Encouragement for Faithful Writers everywhere. Please share with your writing friends by forwarding this post. (Reading time: under five minutes)
November 30, 2019
Hi, Faithful Writer,
The only writing commitment I have made between now and the end of the year is to write one sentence a day in addition to all the holiday cards I send out to family and friends. I’m trying not to be a slave to the calendar, so it’s possible I’ll be sending out New Year’s and Valentine’s cards if I run out of Christmas season.
The Hope*Writers Conference
I recently returned from a wonderful writer’s conference put on by the Hope*Writers group to which I belong. It was a terrific combination of motivation and inspiration along with practical tips and tricks for writers who feel called to write and most of whom want to make a living with it too. The Hope*Writers group opens its enrollment three times a year, but here’s my affiliate link for getting the “Top 20 questions writers ask.”
A key takeaway was to take action, baby steps if necessary. It’s tempting for writers to read and think and take classes and think some more, but we need to be writing! At the end of every presentation, we were asked to write down one small thing we would take action on when we got back. That’s a good practice. “Done is better than perfect.”
Most of the conference attendees were between 30 and 50 years old, so I was among the few older attendees. Much of the advice called for playing a “long game,” and at first this was discouraging for those of us in our sixties or older who feel time is not on our side. One participant quipped that we were just “late bloomers.”
“But no,” I countered. “We’ve been blooming all our lives! We’re just putting forth a new kind of bloom!” In fact, one of the speakers reminded us that when we live our best, fullest lives, we feed our future writing. He urged us to pay attention. “What is life saying to you?” he asked. Journals or notes written in the midst of busy or earlier lives may become fodder for rich writing now or later.
“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” ~ Virginia Woolf
Faithful Reflection: Letting Go
As the responsibilities of two nonagenarians—and a retired husband who, thankfully, loves to be with me— take more of my time, I have been prayerfully considering what priorities might need to change and how I might faithfully move into the new year with grace, clarity, and purpose. To that end, I have decided to close the Faithful Writers Facebook group by the end of December and narrow my focus to continue the Heartspoken blog and pursue my passion for encouraging others to write more personal, handwritten notes.
I have loved my journey with you since May of 2018, and I hope we’re ending on a high note. I know you won’t be abandoned, because there are more writing groups and resources available to you—both online and locally—than you can possibly take advantage of.
You’ll still be able to find Faithful Writer content, including this and past Faithful Writer Toolkit newsletters, under the “Writer Resources” category at Heartspoken.com. You will continue to get my monthly Heartspoken Compass Points newsletters, from which you can unsubscribe if you ever feel it no longer serves you. You’ll also continue to find content and encouragement for your writing life on the Heartspoken Facebook page. Please “Like” it if you haven’t already.
I ask for your understanding and prayers for the future just as I hold you in my own prayers. I’m easy to find through my blog or social media, so I hope you’ll stay in touch. And don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a Faithful Writer question!
This is the perfect time of year to consider whether there’s something in your life you need to let go too.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43: 18-19
Reading is a writer’s power fuel
“Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed?”~ Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
Reading will always be an important part of my Heartspoken and writer’s life. At its best, a good book expands my thinking, enlarges my heart, and feeds my imagination. Here are two recent five-star reads:
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
This beautiful, bittersweet novel shines a light on the experience of second-generation Indian-American Muslims caught in the crossfire of cultural and geopolitical pressures of the 21st century.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
I listened to this on Audible and was totally transported to the world of Hogwarts and its magical characters. Unlike years ago, when I read Book 1 in the series, I was reading this time through the lens of a writer, and from that standpoint, it is brilliant. The narration by Jim Dale was marvelous.
I’d love to know what you’re reading right now. Hit “Reply” to this email and let me know. CLICK HERE to see my entire reading list for 2018 and 2019. When you purchase any books from the Amazon links on that page, the small affiliate fee helps support this newsletter and my blog. And you can find the reviews I’ve posted on my blog HERE or by choosing “Books” under the “Explore” menu of my website.
Faithful Writing Quotes
“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” ~ Terry Pratchett
“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” ~ Orson Scott
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou
Writing Tip of the Month
Read widely about spiritual topics that call to you
Read devotionals, prayer books, testimonials, theology, sermons, and journals—both contemporary and classic. Read outside your own faith tradition. Who are your favorite authors’ favorite authors?
You can find images for this and earlier Tips for #FaithfulWriters HERE.
November Writer’s Resource
This writing coach’s name has popped up so often in the last few months, that I finally checked out her website and podcast, both chock full of fantastic resources, encouragement, and tips for writers. Some of it focuses on getting published, but not all, by any means.
Lo and behold, Ann was also a speaker at the Hope*Writers conference, and I am currently taking a 90-day course she’s teaching on how to write a nonfiction book proposal.
What I particularly love about Ann’s style is its down-to-earth “You can do this” tone of voice, both in person (her podcast) and in her writing (her blog). Do yourself a favor and bookmark her website; then peruse her home page to get a flavor for the variety of her content. Then dig in as you have time and take advantage of her generous sharing of knowledge and wisdom.
In case you missed it, I posted in the Faithful Writers group yesterday about some writing resources that offer Black Friday sales — many of them last through the weekend.
New on the Heartspoken blog
Heartspoken Compass Points November 2019: This prayer was handwritten by my father, James H. Herbert, in the back of his prayer book given to him by his father, R. Beverley Herbert. More than 70 years later, our family still reads it at Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.
It’s Time To Get Right With Money: by guest Cyndi Briggs. This introduces her four-part e-course
9 Holiday Card Tips for Business Owners…and Everyone! by guest and international etiquette expert Lydia Ramsey. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa are among the great reasons to connect with your customers and prospects during the holiday season. These tips will help.
Our Family Prayer: This prayer was handwritten by my father, James H. Herbert, in the back of his prayer book given to him by his father, R. Beverley Herbert. More than 70 years later, our family still reads it at Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.
Heartspoken Moment: Always Count The Cost: Everything you own and every choice you make comes with a cost, either up front or ongoing. You should always count the cost.
Our Heroes Don’t Have To Be Perfect: Veterans Day Reflection: Our veterans, living and dead, are all heroes to me, and thinking about heroes led me to think about revisionist history.
Pray (and Write) Without Ceasing: The October Faithful Writers Toolkit – Encouragement for Faithful Writers everywhere.
Saints You Should Know: Celebrating All Saints Day: All Saints Day is the perfect time to reflect on those saints on whose shoulders we stand: those who have mentored us, nourished us, taught us, and loved us.
If you’re not receiving my other Heartspoken Newsletter “Compass Points,” you’re missing out on great content to support and inspire the Heartspoken Life. Email me if you’d like me to send you a sample or CLICK HERE to get it in your own Inbox each month.
For the rest of 2019, keep an eye on the Faithful Writers Facebook group before it closes in January. I post articles and resources I think you’ll find valuable.
P.S. Have a question or comment? Need some help? Just email me…it will come straight to me and I’ll respond.