Monday, December 21, 2020

Farewell to Seriously Write by Annette M. Irby

 

A little history

It’s hard to believe, after eleven and a half years, that the time has come to say adieu. But don’t worry. All the posts will remain here on the blog for the foreseeable future, with a convenient search option in the sidebar if you’d like to look up a topic or guest’s name.

Warning, gushing ahead!

I remember the day in June of 2009 when I first had the vision for what Seriously Write could be. Previously, I’d launched a couple of blogs and shared articles and book reviews. I knew I wanted to provide an avenue to encourage writers. As a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) for a few years by that time, I’d had the honor of meeting many editors, authors, publishers, and fellow dreamers. I pondered asking them to guest post about writerly topics. Would they join in? They did! They wanted to give back too, while we promoted their work. A win-win.

Also, through ACFW, I met a local writing buddy, and we became very good friends. Right after launching this site I got in touch with my critique partner Dawn Kinzer and asked her if she’d be willing to join me in writing posts, scheduling guests, promoting, etc. She jumped in immediately. Thank you, Dawn! Seriously Write would not be what it is today without your faithful involvement for over a decade!

Through the years, other hostesses joined us to write posts, network, and schedule guests. Many, many authors, fellow editors, publishers, and fellow dreamers contributed. They shared devotions, how-tos, writing craft tips, journey-to-publication stories, and above all—encouragement. The writing life is challenging, given all the sacrifices and rejection. We wanted to tip the scales in the opposite direction and provide hope and support.

If you served as one of our hostesses over the years—thank you! I’d name you but I’d hate to leave anyone out. You are appreciated! My current fellow hostesses include: Dawn Kinzer, Sandy Ardoin, Terri Weldon, and Mary Felkins. Thank you for all you’ve done to enrich the writing community. Words aren’t enough, but God knows. May He richly bless you all for blessing writers!

Each hostess oversaw a weekday, and I tackled Mondays. I’ve had several awesome folks join me as regular contributors over the years. If you’re one of them, thank you! My current team for Mondays includes: Peter Leavell, Patty Nicholas-Boyte, and Melissa Henderson. Sending gratitude to you for your contributions and faithfulness month after month, year after year.

And dear readers of SW, know that we’ve prayed for you, that you’d be encouraged and blessed. That you’d find tips you could use. It’s been a privilege to serve you, and we hope you’ve found uplifting content here. Thank you for reading and sharing. You’ve encouraged us!

Writers rock!

If you’ve contributed to the blog, whether as a hostess, regular contributor, tech support, or a guest—thank you!! Seriously Write would not have survived this long without your contributions. May God richly bless you.

Technology changes a lot in eleven years! Gratitude especially goes out to Angie Arndt and Emily Conrad for answering panicked emails and helping the rest of us negotiate social media through those changes. You’ve saved the day several times. I think I speak for all the hostesses and some regular contributors when I say a hearty “thank you!”

Encouragement

If you’re here for a last dose of encouragement, here you go: Write on! Don’t give up! Continue studying books in your genre. Keep reading writerly blogs, articles, and books. You can use the search box on the right to find articles here on multiple aspects of the writing life, from homonyms to Hallmark movie adaptations. Keep learning the craft. There is always more to learn. There are always new ways to grow in your writing. Dream new dreams. Trust that God will both inspire your dreams and fulfill them as you delight in Him.

Benediction

We began Seriously Write with a dedication. So, it’s fitting to end with a benediction.

With that, brothers and sisters, I must say goodbye.
Make sure that you improve. Accept my encouragement.
Share the same attitude and live in peace.
The God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Cor. 13:11 GW


Go, and do your creative best for His glory!

Make a careful exploration of who you are and
the work you have been given,
and then sink yourself into that.
Don’t be impressed with yourself.
Don’t compare yourself with others.
Each of you must take responsibility for doing
the creative best you can with your own life.

Gal. 6:4-5 MSG


And finally, a personal favorite:

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.

Ps. 90:17 NKJV


Thank You, Jesus, for all You’ve done through SW and for blessing the work of our hands. Please guide each reader and writer into whatever is next. The glory is Yours.

