March 24, 2023

C is for Community ~ Guest Post by Barbara Fuller

 They say it takes a village to raise a child. Likewise, it takes a community to develop a writer. We may think of the solitary writer, sequestered in a room with the door closed, scratching away on the page. Perhaps many of us begin that way.

But as with most human undertakings, writers are not exempt from the need for interaction with others. Not just for affirmation but also for motivation, stimulation, information and collaboration. That’s why organizations such as InScribe exist—because together we can do more and in the company of others we can do better.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

In my na├»ve self-confidence, I thought I was a decent writer. Then I went to a writers’ conference at which one could submit a piece for “blue pencil review.” I have to admit I was a bit surprised by how many blue pencil marks suggested room for improvement on my piece. A touch of humility gave me a new openness to learn more about the craft of writing.

I wrote my first book – a Bible study –  with the collaboration and support of a colleague. Together we planned the format and outline. I could run by her my ideas, inspired moments and uncertainties. That collaboration enriched my writing.

The second writers’ conference I attended included a breakout option called “Freefall.” Curious, I signed up and discovered a whole new kind of fun. The leader gave us an open-ended phrase, then set a timer for 2 minutes in which we were to carry on writing the story. My imagination was stimulated. Not only that, I was fascinated by the varied directions in which participants had gone with their word-crafting.

Some time later, a friend mentioned that she was thinking of starting a writing group. “I’m in!” was my immediate response. Now every month we gather on Zoom and share the stories we have written based on a given prompt. We take turns choosing the prompt. Our stated purpose is not to critique but to affirm and encourage one another. We share our stories, pieces of our lives and unique ways of approaching the same subject. Motivation to write is strong when you have a group interested in hearing what you have prepared.

I live on my own and even though my dog is a good listener, he is not great at feedback. I need someone to be a sounding board in the creative process. I envy writers who have a spouse to listen to their ruminations and processing of ideas as they go along.

At some point on the path to publication we will need beta readers (another thing I learned about from other writers), editors, publishers and printers. But even before that, for the art and process of writing itself we need a community. Whether you find yourself a writing buddy, join a writing group, sign up for a workshop or writing course, or attend a conference, your craft will be enriched by sharing the journey with a community of like-minded pilgrims.


Barbara Fuller, a native of Nova Scotia, has been writing since she was a teenager. Now living in BC, she is currently working on her fifth book in the Inlight Bible Studies series. Barb enjoys her six grand-darlings, music, books, languages, traveling, and walking on beaches, preferably with her dog Toby. Find her books and her blog at Barbara Fuller.

March 23, 2023

Choices as the Chosen ~ Valerie Ronald

                                                                                                                                           image credit: Wallpaper Access
            

 The memory is vivid, of sitting tall in my desk in grade four, singing my heart out as my teacher walked up and down the rows listening for singers she thought good enough to join a choir. When she chose someone, she tapped on their desk. I did not receive a tap. After all these years I can still recall the disappointment of not being chosen. Now I know I am chosen, which makes all the difference.

God’s Chosen

I see our calling as Christian writers symbolized by an inverted triangle representing choices. The most important criterion begins with our position as chosen children of God. This is the broad top of the inverted triangle, from which all choices stem. Throughout His word God tells us that those who follow Him in faith are also chosen by Him. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were God’s chosen people from which the Messiah would come. With the new covenant instituted by Jesus, those who believe He is the Messiah, God’s Son, and accept Him as their Savior also become His chosen people, holy and dearly loved. (Col. 3:12 NIV) We are chosen but we also have the freedom to choose whether or not we accept Christ’s invitation to be one of His own. It sounds confusing, I know. The theology of election and predestination is a huge topic of study for another time.

Choosing Our Calling

When God “tapped on my desk” I already knew I wanted to write. The desire and aptitude was evident since I was young. I pursued education as a journalist and chose writing-related jobs. While raising my family I filled journals with musings and stories. Even before I knew God, He had already chosen how I would serve Him. It was a given that I chose to write for Him, because that is the desire He put in my heart before I was born.

Here the inverted triangle narrows to individual choice, guided and influenced by God. His Holy Spirit influenced my choice to be a writer. I am blessed with deep joy and satisfaction in the working out of my calling because His desire for me is also my desire.

