January 31, 2013

Duke's Big Oops! - Donna Fawcett


 
We're pleased to have Donna Fawcett, with Duke the Chihuahua, as our Guest Blogger today on InScribe Writers Online.


It started out as a simple writing contract. Duke would put his words to someone else’s idea. He thought it was a win-win situation. He would get paid and get a bit more exposure as a writer. He didn’t count on the kind of exposure that ended up in the story.

See, it all goes back to contracts. Duke signed one—and he didn’t clarify some of the key points because in his puritan puppy mind, he didn’t think that he would be called upon to write what wasn’t exactly his bowl of kibble. The writing began. The plot summary arrived and Duke formed his scenes and characters. All was going well until Duke’s hero, Curtis the Corgi fell in love with his counterpart, Andrea Afghan. What followed was a somewhat descriptive and steamy scene in outline format.

Duke swallowed hard and dove into the writing, all the while asking himself how far he could carry this scene without revealing all and marring his reputation. Words jockeyed back and forth between contractor and contractee. A compromise was made. Duke wrote the scene without setting his scruples aside. Somewhere between the writing of and the publishing of this particular story, a stage of editing took place and Duke is reading the final product with an expression of mortification plastered on his mug.

It appears that the contract allowed for one final edit by the contractor. Duke took this to mean that any spelling and grammar mistakes would be cleaned up. The contractor took it to mean that she had poetic license. Her poetry and Duke’s poetry don’t quite line up. So now, there is a story drifting through literary circles with Duke’s name below the contractor’s name and this particular story is more than a little spicy.

I have received a copy of the story, the contract and a plea for help. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do but cool my blushing cheeks and pray that the story will disappear into the literary fog. Duke is upset to say the least, especially since he just finished writing a blog post about the importance of integrity in writing.

We must remember to keep focus on what we write and why we write it. That is the only way to avoid crossing boundaries we have set down for ourselves. If we don't feel comfortable writing that graphic murder scene then we need to remind ourselves of that before committing to doing so. If we are writing for the Christian market, we must always consider that Christianity will be our central theme and compromise has no place in our writing. If we write gentle romance we need to make certain that we remember our readers who expect to read gentle romance and we keep delicate issues vague in their description. It is too easy to conform to writing which overlaps into other writing markets and shouldn’t.

So now Duke thinks he looks like a hypocrite. I have tried my best to soothe his ruffled soul with platitudes to the effect that we all blunder from time to time and for the most part the human—and canine—race is forgiving. I suggested he follow up with a blog post about making certain you understand the parameters of jobs for which you hire yourself out. He could include the pitfalls of not asking enough questions. He could finish with the suggestion that a writer leave themselves a way to ease out of a contract if it is pushing boundaries.

From there, I suggested Duke just sit tight and hope time will ease the humiliation.

© Donna Fawcett

www.donnafawcett.com
www.dukeandbeewrite.com




Duke and Donna have recently published their fun, new book entitled Duke the Chihuahua Writes! A Tutorial for Beginning Writers.

It's available on smashwords.com and can be purchased for $.99 US.

January 30, 2013

Oops, It's Okay - Susan Barclay

If you're like me, you've probably made more than a few embarrassing mistakes in your lifetime. But have you ever made the same mistake twice, in reverse?

Travel back in time with me to 2009, the year my short story, A Bonny Blue Christmas, is published. I think it's for a Christmas romance anthology, but just a couple of days before it's to go to print I discover it's actually for a Christian Christmas romance anthology. Oops! Although my story doesn't contain anything I'd be ashamed of - I write for the gentle reader, after all - it doesn't contain anything overtly Christian either. Hold the presses!! I contact the editor, admit my faux pas, and ask if I can make adjustments. She agrees, and all is fixed. The story could be more Christian, given more time, but at least now there's something.

Fast forward to 2012. Another Christmas short story is to be published in another anthology. This time I think it's for a Christian anthology, but as I skim some of the other stories in the book before it goes to print, I realize that it's not. Oh, no! I contact the editor - the same one as the last time, no less - and offer to retract my story. She can use it another time. No, she assures me, she wants to use it now. And she wants my story to conclude the book, to leave readers thinking on spiritual things. I think that is totally awesome!

