the first rehearsal and read-through, I often find myself saying to myself in amazement, "I wrote that?" I pray for God's continued inspiration and that He continues to motivate and speak to me because there is no way without Him. I also pray that God will continue to guide our steps and encourage struggling writers, including myself, to keep stepping outside our comfort zones. (God) is with us always, and how abundant is His love for us!

Mary Interesting work, Shari! Have you approached Christian publishers who might be open to submissions of scripts? If you've found some whose work you like, they'll be apt to like yours too.

Mark I'm asking for God’s favor as I market my books.

Mary Welcome to the book world! It takes time, time, and more time, Mark, and I pray God guides us all who find ourselves having to spend more time marketing than writing!

Kelly (I need) the courage to step out – and to know what stepping out means.

Mary Your honesty eases the step out, Kelly. I guess it comes down to praying for God to guide then trusting the Lord to do just that.

Margaret (I pray) that my published book will reach those who need to hear its message. In God I trust.

Mary Amen! I suspect we all hope that, Margaret, so let's keep each other in prayer.

Beth No time to write! No funds to get a cover done! One book is (posted) on a forum of publishers, and all I got was, a “Pay me this, and I'll do it" kind of response. The other book that needs the cover also needs formatting for self-publication – frustrating!

Chanda Praying...

Mary Beth, sometimes it's about timing and using the wait-space to get to know your genre and potential publishers. May God bless and guide.

Marla I need to continue the process of editing my book, but I'm having a hard time right now focusing (as I’m) still grieving. I just pray that God will give me grace and gentle laughter in my spirit! Thanks.

Cherrilynn Praying!

Chanda Praying for grace....

Lisa Grace and gentle laughter… Such a sweet request that no doubt brings a smile to our Father's face.

Mary Amen! God bless you, Marla! Grieving is essential and, while it's fresh, it might help to journal, write notes to yourself or your loved one, and read Psalms. When it's time to edit your book, you'll know, and you'll be ready.

Nellie When I look and look at markets, and none of them seem to fit my need – that is the greatest downside to writing. I struggle with it constantly. Sometimes I take a stab in the dark, and get a big surprise of acceptance.

Lisa I know just what you mean, Nellie. I'm right there with you.

Mary I wish I could say it will get easier, but.... Prayer helps, of course, but sometimes I have to put a manuscript aside and work on the next one while I’m waiting for the next round of deadlines or the next editor or people’s interests to change or….

Judy Apart from Christ I can do nothing!

Mary Amen.

Beckie I need to stick to it! Also (I pray for) open doors for publishing a YA faith-based novel that deals with some tough girl issues and spiritual warfare.

Linda (I’m) trying to get money to publish a book that's not quite finished.

Beckie Praying.

Mary Linda, CreateSpace (print) and Kindle (e-book) are both free. Since they're on Amazon, they're also easy for you to list and for potential buyers to find.

Linda This book will touch and inspire Christians with addictions…. Writing a book…is for God's honor… and to realize you are obeying God to write your book.

Tonya (I need) to finish other written projects and find publishers or self-publish.

Mary Tonya, I pray God brings to mind the project you're to do first. Sometimes I get so many ideas, I don't know where to start! May God guide us always.

Tonya That's exactly how I feel. Bombarded with where do I start first?

Christine (I pray) to have the guts, transparency, and faith to let God lead with my new nonfiction book.

Marla If God be for you, who can be against you? Like Joshua – be brave and courageous. You can do this!

Christine Amen! I needed to read this today! What a blessing those words are. Thank you.

Jennifer I have been led to write a course and use it to teach my teenage daughter. It will be about who God is, who we are in and outside of Him and how to walk the journey when you are in the middle of a storm causing you to doubt. I need prayer since this is highly important to get right.

Shira (I’m) praying God's Divine Wisdom and Instruction for you in all your ways. Blessings to you and stay encouraged!

Jennifer Thanks so much.

Mary Jennifer, your daughter gives you an in-house editor! She'll help you get it right.

