February 20, 2017

Words, Words, Wonderful Words by Joylene M. Bailey



What is it that draws me to the page day after day?

It’s the words. 
Words, words, wonderful words.  
They provoke, twist, assuage, encourage, and roll off the tongue.

Ian Hanomansing anyone? 
Not the guy. The name. It’s the most roll-off-the-tonguish name ever!

Words like Pepito and pizzicato that make you think of tiptoeing across the floor.

Words that make you lisp, like Duluth and mythical.

Fun made up words like yertle and sneetches and fiffer-feffer-feff. (Thank you Dr. Suess).

My absolute favourite thing about writing is searching out the perfect word. Sometimes it takes 2 hours, but when I hit upon that just-right word, it’s like little firecrackers – sparklers – go off somewhere. It truly is a joy that comes from deep within. And I thank the Lord for words, words, wonderful words. 



It is a joy to me when I know that the Father is pleased, not only with what I’m creating, but that I’m creating at all. And the most joyous of times have been those rare moments when I sensed that the Father and I were co-writing. He giving the ideas and approving the work, me doing the actual hands-on work of researching, and choosing word after word after word.
Co-creating words of life.

And the satisfaction?
The first time I saw an article of mine in a distinguished magazine and not a church or school newsletter, I couldn’t wait for my husband to get home. Before he even got halfway through the door I ran up to him, flashed the open magazine in front of his face and exclaimed, “This is ME!”

It’s a moment I will always remember.

But more than that, when I receive comments that my writing has meant something to someone, made them laugh, made them think, made them feel something, even prompted them to try something new; that my words have brought life in some way. That’s what brings me the most joy and satisfaction.



As I’ve been working on this blog post, an old Sunday-School hymn has been crooning in my head. Maybe you will remember it too.


WONDERFUL WORDS OF LIFE

1.     Sing them over again to me,
Wonderful words of life;
Let me more of their beauty see,
Wonderful words of life;
Words of life and beauty,
Teach me faith and duty:

Refrain:
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
Wonderful words of life;
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
Wonderful words of life.

2.     Christ the blessed One, gives to all
Wonderful words of life;
Sinner, list to the loving call,
Wonderful words of life;
All so freely given,
Wooing us to heaven:

Refrain:
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
Wonderful words of life;
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
Wonderful words of life.

3.     Sweetly echo the gospel call,
Wonderful words of life;
Offer pardon and peace to all,
Wonderful words of life;
Jesus, only Savior,
Sanctify forever,

Refrain:
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
Wonderful words of life;
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
Wonderful words of life.

If you are unfamiliar with the tune, you can find it here.


Words, words, wonderful words. May God continue to give us words of life to share with our world, as we fulfill our calling as His writers.


All above photos from pixabay.com




Joylene puts word after word after word together from her home in Edmonton. Find more of them at her blog, Scraps of Joy - a Joy infused view of the world.





February 19, 2017

Joyful Thoughts by Eunice Matchett



Joy is such a small word, yet, it is one that can be interpreted countless ways. Curious, I went to the experts for their input. Two definitions appeared in all my sources.

1. The emotion of great happiness.

2. Something or someone that provides a source of happiness.

Emotion of great happiness tells me nothing, so scrolled to the next definition. That provides a source of happiness switched on my brain light. I did a word search in my Bible. One verse seized my attention. Romans 15:13. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

This shows me that joy isn’t a degree of happiness, it is the source of happiness. Whereas happiness can be shallow, and only lasts for a season or just a few seconds, joy goes beyond emotion.

I liken happiness to eye candy. It is the emotion I first feel when I’m standing on the shore watching a flock of geese float from the sky and land on a shimmering lake. Being a witness to the moment evokes happiness. When I look deeper, I’m reminded of how God has equipped these majestic creatures with wings that carry them through the air and enables them to effortlessly land on the water. This fills me with joy, knowing that our omnipotent God has wonderfully provided for all living creatures.

Almost every morning I sit at my desk staring at a blank screen waiting for my thoughts to come out of a coma. When words finally flow from my mind into a beautiful paragraph, happiness gushes through me. The next paragraph takes hours to master, and the happiness ebbs. But knowing I’ve written something that will uplift my readers, my joy remains as a shield around my heart, not allowing anything to disrupt the peace within.

Joy is peace in a blizzard. A knowing that regardless of how difficult a situation is, it will pass, perhaps not in the way I think it should, but it will pass. It is a knowing that my God walks beside me preventing me from slipping. It is hope when no hope is in sight. Joy sustains all positive emotions and silences all others that try to mess with my confidence.


February 17, 2017

The weird love for writing - by Rohadi


“What do you love about writing?” This month’s writing prompt.

I had to think about this, and then think about it again, then think about it some more. But every time I tried to think about my ‘love’ for writing all that came up was how writing was/is work. Work that beckons me to participate most days. Work that I couldn’t live without, but work that requires constant struggle through resistance to complete. 

I don't always like my work.

Not only is writing work, but it’s also a part of me. I can't get away. It’s how I get my ideas out, and I don’t really have a choice in the matter. I either write something or become a discombobulated mess as ideas amass themselves in the limited space between my ears. 

Ah, the 'joys' of writing….

But then it dawns on me. If writing was an instant success where every word came naturally and perfectly, what would the point be? What kind of love measures itself on whimsy and ease? A love that’s fleeting, that’s what.

Most of us would know that the quality of love is rooted in its substantive essence. The choosing you have to do day, by day, by day, to love. This is why even on those days you don’t like to write, you still love writing. Then one day, sometimes by chance or miracle, the love offering of words produces the reward—the book, the perfect sonnet, beautiful paragraphs…. 

It's why we keep returning, we choose to love writing. An odd kind of love, no doubt, since I may need writing, but writing doesn’t need me. 

