October 31, 2017

My Favourite Writing Resources - Kimberley Payne

About a year ago, my family packed up our home and moved an hour north. In the process, I had to say goodbye to my built-in bookshelves and reduce my personal library from seven full shelves to only three. As a writer getting rid of books felt like giving away a piece of myself. But it had to be done. I had to evaluate each book individually to determine if it would make the cut.
The most valuable books I kept included those written by authors I personally know including Ray Wiseman’s Write Better! A Writing Tip for Every Month of the Year and Marcia Laycock’s Abundant Rain – Inspiring Words for Writers of Faith. Of course, the benefit of ebooks is that I was able to keep Donna Fawcett’s Duke the Chihuahua Writes! A Tutorial for Beginning Writers, Melanie Fisher’s Ya…But How – Online Platform Building for the Very, Very Beginner! and Ruth Snyder’s books Learn Twitter. I’ve got a number of anthologies including As the Ink Flows – Devotions to Inspire Christian Writers and Speakers and 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers (in which I have two pieces).
Books I’ve referenced a number of times include Stephen King’s On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft, and How to Take the Fog out of Writing by Robert Gunning and Douglas Mueller. Although I’m a non-fiction writer, I’ve returned time and again to Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.
Besides books, there are resources like blogs, podcasts, and webinars that are invaluable to writers. I’ve bookmarked websites from D’vorah Lansky (Book Marketing Made Easy) http://www.bookmarketingmadeeasy.com/, Karon Thackson (Marketing Words) https://www.marketingwords.com/ and Sandra Beckwith (Build Book Buzz) https://buildbookbuzz.com/.
I love to listen to podcasts as I putter around the house. The bonus is that they are free and can be listened to repeatedly. Podcasts I recommend include The Art of Work Conversations with Jeff Goins, This is Your Life with Michael Hyatt, The Creative Penn Podcast by Joanna Penn, and Author Audience: Helping you reach more people with your message with Shelley Hitz.
Although Facebook can be a time thief, there are worthwhile groups to join including Canadian Writers who are Christian and White Rose Writing – Spread God’s Word through Your Writing. I host a Facebook group called, Writer Helps, and post current information about upcoming writer’s contests, conferences, and books. If you’re on Facebook you’re invited to join and keep informed.
I also host a blog called Author Resources for Success at http://www.authorresources.wordpress.com. I’ve created specific tabs to cover such topics of interest as Amazon, articles, book tours, book covers, copywriting, fiction, marketing, podcasts, publishing, reviews, and more. 

Of course, conferences are invaluable to writers. I have personally attended Write Canada for the past 14 years and highly recommend it. For those living in western Canada, I’ve heard wonderful things about the Inscribe Conference. If you have opportunity to attend a one-day conference or workshop, it’s a great opportunity to learn and to meet like-minded individuals.

I’m always open to learn about new resources and I’d love to hear about your favourites.

October 29, 2017

My Favorite Writing Resources - Bob Jones

My favorite writing resource is a fountain pen.

A red Lamy Safari with black ink, to be specific.

I know – that’s not a textbook on writing or a website or a writing prompt.

But its my fav.

About three years ago I started writing on a daily basis. For me writing was very much a cognitive experience. Then I sat through a seminar presented by my friend, Tim Fowler.

He suggested that writing can actually be a “sensual” experience.


Tim spoke about his love of fountain pens. How writing with a fountain pen vs typing on a keyboard or even writing with a ballpoint pen changed how he felt about writing. He was passionate about fountain pens.

He even provided each participant with a fountain pen. For free.

No strings attached.

So I tried it.

And I liked it.

I take my Lamy with me everywhere I go (along with a good supply of cartridge re-fills).

Tim also suggested that the type of paper you write on influences your whole experience. “Finding a good paper allows you to realize the full potential of your fountain pen and ink, adding another dimension to both the pen and paper.”

He was right on his first suggestion so I checked out his second.

Scored again.

Make mine Midori paper. Midori paper is actually designed to give writers a pleasant writing experience. The paper is soft, smooth, thin and inexpensive. Perfect for everyday use.

A pen. And paper.

Sounds simple. It’s simply amazing.

What do you use for writing?

Bob is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.

Follow his writing at Pointes Of View.

October 28, 2017

One Man's Junk - Bruce Atchison

A friend at church gave me a CD-ROM more than a decade ago. He had no more use for it so he gave it to me. I found it to be extremely useful since I used Windows 98 on my PC at that time.

Though I don't have the key to unlock all the resources on this disk, the QuickVerse King James Version Bible is free to read. I've found it most useful in finding verses which I need for my blogs and books.

