We are a group of writers who belong to CAN, the Christian Authors Network, who are passionate about writing. As published authors, we long to share our victories and struggles with regards to marketing and promotion. No one really ever told us about this part of the business of writing, so, like you, we are learners. Won't you learn alongside us?
Happy Thursday from Jeanette Hanscome! I started a new book recently that I’m extremely excited about, not because I’m writing the book that I’ve always wanted to write or finally got a new contract (we don’t have one yet), but because I’m helping someone else tell their story.
During this Christmas season, I crocheted six scarves and a set of coasters. Since I was on a roll, I crocheted three more scarves after Christmas to give to friends who I thought needed a lift. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, but I do enjoy this pastime and those who receive scarves and coasters always love them. I have a confession to make though: I do it wrong. I hold my hook upside down. At first this frustrated my friend Marion, who taught me last year. No matter how many times she reminded me in her sweet grandmotherly way, “Jeanette, your needle,” I always flipped it back. The traditional method of holding a crochet hook felt awkward and unnatural, while my way allowed me to feel each stitch instead of trying to see them. Finally, Marion gave up. “I think it’s okay. Your stitches look good. It doesn’t seem to be slowing you down.”
Having permission to do what worked for me gave me more confidence, which actually sped me up. I could stop feeling like, on top of being a newbie I also didn’t know how to hold my hook correctly, and focus on the stitches and patterns. Every once in awhile I take another stab at holding it like everyone else does, only to decide, Nah, why mess with what works?
Writing provides plenty of opportunities to feel like we’re doing it wrong. Maybe you outline your novels while all your novelist friends let their characters write the story and try to convince you that their way is the way. Or perhaps you keep reading about moms who save writing until their kids go to bed and wonder if you should plan your days that way too, even though you get plenty of words on paper while your children are in school. I know this sounds unthinkable, but perhaps you decided that Facebook does nothing for your writing career except distract you from work and feed you more information about your friends than you ever wanted to know about them so you (gasp) shut down your page.
Are you doing it wrong?
While we can’t suddenly start ending our sentences with commas or tell a devotional publisher that we prefer to use our own creative format instead of theirs, different does not always equal wrong.
Instead of opting for the middle school peer pressure response to “Why are you doing it like that?” ask yourself these questions:
Do you like your way?
Are you meeting your daily writing goals, at least most of the time?
Are you meeting your deadlines?
Are you breaking rules of grammar, punctuations, sentence structure, or manuscript format?
If your answers are yes, yes, yes, and no then, as my friend Marion would say, “I think it’s okay.” Relax and enjoy your way. You aren’t doing it wrong, just differently.
Jeanette here, squeezing blogging between writing, Christmas shopping, practicing for the church choir’s Christmas concert, and crocheting scarves for friends and family. And you guessed it: I came up with a writing-related illustration while weaving my favorite crochet needle through some soft deep purple yarn.
Happy November 10th from Jeanette. I’ve been brainstorming a writing idea that, on the surface, seems like a good one. I wouldn’t call it a fun project, but it will allow me to reach out to an audience that I never imagined I’d be part of myself. I have plenty of material to draw from already and always get positive responses when I run it past fellow writers. So what is holding me back? The truth? I know I’m not ready to be as honest as I’ll need to be in order to write affectively.
Happy Thursday from Jeanette! I tend to find illustrations for articles, devotionals, and blog posts in odd places. Last week for example, an experience that I had while shopping for shoes made me think more deeply about the writer’s life, specifically the genres we write in.
Over Memorial Day weekend, my sons and I watched the movie The Greatest Game Ever Played. If you’ve never seen it, Shia LaBeouf stars in the true story of Francis Ouimet, a working-class kid who falls in love with golf during the early 1900s. Read on to see what this could possibly have to do with writing.
Happy Thursday from Jeanette! Last month I was getting ready to head off to Mount Hermon, open to whatever God wanted to say or do. For the first time in fifteen+ years of attending this conference, I was not submitting or pitching anything. I’ll confess that I almost caved in a moment of fear and packed some old proposals just in case. What would I do with my time if I didn’t have editor appointments? What would I say when people asked about my writing? But I’m happy to say that I stuck with the plan to make this conference about what God and I both knew I needed—to be filled up. I’m so glad I obeyed!
Happy Monday from Jeanette! Last week I finished and sent the final section of a three-part review of the classic novel Les Miserable. Not only did this fun writing assignment allow me to revisit why I enjoyed the book so much but it also reminded me of the many ways that a writer can benefit from reading the classics.
We’ve all been there. (At least I hope I’m not the only one.) The calendar says it’s time to post something on a blog and we have absolutely nothing insightful, intelligent, or new to say. Or after meeting a series of deadlines we finally have time to work on the novel that we’ve left on the back burner for far too long and now that the free hours are available, the creativity just isn’t there. Again, nothing to say. What do we do?