This month I will share some quick tips on writing with purpose. Today's installment is "Your Writing is a Gift."
This month I want to share with you the steps necessary to begin your advancement to the next level in your writing. I will probably continue this theme to the end of the year. Listen to the message and enjoy.
I can’t tell you how many people I have talked to who have shared they want to write a book. I see the excitement in their eyes until I ask them why they haven’t written it yet. The reasons range from not feeling qualified to write to being unsure if anyone would read their work. What happens then is the dream lays dormant and often goes unfulfilled.
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work” (Colin Powell). I shared this quote because I believe many think writing is something that happens magically, and the words appear on the pages flawlessly and perfectly phrased by the author. This can be intimidating when you know this is not how writing works for you. The truth is every writer must edit and read their work, again and again, to get it just the way they desire. Writing requires dedication and re-writes.
“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe” (Gail Devers). There are some key points in this quote that I want to share with you today to help you reawaken the dream God placed in you.
Let me leave you with this Scripture:
Romans 8:28 NLT ~ And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
If we put in the work to develop our craft as a writer, we must have the faith that God will work all our efforts (and even our setbacks) for His purpose. That’s the key here, our gift as writers is not to build ourselves, but to work according to God’s plan. Go ahead, step out in faith and allow Him to reawaken the writer’s anointing inside of you! It’s time to bloom!
Prayer: Father, reawaken the vision inside of your sons and daughters. Many of put the dream on hold because of doubt of fear. Some have become discouraged. Others don’t see the ability in themselves. Whatever the reason, God help us to reawaken in us your vision. Give us the strategies and plans so we can run boldly with passion and purpose on this journey as the writer. Bring the resources, the finances and the recognition needed so we can share what You have for us to share. We honor You today and say thank you. In Jesus name, Amen.
 Brainy Quotes. The quote from Colin Powell and Gail Devers was cited from BrainyQuotes.com. https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/dreams
The SMART choice
How many times have you made a New Year’s resolution? At the end of the year we get excited about all the great things we want to see accomplished in the next year, so we make our plans. The problem is many times those resolutions are long forgotten before we even finish the first quarter of the year. When we do remember them again, we beat ourselves up for not carrying through with the plan.
The good thing is, we are entering the eighth month August, which represents new beginnings. Instead of beating yourself up for not fulfilling your plans, start a new plan, begin anew. This is key, you must make some SMART steps to beginning walking in your plan, otherwise, if you don’t plan, you really are planning to fail. I have my own twist to the SMART steps. So, what are some SMART steps?
S – Specific and Simple. Don’t say, I am going to write my book in three months. While that may be the outcome, you want to take some small steps. In fact, you want to be as specific as possible to make sure you are accomplishing your goal. Ask the right questions, what do I want to write, when do I want to accomplish this, and why do I want to accomplish this goal? As someone stated, how do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time. Take the small and simple steps to help you accomplish the bigger outcome. Make your first goal to write your idea for your story, a brief synopsis. Then move to write an outline. Depending on the type of story, create a brief idea about your characters and begin to see them as people so you can ensure they are not flat in your story.
M – Measurable and meaningful. You must create steps that can be measured when they are completed. One goal I set it to write a certain number of pages each day. I don’t stop until I have written those pages. Additionally, you want to make sure what you write is meaningful. For example, you could make a goal to write ten pages for your story and accomplish it. While that is measurable because you could accomplish it, does the writing add meaning to your project? When I use meaningful, I am speaking about what value does the action add to your work or your process. Do the pages you write lead you closer to the book you want to complete?
A – Attainable and accurate. As you set your goals, have the bigger picture in mind as you break that goal into the bite-size pieces. You want to make sure you are giving yourself realistic time frames based on your life and work outside of writing. In addition to making sure your time frames are reasonable, you also want to make sure your information is accurate. You need to allow for time within your schedule to make sure you are confirming the accuracy of your information or research. In a previous post, I wrote about this believe that you don’t need to do any research. I believe every writer should do some research around what they are writing. A substantial amount of time needs to be spent reading and researching. Make sure you include that in your goals.
R – Relevant and realistic. If writing your book is important to you, you must make sure you have some realistic goal to help you accomplish it. Do you have the expertise needed for your topic? If not, how will you get it? Research? Interviews, what? Being a writer is more than wanting it, it is doing the work to make it happen. Make sure your goals are something you can do.
T – Timely and transformative. While you may not get your book written and ready for publication in one week, you also don’t want to drag it on forever. Give yourself a realistic time frame and then work towards accomplishing that goal. Your question should be how is my work going to help transform my readers? If I believe God has said write this book, I have to also believe He wants it to be something that changes the life of the reader and brings about healing, deliverance, or hope. Those things have a time requirement for them. I believe if we wait too long to write the message God has placed on our hearts, those that needed it miss their blessing because we haven’t written it. Get to it!