“For we are His creative work, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we can do them.” (Eph. 2:10 NET)

Choices Within Our Calling

At a time when pursuing my writing seemed impossible, I recall praying for the circumstances I now enjoy. Long periods of uninterrupted time, resources and tools at my fingertips and encouragement from those who recognize my calling. Now comes the fun part where God gives me liberty to make choices within the parameters of being a Christian writer. To quote Ann of Green Gables, He has given me “scope for the imagination.” Prefaced by prayer, I listen for His voice in my spirit, prompting me to pursue topics, story ideas and projects that spark my imagination and suit my creative voice.

Now the inverted triangle narrows, pointing to specifics like markets, audiences, genres, topics, styles and word selection. This is where I feel like a child in a toy store ˗˗ so many wonderful choices! Having been a writer for many years, I find my ability to make good choices increasing with experience and self-education. God has given me a reasonable mind and a predisposition toward words, so I am constantly challenged to reflect Him in my choices.



        Wonderfully made, my days were chosen for God's book before one came to be

I am chosen by grace to be one of God’s people, holy and dearly loved

I choose to write because He created me to do good works

My choices reflect His Spirit at work in my life

Chosen by God, I choose to serve Him

with choice words

a channel for

Christ

 


   More of Valerie's work can be read on her blog:

     https://scriptordeus.wordpress.com/



March 22, 2023

The Creative Call - Book Review, by Lorrie Orr

 


For more than a quarter of a century, Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way has been a classic for people seeking to give voice to their creative bent. It's a useful and life-changing book, but misses one important aspect - the acknowledgement of a personal and creative God who empowers his people with his Spirit. 

Julia Elsheimer, in The Creative Call, names the God of the universe and acknowledges him directly as the source of creativity, particularly for a Christian artist. Each chapter is anchored with Scripture verses, and readers are encouraged to memorize the verses, something Elsheimer calls "word play." 

In the chapter "Listening" Elsheimer writes "This perception that art is an expression of something moving through us rather than from us is not limited to Christian artists, but Christians are likely to identify the feeling as the Holy Spirit manifesting himself through them. As you write in your daybook, pray that God will reveal himself to you through the words you write." Listening to the Spirit's call and trusting him in living out this call is the focus of the book. 

Throughout the book there are exercises related to Listening, Awakening, Forgiving, Breathing In, Breathing Out, and other chapter titles. I went through the book several years ago, and after pulling it off the bookshelf, I think I'll go through the exercises again. 

Elsheimer writes "If we have been given artistic gifts, the shape of our lives need to include the use of those gifts. God's gifts are not accident: 'Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows' (James 1:17)." 

The book ends with a collection of prayers from saints throughout the ages. I find them poignant and powerful as I thought about how people throughout time have the same longings and desires to connect with God. I have several written out and placed in my Bible for easy reference. Here is a portion of one written by Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536). 

Holy Spirit...
I beseech thee, maintain thy gifts in me,
and increase the things daily,
which thou hast vouchsafed to bestow upon me,
that by thy governance the lusts of the flesh may die
      more and more in me
and the desire of heavenly life more quicken and increase.
Let me so pass through the misty desert of this world 
by thy light going before me...


Lorrie Orr writes from Vancouver Island where she enjoys boating and hiking with her husband. Gardening, sewing, reading, and spending time with her five grandchildren fill her days with happiness and contentment. There is also the writing that always occupies a corner of her brain.

March 21, 2023

Calling NOT Comparison - by Tracy Krauss

COMPARISON - Don't play that game!

We've all fallen into the trap of comparing ourselves to other writers and usually, it only leads to discontent, discouragement, or even despair. (Too many D words for a post about C!)

So-and-so has more reviews... So-and-so has a larger email list... So-and-so has written more books.....has more followers, is more outgoing, knows more about marketing, writes faster, writes better, (INSERT whatever comparison makes you feel bad about yourself and your writing.)

Conversely, we must also be careful not to become puffed up. The comparison game is also very good at doing that. Just reverse the above comments and add a self-satisfied smirk... I have more reviews, more books in print, more followers... etc. Does that sound like a person God is going to bless?

I firmly believe that God has called me to write. (In fact, CALLING was my next "C' choice) I'm sure many of you feel the same. However, God has also impressed upon me that comparing myself to other writers is a dangerous pastime. Of course, we must learn from one another. That's not what I'm talking about. 