Okorie (I want) to bend and finish what may indeed be the corner and turning point of my life achievements to His glory. I have procrastinated for too long on the completion of my first fictional project.

Mary May God bless and guide.

Candy (I need prayer) to attempt to put my music out there as I have been told my whole life "you are not a musician.” I trust that God will lead me in that direction. Please pray for guidance (for me) to know how to put my poems and music out there. (I’m) thinking of a website just for my music. I would appreciate any feedback.

Shira Candy, starting out with the basics has always worked out best for me. Write your vision, make it plain. Blessings to you always.

Mary Wise words, Shira. Candy, in most bookstores or online bookshops, you can find the annual songwriter's guide published by Writer's Digest, which I highly recommend.

Glenys (Pray) that I write the words the Holy Spirit places on my heart, so that whatever I write, God may be given all the glory.

Marla Amen – yes, Jesus!

Linda Even though I have every confidence that the Lord will continue to honor His promise to be my partner and executive director in my writing ministry, I find myself needy for human encouragement. It's so invigorating when someone is touched by a piece I wrote or (when) a church uses one of my hymns and is blessed by it. Knowing that human friends are praying for me and my work helps me through long dry spells between acceptances by publishers.

Shari Beautifully said!

Linda See, there's that human encouragement right there! Thanks, Shari.

Shira Amen. Linda, the Word of God tells us to prefer others above ourselves – to edify and build up. This brings about peace, assurance, and confidence toward others, thus releasing a person's motivation to continue, persevere, endure, and finish the race. Stay encouraged! God is with you.

Linda Thank you, Shira!

Robin (I pray) that I would have the physical strength and mental clarity to focus and concentrate on my projects and get something done when I sit down to write.

Beckie Praying!

Ruby (I need prayer for) motivation, inspiration, and a cure for procrastination. I need to finish editing my devotional too.

Mary Ruby, the word "enthusiasm" comes from "en theos," which means "in God." May God give you the enthusiasm you need to write what you've been given.

Ruby Thank you! I receive that.

Sue (I’m) trying to build a platform through my blog and Facebook writer’s page. It is going much slower than I would like. Pray I continue to be faithful in the small stuff.

Beckie I'm with you, Sue! Praying for you.

Shira Stay Encouraged. It will come with diligence.

Sue Thank you, Beckie and Shira. Blessings to both of you.

Jason Writing is easy but trying to sell is very tough, and l’m out of ideas.

Beckie Praying that doors open for you….

Lisa I sometimes wonder why God gives words to share to those of us who struggle so with marketing. It's so hard! But perhaps that's just why He does it – so we'll have to rely more on Him to lead the way. I'm praying for you, too. And for all of us who struggle mightily in this area.

Mary Jason, you might notice publishers of manuscripts similar to yours, then visit their websites, and see if they've posted writer's guidelines to follow.

Lillian (Pray) that I write the story He wants me to write and keep focused on the story and not the sales.

Mary Amen!

Maxine (I’m praying) to be faithful to write as the Holy Spirit leads me and not worry about days when nothing seems to appear.

Mark Amen. The joy of writing is that God has gifted you with the ability to put together a book to glorify Him. (Sometimes) I get away or put on some worship music, and it calms me and brings peace to my mind

Joan (I need) discipline, direction, devotion to God, reliance on Him…. (And I want to) give Him the glory.

Mary Amen!

Kathryn (Please pray for me to) overcome a foggy mind with clarity and focus. So much on the publishing and project plate….

Mary I relate, Kathryn! The more overwhelmed I am, the less focused I get. May God help us to see clearly and think sharp!

Judy (I pray for) ideas, concepts and insights into God's plan and His anointing!

Mary When I'm too busy, Judy, or need a break from routine, poems don't come to me, but if we take a drive – yeah, with me as the passenger – or go somewhere with fresh surroundings, I start looking around for a pencil and paper!

