Here’s the June 2019 issue of the Faithful Writers Toolkit newsletter: encouragement and resources for Faithful Writers everywhere. Please share with your writing friends.
June 22, 2019
Faithful Reflection: Beware being too preachy
I am productive most of the time, but I have had a mental block about finishing a 40-day devotional I started several years ago and completed a rough draft. I pulled it out recently and got bogged down immediately because it was too “preachy.” It sounded like I was preaching to the reader instead of sharing my stories, life, or emotions around the lessons I was trying to convey. Now I’m going back through each devotion and trying to remember the thoughts and emotions that stirred in me when I first wrote it, asking God for guidance on each one. And I’m trying to be ruthless by cutting out sections completely if they don’t feel sufficiently #Heartspoken.
If you’re getting bogged down too, take a look at your writing and ask yourself if a story could speak to your reader more eloquently than a mini-sermon.
What are you reading?
“Summer reading” has become synonymous with the idea of stretching out in a porch hammock or on a beach chair to catch up on reading you don’t have time for otherwise. It may be a bit lighter than usual, but not always. I recently finished three books I can recommend for your summer reading:
The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland. Who doesn’t love a book in which the troubled protagonist finds happiness and her true calling from books she has read? In this case, the bookstore where she works to escape from her haunting past attracts just the right books and characters to turn her life around.
The Time In Between by Maria Duenas. Historical fiction at its best, intertwined with drama, romance, and intrigue. The protagonist, Sira Quiroga, escapes to Morocco from her native Spain during its bloody civil war in the late 1930s. Nazis and Allies mingle socially in a toxic brew of political currying for favor, and Sira is pressed into service by the British to become a spy and report back on the gossip she hears as couturier for a clientele of Nazi officers’ wives. This book was a bestseller in Spain and has been recently translated beautifully into English.
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. What a surprise that this book, written for middle-grade audiences, should be so life-changing for me…”a story that will forever change how we all look at anyone with a disability.” 11-year-old Melody has cerebral palsy. Her brilliant mind is trapped inside an uncooperative and wheelchair-bound body. But her voice as the book’s narrator is spunky and funny. She definitely doesn’t want you to feel sorry for her. When a special computer gives her an audible voice for the first time, watch out — there’s not much that can stop this wonderful heroine.
If you’re interested in my personal reading, click HERE. When you use Amazon affiliate links in this post, the small affiliate fee will help offset the cost of this newsletter and my blog.
What are you reading that’s making you think, teaching you something new, or inspiring you in some way? Let me know at elizabethc(at)heartspoken(dot)com.
Faithful Writing Quotes
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” ~ Franz Kafka
“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.” ~ Robert Benchley
“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” ~ Neil Gaiman
“You can make anything by writing.” ~ C.S. Lewis
What are your favorite writing quotes? Let me know at elizabethc(at)heartspoken(dot)com.
Writing Tip of the Month
There are lots of ways God can place writing content on your heart. The topics that interest you could well be important clues to what you’re being called to write about.
“Write only about things that interest you. ” ~ C.S. Lewis
What you’re after is divine inspiration, not divine obligation. Pay attention to what excites you and quickens your spirit. This is where you’ll find your most powerful writing ideas.
I’d love to hear some of your favorite writing advice. Let me know at elizabethc(at)heartspoken(dot)com.
June Vocabulary Challenge:
Instead of a challenge, this is more of a step back in time to see what odd words were being used 100 years ago. It’s a vocabulary quiz from 1915. Today, Merriam-Webster dubs it “The Vocabulary Quiz from Hell.”
June Resource: Hope*Writers Podcast
This podcast is no longer creating new episodes (its principal, Emily P. Freeman, has another podcast called The Next Right Thing which is wonderful but not specifically for writers). But The Hope*Writers podcast episodes are archived HERE and offer some great tips and inspiration for writers of all kinds. Topics include how to capture and organize your writing ideas, how to plan your perfect writing day, how to make money writing, book launch secrets and much more. Good stuff.
June Writing Prompt
This is a picture my husband took from the side of the country road leading to our house, the Massanutten mountain range in the distance. But if I didn’t know where it was taken, it might set my mind to wondering about country roads and where they can take you. What little creatures live or hide in those fencerows? What makes the mountains blue? Set the timer on your smartphone for 15 minutes. Don’t think; don’t edit; just WRITE! Feel free (but not obligated) to share your results in the comment section below.
Faithful Writers Spotlight: Teddy A. Jones
Faithful Writers member Rev. Teddy A. Jones is a Tri-national Caribbean servant of God. He was educated in Grenada, Jamaica, USA, and South Africa. He is currently Chairman of The Missionary Church Association in Jamaica and Pastor of Grace Missionary Church.
Rev. Teddy is a Public Theologian with publications in the Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology. He is the author of a recently released book Let’s Major In The Minors, available on Amazon. The book is based on an inspiration he received to prepare a series of messages on the five Bible books that have just one chapter: Obadiah, Philemon, II John, III John, and Jude. ‘Upon closer examination of their content,” he said, “one can’t help but notice that they are equally potent. They are packed with the same major clues into the nature of God’s essential character.”
Connect with Teddy
Blog: Building Dreams, Watering Visions, Nurturing Ideas
Podcast: “Note Wordy With Teddy”
New on the Heartspoken blog
HeartspokenMoment: Always Choose Love – By video and some written reflections, I share some quick thoughts on what is both the simplest yet also the hardest and most important choice we’ll ever make.
Heartspoken Compass Points June 2019: Mid-Year Check-In– the monthly newsletter to support and inspire your #HeartspokenLife. We explore the four compass points: North/Faith; South/Connection; East/Self-Awareness; and West/Nature.
How Am I Doing? Checking In With My 19 for 2019 List – It’s good to stop and take stock of your life from time to time. Pulling out my 19 for 2019 list was a good way to see where I can celebrate and where I need to recalibrate. You can do this too!
Never Forget Their Service: A Memorial Day Tribute – I shared a video reflection about my father and others who have served our country.
View From The Bench: Late Spring 2019 – Get a cup of coffee and sit beside me on the bench outside my kitchen window. There’s so much going on outside!
It’s Never Too Late To Find Success, Happiness, Or Your Soul Mate – This guest post from my friend Cynthia Trevino tells how she took steps to create the mental and emotional space she needed to shift her priorities and break some unhealthy patterns in her life. What she learned can be a blueprint for finding clarity and focus in pursuit of your own most #HeartspokenLife.
How is your writing going?
What’s going well?
What’s hanging you up?
Let me know so I can help you celebrate or look for resources to get you unstuck.
See you in July!
P.S. Have a question or comment? Need some help? Just reply to this email…it will come straight to me and I’ll respond.
P.P.S. PLEASE SHARE THIS NEWSLETTER with your writing friends! It is no longer being published, but you can access archived issues of The Faithful Writers Toolkit HERE.