My writing journey has been different than yours. I've had to own my genre and subject matter which doesn't always fit neatly into the traditional Christian marketplace. I've come to terms with the fact that I may never be able to make a living through my writing. I will likely never have a huge following. But if I can touch one life, that is all God has called me to do. 

STOP comparing yourself to others.

START leaning into your CALL.


Tracy Krauss writes from her home in Tumbler Ridge, BC. For more, visit her website at:

https://tracykrauss.com

March 20, 2023

A Compassionate Community of Care by Alan Anderson

 


"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:35 - 38 NIV

 

A Compassionate Community

 

Dear friends, you might consider this post to be an overreach, or one of my rambles, but here goes. While contemplating a "C" word for this post, I was drawn to words of comfort. Perhaps this contemplation of comfort words gives evidence of my soul's longing. A longing for peace. A longing for gentle and safe times. A longing for compassion and community.

 

 

After reading the messages of our other blog post writers, I decided on the following. InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship is a creative, compassionate community of writers who care. Although we are scattered geographical boundaries, we have a common foundation through our faith. We also share a common interest through the ministry of writing. As followers of Jesus Christ, we express His compassion, a capacity to express sorrow, for the helpless condition of other people.

 

We are called into a harassed and helpless world.

 

The constant barrage of tragedy, violence, and calamitous news of the world is too much to absorb. Even children are bombarded with the effects of sin pushed on them these days. I wonder to what depth they have been robbed of their innocence and trust in adults.

 

 

InScribe Writers compassionate community uses words to speak into the darkness of the world's heartbreak. This may seem like a tall order, but it can be done. We can do this together. We can do this!

 

 

Perhaps through your writing you have cried for the world. Well, my friends, like the words of mercy from Jesus, your tears are not wasted, neither are they sucked into a deep vortex of nothingness. Our sorrow, our words of mercy, beat with the heart of God.

 

 

If not for hope in God, where would we be? What would be the purpose of the words we write? Our words include the power to heal or harm. As a compassionate community of writers who are Christians, we choose to compose words of writers who care.

 

 

A Short Story

 

Some of you know I worked as a chaplain in healthcare for years. After retirement, I was left with memories of people I served. I wrote these memories into stories, with a hope of sharing them with others. I call these stories "Lessons from my Teachers." Here is one of these short stories from a personal encounter I was honoured to experience.

 

 

His Bible and Teddy Bear

 

I entered the room minutes after the old gentleman breathed his last. The room felt still. His wife held his hand as she stood by his bed and informed me, "he died just a few minutes ago". She then said in a quiet voice, "He's at peace now!" Such a tender and sacred moment to witness. She clasped something in her hands, and I saw it was his Bible. His Bible was to go in his coffin with him along with his favourite stuffed animal, a teddy bear. She said he would like this!

 

She seemed almost emotionless as she left the room and looked so fragile, as if at any second, she would break. I helped her carry his belongings and personal effects down the hallway of the care home.

 

A taxi was waiting outside. The driver greeted her with a smile and "how are you today?" She got into the cab without saying a word and waved to me as the taxi took her away. She was going home to make the arrangements. Family had to be called. Meetings with the funeral director would be in her near future. I remember what was important to her as she readied to say goodbye to her husband. She wanted to make sure that when he was placed in his casket, he wouldn't be alone. His Bible and his teddy bear would be with him! Such a poignant scene as this would be.

 

 

I know from personal experience; our stories can bring healing to people. Think of memories locked away in your memory and how these stories have the power to heal.

 

 



Searching Questions for our Calling

 

Do your words ever weep as you write? If they do, what do they teach you?

 

 

Lord Have Mercy

May we never lose our compassion for those harassed, helpless, and without the Shepherd. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.

 

 

Alan lives in Deroche, B.C. with his wife, Terry, and their poodle, Charlie. He contributed stories to Good Grief People by Angel Hope Publishing, 2017; Story by Story: The Power of a Writer, Unstoppable Writers Publishing, 2018; Easter Stories & More by InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship, 2021. He is currently working on a book expressing the grief of grieving grandparents entitled “Hidden Poetic Voices: A Reflective Work of Grief, Faith, and Poetry.” Alan periodically writes articles for FellowScript Magazine. He has written posts for our InScribe blog since 2015. He recently volunteered to be the Writing Group Coordinator for InScribe. Blog: https://scarredjoy.ca.

March 17, 2023

A Storyteller's Celtic Roots (A St. Patrick's Day Post) ~ Guest Post by Allison Lynn

 



I hail from the oldest and most easterly city in all of North America - St. John’s, Newfoundland.