Prayer: God, you tell us if we lack wisdom you will give it to us. We need your help understanding the full plan you have for our writing. What do you want us to write? Who do you want us to touch? How do we go about getting the job completed? It can be overwhelming at times, but we trust you to help us through the process. Thank you for helping us to complete the task well. Amen.
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I teach college-level courses for both undergraduate and master level classes. I have often written for, and continue to write for several ministries and organizations that I serve. I tell you this because I am always reading others work. What I find as someone consistently reading others work, is sometimes the lack of care in the writer’s work. Today, I want to talk to you about some of my experiences with writers; some things I believe we all need to be mindful of if we want to see our visions fulfilled. Today I will address four mistakes by writers.
Mistake #1 – “I don’t need an editor.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have asked individuals to get others to read their work. I had people get angry at me for this suggestion because they believed their work was perfect. Even the best writers still need someone else editing their work. The human mind is a funny thing. When you write something and miss explaining the point, you may not catch it because you know what you meant to write, so your mind fills in the missing pieces. That’s horrible for the person reading your work. If there are missing pieces in your work, your reader will struggle to understand what you are writing. Eventually, the reader will give up. Get an editor. If you can’t afford an editor, ask someone you know, such as an English teacher to read your work for you. You can also purchase Grammarly or other editing programs. Even with these programs, they do not catch everything, so you will still need to have someone else read your work. Don’t put your work in print without good editing.
Mistake #2 – “My book will organically come about.”
I am the kind of writer where at times God will give me an idea or a thought, and it won’t release me until I write it down. I have written complete plays and other works in one sitting. Even though this happens to me sometimes, I would never tell anyone to just wait until your book creates itself. I love a quote by A. Lee Martinez. The quote stated, “Those who write are writers. Those who wait are waiters.” In other words, you can’t wait for your work to produce itself. You must dedicate yourself to writing. Set a weekly writing schedule and then write. And if you don’t want to dedicate yourself to writing, you may want to reevaluate why you want to write a book in the first place. It will not write itself, so get to work.
Mistake #3 – “I don’t need to do any research.”
I was so excited with a coaching client I started helping in June. She is an expert in her field. She’s been doing it for more than thirty years. What she is writing about, she has proven it works. Yet, she said in our first meeting before I even suggested it, was she was going to do some research. That was music to my ears. See, I am a researcher. I haven’t always been a researcher, but I have developed into one over the years. I remember when working on my master's degree, one instructor said to us, “we don’t care what you think, what can you prove?” That may sound like a harsh statement, but it is a true one. People don’t want to buy your book to read your opinions, they can get that for free on social media. They want to know what can you add to their lives to help them in the areas you are presenting. Yes, share your experiences (not opinions), but also add to your work by doing your research. You should ask yourself some questions. Who else has presented what I am presenting? Is there a need for what I want to write about? What need am I trying to fill with my work? These are some of the questions you must begin to ask yourself so you can make sure you are presenting something that will be needed.
Mistake #4 – “I do not have to organize my work, I can be creative with how I present my work.”
Most people don’t stop and look at the format of books, why is that you think? Well, it is obvious, you buy a book to read it not to detect its’ outline or formatting. However, if you ever purchased a book without a standard format, you would know it immediately. Formatting a book is for the ease of the reader. You want your reader to know what you are presenting to them. You do that by writing an outline of the chapters first. Then you take time to format each chapter to have a standard presentation. For example, if you start your chapter with a story, then a Scripture and end with your point, that must be consistent in every chapter. How confusing it would be to your reader if they read your first chapter and it begins with a story, but in the next chapter you go right to your point. Then in another chapter, you deleted the story altogether. Your reader wouldn’t know what to expect. The next time you look at a book, look at how it is formatted and how each chapter has a consistent arrangement.
If you work on these four mistakes, you will see your work improving. Remember, if your work is important to you, you want to give it the proper care to make sure it is developed properly.
Prayer: God, help us to seek a spirit of excellence in all we do as it relates to our work. Help us partner with others that will challenge us and help us to grow. Give us the wisdom we need to complete what is before us. Help us not to get weary in doing the work needed to produce the best work we can. We give you thanks in advance for what you are bringing out of our lives. Amen.
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I know I said in my last post that I would talk about the publishing process, but I wanted to step back and talk about bringing your words to life. I like a quote I saw from Isaac Asimov. He states, “I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.” For some, this may seem a bit much or extreme. For others, it is their reality, because I know it is mine. I find myself writing all the time. I write for my church, developing studies and things to help grow God’s people. I write for school, developing information to help my students gain a better grasp on the topic we are studying at the time. I write for myself and to help me process the many messages I hear from God, the world around me, and how it interacts with those hidden places inside of me. I love to write!
I believe as Christian writers we must first allow what we write to be planted and digested within us before we can share the finished product with others. I have watched writers see writing as a way of churning out one product after another. Now, I am not saying a person can’t produce a book quickly. What I am saying is don’t produce a book for the sake of having a book, do it because you need to breathe life on the pages.
