Friday, May 29, 2015
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Recently hubby and I were blessed to hear Christian Success Coach Dr. Dave Martin speak at our church. With thought-provoking concepts and stand-up-comic-belly-laugh humor, he preached an entire sermon focused on one verse with the acronym DARE.
Hang with me. I promise not to summarize the entire sermon or go into all of the letters, just E.
As in…expect favor from God, the Creator of the entire world. Who filled it with a sun that lights our days and warms our backs, and makes it rise and set without us ever having to lift a finger. He created seas that roar, rivers that trickle, and mountains that surge to the heavens. He crafted man from dust and woman from man and gifts us with precious little souls with miniature toes and fingers, exact replicas of their mommies and daddies. He’s amazing, right? He’s able to do infinitely more than we can ever imagine, but --
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
That got me thinking. What if we added “like a mentor” to the end of what we’re doing? “I yelled at my kids, like a mentor.” “I talked on the phone, like a mentor.” And what I’d like to talk about here: “Critiqued, like a mentor.”
It is so easy to give criticism, and not so easy to give it constructively. Yes, we can often see errors. No, sometimes we don’t know how to fix them. I think for writers a good rule is to only give feedback that has the potential to help. It’s fine to say so if you know something isn’t quite right about your fellow author’s piece but don’t know what it is. That’s enough reaction for the writer to go back and try to figure it out. But what I’m talking about is criticizing something because you personally don’t like it or would not have written it that way yourself. That does nothing to help or to mentor that writer.
For example, say your writer friend shared a piece about using leeches for healing that contains some explicit information, stuff you could barely stomach. Just because you wouldn’t normally read it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have merit. But she may think EVERYONE should read her piece. It could be very helpful, after all. How do you critique that? Let’s say it together: LIKE A MENTOR! It could go something like this:
“Joan, who would your target audience be?”
“But not everyone needs it, right? Let’s brainstorm and see who might be the most likely to read your article—doctors, diabetics with wounds that won’t heal, those who look for alternative treatments. That way you can avoid those who might be a bit put-off by it and would never consider leeches in the first place. Those people are not the ones you are trying to reach.”
Choose your words carefully to not only spare feelings but to also lead the writer to a way of thinking that will bring success.
Critiquing is worthless if it is not helpful. No matter how much you want to be kind, the writer will not improve unless someone points out his/her errors. But when you do so “like a mentor” you are leading, guiding, and advising the writer on his/her way to being read.
Do you use critique partners? Did it take you a while to find the right one or find the right balance and tone in critiques?
Cindy Thomson’s newest novel is Annie’s Stories (Tyndale House Publishers, July 2014,) the second in her Ellis Island series. She is also the author of Brigid of Ireland, Celtic Wisdom: Treasures From Ireland, and co-author of a baseball hall of famer biography Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story. She has written numerous magazine articles mostly on Irish genealogy, and blogs at www.cindyswriting.com. Find her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/cindyswriting and Twitter: @cindyswriting
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
It’s in your DNA.
How you answer every professional occupation question. Maybe something like: “I’m a receptionist, mom, nurse, librarian…but I moonlight as a writer.”
Calling ourselves a “writer” is never far from our vocabulary and we usually wear the title with pride. Unless you’re experiencing a day when you want to kick this expensive, but oh-so-therapeutic (depending on the day) habit to the curb.
You can’t stop being a writer anymore than you can stop breathing.
Even when you put your writing aside, you see the world differently—through the eyes of someone who knows story inside and out.
But the truth is, being a writer isn’t for everyone.
It’s hard work.
Tough, blood-letting, tear-inducing, hard work. You’ll suffer sleep deprivation, friends who misunderstanding your devotion, and struggles with fake people that insist on arguing back.
But I don’t need to tell you know this. Because there is 100% of a chance that if you’re reading this, you already know what I’m talking about.
So why do you write? Why do you put words on lined paper or a blank screen? Why do you invest in writer’s conferences, how-to books, and editorial work?
We all know it won’t pencil out financially in the end.
We don’t just do it because we’re in love with words. If that were the only case, we’d just stay home in our PJ’s and write in our evenings and weekends.
We do it because we’re following in our Savior’s footsteps. The greatest Man who has ever walked this earth and ever will walk this earth told story to communicate His point. He wove his words together to use story to reach the lost, the hurting, the broken, the thick-in-the-head (and let’s be honest, that’s all of us.)
When we tell a story, no matter how good or bad it is, we’re stepping closer to our Savior in a different way. That’s not to say we’re more special, important or spiritual than anyone else. (Heavens, no! Someone slap me if I ever go that far.)
But we have an opportunity to reach the lost, the hurting, the broken, the poor in spirit with the words of a story like our Savior did.
So partner with Him in that story-weaving process. Partner with Him to tell those around you why these words are so important to you.
And remember that truth on the days when the words are tight. The flow is blocked and the joy is gone.
Then go read one of Jesus’ parables and remind yourself why you call yourself a storyteller.
|About the Author|
Monday, May 25, 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
|C. Kevin Thompson|