For thousands of years, the Indigenous people of our island drew cod from the rich fishing grounds surrounding the rocky shoreline. One thousand years ago, Vikings became the island’s first European visitors, harvesting timber from the rugged northern peninsula. Five hundred years later, John Cabot would claim to discover the island, a moment that sparked the international fishing industry in Newfoundland. 


Thousands of fisherman from England, Ireland, France, Spain, and Portugal crossed the ocean to spend each summer fishing for cod. Eventually, they brought their families, built year-round settlements, and created a unique island culture.


My family arrived on the island a few hundred years ago. At that time, we were English and Irish. Today, we are Newfoundlanders. 


But we’re never far from our roots. 


Those early settlers brought their Celtic customs across the ocean and firmly planted them into the land and the people.


Hundreds of years later, we carry on this tradition: 



We are Storytellers.


We are songwriters, playwrights, novelists, and poets.


We love to spin a yarn, crack a joke, or tell the fishing tale of the-one-that-got-away.


We speak of fairies, mermaids, and legendary shipwrecks.



We are Survivors. 


We have clung to the Rock for hundreds of years. 

Our Indigenous populations, even longer.


We tell stories of long winters, when the cove iced up and no one could move for months.


We talk of small boats facing epic storms, of the ones that returned, and the ones who never made it home.


We tell the stories of those who can no longer speak for themselves:

For Shawnadithit, the last of the Beothuks.

For the fallen soldiers of Beaumont-Hamel.

For the 84 workers of the Ocean Ranger offshore drilling station, swallowed by the sea on a stormy winter’s night.


We’ve faced tsunamis, prejudice, isolation, and a moratorium on fishing that cod that started it all.



We’ve lived to tell the tale, so tell it we will.


We gather in our churches, lifting prayers of gratitude, harmonizing songs of struggle and faith.


We sing it our pubs, rousing our voices together in shanties and laments.


We laugh about it in our kitchen parties, fiercely choosing joy in the face of adversity, weaving tales of hope and humour.


We gift it to our children, passing our creativity and resiliency down to the next generation.


Our Celtic ancestors gave us the gift of storytelling for survival, hope, and legacy.


With each new chapter, we continue to share our story …



HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!



ALLISON LYNN:

Singer, songwriter and worship leader, Allison Lynn, is drawn to the power of story to grow hearts and communities. Allison and her husband, Gerald Flemming, just released their 9th Infinitely More album - The Sum of All Love. Publications include The Anglican Journal (national newspaper), Taste and See (journal), Love STC (Niagara Tourism Blog), and four stories with Chicken Soup for the Soul. www.InfinitelyMore.ca


March 16, 2023

C is For Cookie by Lorilee Guenter


 I grew up watching Sesame Street with Cookie Monster devouring any cookie he saw. As a reader, I devour good writing (and not so good writing). As a writer, I want my writing to be as enticing to the readers as those cookies.

A good cookie needs the right number of ingredients, in the right proportions, mixed according to directions. Some are baked. Some are left to cool. Likewise, all good writing follows a recipe that includes word images, grammar and spelling. Different genres need different ingredients just as different cookies do. I would not be happy with a mystery that didn't solve the crime by the end of the story. I would not be happy with a chocolate cookie that lacked cocoa.

Every writer, no matter what genre, needs community. While the act of writing is solitary, the craft of writing is not. Through workshops and classes we learn to hone our craft. Critique groups and editors help us polish the work. They help us determine if one spice, one element overpowers the others. Family, friends, or a group of other writers can help us take a break to regain perspective. They encourage us to keep going when we want to stop. In addition, they might be willing to listen as you talk through the roadblocks in front of you.

Every writer needs that spark of an idea they can build upon. We each find inspiration in different places and different ways. There is one commonality, attention. When I rush through life, or let distractions pull at my attention, I miss opportunities. I also miss details that could add interest to my words. Distraction busies my mind so I neglect to pause and consider what I am seeing, hearing or learning. It tells me "I don't have time," or "my words don't matter anyway."

I have a bad habit of trying to taste the cookies before they cool enough to touch. This results in a burnt tongue and difficulty tasting the blend of flavours. In editing, it can be useful to let the writing cool so that when you re-read it you can taste the flavour of the words. Then you will be better able to notice what blends well and what is out of place. A small group of first readers can offer feedback on the results just like taste testers do with cookies.

