Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Ever feel like this guy? I have...many times...recently. Maybe the stormy Texas weather was clouding my brain, but every time I sat down to type today, nothing came to mind. So I ran errands, went to a doctor appointment, did laundry, all those things I normally do when I'm intentionally avoiding rewrites. (You know, when you do things that are much more fun, like cleaning toilets and taking out the garbage.)

I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, and changes in the weather can sometimes trigger a flare. Apparently, spikes and plummets in barometric pressure can also aggravate old phobias, especially the fear of facing the blank computer screen. Insecurity and self-abasement sometimes accompany this affliction, but don't worry! These can easily be overcome.

Look up Choose a topic that ignites your creativity. Set a timer for 15 minutes, sit down at the keyboard, and write till the thunder booms, I mean, till the buzzer dings. Don't take time to correct grammar or perfect punctuation. Just roll with whatever pours from your imagination. When time's up, sit back and take a deep breath.

Hey, what's that? Huh! The sun's piercing through the clouds!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Christian Book Expo 2009

I had a fabulous time yesterday at the Christian Book Expo! Over 200 authors were present, as well as publishers, agents, and other industry professionals. I attended with a friend of mine, a published author, who so generously introduced me to all of her friends. (Thanks, Brenna!) See me & "Mama T"? Thelma Wells is such a joyful soul!

Brenna and I listened in on a panel discussion on the topic of Heaven and Hell and participated in various workshops. I also met my favorite author, Max Lucado, and got my photo taken with him! I was a bit starstruck, but also honored to meet so many people who are such willing servants of Christ.

If you're in the Dallas area, you've got one more chance to attend this fabulous event, as it ends tomorrow. Check out for details.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Word Harmony

My husband is American - born and bred – and he loves his country. But, he doesn’t love our language. There are simply too many spelling variations. English, the American version especially, is a montage of many voices, harmonizing Latin, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and many others, in a multicultural symphony of the nationalities that form this nation.

The beauty of this unique language, though, often creates editing cacophony. Let me borrow Terry Whalin’s example from his Book Proposals that Sell. Compare these two syntactically correct sentences:
The read book was red.
The red book was read.

Both sentences make sense, but each has a different meaning. Which does the author intend? Most word processing programs contain a spellchecking device. Don’t rely on it! Sure, it may catch some errors, but it does not know what the author has in mind.

Audio perceptions are more sensitive than visual – the ear hears what the eye overlooks. My fingers sometimes tend to be dyslexic when I type. So, occasionally, I may spell a word correctly, but not the word I meant to type. The spellchecker misses it, because it is technically not an error. Only when I read my piece aloud will I catch the mistake. Always be sure to read your work orally before making final edits and listen for a sweet melody.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Refined Like Silver

The first draft is the easiest part of the writing process. You have something to say, you set your fingers on the keyboard, and you let them fly. However, unless you are the very rare perfectionist, or if your words come directly from God Himself, that first draft is bound to be a big, sloppy mess. A once-over reveals misplaced thoughts, missing pieces, and grammar errors. Time to edit.

Rewrites and revisions require gruelling work. It's like digging tunnels with a toothpick! You must scour your writing sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. Pick it apart. Try to separate yourself from your story. Read it as if you've never seen it before. Read it aloud and listen for confusing areas. Note sentences that are too wordy or that trip your tongue. Be aware of misplaced modifiers.

The revision process may be hard work, but it is vital to producing quality work. A writer I know is personally acquainted with inspirational author and speaker Thelma Wells and received an email announcement for Mrs. Wells' current seminar tour. One statement read, "Do you want to win those battles against your husband and your children?" Whoa! What editor missed that? Is this a power-mom-family-bashing-smackdown? My friend alerted Mrs. Wells to the misleading phrase, and a rewrite was done immediately!

Another friend despises rewrites. She loathes them so much she even refuses to say the word. She prefers to call the process "refining". That is a very appropriate term. To be most effective, writing needs to be "like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times" (Psalm 12:6). Leave the dross behind and present a polished masterpiece.

This sums it up ;)

This sums it up ;)