For example, suppose I want to find all the verses with "forbear" in them. I type the word or phrase into the search box and all the verses with what I requested show up in a dialogue box. I can select just one or all the verses and send them to the clipboard or the printer. It can also create a file with the texts in it.

This function is handy for copying and pasting direct quotes into documents. Instead of having to type each letter from a print Bible, I merely use the copy and paste functions of NotePad to insert the text into my writing. In fact, I can even have the QuickVerse program insert quotes around the verses I choose.

And though it won't work in Windows 7 or newer, I use it on an old PC with Windows XP on it. The local library gave me that computer and I use it to do all of my writing. It isn't connected to the Internet either so I don't feel the temptation to check e-mail or what's happening on social media.

Since we need to be good stewards of what we have, we shouldn't turn down out-of-date equipment and resources. I've certainly benefited from discarded items and I believe we all need to do the same.

October 27, 2017

Writing Buddies - A Unique Resource

We're talking about resources this month and a few people have mentioned PEOPLE as one of their favourite resources. InScribe wants to help you make connections with other writers. That's why we've started WRITING BUDDIES! Check it out:

Writing Buddies
Looking for a writing partner to help keep you accountable? Someone to bounce ideas off, or just offer some encouragement? Contact VP@inscribe.org and we’ll do our best to match you with a writer with similar interests. All genres, and levels of experience welcome!

October 26, 2017

Winter White Writing - Marnie Pohlmann

The snow is falling outside my window while I am cozy inside. I feel like I should curl up with a London Fog in my favourite teacup and a new novel in my hands. But I know what must be done first.

Glaring white.
Not a blotch mars the immaculate sheet of white.

Sometimes that unmarked canvas is exciting, inviting me to play, but other times, like today, it just feels like work. An overwhelming task. I am stressed I will not find the motivation to complete this piece - my part of the job.

I close my eyes and open them again. Still white.
I switch my gaze to the other page, the one that holds the prompt, then back again to the blank screen.
Still white.

I spend a few minutes studying the other pieces of this month's task. Usually, as I think about what to write each month for my post on the Writers' Online blog for Inscribe, I make notes of various ideas for the theme. As I read the other posts published before mine I am inspired with something to add to the discussion or reminded of what the topic means to me, and I add these ideas to my collection of thoughts.

Reading this month’s posts, I have certainly been inspired to look for more of the resources others find valuable. I appreciate everyone sharing their favourites. Although I have been learning to write for the better part of a half-century, I am just beginning to learn how to write and what to do with that writing.

Tonight, as I open my October file in Scrivener to begin finalizing my ideas for this month's blog, I shiver. Not from the weather outside, but from my file. It is... empty! GASP! I have not one flake of inspiration collected from which to begin.

I start to throw black words onto the white. Then I backspace. I begin again. And backspace. The white recovers my attempts faster than the snow outside is covering the driveway.

I sit back and glance out the window. The still-falling chalky moisture shows winter is wanting to take hold.

I take a deep breath and consider... what resources help me to write?

I begin again. No deleting this time!

I am presently scribbling in Scrivener, one of the writing resources I am learning to use. My favourite feature is that I can open Scrivener without opening anything else on my computer, so am not tempted to answer email or check Facebook. (Okay, yes, I still do, but the option is there to not give in, and there are times I do focus only on writing.)

Aside from Scrivener, I am grateful for my Lenovo 14" laptop on which Scrivener runs. Small and light, it is comfortable to use at my desk or carry to a lounge chair or to the Inscribe Fall Conference.

I pause, and begin, again...

Writing is the only way I know to get better as a writer. Still, after all these years, I allow interruptions to interfere with playing in my favourite tools. Like picking up that shovel to clear the sidewalk, I find sitting down to write the most difficult step of writing. (Though honestly, my husband reminds me, I don’t pick up a real shovel as often as I pick up my computer.)

What sits me down at the computer to write?

A deadline.
That’s it!

A deadline is usually what pushes me to the keyboard.

Deadlines mean I have committed to writing by a particular date. That is a tool that works for me. Whether the deadline is for this blog, a contest, my church, or my own projects, whether that deadline is set by others or myself, the pledge to meet a date or time encourages me to write.
Does it make me a better writer? I think so because it forces me to write whether it feels like work or play. As a Christian writer, I am encouraged to let my yes be yes, to complete my commitments, and meeting deadlines is one way to do so.

There is no stopping the advance of winter. It will come. Outside my window, the snow has now become slushy. Winter has not quite taken hold.
And writers' block has not taken hold, either.

Tonight, the night before my post is due, I no longer see only white.

* photos CCO license, Pixabay.com

Marnie may need to pick up a shovel this winter, but she'd rather be working with words. 

October 25, 2017

The tools of the trade... By Vickie Stam

It seems that I have everything I need to write a best seller - at least that's what all the writing resources tell me. 