A good baker knows the right time to take the cookies out of the oven. Too little time and they are raw in the middle, too long and they are burnt. Neither is optimal. Too little editing and other work on a manuscript, whether short or long, can leave the reader wishing for more polish. Too much editing can take a piece that sparkles and turn it into a flat specimen, burnt around the edges. Most writers struggle with under cooked stories instead of overcooked ones. Some writers have been know to take a match to old, unappealing work so no one tastes the stale words.

As Christian writers we have one powerful ingredient in our writing: prayer. Through prayer and contemplation, the Holy Spirit takes our offerings and multiplies them. The power in our words, whether we write in the secular market or Christian market, comes from the Word. When our writing is baked with prayer, we can be confident it will find the right audience. It gives us the courage to share our words.

A dessert table with plates of cookies and sweets is enticing and full of choices. As a community of writers, our offerings should also be enticing and full of choice so there is something for everyone. 

At the end of the day, when we set aside our writing, we can reward ourselves with a good story and a cookie.

March 15, 2023

C is for Contests & Critiques by Carol Harrison


 


C is for Contests and Critiques

From the time I began reluctantly writing my first book, Amee’s Story, I felt like I had forgotten so much about writing and English lessons, I felt stuck. How could I ever get past the first few sentences, let alone the first chapter? I typed in words. I deleted them and began again. Then I connected with other Christian writers. I stepped outside my comfort zone of hiding the writing attempts and asked for critique on chapter one.

Putting your piece of writing in front of someone else and asking for a critique can make you feel vulnerable. What if they think nothing is any good? What if questions flitted through my mind. But what did I have to lose? Being stuck didn’t help. Gulping back my fears, I submitted this writing to the opinion of others. It helped me get unstuck.

Through the years, I have still felt inadequate too many times. There is always more to learn. I’ve also realized that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to see some of the common errors in my own writing that I can pick out in a piece written by someone else. We all see what we know should be in our own writing, whether extra words or missing ones.

I meet with other writers to encourage and be encouraged, to learn and to share knowledge I’ve gained. Yes, critique is still part of my writing journey. Recently, another writer and myself meet about once a month. We send each other about 4,000 words of writing. We spend time reading and critiquing each other’s work and then get together to review why we suggested the changes we did. We also make sure we let each other know the parts of the writing we enjoyed the most. It has been an exercise in learning and growing in the craft.

C is also for contests, another way of moving out of my comfort zone and receiving


feedback to help me improve my abilities. I entered Amee’s Story in the Word Guild contest the year after it was published. I wanted to receive the judge’s comments to see what worked and what could be improved as I moved forward with writing. It took a lot of courage to send the book away. Imagine my surprise to find out my book was a semi finalist in the Memoir category. Even though it did not win, I received excellent feedback from the judge which I referred back to as I wrote other pieces.

Since then I’ve entered other contests. A local writing group I belong to has two contests every year which are blind judged by a published author. At first I entered the prose and poetry because we needed to make sure we had at least five pieces in each one in order for the contest to proceed. Obligation to help coloured my reason for entering, especially poetry. But once again the judge’s comments proved so valuable, I began entering them for the purpose of receiving those helpful comments.

Inscribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship provides us with opportunities to enter our writing into the fall contest each year in a number of categories. Blind judging allows unbiased comments. I haven’t entered every year. At first, I couldn’t make myself move out of that comfort zone and send my writing away to be judged. Then, I wanted to receive feedback from a judge to know how I could improve and what I did well. I entered the Devotional category because I felt most comfortable with that genre. Since then, I’ve branched out to try others. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow.

I enter a contest and wait in eager anticipation for the results. Yes, being in the top three is a goal each time but mostly I can’t wait to read the judge’s comments even on pieces that have made those top places.

Contests and critiques are opportunities to stretch us out of our comfort zones while offering advice on ways to improve my writing. It won’t be long before the Inscribe Fall Contest is open. We’ll discover the categories offered this year. Are we ready to write entries for the contest? After all C is for critiques, contests, and moving out of our comfort zone. 

 Carol Harrison writes from her home in Saskatoon, SK. Fear still grips when she sends submissions for contests but she finds them valuable learning tools for this craft of writing.