I've been fortunate enough to catch my errors in the nick of time, but you can bet I will be more clear of expectations in future! Some gentle advice for you, too, dear writer :).  My mistakes have turned out okay, but you can save yourself a lot of anxiety by writing right in the first place!

I invite you to visit me at my website and my blog Notes From Innisfree. Also, leave a comment on my January 19 post  by January 31  (tomorrow!) for your chance to win one of my anthologies!


 

January 29, 2013

My First Experience with Getting Published - Ruth L. Snyder

Although I have always enjoyed writing, I never considered myself a "writer" until a few years ago. My journey to becoming a "serious" writer started with the God Uses Ink competition (now called Fresh Ink Novice Contest) sponsored by The Word Guild. I entered a piece titled, Gifts from a Loving God, the story of my journey through infertility and adoption in the competition in 2009. To my amazement and delight, I won first prize for my age category. This prompted a flurry of excitement as I made plans to claim the prize of a free conference registration for Write!Canada.

After the conference was over I began the adventure of submitting my piece for publication. One of the main tools I used was The Christian Writer's Market Guide. I realized after doing some research that memoirs are a very specific niche that does not have very many marketing opportunities. However, I discovered there is one Canadian Christian magazine which is very interested in testimonies, especially from Canadian writers. I sent a query off to Testimony Magazine and waited. The waiting seemed like it lasted forever! However, one day there was an email in my inbox from the editor, requesting that I submit my article. When I wrote the article for the contest, it was about 1200 words. The editor of Testimony asked me to cut it down to 800 words. After a few tries I was able to reach the specified word limit. I submitted the article and was excited to hear that my story was going to be published. I received notice in October that my article was accepted for publication, but the article wasn't published until January.

I will always remember the feeling of holding that first published piece in my hands, along with a cheque for $100. It was humbling, glorious, exciting, amazing - all at once. I was encouraged when people read my story and were encouraged by it, but also humbled to see what God accomplished both in me and through me.

Testimony Magazine only purchased first rights, so I was also able to have Gifts from a Loving God published in two Sunday School papers in the United States. Since that time I have had several other pieces published. The rejection letters have come too. I find myself going through different "seasons" - sometimes I'm sending multiple manuscripts out to publishers at once. At other times I'm so busy with life and squeezing time in for writing that I don't have any submissions going out. Currently my collection of completed writing projects is stacking up. I guess it's time to get that market guide out again!


www.trusteesnyder.blogspot.com
(Education information)
www.ruthlsnyder.com
(Ruth's writing and family life) 
www.earlyyearssuccess.com
(Information for caregivers of children ages 0-5)
Follow Ruth on Twitter:www.twitter.com/@wwjdr

January 28, 2013

The Myth Of Book Distribution - Bruce Atchison

Back in 2006, I believed the myth that a book publisher would be able to peddle my books for me better through their online store than I could do it alone. After doing hours of research, I chose Blitzprint as my book publisher. Being located in Calgary, I felt that the shipping costs for my paperbacks would be lower than from some distant publisher. I also was attracted by their online store.

Though I did sell about 20 copies of When a Man Loves a Rabbit through the bookstore, I sold more than 200 books through rabbit-related e-mail lists and the alt.pets.rabbits newsgroup.

Encouraged by this success, I published Deliverance from Jericho, a memoir of my six-year-exile to a school for the blind in Vancouver, British Columbia. I don't remember any copies of that book selling through the online store.

When I received the sad news in 2008 that Blitzprint would soon close their online store and book distribution department, I felt upset and betrayed. Even so, I paid the shipping cost to receive the books that remained in their warehouse rather than have them recycled.

I recently visited Blitzprint's site to find out if they had re instituted their online shop. The following explanation amply explains why they discontinued their distribution operations. The web site said in part, "There was a time when Blitzprint did distribute books. But an analysis of our sales data revealed that 99 percent of listed titles sold less than one copy per month. The fact is that distribution does not sell books. The myth is that it does—a myth on which a great many vanity publishers are founded: Give them your money, they stock your book, and it becomes a best seller. Like we said, it’s a myth."