Jeanne (I pray to) be diligent without self-reliance, and (I pray for) discipline to see the goal and work toward it. (I’d also like) feedback from others to sharpen me and the project.

Mary Jeanne, you've well described how most of us feel! May God help us to encourage one another in Jesus' Name.

Marcia I'm working on two plays at once and editing book three of my fantasy series. Prayer greatly appreciated!

Shira Praying!

Terry Mostly I just (need) to start.

Jonathan (I pray to) form everything into words that lift up God, encourage others, and draw people to Him.

Mary Yes.

Carla My muse is MIA.

Mary Sometimes that means it's time for a break, Carla, like a mini-vacation – a walk in the woods, a trip to a museum, almost anything different with everything soaked in prayer.

Brenda I need motivation and inspiration – and direction. Where do I fit in this industry, anyway?

Kelly I think as you do. In fact, I'm not sure I want to be "in the industry," yet I want my work seen by those who need it!
Mary My first writing projects were for the publishing headquarters of my church denomination, which gave me a good fit and good place to start – until we moved, and I changed churches! Then I wrote Bible stories for an interdenominational press.

Brenda Thank you, Mary. How can we, in turn, pray for your writing life?

Mary Oh, thank you, Brenda! I'm also looking for a place to fit again – Bible-based poems in a non-poetry-reading society.

Shira Be of good cheer. The Word of God reassures us that God wins. As we move forward, we can put our confidence in the Holy Spirit that guides us into all truth. One thing that I have realized in my faith walk is, as long as I keep seeking God's face for direction, He shows me the right way.

Dolores (I pray) to have insight as to how to complete my manuscript. I know that when God connects the dots for me, the word picture I see will cause me to say, "Ahh! Of course, it was before me all along!"

Marla I say God connects the dots too! All it takes is faith in Him and being faithful to what we need to do. God bless you in all you do.

Patti I pray the Holy Spirit provides me the words to touch the hearts and minds of readers, inspiring them to establish or strengthen their relationship with God.

Joe I'd say direction. I need to know how to move into monetizing and growing the business.

Mary Joe, it's funny that you wrote this while God was bringing you to mind for a project! Placing a book with a traditional aka established Christian publisher will usually bring an advance and periodical royalty payments. The downside is that it might take months to see a cent! However, I believe you have what it takes to be a leader of leaders in what you write. May God guide.

Chris I pray to be worthy of Christ's message.

Mary Chris, if you love the Lord, you are worth Christ's resurrection power! May God help each of us to see ourselves as God sees us and find our worth in Him.

Sherrie (I pray) that God will show me how to be confident to speak the words He has given around leaders with "titles." I feel like some try to discredit the words given because I don't carry a title (such as) Pastor or Minister.

Mary Sherrie, I know exactly what you mean! Yes, the lack of a degree in Bible studies or theology can hinder us, but since that wasn't a possibility for me, I turned to the Bible for ever-increasing degrees of understanding. I read almost every translation, asking the Lord to help me. Eventually, the words in The Word make their way into poems, novels, articles – whatever and wherever God leads. I believe our part is to trust God to give us what's needed to do the work He wants us to do.

Dolores If I might humbly suggest: pray for passion and excitement for the word He gives you that will take you past any insecurity. I believe the Word says that a person's gift can take him or her before kings and leaders. May His Word, His truth be like fire shut up in your bones so that what He speaks to you in private can be shouted upon the housetop as He gives you the unction to do so.

Sherrie This made tears come. I will pray that. May the fire and passion for the words God has given me surpass or outweigh or eradicate all insecurity.

Dolores Amen! "So it is written, so let it be done!"

Theresa I am in need of uninterrupted time to write. Some circumstances in my life have taken that time away and are beyond my control. I am believing that God will give me several days before the year ends to just be and write.

Lisa As a mom of 6 within 8.5 years, I found there were long seasons where alone time seemed far out of reach. But I also found that when God had something to share with me, He found a way to get me alone. Many lines came in the shower. If only someone would invent a water-proof voice recorder! (I’m) praying right now that God will make a way for that precious time away for you.