With prayers and gratitude,

Annette, along with my fellow hostesses and regular contributors here at Seriously Write. We wish you all His best.

It's the end of an era at #SeriouslyWrite blog. Join @AnnetteMIrby as the blog signs off. #amwriting #authorlife

photo credit: pixabay

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Like the Closing of a Book by Sandra Ardoin

By now you know that we’re saying goodbye to Seriously Write, so I wanted to add my own farewell—or let’s just call it a “see you later”—to those of the others you’ve read this month. 

Don’t worry, you’ll still have access to past articles, and I hope you’ll come back here on occasion, looking for answers to some of your questions, or maybe some encouragement to keep plugging away in this business.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Are You Fervent About Your Writing? by JoAnn Durgin

Meme about being Fervent in Our Writing

Are you fervent about your writing?


In my ladies’ Bible study, we’re currently working through the book, Fervent, written by Priscilla Shirer. “Fervent” is an intriguing word, isn’t it? It’s not a word we’re used to hearing in everyday conversation. Most of the ladies in our group hadn’t heard of the word at all. Here’s the basic definition of fervent: “having or displaying a passionate intensity about something.”

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Saying Goodbye Can Be A Good Thing by Terri Weldon

This is my last post on Seriously Write. The last time I’ll ever pull up Blogger and load a post that will be published on This and That Thursday. It feels bittersweet.

My journey on Seriously Write has been progressive. I guest blogged, then became a regular contributor, and eventually moved to hostess when Dora Hiers felt led to pursue other writing related goals. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

The ladies on the blog: Annette Irby, Dawn Kinzer, Sandy Ardoin, Dora Hiers, Angie Arndt, and Mary Felkins have been a joy to work with. I’d also like to give a special shout out to the regular contributors I’ve been blessed to work with: Sally Shupe, Patti Jo Moore, Susan Tuttle, and Heidi Chiavaroli.

Sounds sad so far – right? So you may be wondering where the Saying Goodbye Can Be A Good Thing title comes in. Each stage of my Seriously Write journey has been filled with anticipation of what each step would bring. That’s even true of the end of the blog.

I know God isn’t through with me or my writing yet, so I’m left to ask, “What’s next, Lord?” Seeing what God has planned and anticipating what the future holds is exciting. Knowing I’ll have more time to write or time to serve a writing group in some extra capacity is encouraging. Is the end of Seriously Write scary? Not really. When we discussed ending the blog it seemed as if God was leading us to do so. We may not know always what His plans are for us, but we know they are far greater than anything we could plan for ourselves.

Seriously Write has been good to me. I’ve made friendships I hope to never lose. A quote often attributed to Dr. Seuss says it best, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

So I leave you today with a smile. I’m feeling joyful that I was invited to be a part of Seriously Write. Blessings my friends – both now and forever.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all." —2 Thessalonians 3:16 NLT 

Saying Goodbye Can Be A Good Thing



A quote often attributed to Dr. Seuss says it best, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”



Terri Weldon
feels blessed to be a full time writer. She enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, and shopping for shoes. One of her favorite pastimes is volunteering as the librarian at her church. It allows her to shop for books and spend someone else’s money! Plus, she has the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction. She lives with her family in the Heartland of the United States. Terri is a member of ACFW and RWA. Readers can connect with Terri on her Website: www.TerriWeldon.com

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

‘For We Saw His Star when It Rose' by Patty Smith Hall

‘When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and stars, which thou hast ordained; What is a man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man that thou visitest him?’  Psalms 8:3-4

When I was a little girl, Christmas was my favorite time of the year. We’d put up our tree, one fresh from my Granddaddy Smith’s nursery, the second week of December and spend a Sunday afternoon decorating. I remember lying under it, watching all the twinkly lights reflect off the store-bought ornaments and tinsel and thinking it was the most beautiful tree I’d ever seen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Keep the Faith by Shannon Redmon

The End…Two words that carry a multitude of meanings. 

When a writer completes a story, these two words bring joy and satisfaction. When a chaotic year comes to a close, these two words signify relief and hope for a better tomorrow. 