_________

Connect with Rohadi on his website, and check out his adult colouring book.

February 16, 2017

The Transformative Power of Writing by Nina Faye Morey


Writing has transformative power for both the writer and the reader. As a writer, there’s nothing I enjoy more than the process of putting my thoughts down on paper. When I give free range to my imagination, I’m often surprised where it leads. You see, I’m more of a “pantser” than a “plotter.” When a story pops into my head, I don’t immediately start outlining it on paper. I might jot down a few notes as ideas occur to me, but that’s it. I usually just meditate on it for some time before I actually begin to write.

However, when I sit down at my computer to commence writing, I often find that, unbeknownst to me, someone has erected some sharp detours on my mind map that cause me to take a more circuitous route to my final destination. I encounter a number of interesting sightseeing spots and other inspiring places that I hadn’t anticipated along the way. These provide me with a lot of material and different perspectives on the territory I’m covering. By the time I get to my journey’s end, I discover that it’s nowhere near where I thought it was in the first place. It’s times like these I truly feel that my writing is a calling because I’ve somehow been intuitively led to my final goal by the Holy Spirit.

Once I get involved in writing a piece, my words normally flow freely onto the page. I find myself totally “in the zone” and become completely absorbed in the process. I lose all awareness of the activity around me and the passage of time. That doesn’t just happen when I’m writing about a topic that’s lighthearted or joyful. It also occurs when I feel drawn to my computer to tap out a piece on a troublesome or traumatic topic.

This all circles back to the feeling that my writing is a calling. Why would I be motivated to tackle distressing topics other than out of a desire to minister to my readers? Why else would I hive off hunks of my heart and soul and cast them out there for the entire world to devour? That’s one of the risks I have to take if I truly feel that my writing is a calling to contribute something to the world that exists outside of my little writing room.

So it’s all tied in to how I view my relationship with my readers. As a writer, I want to connect with my readers. I want them to know that they are not alone out there. I hope to offer them a perspective on their joys and sorrows that they might not encounter elsewhere. As a Christian writer, I hope to shine a new light on whatever is happening in their lives by offering them a biblical frame of reference. Perhaps when they close that magazine or book on my story, they will come away with a different perception of their world. Maybe they’ll share my work with someone close to them who can benefit from my message. Being able to convey some Christian insights into the issues they are dealing with through my gift of writing gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and joy.

For me, writing is a labour of love. The longer I write, the greater my sense of being “tuned in” to the Holy Spirit. It gladdens my heart to be able to spread God’s Word through my words and know that this creative act has the power to transform someone’s life.

February 15, 2017

Joy - The Flip Side by Tracy Krauss

How is writing a joy?

There have been some thought provoking, and just plain beautiful posts this month on the topic.
When I sat down to write this post I wondered how I could possibly add to the conversation. I decided to share three sure fire ways to kill your joy and then contrast them with three ways to increase it.

In the infamous words of Papa Berenstein, 'This is what you should NOT do, so let this be a lesson to you."

J - Jealousy.  Nothing kills your writing joy faster than that old green eyed monster. Just when you start feeling good about yourself or your accomplishments, someone else is bound to come along and show you up. No human being is immune, but as writers this can creep up unexpectedly. How easy it is to feel envious of that person who signs with a well known agent or gets a lucrative book contract. What about that self published author who is now raking in a six figure income while I'm still slaving at my day job? Why do other people have so many five star reviews? How come that person's book is winning awards and garnering praise ... You get it. We all feel just a weeny bit jealous at times, but as soon as you feel that first inkling - snuff it out! Celebrate other people's successes, but never allow yourself to play the 'comparison' game. You'll lose every time.

Proverbs 27: 4 - Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? 

O - Offence. Taking offence hurts you more than the person who offended you in the first place. It's like a bitter root that takes hold and pretty soon it can consume your life. Meanwhile, the person who has offended you often doesn't even know that they've done something wrong. After all, people are people and we all make mistakes; we say things without thinking, or make errors of omission without meaning to hurt anyone. We've all felt like telling others to 'lighten up' at times, but yet, when our own sense of entitlement is stepped on, we are quick to take offence. As writers, we need to learn to take constructive criticism without getting offended. Not everyone is going to love us or our writing. If you get a bad review, for instance, shake it off quickly, for there is nothing like an offended spirit to steal your joy away.

Proverbs 18:19 - A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.

Y - Yearning. Okay, maybe I'm stretching it a bit in my quest to find a 'Y' word, but I think I can make this work. Yearning in its negative connotation is similar to envy, but it is different in that its object is directed more at 'what I don't have' than at 'what someone else has'. We don't need to be jealous of someone else in order to yearn for something. It speaks of a deeply rooted discontent - currently an  epidemic in today's society. True satisfaction comes in knowing who you are, not in how much stuff you have. When we yearn for what we don't have we cannot possibly also have joy. From a writer's perspective, this could be anything from a published book, greater recognition, more sales, or even just more time to write. Be thankful for what you have NOW, at this moment, instead of always looking to the grass on the other side of the fence.

Hebrews 13:5b - Be content with what you have,  for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

On the positive side, I like the old children's Sunday School song that says joy comes from putting things in this order: Jesus, Others, You. Jesus needs to be the King over my writing. Then I need to think about others and how my words may affect them. Lastly, I can take pleasure in writing what I feel the Lord has given me to write - without comparison, jealousy, taking offence, or yearning for something different.

That's real writing JOY!

________________________
Tracy Krauss takes a lot of pleasure in writing from her home in northern BC where she also teaches high school Drama, Art and English. She is currently serving as inscribe's Vice President and finds joy in serving this wonderful organization in that capacity, too.

Website: tracykrauss.com "fiction on the edge without crossing the line"