While an online bookstore presence is helpful, writers need to work hard and long to promote their work. It would be nice if we had the automatic sales we hoped for but it doesn't come easy. In fact, The Authors Show promotional instructions taught me that out of a thousand people receiving my book advertisement, only five would buy a copy. This sad-but-true statistic means that we have to blitz social media as well as remind every contact we have about our book. That's just the way it is.

To read the rest of the article regarding distribution and fulfillment, visit the Blitzprint page.

As for my books, Amazon and Barnes & Noble stock my newly published How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity memoir while Virtual Bookworm stocks the paperback version. My previous memoirs are available at the Bruce Atchison's books link.

Bruce Atchison is a freelance writer and author living in Radway, Alberta with his house rabbit, Deborah.


January 26, 2013

Follow Publishing Trends - Bonnie Way

One of the biggest jobs as a writer is staying on top of trends in the writing and publishing industry.  A writer cannot afford to write stories in a style that was popular twenty years ago or to write about topics that have already been covered ad nausea.  Lee Masterson, editor of Fiction Factor, says, “No matter how much advice becomes available, there's always more to learn about the craft of writing, about correct submission procedures and about the publishing industry” (“How to Guarantee Failure as a Writer,” Fiction Factor Volume 9 Issue 7).

Here are a few ways that a writer can learn more and follow the trends.

Read Authors’, Editors’, and Agents’ Blogs

Blogs are a good way to see what authors, editors and agents are talking about.  Many now blog regularly about their latest projects or offer tips and information on industry trends.  Google “literary agents blog” to find several excellent agent’s blogs, including those written by Janet Reid, Rachelle Gardner, and Chip MacGregor. 

Look up favourite authors; chances are they have a blog and are sharing information.  For example, Susan May Warren, a best-selling Christian fiction author, publishes tips and advice on her blog My Book Therapy.  Bonnie Grove, author of Your Best You, blogs about writing along with six other writers at Novel Matters.

Budget time reading blogs wisely.  Determine how much time is appropriate to spend researching and which blogs provide the best information.  A writer just starting a novel may spend more time reading blogs that give tips on plotting and characterization, while a writer finishing a novel will be more interested in blogs on how to find an agent and write a book proposal.  Follow a blog for a week or two to see if the information helps; if it does, bookmark it and if not, find another blog to follow.

Subscribe to Writing E-Newsletters

Many writers’ websites offer e-newsletters for free or for a small price.  For example, writers may subscribe Hope Clark’s e-newsletter FundsForWriters for free.  Writing for Dollars, Worldwide Freelance, and Coffee House for Writers also provide free e-newsletters, as do many other writer’s websites.

These newsletters usually include an informative article, market listings, information on writing contests and grants, and advertisements for writers.  Some newsletters come out weekly while others come out once or twice a month. 

As with following blogs, don’t overdue reading e-newsletters.  If a newsletter isn’t providing the information expected, unsubscribe (there’s usually a link to do so at the end of the newsletter).  Remember that a writer is supposed to be writing; research should be aiding writing, not getting in the way of writing.

Read Books and eBooks about Writing

Books and eBooks about nearly every aspect of writing are also available. Look for recent titles of published books and remember that information changes quickly, especially market information. A five-year-old print book with market information is probably out of date. Ebooks can be updated by their writers or publishers and usually have more current information.

Take a bit of time every week to do some research, because as Masterson explains, “Refusal to learn about current trends, ignorance of changing requirements and a lack of regard for the advice from already-successful authors will mark you as an amateur.  Refreshing information you already know is not learning—but it is almost as important. It serves to strengthen the knowledge you already have.  A true writer never stops seeking new knowledge.”

January 24, 2013

How to be Miserable as An Author - Lynn Dove

If you are an author, you have "up" days and "down" days. Unfortunately sometimes the "down" days tend to overwhelm us and as most authors will confess, myself included, there are days when we wonder why we do what we do.

It's easy to be discouraged when we dwell on these things. Here is a practical little list of things NOT TO do as an author. Feel free to add to this list by leaving a comment!

How to Feel Miserable as an Author (Or, what not to do as an author. Underline any that currently apply.)

1. Constantly compare yourself to other authors.
2. Talk to your family and friends constantly about what you do and expect them to cheer you on.
3. Base the success of your entire writing career on one book.
4. Base the success of your entire writing career on book sales.
5. Undervalue your expertise.
6. Let money dictate what you do.
7. Fret over any negative reviews and rejection letters.
8. Bow to societal pressures and write what the world wants instead of what God wants.
9.  Set unachievable/overwhelming goals, to be accomplished by tomorrow.
10.  Stop writing.

