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WORD-1/14-#hopewriterlife @hopewriters the desire to write started as I began to understand at a gut level, what it meant that the Word (Jesus) was made flesh. I was a Christian. I knew a lot of information about God. But I didn’t really understand what it meant that the God of heaven came to earth to be with us and experience the human condition for 33 years. That was the start of my having something to write about.

MORNING-1/15-#hopewriterlife @hopewriters Mornings have never been my favorite. I’m definitely a night owl like my dad was. After supper, my brain seemed to come alive. If I had something creative to work on, it was double so! When our girls were young, they went to bed about 7:30 PM. After supper came baths and good-nights. Then I sat down with a hot cup of tea and visited with my Ron, read a book, made a dress or did some planning. When the girls were young, I didn’t write much.

But since Ron has had his stroke, he sleeps later. I tend to be the first to get up in the morning. Usually at 8:30 or 9 AM. Often, that is my writing time. The house is quiet. I can think. Interruptions are very few. Mornings have become my friends again.

DRAFT-1/16-#hopewriterlife @hopewriters Rough drafts. Mine are very rough! I prefer to know the word limit for guest posts. It helps me know how I need to limit myself. I tend to go on rabbit trails. Some are beneficial. But others need to be crossed off. Some days, I can be ruthless. Other days, I’m not nearly as good at cutting out those long-winded details.

I’m convinced that the key to a good article or chapter, is knowing what to keep and what to toss. Taking the rough draft from its rough place to something more polished takes hard work…and lots of deleting!

MOOD-1/17-#hopewriterlife @hopewriters  Interestingly, my mood doesn’t have much to do with my writing. At least I don’t think it does. I just sit down and start writing. Even if I didn’t feel inspired when I started, writing gets my brain working. In no time, the cogs are moving and I am inspired.

I am too old to have dealt with ADD in school. Back then, there were good kids and bad kids. Everyone was taught the same, for the most part. I had no trouble learning to read. In fact, I caught on very fast! The complaint was that I talked too much. Always. I doubt that I had one report card that didn’t have it as a comment. The maddening thing for my teachers was that I could be talking and still know what they were talking about. If they asked me a question, I knew the answer to what they were teaching!

As an adult, I have learned that for girls, talking too much is an obvious sign that you are ADD. Another sign? You are fidgety. Oh my goodness! Was I fidgety. I chewed my nails for years, fidgeted in my seat, could NOT sit still…ever. I have always marveled at families who sit still in church. I would be physically unable to do that! My brain is always moving a million miles an hour. It’s amazing I can fall asleep at night!

All that to say, I can write about almost anything because of all the activity going on in my brain. I have written when I was quite severely depressed. It was comforting and helpful then to remind myself of truth I needed to hear. I have written when I was sad and happy. Both worked fine. Writing when sad works to cheer me up. Writing when happy simply shares it with others.)

Creativity, for me, is rarely affected by my mood. But if I happen to be down, all forms of creativity tend to cheer me up.

EDIT-1/18-Learning to edit is the most helpful thing I can do to my article. Once a week, I play and write with no editing. It is a place called @FiveMinuteFriday. We aren’t supposed to edit what we write for those 5 minutes. I can’t leave misspelled words. I just can’t. So I do edit them if they pop up. On occasion, I have changed something in a sentence if the meaning was confusing. This is a website under my name. There is enough that can go wrong. If I see something that might confuse my readers, I want it clear. But with those caveats, I do follow the rules. In fact that is where I did much of my early writing for my blog. At that site, I learned a lot about my voice. It has been very helpful.

What I need now is a site where I am challenged to edit more! Editing helps us get to the heart of our message. I need to hone in more tightly to my message. Editing will help me do that. On some topics, I find it much easier to edit ruthlessly. But on other topics, it is much more difficult. A topic where I feel very knowledgable is usually easier to edit. But there is one exception. That is memoir. I never know what to cut. That’s why I haven’t written much of it. I think until I can edit my story, I need to find out how to edit it well.

BRAINSTORM-1/19-In order to come up with creative ideas to write a blog, a book or even a good article, you will need to brainstorm. We all have different ways of doing it. Some of us make lists. Others, map their ideas on a page. Still others collaborate with others who write and share ideas, stimulating more ideas.

Our first step in brainstorming needs to be sorting out our goals. But we don’t do it in a vacuum. We think about who our reader is, where GOD is leading us, and what needs we can meet. Those will start us on the path toward writing a blog, book or article that will connect with our reader.

We also need to edit those goals after we brainstorm. Having too many goals is almost as bad as not having any goals. It is difficult to focus on too many goals. So after listing those ideas, you have to go through and pick the best ideas…and use them. Just 3 or 4. Prioritize them and work toward them. Then, whenever you get stuck, whether on big projects or small ones, you can always just brainstorm again for the area you need help.