 Here I have "The Everything Guide To Writing A Novel." 

Joyce and Jim Lavene offer their book as a tool to help you complete "the first draft to landing a book contract - all you need to fulfill your dreams." While this book has proved to be a helpful guide in my writing endeavours, there have been many others that I have also turned to.

Every book promises to share the whole caboodle - provide me with all of the answers. Each one holds the nuts and bolts to help me find my creativity, the big hook, my voice, and the right genre. Even though I've read a lot of  books over the past seven years, I'm still a long ways away from whipping up that best seller.

There are so many writer's tools on the market today that it often becomes an overwhelming search. They line the shelves of Indigo like penny candy did in the corner store when I was a kid. Each one bears a title that beckons me to buy it. Whenever I opt to pull just one from its resting place I imagine them all tumbling into my arms as if to say - Pick me! Pick me!

All of these helpful tools offer snippets of wisdom between their pages and yes, I rush to the check out with my picks in hand eager to get home and underline, circle or highlight every word or sentence that will most certainly help me to fulfill my writing dream.

Here's a book that offers "50 Essential Strategies For Every Writer" along with the idea that "Writers will be inspired to pick up their pens."

You can bet that one didn't take long to follow me home. Once again, this book features a number of sentences underscored and pages earmarked for those days when I do need a little help being inspired.

I have more books but I can't possibly write about all of them, therefore I have left my favourite writing tool to the very end.

Writing Your Legacy is "A Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting Your Life Story" by Richard Campbell, M.Ed. and Cheryl Svensson, Ph.D.

My passion for writing stems from my journey in life and so it should come as no surprise that this book would be my favourite.    

Each chapter offers themes that help turn your memories into words. The book is designed to keep you focused while you write about the different aspects of your life. It offers useful questions and suggested prompts to assist you in getting started. There are endless exercises that make it easy for you reach your writing goal. This manual can usher you into your own personal reflection.

An avid writer or a newbie will find everything they need to reach the finish line. 

** In closing, I must admit that out of all of the books that I have on hand this one does hold a special place in my heart. You see, I know Richard Campbell personally. I first met him when he facilitated a Life Story Writing class that I was enrolled in at Redeemer University. I was a frightened newbie writer looking for a place to free the words that I had imprisoned in my heart for so long. Richard's love for helping people write their story shines through in this book and in his teaching. Tucked between the pages of this little gem you'll find a fragment of my heart. I feel so honoured that Richard Campbell gave me the opportunity to allow others to see a glimpse of my journey - something that is forever bound inside the cover of, "Writing Your Legacy." 

Richard truly is a wonderful friend and an inspiration to many.

October 22, 2017

Writing Resources of a Newbie Writer! Alan Anderson

When I read the writing prompt for October my first response was “mommy!” As a newbie writer I’m still finding my way regarding resources for my writing. With your indulgence, loving readers, I will take a crack at giving you some idea of my resources to date.

As I strive to become more skilled as a writer I notice there are a whole bunch of resources I can turn to. I find it somewhat overwhelming as I seek out resources. It is kind of like going to a large restaurant with a massive menu with so many choices. What to do, what to do?

Right now I’m taking a basic writing course through Udemy. It is probably too basic for most InScribe writers but, hey, I’m still learning! I’m enjoying the discovery of how even more wonderful words are as I hopefully progress as a writer. Courses, therefore, are a resource I turn to.

My most valuable resource for my writing is found in real life people. Every person I meet is a walking, breathing story being written. People are the greatest texts from where I can learn about life. They are my teachers. The ins and outs of the deep things of life are modeled most successfully from being with people. I can then be with my word friends in a more intimate way. I can feel them and I can appreciate each word's unique beauty. I love that!

At this point in my writing life I appreciate the giftedness of such people as Jeff Goins as well as a number of our InScribe members. All are gifted in their own right to write. They each offer me tools I can use to become more skilled in my writing.

I especially love my InScribe writer friends as a resource. When I ask them a question or ask them to critique something I am writing I receive a response from them personally, not from an assistant. I like the personal touch.

In particular I enjoy the instruction I receive from Jeff Goins in his books. For instance, I like the idea of finding one’s “tribe.” These are people who resonate with who you are as a writer. Your tribe is drawn to what one writes and is a great base for your writing to become known. That is what I am striving for - a tribe who recognizes my writing “voice.”

In his book, “You Are a Writer,” Jeff Goins states there are three “important tools” for successful communication including writing. These three are:
1.   A platform to share your writing
2.   A brand to build trust with readers
3.   Channels of connection to distribute your art.
I’m also discovering that all three of these tools take constant work.