January 21, 2013

Good Writing Vs Beautiful Writing - Sulo Moorthy


We, writers are lovers of words. We all love good writing.We also love beautiful words that sing and paint pictures in our minds. I often drool over beautiful writing and get mesmerized by the music of the words that I do  read over the sentence again and again.

As one writer puts it, " Well-written means that the language strives to be unambiguous, communicating  with clarity and straight forward purpose, while beautiful writing is enamored of the feel of the words in your mind and on your lips, creating a response that is more concerned with the aesthetic or sensual aspect of language." I agree with him , because I do taste the sweetness of the language on my tongue when I read a beautiful description.
.
Emily Dickinson put it in a better way when defining poetry-" If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know this is poetry."

Francine Prose,who wrote Reading Like a Writer encourages writers to have a designated section in their bookshelves for books written by authors whose work dazzle with beauty.

 "These are works you can turn to whenever you feel that your own style is getting a little slack or lazy or vague," she writes.

Beautiful writing is becoming rare these days. It is surely hard to write consistently beautiful prose without being caught up in love with your own words and come out as show off.
 
As we know, beautiful doesn't always mean better. It does have its drawbacks.and could become a hindrance at times. Sometimes the story is written too beautiful that the reader gets trapped  in the web of words  that he is no longer living in the story. Drawing attention to yourself as a writer is one of the fastest way to disconnect from your reader.

If you are reading like a writer, who is paying attention to how the author says something, rather than what she's saying, then such writing could be valuable to better your style of writing. But if you are a non-writer or reading such writing for the story sake, then the verbage  could slow down your pace of reading and even make you stop  reading the story. However there are great authors who have mastered in the skill of writing that they balance beauty and content in appropriate amounts to earn readers' satisfaction.

While simplistic prose can read dull and lazy for some readers, beautiful prose can come off "word heavy' for others.

In the past summer, I tried to read the following books which range from bad writing to beautiful to good writing in my writer's eye.

I picked up the first one to read because it had the New York Times Bestseller stamp on the front cover and it was the autobiography  of a writer-producer of a popular television series.

 "Very funny and witty," described many of the reviewers. Because I like both humor and biographies, I picked up the book as my first choice to read. I couldn't proceed more than a few pages because what the reviewers considered witty tasted bad and bitter in my mouth. Because it was sprinkled with swears and distasteful dialogues, I couldn't continue reading the book.

When I complained about the book to my daughter, she pulled out the novel Fugitive Pieces from her bookshelf and handed to me.

" I know you'd love this book, Mom" she said, " it's one of the beautifully written books."

I had to agree with my daughter, for the author Anne Michaels had done a great  job in trying to paint awesome pictures in our minds.. Let me give you a glance of her writing.

"The forest floor is speckled bronze, sugar caramelized in the leaves. The branches look painted onto the onion-white sky. One morning I watch a finger of light move its way deliberately towards me across the ground."

" The shadow past is shaped by everything that never happened. Invisible, it melts the present like rain through karst. A biography of longing. It steers us like magnetism, a spirit torque.  This is how one becomes undone by a smell, a word, a place, the photo of a mountain of shoes."

By just reading the first few pages I had to admit it's an exceptional work of art. But it was too beautiful that I spent too much time mulling over the writing style that I couldn't proceed at my usual pace. So, I chose to put the book away for a while and read it leaisurely at another time.

Meanwhile, Salmon Rushdie's book Midnight's children, which I ordered on amazon.com arrived in the mail. Because Rushdie is considered to be a great novelist and a master of perpetual storytelling, I wanted to read one of his book for some time. I didn't start reading the book right away. I awaited for the perfect time, an undisturbed and auspicious moment to read such a highly acclaimed novel. To my dismay, I found the novel too sophiscated to my understanding. I couldn't read more than a few pages in this book either. Unlike Michaels', this book didn't make me to dwell in the lustre of the words too long, but I required ample time and thinking skills to enjoy such a book. Since  it's considered to be a marvelous epic that revolves around events in India, I would definitely want to read the book. But for now, it stands on my bookshelf with other unread books of mine.

