Sunday, February 12, 2012

Write Right

As a writer, I make mistakes. I'm my own worst editor. I spend hours pouring over my work; reading and re-reading each line. I'm lucky if my eyes over ride my head long enough to catch a misspelled word or bad grammer. I often wish I were a better editor of my own pieces. I can edit the work of others much easier than my own. Still, before I send anything to anyone in hopes of publication, I pay to have it edited and proofed.

Why is that? A couple of reasons. First, I take pride in my work. Before I send it out, I want it to be the very best it can be. This is my gift from God and though I'm far from perfect, I make every effort to make the words the best they can be in honor of the Father who entrusted me with His gift.

Secondly, I hate slush piles and the quickest way to a slush me rephrase, the trash can. The quickest way to the trash can beside an editors desk is to send them a piece of work filled with mistakes.

I edit devotions daily for Christian Devotions and I'm always amazed at how little writers care about their work. For example, I got a devotion written like this:

i walked across the stage. susan and joe starred at me. i wanted to cry or through something at them.

Now, let me qualify the above by saying those are not the words I received but the mistakes were. Technology is wonderful but it's made us a society of lazy writers. Texting contains no puncuation or capital letters. Folks are so acustomed to having their photo attached to their message they've forgotten the meaning of signing their names.

So I agree with publishers and editors...we have a generation of lazy writers.

Writers spend hundreds of dollars to attend writers conferences to learn the finer points of writing and publication, yet they refuse to spend a few pennies to have their work proofed and edited. Why would one climb the stairs and then stop before they get to the stage? Go figure.

After a day of editing devotions which required the love of a pen as opposed to the keyboard of an iphone, I've decided to offer some do's and do not's as a reminder for writers.

1) Worship God with the words He's blessed you with and offer Him your best work.
2)  Find a proof reader and proof all your work before it hits the internet to an editor's
3)  Remember you are a writer and writers use real words not initials or short cuts like
     lol, 4ever and cu later.
4)  Practice using your shift key to CAPITALIZE the first letter of a sentences.
5)  Put your name on your work. Please put your name on your work. You wrote it. You
     own it. Claim it.
6) Craft your words. Stretch your vocabulary. Strive to write old things in a newer
    stronger way.
7) Do your research. Take pride in the accuracy of your work. If you're writing about
    National Kennel Club, make sure your facts are correct.
8) Write your words and don't borrow other's words without their permission and giving
     them credit.
9) Follow the guidelines. They're there for a reason and it's not to make your life hard. I
    entered my novel in the ACFW Genesis Contest. The guidelines were long and
    detailed but they were there so each judge would be able to read my work
    without issue. They're a necessary evil. Follow them.
10) "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not
     need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

Take pride in the gifts you are graced with. Use them to the glory of God.

I will officially step down from my soapbox and go back to editing. Did anyone proof my blog post? Andrea...are you there, there, there....

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Monday, January 30, 2012

When Pigs Fly

It was just one more thing for me to do. "I trust you can manage this." The words burned in my ears but in my was a whole different thing.

When pigs fly, I thought. Yep. When little piggies fly.

My friend sent me a note today that said she'd ended up overnight in the hospital thinking she was having a heart attack. It ended up being stress.

"Oh my gosh," I shouted. And I fired her a less than stressful email about why she hadn't contacted me and just how I could guide her through stress. After all, I am the queen of stress. Who better to instruct her, right?

I looked across my desk and realized that over the last week I'd worked 26 hours at my "real" part-time job, and  66 hours on the tasks involved in our ministry. Who was I to talk about stress? Two years ago, I found myself losing my hair because of stress.

I have writing I want to do. This is the gift God gave me; the ability to write. And though the 66 hours I spent in the ministry was all pertaining to writing; not one word was for the things God has assigned me to write. Oddly enough, I heard a whisper.

"When pigs fly? Right Cin?"

So today, I go back to the path I learned and practice saying no to some of the things others freely dump onto my plate. I have a calling and though God uses me through His work in the ministry, he has also given me a specific task to write.

I know you're probably just like me, aren't you? Snowed under. Covered in a pile of papers chin deep? I love what I do. I love every part of what I do but today, I'm tired. And a friend just dumped another huge pile on top of me. So tomorrow (because today has already passed), I'm making myself invisible on email and I'm pulling out the writing work God has assigned me. I've learned, when I do the work I'm assigned, the stress slips away because I'm lost in the joy of the blessing.

Yeah...I heard you God. I heard your whisper. I'll do what you ask and truthfully, I look forward to it. I trust in you to take the stress, give me the organization I need to get through and the strength to say no. Oh, and before You say, "When pigs fly." I find it necessary to remind you, I found a football and I'm a pretty good punter.

I rolled the football between my hands, dropped it, then kicked. "Yep," I said. "When pigs fly. And there she blows!"

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Writers ADVANCE! Boot Camp 2012

Writers ADVANCE!

Christian Devotions Ministries set out four years ago to promote Christian writers and Christian writing genres. We prayed God would use us to meet the need…and He has.

We never dreamed we could ask for this and God would provide, but now we’re learning to dream bigger for the future. When we stood at a conference and announced we were starting a publishing arm to the ministry, large publishing houses looked at us and said, “Are you crazy? The country is in the middle of an economic downturn.” They were right. However, our response was, “God doesn’t expect Christians to back down in the face of adversity. He expects His soldiers to ADVANCE!” And we did.