I have some steps I believe can help the Christian author align their writing to what God desires. The first step is Fasting. Yes, you read correctly, fasting. Fasting happens to be a lost form among Christians other than for our traditional Easter or New Years fast. I believe God is calling all His children to live what I call a “fasting life.” This means you do it when God directs you as well as do it when you desire to get closer and understand God’s purpose for your life, even your life as the author. Fast and ask God what does He want you to share with others? What is the unique message He has for you?
After you have fasted and God has shown you what His plan is for you, then write it and continue to pray for it. If God tells you He wants you to write a book for children for example, then you begin to write the instructions He gives you about that book. Pray about it and continue to trust God throughout the process. It is from this place that you would begin writing your outline and work on creating a title, sections, and what pieces you want in the book.
The next step is to dedicate yourself to God’s plan. The best way to accomplish this project is to hold it as not your own but God’s. Therefore, you seek to write with a spirit of excellence and with a heart to be trustworthy to God’s plan. Think of it this way, God is saying He trust you with His vision, the question is what will you do with it?
Finally, be dedicated to the time needed to invest in the project. If while writing things don’t go the way you want, scrap it and start again. If God has given you what He desires you to write, be assured that the final project will be what He desires as long as you continue to seek Him for the answer. I want to pray for you. I hope to begin to open up the eyes of writers to see you are doing more than trying to publish a book, you are offering people an avenue into meeting Jesus for the answer they need in life.
Prayer: Lord, as writers, give us a passion for writing the words you place within us. Help us to pray for those seeds that when released they will bring forth good fruit. Lord touch your writers and allow us to sell our books. Open doors, avenues, and opportunities to be our best and present our best. These are your words, so we ask that You breathe on us and the work we do. Continue to encourage us and help us do what you require of us. We thank you in advance. Amen.
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There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed” (Ernest Hemingway).
Last week, I began talking about the steps and the process of writing. As a recap, last week I shared you need to set a schedule. This week, let’s focus on what to do during that time you have set aside to write. I love the quote above by Ernest Hemingway. He reminds us that writing really is about releasing a part of yourself, you “bleed” out a part of your heart. Maybe it is your experiences, maybe it is your understanding around the things you have researched, but whatever it is you write, it has to come from your heart. The next step we will cover today is:
Prepare to do something with your writing. As I stated last week, I have years of work ready, but I can’t do anything with it until I edit it, and prepare it for publishing. That publishing can be either through a book or even as an ebook to giveaway (I’ll share more in another blog on why you want to create ebooks). Too often people write and believe once they finish the book or project that means it is all done. That’s not true. It is actually the beginning of the process. When you finish, you need to begin to edit, self-edit and refine your work. Many do not realize that the first thing you wrote is not going to look the same when you come to the end of the project. Oh, the main premises and ideas should be the same, but you need to allow yourself to go through a refining process.
There are some steps you can do even before you prepare to publish:
When you do these steps, you prepare your work to accomplish what you desire. Next week, we will discuss what’s next, preparing for publishing.
Prayer: Lord help your people to step into the writing anointing you have upon their lives. Help them not to fear the process, but to learn to embrace it. Give clarity on what to write, how to write it, and the season it is written for. We need your help and we thank you in advance. Amen.
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“Anyone who tells you how to write bestsellers is a sham and a liar. I can tell you how I write books. I write them with fear, excitement, discipline, and a lot of hard work.” – Danielle Steel
It sounds exciting to think you can sit down like Jessica Fletcher from “Murder She Wrote” and write a bestseller in 60 minutes. The truth is writing your best work requires you to do the hard work.
One thing that stood out in the quote about was “a lot of hard work.” Being a writer is hard work. Yes, I see how glamorous it looks to see an author holding her book and the caption telling you she is on the bestseller list. Just an FYI for you, there are programs available that allow you to make an ad that says you are a bestseller, so if that’s all you want you can have that right now. But I know that’s not all you want.
The way to become the best writer possible is to do the hard work, there is no way around it. Where do you start? You start by setting steps in motion to accomplish what you desire. Let me give you an idea.
Set weekly schedules. Just like we make goals for everything else, we need to set goals around what we want to accomplish with our writing. Every Sunday, I create my schedule for the week. I put on my schedule what I will do for work, for the church, and for my writing. I write at least 3 days a week. Recently, I went over my writing, I did not realize I had written as much as I had. I have years of work that I have written. While that’s good, it only benefits me until I do something with it.
Next week, I’ll share the next step.
Prayer: Lord help us not to get weary in doing well. Teach us how to schedule our time so that we can accomplish the task before us. help us to find encouragement. Give us ideas and thoughts to write as we sit down to work. Holy Spirit help us to put on the pages the words that would be edifying and useful. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
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How are you spending your writing time?
Hi! I'm Dr. Jewel D. Williams. I am a wife, mother of 3 beautiful girls, lead pastor of Vision & Education at Abundant Life Worship Center. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses at a Christian college. Additionally, I am an author and CEO of Tri-Production Publishing, Inc. What is important about it all is I love to serve. I was "Saved to Serve."