Marla I'm on the other end of the spectrum – retired, and living away from my family. My husband is away at work all day, so I have lots and lots of time. It has been difficult being completely alone – just me and of course God! My neighbors all work, so I have found it to be quite isolating. My mom's illness kept us on the road most weekends – back and forth 4.5 hours. Now she's gone, and here I am. Yesterday at our Bible study I realized God has given me a great gift – time to spend with Him. I'm learning no matter how much we beg for what we don't have, we’re to be grateful for what we do have. It seems difficult either way, but I know God does make a way! And when He is leading and guiding us, He will make the way for us to accomplish what it is He wants from us. God hears your cry!

Mary Amen

David Thanks, Mary, for this discussion. I am new to this group, and yours was the first post I read. I must admit that it goes right to the heart of what brought me to this group. For the past twelve years, I have worked on my book, and like many writers, I’ve had a hard time trying to get it traditionally published. Eventually, I yielded to the promises of Amazon and decided to publish the manuscript as a trilogy. The first book was released (recently) in both e-book and paperback, and now I am in a season that much has been written and said about – promotion. I need the Lord's favor in this regard. I must say that I am really glad the message is finally out for people, but as the Lord actually stated, the laborer is worthy of his wages. So much has gone into the work – finance, effort, time, prayer, and more – and now I need your prayers for the Lord's favor on this work in the "marketplace," as well as encouragement and advice from fellow writers here. This is especially so considering my present location in Africa, my hearing challenge, and the limited funds available to me for promotion. The book has attracted several exceptional reviews from around the world, but it would take the Lord's favor to make a success of it in every way possible.

Lisa David, I'm learning that writing, and especially the marketing and promotion, can be overwhelming and frustrating at times. That's when having the support of others who have been there is so important. (I’m) praying we will be that for you.

David Thanks, Lisa.

Beckie Praying for you too, David, and for God's favor to rest upon you and the rest of these authors who write in His mighty name!

David Amen! Thank you very much, Beckie.

Robin In addition to my earlier comment, I need prayer for a clean house because I am constantly picking up and cleaning up and cannot settle my mind unless the mess is cleaned up. I can't stand dirty dishes in the sink and dried eggs on the stove top! By the time I get through with the 24/7 cleanup, I have no strength to do anything else – especially writing. I’m trusting God to open the door for me to find a person to help me with heavy, deep cleaning, so I can stress less and write more. But for now, I am not able, physically, to sit still long enough to write, and I cannot write with a messy environment. Even if I go into another room or the patio, the mess is still there and my mind, spirit, and body know it! So, please pray for the "right" help to come along at the right time, or (pray) for me to gain physical strength and a sustainable routine to keep the house clean. Sorry for the long-winded post, but this is what I am struggling with and you did ask how I needed prayer/encouragement.

Shira I can't function period, Robin, in an environment that's not clean. I can identify with you on that!

Lisa Praying for you now, Robin, that God will send the help you need, give you the strength to do it yourself, or give you blinders to help you focus, regardless of the circumstances. I hope you don't mind my adding that third option. It was all I had when my kids were little.

Cyn My husband knows I have a limited amount of energy, due to (health issues) and there’s only so much I can get done. If I have to mop the floor or clean up dirty dishes on the counter or cook dinner, I can't get artwork and writing done too. Throw in a day with a doctor’s appointment, and I'm about done! So I hold onto Judges 6:14, "Go in the strength you have…. Am I not sending you?"

Anne (I need prayer) to trust God to open doors. (When) I had a speaking opportunity a couple of days ago, I enjoyed being able to share God's goodness no matter what goes on in our lives, and I felt alive as I spoke. I want prayer that I can wait on God's timing for my writing (and) speaking. I want to trust Him and not my own thoughts. And if God wants me to pursue something, I want to follow His lead.

Shira Amen to that!

