October 04, 2017

Tools to Keep You on Course by Susan Barclay

I can't find it in the archives here, but I was certain I'd written about this before. I was hoping I could just direct you to the original post since nothing has changed (insert smiley-face). 

Here's the list:

First there are the physical tools: the writing instruments (pen, paper, computer, laptop, tablet) and the space you write in (separate office, niche in one of the room's of your dwelling place, library, cafe). Do you write best with or without music/background noise? Can you write in a cluttered environment or must it be clean and tidy? Make sure you have what you need before you get started - many of us writers are easily distracted!

Now onto the books and online resources:

The Writers' Market - specific guides for different types of writing: poetry, novels and short stories, material for children. These tools provide helpful articles as well as a variety of places you can send your work and agents who can help you with the submission process.

Writer's Digest Magazine - a monthly publication with helpful articles, columns, writing prompts, and contests. Also the Writer's Digest website.

The Inscribe website and listserv. Maximize your membership by utilizing these and reading the current issue of Fellowscript, which contains articles by the members as well as columns, contests and market information.

The best book on writing I've read so far is Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print by Rennie Browne and Dave King. It's been a long time since I read it, but I found full of  helpful advice for the revision process.

Participation in writers' groups. I've been part of a writers' group for fourteen years now and nothing beats the feedback and encouragement of fellow sojourners who know a thing or two about the writing and publishing processes. If you can't get together with writers in your local area (every Fellowscript issue lists Inscribe writers' groups), try to find an online critique partner and shoot your work back and forth. Nothing has improved my writing more than the practice and discipline of writing and receiving constructive criticism.

 Most importantly for writers who are Christian: be in God's Word daily and be in prayer. We want to be in the centre of God's will for our lives and for our writing. We can't be either if we're not connecting with Him. As it says in the notes of my Transformation Study Bible (Warren Wiersbe, NLT), 
"Our relationship to the Word of God indicates our relationship to the God of the Word."  
If our writing isn't going well, it's possible that we have gone off-centre and God wants us to refocus our attention on Him and what He wants.

Post-script: I still haven't gotten around to reading Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, but I recently noticed a couple of other books in the form of guided journals: 300 Writing Prompts and Complete the Story. These look like fun resources to get the creative juices flowing!
Please visit my personal website at www.susan-barclay.blogspot.ca


  1. Excellent ideas. did you check your name under current contributors?

    1. For what I had in the archives? Yes. But maybe I only wrote about this in my head...? Or previously on my former blog... I didn't think to check there.

  2. Thanks for the tips on writing resources, Susan. I picked up a used copy of Self-editing for Fiction Writers a while back and still haven't gotten around to reading it. I've pulled it off my shelf to read now after your recommendation.


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