A few weeks back, I saw the book The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins laying on our coffee table. My daughter who got the book as a Christmas gift must have left it there after finish reading the book. Because the book and the movie had drawn a huge fan club, I picked up the book just to  glance through the first few pages. To my surprise, I kept on reading. It was an easy read ,good writing and a great page turner. I could have read the book in one sitting, but I didn't. It's a dystopian novel with many themes and full of action, mainly targeted for young adults. Even though adults are also fascinated by the novel, I couldn't see myself enjoying such a novel. My age and taste probably won't allow me to do that.

As writers, we know that the markets decide what's on the shelves on the bookstores. The tastes of readers and styles of writers vary from one generation to another. It's up to us to decide what to tell and how to tell. Beautiful writing may be rare, but it's worth working at it. As always goodness last longer than beauty, so strive for it.

" The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power."  -Tony Morrison

January 20, 2013

Keep It Simple - Brenda J Wood

The breeze from the open car window systematically emptied the tissue box in the back-seat. In my mind’s eye, these were blank pages, lost, never to be recaptured. Devotionals, short stories, prayers, books, were all gone in the twinkle of an eye.

What writer hasn’t had a dry patch? When the words won’t come, I read quotations from “writing writers.”

“The work of writing has the rhythm of a long distance runner with long, sometimes lonely stretches at a steady pace.” (Max Lucado)

“If I waited to feel inspired, I wouldn’t get much done. The real inspiration comes as I work.” (Don Bachelor)

“Want to write? Go at your life with a broad-axe.” (Anne Dillard)

“Make them laugh, cry, and wait.” (Charles Dickens)

“Those who never, ever write will never ever be read.” (Unknown)

2 Timothy 4:2 -Proclaim the Message with intensity; keep your watch. Challenge, warn and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple (MSG).

All of us have a story to tell. Close the car windows, sit down at your desk, and begin.

Psalm 45:1- My heart overflows with a good theme, I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer (NASB).


Prayer:  God, forgive us when we keep your best to ourselves. Amen

January 17, 2013

The Poor Man's Publisher - Bryan Norford

If you are like me, an unrecognized author without a large following, you are hesitant to publish due to the costs most regular publishers require. In my experience, I need to buy five hundred or a thousand books to get the printing costs down to where books sell at a profit. As Ann and I tend to give away many of our books, I doubt we even cover our costs.

That’s why I’m surprised how few people—especially writers—have heard of Create Space. Create Space will publish your paperback book for free—that’s right—at no cost to you. Even the proof copy can be viewed and corrected over the internet. There are some minor optional costs (including Kindle edition), and of course, you pay for books you want printed.

But there is more good news. As the books are print-on-demand, the cost is the same for any quantity—one or a thousand, at a sharply discounted price to the author. Even more good news: once the book is published with Create Space, it is available for sale on Amazon. Even better news: royalties from create space are several times that of regular publishers.

I have published several books on create space and the quality is as good as others I published through a regular publisher. I usually order an initial run of one hundred books. If I sell those, I can easily order another hundred.

If there is a downside, I don’t have a committed publisher pushing my books. But, in my experience, most publishers today tend to rely on author promotion anyway. But Amazon does provide an author’s page for book descriptions and personal bios.

Create Space also publishes CDs and DVDs. I only sing in the tub and act the fool, so haven’t tried these. Check it out at https://www.createspace.com/


Bryan Norford


January 16, 2013

God's Big Picture - by Marcia Janson


I’ve been writing since I was a child. My first self-publication was a folded and stapled booklet of very bad poetry that I printed and illustrated with crayons that were in dire need of sharpening. I was eight years old and my readership was comprised of two people – my parents. Many decades later, I have to admit that I still tend toward creating and publishing things on my own. I’ve co-published and edited local church magazines and also started a multi-denominational paper that we circulated in our town’s local churches, cafes and doctor’s offices.

I’ve learned a lot through these small ventures, not least of which is that God is more interested in my character than my mission. I tend to be a tad idealistic and wade into literary ventures with a vivid “big picture” in mind. Concerning the multi-denominational paper I mentioned, my heart’s goal was to help a very divided Body of Christ to develop a stronger sense of communion with one another. That sounds good, don’t you think? In one of his last recorded prayers, Jesus asked for unity among believers.