Reese I believe there are such men and women of God, that you don't even have to tell them of the issues or situations you need prayer for, because the spirit of God in them will lead them into all truth, even the truth of why I need prayer.

Jeff I need prayers for wisdom in finding a good critique group – preferably one that meets in person, but a good online one could help. Also, (I need) wisdom in deciding if, when, and where to submit my writings, and whether or where to find my own website to post my writings and experiences as a writer.

Mary Other members in our group might be willing to do a manuscript swap, so look for those who are also starting out and writing in your genre. If you post your writings on the Internet, paying publishers will seldom accept the same manuscripts, so I don’t recommend that as a first choice. Instead, notice who’s publishing what. If you read a book you like, notice who published it, and check out their guidelines on their websites. Or, if you enjoy a particular magazine, consider where your work might fit. Each publisher has specific needs and reading audiences, so it’s a good idea to look for ones you like a lot first. Then consider what you need to revise to fit their guidelines. Or write something with that company in mind. In any case, pray for God’s guidance, and be on the alert for anything related to writing and publishing.

Mamie I need prayer like I need water. I don't get far without going before the Lord in prayer.

Mary Amen! Praise the Lord, and thank you all for this good discussion.

© 2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, moderator, is a poet-writer for traditional publishers and poet-author of 3 Kindle e-books on poetry and Christian writing.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Christian Poets and Writers: writing routines

QUESTION: Do you have a routine for writing? What keeps you on track? What hinders your work?

Lynda I can keep writing if there are no distractions.

Brenda Sundays I make a list of what I want to do for the week. It helps to be able to see my progress as I cross items off the list. Hindrances: life in general. I'm easily distracted.

Mary Me too! Life takes time! When I’m working on a book, though, I find that having an outline or synopsis will help me to get back on track quickly.

Rosetta I usually keep myself interested in what the project is and stay focused. I like to read over my work and brain-storm new ideas. What hinders me is not staying focused!

Patti (I have) no routine, and everything hinders me now! I'm just rather "stuck," but one of these days....

Anointed Sometimes (the Holy Spirit) wakes me in the middle of the night, and I get up to write when it flows. (Also) I carry a notebook and pen at all times.

Robert I have a routine. I write every day, six days a week. Sometimes my routine gets disrupted, but habit keeps me on track. Not planning beforehand for my week often disrupts my work. By planning I mean, assigning ideas for writing on each day and jotting down an outline for each idea.

Shira My routine is sticking to a scheduled time and following through. I build momentum and continue to follow through by repetition and prayer for God's strength and direction…. I hinder my work if I allow myself to be sidetracked or lazy.

Gerald I try to write something everyday, but severe pain makes that difficult.

Mary God bless you! Other members have mentioned the hardship of writing through pain, and fatigue can be a problem, too. Moving around a bit and having a highly adjustable chair helps, but sometimes I think God is reminding me to take a break or a nap. When I sit on our deck and rest a bit, poems often come to me. Then it’s a matter of writing them down before I forget!

Pat A pen and paper helps. Having a small notebook, keeping it nearby (as) with a checkbook or calendar…. Life interrupts, but if I try to snatch the idea or line and write it down, then I'll have it later, so I can let it go for the moment and be all there in the moment. …I give up TV or sleep sometimes to play with poems. I consider it "my work" and call myself a poet working. Actually, it may be my play. However, it is important to me, so I jiggle around to make it happen. If I don't write one day, I am miserable. I find reading a poem helps me when one does not come my way. (And) I ask God for poems. He is amazing: a good giver.

Maxine I try to write each morning, but there are times recently when other things had to become first place, yet I still try to write something. Even if it’s not for my blog or my current novel, it will be used somewhere at a later time

Kathryn I write everyday. Too many projects make it hard to focus sometimes, but I try to plan my week on Monday and deal with miscellaneous things. Tuesday is blogging day. But, if something comes up, I will often miss my postings and get behind. The rest of the week is for project work. In between, I have speaking gigs and mentoring meetings randomly throughout the week, so I have to be flexible. Probably the most useful thing is to not kick myself too hard when I miss my own writing plan routine. Life happens--and it just might be fodder for my next masterpiece. God's got my schedule, so it's all good.