Since that day, God has blessed this ministry. In 2011 our small publishing house sold just under 11,000 books. And the longevity of the books is amazing. Our little Spirit and Heart book still sells in large numbers. Who would have thought? God did, obviously.

Because we believe Writers should ADVANCE in times of plenty and times of adversity, we were moved to begin each year with a weekend of hard work to kick-start writers into ADVANCE mode.

The Billy Graham Training Center, THE COVE, will welcome Christian Devotions and Writers ADVANCE! Boot Camp 2012 to their campus February 24-26. This is a weekend packed full of information. There will be hands-on training, one-on-one work with award-winning and best-selling authors, even an agent, who will give attendees their full attention. The goal is simple…to ADVANCE writers into a new year of writing and to help them renew their purpose.

Registration is now open for Christian Devotions Writers ADVANCE! Boot Camp 2012. The cost is very affordable ($250 for a single occupancy room, $198 for a double. There are also rates for triple and quad occupancy, and even an off-campus rate.) This is ALL-INCLUSIVE…your room and all meals, snacks, and two full days of work.

Visit or the link below and register NOW!
Boot Camp 2012 meets regardless of the weather. (Registrations are non-refundable after January 31.)

For further information contact

Date: February 24, 25, 26
Place:  THE COVE
Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, NC

Kick off 2012 with a boost to your writing.  ADVANCE! Writers BOOT CAMP 2012

Pull out your boots and lace them up tight. Start your new year with Writers ADVANCE! Boot camp 2012, an action packed weekend designed to inspire, motivate and train writers to ADVANCE forward in their writing work.

Set in the format of boot camp, writers are offered intense classes and work for the new writer (Infantry) and the advanced writer (Officer). Each track is designed to offer in-depth training, one-on-one guidance and hand-to-hand work to move writers from stand-still to actively moving ahead on their personal writing projects. 

Writers ADVANCE! Boot camp connects writers with authors, agents and speakers who can teach a well-rounded approach of writing- from the idea to the completed project. The design welcomes all levels of writers offering workshops structured to meet their stage of writing and launching them ahead to the next level.

Slip on your boots. Step out in faith. Join us for Writers ADVANCE! Boot camp 2012.

Two tracks of learning:
Infantry – New Writer
Officer -   Advance Writer

Infantry Training

Officer Training
Getting the Story Started: From Idea to

Putting Up the Frame and Avoiding Writers
Preparing and Writing Articles: Basic How To

All Wound Up: Keeping Tension in Your Story
Devotional Writing: Hook, Book, Look and Took                                                                      

Readers or Leaders: Saving the Next Generation of Young Readers
Painting the Landscapes: Scenes & Settings

Delving Deeper into Fiction: Sub-Plots, Character Development and Dialogue
Writing for Children: Nuts and Bolts

Making Amazon Work for You
It’s the Little Things that Count: Editing Your Work

It’s All in the Detail: Advanced Editing

Moving to the Next Level

Moving to the Next Level

Enticing First Pages:  15 Minutes with an Agent

What About an Agent:  When and Why You Need One
Social Networking: What! How! Who ME!

Social Networking: You can, YOU MUST!
The State of the Ministry: Christian Devotions and You

The State of the Ministry: Christian Devotions and You

 Group session: When you Write for God                           Round Table One on One Critiques
Appointments with a published author or agent to discuss your work and Goals
**OPTIONAL - Paid critiques – You may pay for a professional critique of work
                             $10 – 3 devotions (up to 600 words each)
                             $25 -  The first 15 pages of your novel
                             $20 -  The Basic Proposal

Per Person complete meeting package rates  include, 2 nights rooming, meals, materials packet, snacks and all conference classes:
$250 for single occupancy (to pay in full)
$195 for double occupancy (to pay in full)
$170 for triple occupancy (to pay in full)
$160 for quad occupancy (to pay in full)
$100 Off-campus rate (includes all meals, conference fee and packet fee. There is no one-day rate) OR
(All boot camp registrations are non-refundable. We are committed to filling rooms.)
AND we have our own “black Friday” sale when you:
BOOK YOUR RESERVATION BEFORE  DECEMBER 10  AND SAVE $10 (once you book we’ll credit $10 back to your card)
(Sorry, this discount does not apply to off-campus rate)
REMEMBER…Boot Camp fees are  ALL INCLUSIVE  – Room, Food, Materials Packet and Conference Fee

Boot camp is an intense weekend. Soldiers have buddies to help them stay on track, hold one another accountable and lift one another up when they fall.  We have your back. And that is what makes Boot camp so special. You walk away with a writing buddy you can count on. So invite your peers. Be a part of this amazing weekend of training.

Writers Advance is for all writers, new or seasoned, so invite your friends. Jump start your writing year with a friend. Soldiers travel with a buddy and writers should too. So buddy up and bring a friend for a year of buddy system accountability.
Writers ADVANCE! Boot Camp marches on regardless of the weather so tie your bootstraps tight and be ready. If you attended our past Boot Camps you know we fill you up and send you out armed and ready for battle.
For additional orders or information, contact

Meet Christian Devotions and their Staff and board members. Find out how the ministry of Christian Devotions works, what’s coming down the zip line and how you can not only benefit from, but be a part of it.

Click on one of the occupancy links and sign up for your marching orders. This is a weekend you will not forget.