April 19, 2018

Why do I Write by Eunice Matchett

Why do I write? I need to sit and ponder the reasons. If I can.

To be truthful, I haven’t entertained thoughts as to why I write. Until now. Writing has always been a large part of my life, and a larger part of who I am. It is my best friend, and to whom I seek when the events in my external world are impossible to fathom. It is my Teddy Bear and fuzzy, warm blanket.

When my throat swells, and I am unable to produce appropriate words, my fingers quiver, encouraging me to find quiet corner and allow my feelings to express themselves on the paper pad I always carry in my purse.

Since I give worship a whole new meaning when I try to sing, I worship my Heavenly Father through my words. Doing so allows me time to pause and dwell on each word or thought, not just as I write it, but in the future as well. Often, when I reread my worship words I pause, and wonder did I write that?

  I am an introvert. I do not do well in large groups. I never learned the art of small talk, nor do I enjoy listening to it. If I have something to say, I’ll say it, which often gets me in trouble. After years of getting myself into deep water, I’ve learned that I write much better than I talk, and by doing so, my life is much smoother and less regretful.

I am also the middle sibling, and the second daughter in our family, which made growing up with a voice extremely difficult. Sometimes it felt like forever for me to get a word edgewise into a conversation. When screaming “I’ve got something to say,” or stomping my foot in frustration didn’t get me voice time, I turned to pencil and paper. It worked like magic. I could finally state my opinion uninterrupted. Not that it did me much good, because no one read it, but it did leave me feeling smug.

For me, writing is a privilege. It is my calm in a storm, a bridge across deep water. Experience has taught me it is the safest way to express myself. It fills hours in my day, and always makes me smile when I type ‘the end’ of my latest story.

April 18, 2018

Writing to be Real - Gloria Guest

I think I basically write to be real. If I’m not going to be real, what’s the point? Writing is where I am at my best in expressing authenticity.
As someone who can sometimes have too quick of a tongue or be a bit too blunt in my personal conversations, I love the fact that in writing my keyboard has a delete button. Something sounds not quite right? Delete. That wasn’t said the way I intended? Delete. Start again and this time say it better.
I find that writing has far more grace for my particular  communication foibles than talking does. In my conversations I’ve had many times where I wished that I could take back a word, or two or more. With my written words, I can. Delete. It’s great. J
My personal blog is based around the theme of Hope. As someone who came from a difficult childhood and has spent my adult years recovering from it, I have found hope to be my anchor. And so in finding that hope it is my desire to share it with others. Hope is the solid cord that is found woven through all of my writing and that cord leads to the source of my hope which is God and His faithfulness.

In talking about being real I would like to add that I don’t always feel hope or even follow its light. I have dark days and times where I wonder if God cares or is listening or has forgotten all about me. I have days when I look around at the world and wonder the same thing. Is God even with us or has He just wound up the world like a giant clock and is letting it tick down?
The Chaplin of the Humboldt Bronco’s hockey team, Sean Brandow, spoke about this in his message after the tragic bus crash on a lonely Saskatchewan highway,
#Humboldt Strong
 that took sixteen lives and injured all remaining.

‘Where was God?’ he stated at the vigil. He had been on the scene and saw the twisted wreckage and the dead and wounded. He felt as if he was in the valley of the shadow of death. And he was. But then later in the week he was reminded of the other half of the verse that states, “I will fear no evil for thou art with me.” His message went around the world. He was real and that’s what drew people to want to listen. He didn’t hold back his raw emotions and his questioning of God. I believe his message drew many to God.
May my writing be as real as that Chaplin’s heart felt words were.

May I allow people more than a just a tiny glimpse into my soul and then a quick cover-up. May my writing reveal a deep gaze into who I am and where I’ve been because I don’t have to give in to fear. Sure, people will see my pain and failures but through that may they see God, piercing through the fog of my life as the light from a lighthouse searches out the waters saying, ‘This is the way. Come home.’
May it lead them home too.

Gloria shares messages of hope from the small hamlet of Caron, Sask. You can read her blog by clicking here.  

April 17, 2018

Write to Ignite - Lynn Dove

In my opinion, the hardest part of writing, is typing that very first sentence for an article, blog or book.  A blank page is my nemesis.  It begs to be filled with word pictures that will somehow illicit an emotional response from the reader.  Once I have agonized over that very first sentence and my page is no longer blank, I can start to formulate my thoughts and start the creative process of actually writing.  The word "ignite" by definition is the first step of fire-lighting.  Once the flame is lit, the task then becomes keeping the fire stoked. That first sentence is the initial spark, and the story builds upon that to become an inferno.

I don't know if it's a conventional way to write.  I have attended writing workshops where I was taught that characterization is paramount.  I've also been taught that plot structure is the essential component to writing a story.  I am not negating either as important, but I liken the way I write to the way I paint, haphazardly and with wild abandon!  I choose my colours with carefree spirit and splash them on abstractly.  Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason to my activity and then surprisingly a pattern develops and as more word colours flow, or drip over the white canvas, I become more and more frenzied and inspired to complete the word painting inside of my head.  (It is my editor's job to add the finishing strokes so that as an artist I am kept humbled :)

Just like a painting should invoke some kind of an emotional response from whomever looks at it, inspired writing should ignite a passionate response from readers.  Reading should never be a boring activity.  If the reader is not engaged emotionally with the writing in some way, negatively or positively, then a writer has failed in their attempts to write to ignite. 

It is my passion as a writer and as a Christ Follower to use words to draw people to respond to Christ.  To ignite their interest by sharing my faith openly in my books and in the articles and stories I write is of great importance to me.  I have tried to write in the secular realm, but have failed miserably.  It's not my passion, Christ is, and so I write to ignite that same passion in others.  To do otherwise goes against the specific calling I have as a Christian writer.