Mary Yes! That’s hard for me to remember when I feel on overload. Interesting that you divide your work by projects. I’m more apt to divide mine by hours in the day. i.e., If I have a book contract, I’ll start to work on it first thing and wait to check email or Internet as those hinder my writing time.

Christine Housework and children hinder (mine.) I wish I could say I had a routine right now, but not yet. I'm working on it.

Mary When my children were small, I wrote during their naptimes and, later, school hours. Sometimes I’d scribble notes while waiting in the car. Even so, things came up that needed tending as God, family, and church are my first priorities.

Patti I need a plan. Everyday, (I’m) in my chair even if it's not the same time each day (with) my list by my side. I need to plan beforehand (to) make my own routine. Oddly, I do this for my life and always have but have never done it for my writing… I've been published many times in many books and mags, have a monthly column in a Christian newspaper, and have just been "floating" here due to life, living, excuses. Time to begin again.

Mary Yes, and aren't these times like new seasons.

Robin I don't have a routine, but I did find two books at my local bookseller. One has 300 writing prompts and the other one 500…. So far, I've worked on three prompts, and for me that is something!

Wendy I seriously seek God's Word first thing. If the verse of the day doesn't inspire me, I read something else. I usually find something that speaks to me and before I know it, I have completed another post!

Sharon What helps is having a plan to write every day. What hinders is all the many things that knock plan A out the window. But what encourages is knowing that He is Lord of all and that if it's His Will for me to write, it will be done in His time. I can trust Him with it all.

Mary Amen!

Patti I actually did think about this last night and decided the plan, the daily-ness of the writing, and routine are all good, but not so that it has to be exactly the same time every day or in exactly the same way, and that mixing up my routine regularly will be okay.

Joe I'm not sure if I'd consider it a routine or not, (but) I tend to have a specific time…I write, typically at night.

Judith I can't seem to get into a good routine. I just write whenever I have time and try to make time. Usually 10pm to 2am works the best.

Robert I have two jobs, so my time is limited. I write when I can, but prayer and the Bible are my greatest inspiration.

Martha My mornings are for the gym and household chores. As I post a bi-weekly blog, I set my writing time beginning right after lunch and try to keep several days ahead of the next post. When I was finishing up my most recent novel, I wrote every afternoon without fail. Of course, before beginning any writing, I go to God in prayer that my words will glorify Him. A hindrance to my work? If I allow myself to get distracted by Facebook or email during my dedicated writing time. My suggestion to anyone who is a serious writer is to leave behind all frivolity until you've reached a reasonable goal for your writing day.

Chanda I try to blog once a week, journal daily, and work on other writings the rest of the days.

John My routine is panic at the last minute. What keeps me on track is that panic. What hinders me is procrastination, TV, apathy, and the general doldrums. Looks like I have some work to do.

Lorie My New Year’s promise…was to stop procrastinating and hold myself accountable to finish what I start. The only thing that would hinder me is my health issues when pain gets in the way with my wrist.

Joyce A messy office hinders my work. That reminds me; I need to clean today.

Mary Thank you all for your responses. And praise God for guiding us and giving us the time we need to do the writing the Lord wants us to do!

©2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet, writer, founder of the Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook, and lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church

Friday, April 10, 2015

How do you juggle writing projects in the works?

QUESTION: Do you have more than one writing project going at a time? If so, how do you know what to write next?

John Yes, I have more than one project at a time. I am not organized. I have tried to shoehorn myself into some semblance of organization, and it just does not work for me. I hold down two part-time jobs, manage my own (online) store, treasure hunt, and, of course, write. I find myself bouncing among projects like a run-away ping pong ball.