I don’t know if my two years at the helm of that little paper contributed much to unity among the local church bodies, but I did discover that there was a certain disharmony within my own heart that had so far escaped my awareness and which God wanted to address. It was in the crucible of some challenging and painful experiences during those years of working with others on that publication that God started to refine my attitude.

Until that time, I’d considered myself to be a peaceable and fairly easy-going person who was learning to love others. As an editor, I tried to be sensitive toward my largely inexperienced group of contributing writers. Some of their pieces were very rough around the edges and it was difficult to balance my desire to publish a paper full of clear, well-written articles with my equally strong wish to encourage and help up-and-coming writers. There was lots of e-mailing back and forth in addition to phone calls with people who hadn’t yet joined the computer age. I understood well that God cared about those people and that I must try to see them through His eyes, but a considerable chasm stretches between the knowing and the doing in such matters!

This juggling act, though difficult, was going pretty well until a challenge came along that was just a bit too large for my heart to accommodate. I’d asked a friend to help me edit the paper and we had a disagreement about something that, looking back, seems rather unimportant. At the time, I felt that the ideals underpinning the paper’s “mission” would be compromised if I allowed her to include a certain item in the paper. We ended up dissolving the partnership and she moved on to other activities. The friendship faded too.

Has that ever happened to you? Perhaps, like me, your ideals or pet viewpoints have trumped God’s call to love and exercise peaceful unity with other believers. These things tend to rise to the surface and show themselves when our passions are involved. If writing is your passion, then it’s likely this will happen at some point. Maybe an editor wants to cut precious material from your book or a fellow writer suggests improvements to an article. Bloggers have the unique opportunity to hear immediate, unsolicited criticism of their writing and/or ideas in the comments section.

The only advice I will offer is this: consider the crucible opportunity and go from there. God be with you!


Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/beginasyouare/2302816052/



January 15, 2013

Spell check and then check again - Tracy Krauss


This month our lovely moderator, Brenda Leyland, asked us to share
an anecdote of some publishing or editorial incident that still makes you chuckle, cringe, or cry. I knew exactly the story I would share.

Here's a funny story (although it was disconcerting, too) about the difference between ebooks and print books. A reader contacted me when he was reading WIND OVER MARSHDALE to let me know that he found two errors in the book. Both of them used the word 'sBillyach' instead of 'stomach', and as he surmised, it was because of a 'find and replace' done on the book.

Originally, one of the minor characters was named Tom Chang. My editor felt that this was too similar to the main character's name 'Thomas'. (Rightly so.) I changed Tom Chang's name to Billy Chang.

You guessed it. I didn't specify my search enough and every time the letters 'tom' appeared in the manuscript, it inserted 'Billy'.  Think of the possibilities: stomach, tomorrow, stomp... it seemed the list was endless! Naturally, another spell check was in order, and I was able to fix the problem. Or so I thought. I guess even after the most diligent checking, a couple of mistakes still slipped by.

Here is the good news. I contacted my publisher and she fixed it quite easily since the book was still only available in its e-version. This would not be possible with a print book. Either you'd be stuck with a run of books that had the error, or, even in the case of Print-On-Demand publishing, it would cost to get it fixed. (Probably at my expense since I did sign off on the galley.)

Lesson learned? Spell check twice.

January 14, 2013

How to Date Your Editor by Pamela Mytroen

Remember your first dates? Do they make you cringe at all? I remember my very first date. We were going to an evening event. I dressed casually in dress pants and a pink sweater. He picked me up in a three piece pin-stripe suit and tie. Awkwaaaaaard! It was too late to go back and change and he said it was okay, but I felt a little funny all evening by his side. The next time we went out we communicated about what to wear and we both felt more comfortable.

The first article you publish in a magazine or a newspaper is a little like a first date with your Editor. You really don’t know fully what he expects of you and he doesn’t understand your style yet. It’s like being picked up in a truck with hay sticking out the tailgate when you were hoping for a Delorean. You read the article you’ve been looking forward to and you turn red and bite your lip.