 Lynn Dove is the award-winning author, of the YA “Wounded Trilogy”- a contemporary Christian fiction series with coming-of-age themes.  A wife, mom, grandmother, and free-lance writer with articles published in several magazines and anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Soul books, her blog, “Journey Thoughts” is a Canadian Christian Writing Award winner.  Readers may connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and at lynndove.com  

April 16, 2018

My Reasons for Writing by Nina Faye Morey

So, why do I write?

To gain a greater understanding of God’s Word

One of the main reasons I enjoy writing is that it helps me develop a better understanding of God’s Word. Through my Christian writing, I’m able to grasp more meaning from Bible verses and gain greater insights into the Scriptures than by any other means. When I open my heart and mind to Jesus’s words, I feel like His apostles must have felt listening to His teachings. It’s as though His Holy Spirit is inspiring and guiding me, prompting me to write the words that flow through my pen and onto the paper. So many times I’ve been searching for just the right words or the right Bible verse, and suddenly the words magically form in my mind or I open my Bible by chance to the perfect Scripture. But my experience isn’t unique. I’ve heard other Christian writers express these same feelings and experiences.

And let us consider how we may spur
one another on toward love and good deeds.”
~ Hebrews 10:24

To use God’s gift for the good of others

I can’t imagine not using this great gift that God has given me (Ephesians 2:10). I know that many Christian writers feel this way regardless of whether they write for the Christian market, the mainstream market, or both. Whatever and wherever we write, we feel impelled to uphold Christian principles because we wish to serve our Lord and use our gift for God’s glory. We want to reach out to our readers and have a positive impact on their lives, comforting, encouraging, and inspiring them. We want to help and uplift them in times of tribulation. We want to bless and heal their hearts and souls with God’s Word. It’s true that the pen is mightier than the sword, so we must choose our words wisely so we never lead our readers astray or cause them to stumble (Matthew 12:36). We must always remember that our words are capable of inciting love or hate, good or evil, violence or peace.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
~ Flannery O’Connor

To gain a better understanding of myself

I write to find out what I’m thinking. It’s as though I don’t know what I really think about something until I’ve written down the words and read them on paper. It helps me express my ideas, insights, and emotions. Writing helps me answer questions and work through problems. It helps me process my thoughts, feelings, ambitions, and motivations. It helps me embrace my hopes and fears. It provides a cathartic release whenever the floodgates open. Writing helps me unravel the mysteries of life and discover what is truly important.

To indulge my love affair with words

Ever since I first learned to read, I’ve desired to participate in and find my niche in the writing world. I never tire of the thrill of capturing an idea that’s in my mind or an emotion that’s in my heart with just the right words. Writing is never easy. But that’s also part of the attraction for me. It can be very difficult to craft a well-written article, story, or poem that reaches readers’ hearts and minds and stirs their emotions. If you write for publication, there is not only the need to write well but the additional pressure of meeting the editor’s expectations and deadlines. But even if no one ever read a single word I wrote, my love affair with words would impel me to keep writing them down on paper.

So, why do you write?

Photos: Pixabay Free Images

April 15, 2018

Answering the Call to Write - Tracy Krauss

Why do I write? 
I've spent quite a lot of time, over the years, thinking about this question. The simple answer is, I feel called to write. I suppose I view writing as a form of ministry, even though my primary avenue is fiction. A few years ago I attended several one-on-one sessions with a marketing coach. One of the first things he had me do was fill out an extensive profile about myself - genre, target audience, marketing plan, future goals etc. It was an excellent exercise in learning to focus instead of using what he called the "spray and pray"method of marketing. Among the questions was, "Why do you write?" I came up with five reasons:

1. Entertain – I write to entertain and provide an escape for the reader. Although some may not find this to be the most noble reason, I believe entertainment has value - even spiritual value. Proverbs 17:22 - A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (NIV)

2. Encourage – Through my stories, I hope to encourage others in their Christian walk. I write primarily for a Christian audience, so the expectation is that most are already saved. However, people still need encouragement along the way and that's what I want to do. Philemon 1:7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord's people. (NIV)

3. Enlighten – I like to bring a potentially difficult or controversial issue to each book I write. Examples include racism and prejudice, native spirituality and cults, pornography, substance abuse and addiction, and physical and sexual abuse. Every one of these topics is relevant in the church. My experience in ministry has taught me that Christians still struggle with each one of these issues, although not always openly. Galatians 6:2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (ESV)

4. Expand the reader’s viewpoint. This is tied to number three, since my purpose is not always to offer a definitive answer. (Other than Jesus !) I try to stay away from a ‘hardline’ legalist viewpoint and focus instead on grace. I intentionally try to leave some loose ends and unanswered questions for the reader to ponder. 2 Corinthians 12:9But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (ESV)

5. Evangelism - not my primary focus since my assumption is that my target audience is already Christian. However, the gospel message is there, so someone could potentially come to Christ. Romans 1: 16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (ESV)

The above list focuses on writing as a ministry, but I do have more selfish reasons as well. As an artist, writing is one avenue of self expression and fulfills that need for a creative outlet. As well, writing - specifically journalling - is a way to make sense of my world. It helps me to process my thoughts and feelings and I often use it as a form of prayer. 

So there you have it! Do any of these 'reasons' resonate with you? 

Tracy Krauss is InScribe's current Vice President and writes from her home in northern BC. Visit her website http://tracykrauss.com - fiction on the edge without crossing the line -