Lynn I always have more than one project going, often way too many. This can impact my efficiency negatively because sometimes it takes me a while to get back into a project when I've been working on a different one. I've tried to commit to finishing some projects before beginning yet another one, and sometimes listing how many things I'm halfway done with helps me do that. On the other hand, just as I've been working on multiple projects at once, I'll often finish multiple projects all around the same time.

Mary I also have several books going, but if I outline each, it’s much easier to get my head back into wherever I left off.

Samuel I’m planning to write two books at a go, but I haven't started. The question is how do you separate your mind between two books with two different ideas -- one for high school youth and the other for those preparing for ministry? Is it possible to write many projects at a go and still have the expected results?

Mary Samuel, if you write down your theme, purpose, intended readers, summary, and a chapter outline for each nonfiction book, that will help you to keep each one on track and be able to work back and forth without confusing the two. This same information, along with a couple of chapters, is also what writers need for a book proposal to send to the editor of a traditional or indie publishing company.

Dianne I just finished an heirloom gift book for granddaughters of all ages, and the same day I mailed it out, I worked diligently on an inspirational book I have pondered all winter for tweens. As well, I'm always writing greeting card lines. To answer your question about how I know what to write next: I just look around at all the amazing resources life has to offer!

Keren Yes, I currently have about 18 ideas on the boil, of which about 5 get regular attention and the others get added to now and again. It is strange but seems to work for me. I only started writing with real intent 4 years ago and have 8 completed works. Whether they are any good or not is another matter! I hope they are. I pay close attention in prayer as to what the Lord is guiding me to write, but I also have some less serious stuff on the go.

Deborah Yes, I have a work in the writing process and a work in the publishing process going at all times. I also have other projects I do in between. If I come up with an idea, I put enough information down to know where to pick up when I get back to it.

Alan Out and about I see potential pics, but it can be months before the full poem emerges.

Vicky I always have several (projects going.) I am usually in the edit of one while working on another. And most of the time, there is a third or fourth in the beginning stages. I find this helps prevent writer's block.

Wanda 1. Sometimes, but not currently. 2. It might sound cliché, but it is the truth. The Holy Spirit tells me what to write.

Dorothy I write so many books at once and I get so many requests, my poetry is always there (when) any poem (is) needed. I rely on Jesus to provide.

Brenda (I) always have several (projects) going. I write on whichever one comes to the surface at the moment. I work on one for several months, then often put it aside to work on another, unless, of course, I have a deadline. Then I stick to it until it's finished. Deadlines make all the difference. And yes, prayer is a big factor.

Anne Yes, because some (manuscripts) just scream till they are written, and others patiently wait their turn. The squeaky wheel often does get the grease. And the truth is, some need time to simmer, so the words get in their rightful place.

Cherrilynn Wow! I was just praying about what to write or continue writing. I have 5 books in the works, all nonfiction – acrostic Bible study (and) life application books. The Bible verse God gave me (is) 2 Corinthians 8:11, “Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.”

Marcie Prayer is definitely the biggest process of my writings. I do have several things in the works. It really depends on how my creative juices are flowing and what I believe God is asking me to do right now.

Lesley I have several going now, and I'm working on understanding how to prioritize.

Glynn Almost always (I have more than one project going.) Right now, (I have) a couple of writing projects for The High Calling, my blog, a poetry manuscript, and ongoing work on a novel. I usually "write by deadline" – work on that most imminently due.

Jeff I am a one-and-done kind of guy.

Bobbie Yep, but I can only actually focus on one.

Patti I usually have two or three going at one time, different genres. I find it helps to leave one project for a while then work on another. Going back and forth gives me a fresh perspective on the work I've done. As far as how I know what to write next – whenever an idea pops in my head I put it on a list (a mini-synopsis, so to speak) and after one project ends, I go to that list.

John I have a few. I write until I decide to continue on a different one. Since I produce one article a week, I have to stop certain projects to continue on bigger ones before I can get back to my original project.

Dorothy I work (on) lots of books at the same time. I have so many projects going, I have 128 written and am working on (many) others, (but I) usually try to work on different (ones at the) same time. They are all genres, and people ask me to do tributes.