Oh boy, as I look over this post it doesn’t seem like one that will shoot to the first spot of the greatest InScribe blog posts. That’s good in a way. It causes me to stay humble as I persevere in my writing.

Turning to resources for assistance or help shows me I am not alone in my writing. There are indeed those fellow travelers along the highway of words I walk on. That’s cool!

Blog: ScarredJoy@wordpress.com

October 21, 2017

What do you do for a LIVING? ... by Jocelyn Faire

     I have been doing a lot of living in the last few years, perhaps I am collecting material for my next writing project, or perhaps I am refuelling my soul after a long depletion. There are seasons of life and seasons of writing life.

     When I express thoughts, my desire is to bring hope and light into dark places and because of that I need to be filled with my own hope and light in order to spill out encouragement. When I pondered this month's topic I recognized that what I need for writing is my own source of inspiration. Inspiration is defined online as "the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative; the quality of being inspired; a sudden brilliant creative or timely idea; the divine influence believed to have led to the writing of the Bible." While not competing with the writers of scripture, I realize that some of the people I share with will never open a bible and I want my words to draw them into a quest for truth.

     When I first retired as a nurse, my mother would usually ask me, "So what are you doing now?" I would tell her about this or that, and say I am also writing. She would then ask, "Are you getting paid for any of this?" To me the message was, if you are not being paid, it had no value. In my mother's defence, her work supported the family in my growing up years, so she wondered how I could make ends meet without a paying job. I have stopped apologizing in my life for taking the time to sit by rivers, or in the presence of nature's beauty. Time spent in prayer and processing life is time well spent, it is also necessary for writing. Now I reformat the question "What do you do for a living?" into what do I do to make life alive. There is no doubt in my mind that our writing improves with passion for living. Simply existing is not enough. I'm after the abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10.
But, how do I move from existence to abundance?

♪♪ … when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad. ♪♪ from The Sound of Music
Here are some of my favourite inspiration and writing resources:

Beauty, especially in nature.

Artistically prepared foods.

A park bench along the river.

A good cup of coffee. (Goes well with park bench)

Good walking shoes, as one should walk a lot. I concur with 

Frederick Nietzsche who said All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.

A place to observe people.

Eyes wide open.

Second hand stores. I used to volunteer in one, and experienced some of the most interesting moments.

A good bicycle.

Kayak or canoe to be on the water.

A camera to create artistic shots for posting.

A positive attitude.

Warm clothing for cooler days.

A good cup of tea, good books, good poetry.

Travel-especially cultural travel broadens the outlook.

Because of where my daughter lives and works, I have visited some interesting countries, and met many wonderful women of varied faith backgrounds. 

Google for searching quotes and sources.

Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music—the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.   Henry Miller 

Jocelyn is the author of Who is Talking out of My Head- Grief as an Out of Body Experience.  She is on a quest for Beauty in Life. 

October 20, 2017

Two Resources, Plain and Simple by Joylene M. Bailey

What on earth can a person add to the already amazing posts this month? All of them have given me lists of resources to find and try out. But as I’ve thought and thought over what I consider my most valuable resources - the ones I use the most - it comes down to two:
    1.  My thesaurus
    2.  My observations of people, especially children.

My Thesaurus
I am always going to a thesaurus as I write. If I’m in the middle of writing a story, devotional, article, email, or even text, for heaven’s sake, the thesaurus on my smart phone or my laptop, Thesaurus.com, is a quick go-to. But when I’m getting down to the nitty gritty, I pull out my Roget’s Thesaurus.
I LOVE ROGET’S THESAURUS!! I must be some kind of book nerd.

My Observations
I have a scene imprinted on my memory of two giggly nine-year-old girls on a school bus, matching blue turtlenecks pulled up tightly over their heads so far that the empty necks are flopping back and forth on top of their heads while the contours of their faces push through the blue fabric in grimaces and grins.  I was a parent traveling with the class on a field trip, and I knew the instant I saw it that I wanted to use that scene in a book someday. 
You can’t make this stuff up!

My young grandchildren spark children’s stories and songs in me.
And sitting in coffee shops observing strangers gives me lots of writing material.
Hmmm … how would I describe a moustache that looks exactly like that one?

The best thing about these two resources is that they are easy to take with me wherever I go. My thesaurus is on my smart phone, which is usually with me. And whenever I’m around people I’m observing with a writer’s eye.

Two resources, plain and simple. They may not be as intellectual as some of the other resources mentioned this month, but just as stimulating.

And most valuable to me.

All photos courtesy of pixabay.com

Joylene is full of creative stories and songs after hosting her three-year-old grandson for two weeks at her home in Edmonton where she lives with her Cowboy, Babe, and a cat named Calvin. She writes at Scraps of Joy.