One Part Calling, Another Part Compulsion

Not long ago, someone asked why I chose to pursue writing. Responses for how, when, and where came to mind, but why was more elusive. After a moment’s consideration, the only way I could describe it was: “It was one part calling, another part compulsion.”

Eric Liddell, portrayed in the film Chariots of Fire, said, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Now, I’m no runner, but fortunately, this principle applies to everyone. I know that when I write, I feel His pleasure. Some days behind the desk can be brutal but never worse than the days spent away, fighting this compulsion-calling. Continue reading “One Part Calling, Another Part Compulsion”

New Beginnings

ID-100254453It’s spring. Finally. Branches bear the tint of new life. The robins are in full force. Easter has been, bringing with it the reminder of that one Life that has made everything new.

It was such a long winter. More than once during those bitter months I wondered if the season would ever end. In many ways, winter personifies the writer’s struggle. Isolating. Bleak. Endless. No fruit, only icy gusts of rejection—or worse: silence.

As harsh as winters can be, without dormancy, there would be no spring. Writers’ winters may in some ways drain our tired souls when we feel there’s nothing left to tap, but at the Continue reading “New Beginnings”

To Outline, Wing It, or Both?

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s said there are two types of writers: those who work methodically off an outline and those who write by the seat of their pants, guiding their characters into the unknown with pen, paper, and intuition their only provisions. Another type that is commonly overlooked is the hybrid. In a world of logical classification, they are the platypuses.  They clutch notes about their story arc and confess in whispers how they don’t know what the next scene will be.

All three methods have merit. And difficulties. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Continue reading “To Outline, Wing It, or Both?”

No Choice in the Matter

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“What made you choose that?”

The question made me smile. The gentleman next to me didn’t ask it in a rude way. Maybe because I don’t seem like someone who’d be interested in the textile mill industry in late-1800s Philadelphia, he genuinely wanted to know why I’d chosen it for the background of my story.

Little did the gentleman guess that I’m not known for being decisive. My indecisiveness is actually legendary in my family. Even the old “Eeny, meeny, miney, moe” technique didn’t work for me as a kid. Continue reading “No Choice in the Matter”

Words from WFTS

For this post, I wanted to share some of the inspiring quotes from the Writing for the Soul conference I had the privilege of attending the weekend before last. There were many great speakers and so many good points, but here are a few quotes that really stood out.

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“The joy of telling a tale gives readers a good time reading it.” ~James Scott Bell

“The writing feeds the living. The living feeds the writing.” ~Brandilyn Collins

“It’s only too late if you don’t start today.” ~McNair Wilson Continue reading “Words from WFTS”

Giving Goals a Fighting Chance

DSCN0695 - CopyHappy New Year! The beginning of a fresh year reminds me of a blank notebook. Empty pages have always filled me with inspiration, and in regards to the new year, I’m looking forward to seeing how each new page of 2014 will be filled.

Of course, this is the time of year for resolutions. Love ’em or hate ’em it is admittedly the perfect time to make long-term plans. But after years of resolving, my solitary resolution this year is not to make any more.

Instead, I’ve set goals. And in doing so, I learned a very important lesson about game Continue reading “Giving Goals a Fighting Chance”

The Color Red: the Brighter Side

When I counted every person who had critiqued the chapter I blogged about last week, I calculated twenty. Never before have I had that large of a critique group, and never before has my writing changed so drastically from start to finish.

Over two months ago, before another pair of eyes had seen that chapter, I’d rewritten it a dozen times. I was not satisfied with the result, but I didn’t know what else to do with it. Then came the residency program (the class I also mentioned last week) and I came home with a stack of critiques. One month later, with a little encouragement, I began working toward a contest for first chapters, and I found myself asking for even more Continue reading “The Color Red: the Brighter Side”