Many of us look forward to 2020 coming to an end. But when these two words are included in a sweet goodbye to our very own Seriously Write Blog, sadness resounds and reflection begins. 

These two words may conclude the end of our blog, but the writers, contributors and readers will continue forward. Our call to write and read is still clear. Instead of an ending, let this be a new chapter in our lives, an open door, a new mission from God. He’s freed up time for us to do something new. 

And who doesn’t love something new? 

Especially at Christmas. 😊 πŸŽ„

Monday, December 14, 2020

A Writer's Final Repose

Seven and a half years have gone by since I first blogged for Seriously Write. The mission? Reach out to writers. Encourage them. Engage. Maybe entertain. But most of all, equip. Give writers tools to succeed. However, as you know, writers are freaks—their interests are so bizarre you never know what will win and what will be tossed onto the slush pile. I opened my history to see what received the most hits. 

So, for the past seven and a half years of my column, what have you freaks been interested in? 

Friday, December 11, 2020

A Season for Everything – My Farewell to Seriously Write by Dawn Kinzer

A Photo of a Tree in All 4 Seasons

A Season for Everything
My Farewell to Seriously Write 

One of my favorite Bible verses expresses so perfectly the path we’ve now chosen for Seriously Write.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens... (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)

This is the last post I’ll write for this blog, and I’ll admit that while I strongly believe to my core that it’s time to close the doors to this ministry, there still lingers a bit of sadness in my heart.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

YULE Be Blessed by Patti Jo Moore

As the Seriously Write Blog comes to a close, I want to say how very blessed I’ve been getting to know so many of you in this community. Yes, we may have only met online, but I consider you a friend nonetheless.

When Terri Weldon (waving at this precious lady!) asked me to be a regular contributor, I was humbled and honored. I know I still have much to learn on this writing journey, yet if I can offer even a bit of encouragement to one person, I’m happy to do so. And so, in my final post of Seriously Write, may I offer encouragement to you today. Please don’t give up---no matter where you are in your writing journey. If things are going well for you, be thankful, celebrate, and try to bless others with what you’ve learned along the way. If things are not going well, don’t despair! If you’ve prayed and genuinely feel called to write in this season of your life, keep writing. Many authors go through a “dry season” and go for months (or years) with no writing contracts. Some authors feel the sting of a poor review, while others start second-guessing their writing career. Then, just like the first twinkling lights on a Christmas tree, things begin to look brighter. Maybe a new contract is offered, a writing contest win gives a boost, or readers eagerly ask for more books - - all giving much-needed hope to the author.

Just as with any career, the writing journey is not always smooth or easy. But if you seek the Lord’s guidance, work hard, and are willing to share what you’ve learned with others, your blessings will abound. Even in a challenging year like 2020, when many are wondering if they’re having a bad dream and will suddenly wake up to a “normal” year, there are still blessings. Lots of them.

Since Christmas is just around the corner, I want to wish each of you a happy, healthy Christmas - - no matter how different your celebration might look this year. May you feel the joy and peace that comes from being truly thankful for the birth of Jesus Christ. Because if you have Jesus in your life, you are blessed beyond measure.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 

I know I still have much to learn on this writing journey, yet if I can offer even a bit of encouragement to one person, I’m happy to do so. And so, in my final post of Seriously Write, may I offer encouragement to you today.



SCROOGE'S HOLLY DAZE


Holly Sims loves Christmas and children, so when she’s asked to help plan a Christmas festival for foster children, she’s thrilled. As a newcomer to Pine Valley, North Carolina, Holly is eager to become involved in church activities and meet people. When she continues seeing a handsome but sullen man in town, she’s curious about him. Why does he appear so unhappy?

Rick Bates is fine with being an introvert. After being shifted from family to family throughout his childhood, he knows he cannot depend or trust anyone and must guard his heart. Running his small business and taking photographs of nature scenes are all he needs in his life. So why does he continue thinking about the auburn-haired woman he keeps seeing?

