During my graduate studies in editing and publishing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, I participated in only one creative writing class. Taught by author Craig Nova, we studied the art of fiction by both reading about the process and practicing it together. It was both inspiring and terrifying. In retrospect, I should have paid attention to how alive the experience made me feel. Continue reading “A Tuition-Free Education in Writing”
I replied to a Tweet the other day asking what my procrastination device is. My reply: It’s in my blood…so, life. I find reasons to put off just about anything. Laundry, returning phone calls, making appointments to get my hair cut. Gracious, I even put off going to the bathroom, which usually leads to passing people at a breakneck speed in the hall at work with a wave of the hand and some quick muttering of, “Yea, yea, Bob. Great idea. Let’s set up a meeting…ok, great, yea, gotta go.” Continue reading “This Procrastinator’s New Outlook: Disciplined Writing”
There’s a lot of talk happening right now about acceptance. Who deserves it. Who needs it. Why we should or shouldn’t give it. I’ve been open about my personal theology to friends and family, and I’ll happily declare it again here. For me, it comes down to one simple truth:
Christ loves me and you, so I love you.
End of story.
Join me for Write a While Wednesdays! Set your timer for 15 minutes and just write…about whatever. We’re not after quality here…just a few minutes of fun and free writing time without pressure or pretense. I’ll share mine here. Share yours with a link in a comment below or on social media using #WriteAWhileWednesdays.
Ready? GO! Continue reading “Write a While Wednesdays”
You know that bookish kid portrayed in movies who stays up into the wee hours sneaking a few more precious moments of reading under the blanket with a flash light? Yea, that was me. I devoured the pages with a voracity for the worlds I was exposed to. The characters became my friends (and sometimes my enemies). I wasn’t satisfied until the last word on the last page was read. And then, curiously, I was often both relieved and sad. If you are an avid reader, this last sentence needs no explanation. Continue reading “5 Books that Inspired Me to Write”
When I joined my first formal critique group through the American Christian Fiction Writers I can honestly say my expectations were simple. My manuscript was professionally edited and I’d already spent time rewriting. I was ready to begin sending queries to potential agents. I expected compliments peppered with a few catches of mechanical errors (there are always some lurking around). Boy, was I in for an awakening. Continue reading “5 Things I’ve Learned From My Critique Group”
We all get passionate about something. When that passion aims to evoke change in others, it’s often called finding our soapbox. For some it’s politics, social justice, or animal rights. Others feel passionate enough about clean eating, breastfeeding, essential oils, or hybrid cars to tell others about the benefits or pitfalls.
If I had to declare my soapbox it would be so very simple:
There it is. Short and sweet. Be kind. Continue reading “My Soapbox”
Ba da da da dum / I got the blues…
Ba da da da dum / I got the getting critiqued blues…
Ba da da da dum / …the just-got-my-first-rough-critique-of-my-novel-that-I-thought-was-almost-done-and-no-body’s-gonna-like-cause-it-obviously-stinks-so-why-even-bother-blues.
Overly dramatic, perhaps? I reacted like the stereotypical writer/creative that turns critique into self-loathing.
Last week I wrote about the distinction between judgment and critique. I did so in anticipation of joining American Christian Fiction Writers‘ Scribes critique group. I quickly did my two required critiques that earned me my submission of the first chapter of Good Graces. Continue reading “The Getting Critiqued Blues”
The first time I remember being judged by a group of my peers occurred on a dark, dreary day in the second grade at Winegard Elementary School. It was the annual second grade spelling bee for which I had studied for weeks. Although confident that I had earned my way to the final two spellers, my clammy hands gave away my nervousness. The final round. I looked out over the crowd of my classmates watching intently (the classmates of the winner received an ice cream party — a lot was at stake).
“Spell kite,” the librarian-turned-spelling-bee-moderator asked the cocky boy standing nearest her. Looking over at me he answered her without hesitation. “K-I-T-E.” The students in his class cheered, fists pumping high into the air.
This was it. It was up to me. Spell one more word right and I catapulted us into overtime and another chance to win. Get it wrong, and it was all over.
What distinguishes a writer from an author?
As I’ve worked on my first novel for a year and a half now, I wonder if I’ve discovered the distinction. I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. Short poems as a child. Assigned essays and papers as a student. Letters to a loved one. Then…
I became an author when the story I had to tell
was birthed from the desire for others to read it.
Sound simple enough? No real light bulb moment there. But stay with me. A few years ago, I felt a stirring within me to tell a story I wanted to share. For consumption and experience. My own life experiences through over thirty years gave me confidence in some truths I had learned, of forgiveness and acceptance and true love. They weren’t easy lessons to learn and I wanted to share these “ah-ha” moments in a way that might really stick with you – through story. Of course, I hope readers are entertained. But so much more than enjoyment, I cannot help but crave giving others the chance to “meet” new friends and “see” new places. If you’re a lover of fiction, you know what I mean.
I’m speaking here of authors of fiction. But it’s the same, really, for authors of non-fiction. Their desire to commentate on issues, explain solutions, educate about the unknown, and so much more comes from the same place. Maybe we see it as the degree to which one is called to write. Authors are called to not just write, but write for the good of those who will read it. I sure hope that doesn’t sound narcissistic. Heavens, that’s not how I feel. Rather, it’s a humbling thing to have the opportunity to share what is deep within. What goes beyond.
Are you a writer? An author? I’d love to hear what you see as the distinction between the two. Good news, friend, we’re all a draft in the making. Not sure yet, just scribble a note in the margin and come back later.