Joan I am a journalist, poet, and author, so I have projects in each category and am always thinking of new ones.

Joyce Yes, I have devotions, conference topics, and fiction floating around my computer at all times. I prioritize in order of deadlines – either my own or mandated – and that is how I do it.

Linda (I have a) nonfiction book completed and edited, ready to pitch when the Holy Spirit drops the green flag. (I’m) counting 16 hymn texts in the works (tracked in a spreadsheet); various poems, devotions, and design/editing projects besides my "regular" bookkeeping work and other obligations. If there's a submission deadline, that's a factor, but otherwise I rely on my Holy Ghost Writer to direct me with an irresistible (urge) to work on a certain thing. And, of course, if a hymn lyric or poem line or devotional premise jumps into my head, I grab the moment to record it. I finish it before moving to something else if it flows reasonably well, but often I get so far and need to let it marinate before finishing.

Karin Yes, I have two book projects going. I can sometimes tell when to focus on something when one writing project progresses faster than another.

Yolanda I’m truly relying on God. For one of the books I am currently writing, God gave me the title at the end of the first. It now makes sense over 7 years later!

Cate I can't split myself in two, but that's just me.

Kathryn I am never at a loss for writing projects. I have them in various states of disarray or completion. Currently, I have a list of previously (performed) plays and dramas I need to put in a print-publish condition…. Then, (I’m also working on) the second book in the Fable Springs Parables series, a chapter book series of performance storytelling I am doing with my husband, a woman's devotional or two, and somewhere in there, I have two blogs to write. (I’m) trusting God to pay the bills as I do what He put me on this earth to do – write!

Mamie I have two book projects I'm writing. I often wonder how am I going to complete them, but I will. When I'm into the core of anything, it just comes (down) to what to write and how to organize it.

Christine Too many!

Andrea Three projects going at any stage at once is about my limit.

Angela Yes, I am writing and editing my next collection of poetry and trying to write my memoir. The memoir is going slow because it requires more thought. The poetry is inspired by God, so to write it is easy, but organizing takes time…. I want to set a theme for this group.

Beth I have twenty! What do I work on first? The one with the most notes in its folder…. (Then I) turn the notes into outlines, scenes, and/or chapters, flesh out the work, then edit. But I do work on several at a time in different genres, because I like variety – though it takes longer to get a book finished that way!

Gary Post, compile, and edit......I have no explanation of my madness. I just know that the first part is always fun, but becomes a drudgery. Motivation must be applied to have a "vision" for the finished product, or it just sits on a memory chip collecting cyber dust. Faith must come alive, I pray, in God's time.

Eileen Typically, I like to focus my writing efforts on one project at a time, but once in a while I have two going. Right now I'm working on my Savvy Sisters series and a Missionary Kid series. I get ideas from quieting my heart, seeking the Lord, and doing something else creative after I've finished a project. It refreshes my brain to give myself time to reflect, regroup, and relax between projects.

Yahshuah's Tabernacle As I experience "writer's block" on one book, I transition to another. Creativity continues to flow; productivity is also in effect, and God will continue to inspire along the way. …I have always multi-tasked for many years, so it helps me to transition to something else but maximize my potential on timelines I have established for myself. Many blessings from the Lord on your journey to success!

Mary Thank you for that blessing! And thanks to all of you for responding. I hope it helps you, as it does me, to see how most of us have so many ideas, we can hardly get to them all! God surely provides those ideas and our writing gifts, so I pray we readily discern when and what to write in Jesus' Name.

©2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, the founder of the Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook, posed the above question as she, too, has been juggling poems, devotionals, blogs, and book manuscripts for many years. Besides having 27 books in all genres published by traditional and indie publishers, Mary has self-published 3 Kindle e-books for poets and writers, including the Christian Writer’s Guide. For a minimal fee, she also provides one-on-one feedback on poems, devotionals, children’s picture books, and book proposals through her blog.