March 14, 2023

Curmudgeon by Sharon Heagy

 


    Curmudgeon. What a great word. Usually it refers to a cranky pants grumpy old man. There are a few grouchy females who also fit the bill but I don’t care for the term which describes the female counterpart and it doesn’t begin with the letter ‘c’. So I will call them ‘curmudgeonettes’ (much to my spell checker’s dismay).  

            These are the crusty folks who make great fodder for fascinating characters in books and movies. They harrumph and grouse and grumble about everything and everyone. Being argumentative fuels their fire and their stubborn nature will defend a wrong point of view, like swearing the sun comes up in the west. Those of the curmudgeon persuasion cause others to be infuriated and they can add stress to any situation, it is their……gift. Yet, I have an affinity for curmudgeonly folks.

            My experience has been that these individuals can be some of the most interesting, honest and loyal human beings once you crack holes in their tough crust. They are like the earth, seven layers thick, each with its own distinct characteristics. It takes time and effort to get to the gooey centre but it’s well worth the investment. Often the layers hide insecurities and brokenness. Each hurt and wound growing another layer of protection over the soft centre and with it a little less trust, and a little more distance between them and others. Because the curmudgeon can be offensive, many of us tend to avoid them. It reminds me of Nathanael’s declaration, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” A curmudgeon? Can anything good be found in them?  We sometimes forget they are children of God created in His image and in need of a Saviour, same as us.

But God loves the broken. He has a heart for the curmudgeon. He is restoration and redemption and He looks below the crusty layers, below the hurt, right into the heart. Just like He did in Ezekiel, God can “remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”

And He can use us to be instruments in the surgery and life-giving I.V. lines of His love, grace and mercy.

            This is not only true for the people we may meet but also applies to those we write about. When we have curmudgeonly characters in our stories, we need not paint too harsh a picture but can, and perhaps must, allow the redemptive process to be at work in their lives. Our most cantankerous readers need to know there is hope for the curmudgeon and the curmudgeonette. Our prose can be used by God to awaken them to the truth that tells them they don’t have to be stuck beneath the weight of sorrows but can break free into the marvelous freeing light of relationship with God. 

As frustrating as they can be, try to be kind to the curmudgeons in your life, whether in person or as characters in your work. We may be just the person who God can use to make a fissure in a fellow human being to help His light penetrate a heart.

March 13, 2023

C is for Captivated by Steph Beth Nickel


The Captivating Details

Sometimes it’s about seeing the big picture. And sometimes it’s about zeroing in on the tiniest details.

While we may be overjoyed at the 30,000-foot view, it’s often the apparent minutiae that can be truly captivating. 

It isn’t always about looking up into the night sky and observing the plethora of stars and planets. Sometimes it’s about looking through a telescope and studying the surface of the moon, the rings of Saturn, or the moons of Jupiter.

It isn’t always about observing a sprawling garden. Sometimes it’s about marveling at the intricacies of an individual flower.

It isn’t always about standing by the ocean that stretches to the horizon. Sometimes it’s about holding a sand dollar in your hand and examining its design.


And when it comes to the written word…

As Christians, we know that it’s important to understand a single Bible verse in the context of the chapter and that chapter in the context of the book and the book in the context of the entirety of Scripture.

Sometimes, however, it may be a single word that jumps off the page and deepens our understanding of that verse, that chapter, that Bible book—maybe even a much larger theme that works its way through the Scriptures.

While none of us are adding to the canon of Scripture, it is important to keep this principle in mind. We want our readers to see the big picture, to be ever-impacted by our blog post, our magazine article, our book.

This is more likely to happen if our work includes what Lysa TerKeurst and others call “sticky statements,” those individual sentences that stick with our readers long after they’ve set aside our work. Those statements they share with family and friends. Those sentences they highlight or make note of in their journal.


That said…

It isn’t always what the author intended as a stick statement (and the publisher set off in a larger font) that will strike the reader. Personally, I often highlight other words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs.

Will you slow down and allow yourself to be captivated today?

Will you take the time to create written work that just may captivate your readers?

Will you release your writing with open hands, knowing what captivates you may not be what stands out to your readers?


Steph Beth Nickel is an editor, a writer, and a labour doula. She is currently working with her coauthor, Paralympian Deb Willows, on a follow-up to Deb's first memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances.  Deb's second memoir is tentatively titled Keep Looking Up. Steph also plans to get back to working on a YA speculative fiction novel, Rule and Reign.