When Holly asks Rick to take photos at the Christmas festival, he’s ready to decline—until he learns it’s a festival for foster children. When he arrives at the event, Rick is in awe of the decorations, including countless twinkle lights. But the joy on the children’s faces stirs his heart even more. With help from a Christmas-loving lady, a friendly town, and a kitten named Taco, Rick knows the ice around his heart is melting.

Patti Jo Moore
is a retired kindergarten teacher and lifelong Georgia girl. She loves Jesus, her family, cats, and coffee, and is blessed to be published with Forget-Me-Not Romances. When she’s not spending time with her family (including her two sweet grandbabies) or writing her “Sweet, Southern Stories” Patti Jo can be found feeding cats—her own six and local strays.

She loves connecting with readers and other writers, and can be found on Facebook at Author Patti Jo Moore or her personal blog at http://catmomscorner.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Purpose-Driven Fiction 8 Questions for Your Writing Journey by Cathy Gohlke

You want to write fiction; you want your story to matter, to have meaning. You want readers to walk away changed for the better, drawn closer to the Lord, but where to begin? How do we find The Story we’re meant to tell in the midst of the world’s many deep needs?

I’m convinced that we are wonderfully made, designed by our loving Father for a unique purpose—and that includes our writing. To help discover your unique story, consider asking these questions:

1. What makes me pound the table and weep that also breaks the heart of God? What does He continue to bring to your attention through quiet time with Him or through the news? This will help you focus on a topic.

2. Is my heartbreak more for the world or the church? This will help focus your writing for your readership.

3. What moves and inspires me to greater heights? This will help your character find their “aha moment”—establishing the needed trajectory of your protagonist’s character arc.

4. How has God uniquely prepared me to pursue this passion? What has prepared you emotionally/spiritually, physically/psychologically to write this story? Can you trace God’s preparations in your life’s journey?

5. How has God uniquely prepared me to write this specific story? What have you learned, experienced, or done that relates to the characters’ journeys? What are your strengths and your spiritual journey—especially as they might be found in your protagonist or mentor character? What are your insecurities, demons, things you’ve overcome or continue to struggle with that might be found either in your protagonist or your villain?

Do you have friends, family, or personal connections to help with your research?

6. How do I know what genre to write? What kind of stories best speak life lessons to you? What do you love to read? What did you love to read as a child, as a young person, as a young adult, as an adult? We usually write best what we love to read.

7. Which comes first—the need God placed on my heart or the story? Which came first to your mind?

If you thought first of the need, ask in what time period, culture, among what type of characters this need would best be played out. Often our natural inclinations and familiarity with people in our lives can answer this.

If you thought first of the story, develop the characters you “see” in your head and ask how they would confront or deal with this need in the context of the plot you have in mind.

8. What helps my characters grow? Trouble. Give them trouble. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble”—and He wasn’t kidding. Ask what challenges will help your characters grow, change their course of action, repent and surrender in order to allow redemption to take place. That’s the goal of all our stories—the ones we write and the one we live. 