I look back on some of my first articles and they made me a little disappointed or even upset. One of the Editors took out my last two paragraphs, put her own ending in, and changed the whole style of my article. Another first article came out with several spelling mistakes, and yet another one included a poem that I had not written and it endorsed a false theology. Wow, I felt the heat in my face.

Now sometimes there are unforgivable characters that we must ditch after that first date, but in most cases, it just takes some time and a few fumbled dance steps until we get to know which way the guy is leading. It’s the same with Editors. If we quit writing because of that first bumbling article, we are missing out on what might have turned into a wonderful and profitable relationship.

In looking back on the above mentioned articles I wrote, it wasn’t entirely the Editor’s fault. The blame needed to be shared between both of us. If I had continued writing for these Editors I would have become more aware of their expectations and they may have come to appreciate my style and input as well.

As I consider the newspaper that I’ve written for for several years, I realize that we had some rough moments at first too. We both had misunderstandings of each other. But as I continued ‘courting’ my Editor and sending her more articles, I became more aware of the way she thought about things, and what she valued and wanted from me. I grew to have enough confidence to make suggestions, and we began to trust each other.

Think of your first articles. Were you disappointed and quit writing for that Editor? Maybe it just needed a little more time to work out some of your differences. Have you ever considered going back to write for those markets again? Send the Editor another piece or two. Maybe there’s still a spark there. Just don’t give up after that first date!


January 12, 2013

Words Live Long - Elaine Ingalls Hogg




We're pleased to have Elaine Ingalls Hogg as our Guest Blogger today on InScribe Writers Online.


I am trying something new this winter, something I wish had been available to me when I started writing a few years ago. I’ve had little formal experience in beginning this new adventure, but it feels right for me to try.

What am I going to do and how does it apply to my writing? Well, I’m not sure but on two occasions this week I’ve experienced promptings which have caused me to wonder. Are these signs, I’ve asked myself, signs to encourage me to try again, to carve out a few minutes in my day in order to find some time to write? You see, family commitments and illnesses this year have slowed my writings to a trickle.

My first prompting came to my attention through a posting on Facebook. My niece, who lives several thousand kilometres away from me, messaged me saying while she was visiting at her parents’ home over Christmas she read the story From My Window Seat, The Story of My Ancestors.  She went on to say, "And in doing so, I have learned more valuable and far greater things, because of you. I Love You, Auntie!”

 Sarah Maude Shepherd
This surprised me seeing distance has kept us apart for so many years. I wrote the story she was reading a few years ago. It’s not a published book or a grand magazine article, just a simple story of my great grandmother who sat in a big wooden armchair by her window and read her Bible. I wanted my younger brothers to 'meet' this godly woman even though she had died long before they were born. Now my niece was learning about Sarah Maude Shepherd’s life and faith too.

Another reminder to encourage me to get back to writing came today, early this morning in the middle of chaos in my kitchen. It came by the way of a phone call from Florida from a woman I had met at the church I attend in my home town of Sussex, New Brunswick. She told of picking up some old books at a second hand store and today she read a devotional I wrote five years ago for The Upper Room. She called to say the words had been an encouragement to her.

On New Year’s Eve my friend Lea shared her dream of becoming a writer. ”I’m not sure if I’m ready to write or who would want to read it, but it is something I’ve been thinking about.” Lea has a story to tell, a story of a broken home, of a pre-Christmas fire a few years ago that took three members of her family, a story of a number of other hardships that would have defeated most people, but Lea is one of the friendliest and most thoughtful people I know for she has allowed God to direct her path.

Perhaps you are like Lea, you’re a 'wanna be' writer; you have all these thoughts romping around in your head but family commitments, illness, young children or not knowing where to begin has kept you from actually getting words down on paper.

I understand these thoughts for this past year other commitments have left me with very little time to write, something I did faithfully for twelve years. But after hearing Lea’s story and the other promptings mentioned above, I’ve made a decision. I’m going to offer to be a mentor to anyone in my community who wants to write their stories for their family or their friends. Who knows, maybe they will be the ones to bless a faraway friend or family member in the near future.

Elaine Ingalls Hogg
Award-winning author and inspirational speaker


author@nb.sympatico.ca
http://elainehogg.com
Blog: http://elainehogg.wordpress.com
Read Janet Sketchley's interview with me on her blog here