STUCK-1/20 Do you ever get stuck when writing a post or when working on another project? Most of the time when I get stuck a little, it has to do with my need for more information. I need to know more details about how to solve a specific problem or I want more information on a specific Bible passage that will be helpful. Usually, I just need to look something up to give me the help I need. Occasionally, I need to ask a pastor friend a question about how a Biblical truth applies to a specific problem.

But by far, my biggest times of being stuck have to do with technology.lI plug along fine for awhile, then something changes or I have an update and boom! I am stuck. Nothing brings on freaking out on my part, like technology issues. So yes, that is where I run into my biggest areas of being stuck…good old technology!

QUOTE-1/21-It is important to manage quotes carefully. We learn so much all the time, it is difficult to document everything you are taking in! Whenever you are speaking or writing, it is important to give credit to those who have influenced you.  It is easy to forget that you learned things from others sometimes. But you don’t want to have others think that all of that came from you! Another name for that is plagiarism…using someone else’s writing without giving them credit.

Yes, there is a balance. Giving credit for quotes that are meaningful is a way of showing honor and respect to the people who originally passed those pearls of wisdom on to us. Think about it.

INSPIRATION-1/22- As a Christian writer, my inspiration comes from GOD. He is the One that inspires me to write. He is the One who has created me in such way that I have the perspective I have. He has sovereignly placed every circumstance in my life that has resulted in making me who I am today. Only I have my perspective. Only I have had my set of circumstances. Only I have the unique walk with GOD that I have…mixed with the church community I live in and the resources I have available for growth.

Ultimately, GOD is the One who inspires my writing as He superintends my growth in grace.

GOAL-1/23-As a Christian, my goal is to glorify GOD and enjoy Him forever. (Psalm 86:8-13 ESV , Psalm 16:11 ESV)          There is is nowhere that puts it as succinctly as that! (Thank you Westminster Shorter Catechism.)  Of course, there are other Scriptures that reinforce that goal, but those two help.

But as a Christian writer of a specific blog, I also have goals for the blog, It is primarily designed to reach women. Of course, men are allowed to read it. It is designed to encourage you in your growth in grace.

But I have recently narrowed my focus a bit more to give hope to those who are scared, overwhelmed or brokenhearted. This is a place where I want you to find lasting hope in Christ. For each of us, there are times when we at least get down. Sometimes, we get worse than down. It takes many forms…scared, anxiety, overwhelmed, brokenhearted. Jesus has hope for all of us during all those times.

We need to read words of hope. We need to have someone point us to Jesus to remind us where our true help comes from. Not all of us have people in our everyday lives that do that. We don’t need fixers, or the right diet or the right kind of medical treatment even though some of those might improve our situation some. We need to rest our hope in Jesus. We need to know that even though we are going through a time of weakness, He is strong! He is way beyond our finite imitations. He is infinite and has no limitations.

So that is a big goal for my blog…that I will be able to communicate the hope of Christ to you!

FEELING-1/24-In order to write and connect with people, we need to be in touch with our feelings. No, not every sensitive  detail of every feeling. Not so sensitively that our radar is out for each unkind word that floats past us. That is likely to incapacitate us, crippling us so we find it difficult to function.

I don’t want to have a stoic soul. It is my default, I’m sad to say, but I have learned it is not good for my body or soul to live with a stoic mindset. I need to feel. I need to acknowledge the feelings I have, not the ones I wish I had. How about you?

I have discovered that when it comes to acknowledging my feelings, I often skip a step.  I don’t like feeling the hard feelings. The scared, lonely, sad, furious, or difficult feelings. When I was very young, I ignored them. I stuffed them. It was years before I was able to acknowledge them. Since I didn’t want to deal with them, I ignored them and skipped right over to looking at the bright side.

Yes, I was a lot like Pollyanna. Can you identify? I’ve realized now that I need to pay attention to the hard feelings. I need to acknowledge they are there. I need to figure out where they are coming from and why. But only after I have acknowledged the truth of what is there can I understand why it is there and what is happening. Then, if there is a bright side, I can take look!

PROGRESS-1/25-How do I progress as a writer? I join groups that write and we learn from each other. In one group, we break into smaller ones and learn new skills, encouraging each other along the way. I have attended conferences in the past. There I meet other writers and attend seminars and also hear speakers. Each time, I come home having learned new skills.

But by far, the thing that helps my writing most is practice! The more I write, the better I get at expressing myself. This is by far, the most effective way to improve my writing. The more I write, the more I progress in my writing.