8 Questions to Ask to Discover Your Story via @GohlkeCathy #SeriouslyWrite



~~~~~~


Four-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning author Cathy Gohlke writes
novels steeped with inspirational lessons from history. Her stories reveal how people break the chains that bind them and triumph over adversity through faith. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she and her husband, Dan, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren.

Visit her website at cathygohlke.com and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks.

LINKS:

Media Center Link for Night Bird Calling –where you can access Media Alert, Author Q&A, etc.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Are You Seeking Excellence or Perfection? By Marie Wells Coutu

How long should it take to revise a novel? 

That’s a loaded question, of course, since very writer is different, every story is different, and every season of life is different. 

Given the weirdness of 2020 you may have had much more time to work on your writing this year—or much less. A more important question is, “How do you know when you’re done revising? When is the manuscript ‘finished’?” 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Copyediting is Subjective by Annette M. Irby

 


There are as many editorial preferences as there are editors.

Publishers generally have in-house style guides for their editors and authors. Their teams can reference those guides to answer stylistic questions, especially when trusted, outside sources vary or fail to cover the topic in question.

Below, I’ll share examples of preferences that may vary among editors and publishers.

Friday, December 4, 2020

The Battle Belongs to the Lord by Melinda V. Inman

Meme that says  "Writer Life"

The Battle Belongs to the Lord 

In this difficult time, the Lord’s intentions are for our good. He is refining our character and teaching us important truths. As Christians writers, our desire is to learn, to cooperate, and to seek out what He’s trying to get across to us. May we be quick to learn.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Friends and Family by Sally Shupe

Who do you call on when you need something? Who understands you and supports you, who can you rely on? Who can tell by the look on your face what kind of day you’re having? Friends and family, right? It’s the same for our writing journey, or if we’re going through a rough patch, or trying to accomplish something that seems to be harder than we imagined or thought we could deal with. Friends and family are our backbone, our support system, our encouragers. It would be a very lonely journey without them, wouldn’t it?

There is a saying, there is safety in numbers. This is so true. When you have something to celebrate, it’s so much more exciting when you can share that with someone. If something happens that’s hard to handle, a disappointment, a let-down, a set-back, it’s easier to walk through if we can share that struggle with someone. For instance, if you receive harsh feedback from a writing contest judge, it’s easier to handle when you can talk about it with people who know your writing. If you’re trying to clean out your closet or organize your craft room or finish writing your first novel, you’ll be kept on track if you share your goals with someone. Then, if you struggle through the process or hit roadblocks, you have someone to commiserate with, someone to keep you accountable. But then when you do finish? You have someone ready to celebrate with you! The more the merrier.

Find a tribe of people. Reach out to people who write in the same genre as you do. Connect with people who like the same hobbies or who have the same interests. And keep in touch. You never know what someone may be going through, and your contact may be just what they need.

Is there someone who’s always been there for you? Has someone, or a group of someones, been in your corner and you didn’t know it till you looked up and saw them there? Give them a shout out below. For my writing journey, I have two people who call themselves my number one fans. My best friend Sandy and my son. Without them, I wouldn’t have continued writing once I started. I would have given up before I reached out and found writing friends and groups and special contacts (writing sisters!). Without them, I wouldn’t have completed stories, or continued learning the craft of writing to improve those stories, or continued writing new stories. Sandy and Cory, here’s to you. Thanks for your support, your prayers, being my first-readers, and most of all for your honest feedback.

When I heard the news that Seriously Write was ending, this was the first thing I thought of. Friends and family. I have so enjoyed my time here. But this isn’t the end. We are friends and family! We may not be able to keep socializing here, but we can connect in other ways. If you need encouragement, someone to cheer with you, someone to pray with you, reach out to me. We’re here for each other on this journey! I would enjoy hearing from you! 

 

When I heard the news that Seriously Write was ending, this was the first thing I thought of. Friends and family. I have so enjoyed my time here. But this isn’t the end. We are friends and family!



Sally Shupe lives in southwest Virginia with her husband, has two grown kids-a daughter still at home and a son not-so nearby, and a whole bunch of pets: four dogs, three cats, a rabbit, and birds at the birdfeeder (and the mandatory snowman when the snow cooperates). She is an aspiring Christian author of small town contemporary inspirational romance, with two completed manuscripts and several more in progress.

When Sally’s not writing or working full-time, she is a freelance editor for several authors who write fiction and nonfiction; students working on dissertation papers; a copy editor/content editor for several e-book publishing companies; performs beta reading for various authors; publishes book reviews; is a member of ACFW; and loves genealogy, running, and crocheting.

Sally publishes weekly blog posts that can be found through her website: https://sallyshupe.weebly.com/, and she posts on the first Thursday of the month at https://seriouslywrite.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Attention Deficit? by Cherrilynn Bisbano

I couldn’t concentrate. After years of research and my son’s diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), I finally had the answer to my fidgeting, unfinished projects, and my urge to blurt things out during a conversation for fear the words would escape me. I too have ADHD.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

How to Have It All as a Christian Writer by Emily Conrad

 

Line of books

I’ve had the privilege of talking with a bunch of established novelists this year, and as you might guess, I’ve learned a lot. But perhaps what’s most striking is what I’m unlearning.