Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Write a Note

Posted by Dawn M. Hamsher

I love writing exercises, so I've decided to post one for 1st Writes!

Writing Exercise: Use your writing to encourage someone. Sit quietly and let God place that person on your heart. Pray for him/her and then write them a note or card. Ask God for the words if you find this difficult.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Our Words

We never know how far they'll reach
These words we write today.
The thoughts that we immortalize
Others may read one day.

As readers contemplate our words--
They’re etched upon their minds.
Though months may pass, or even years,
Our words in action find.

We must be sure the words we write,
The things we pen each day,
Line up with what God’s Word implores
And point others His way.

As we live out the Word of God
And others try to teach.
Together we're His witnesses,
And many we can reach.

©2011 Pamela D. Williams

"I am a writer--I don't cook, I don't clean."

Oh, how I wish I could say with Dorothy West, “I am a writer—I don’t cook and I don’t clean.”
I do consider myself a writer, but, I cook occasionally.. Well, “cook” might be a stretch. I cook as little as possible. I don’t enjoy cooking. I would rather let someone else cook and I will clean up. But if I had my druthers, most of the time I would rather eat out. That way I don’t have to cook or clean up.
I do clean, however. Some might say my cleaning borders on the obsessive-compulsive. I have a cleaning schedule that, when interrupted, makes me feel . . . well, discombobulated. I would love to turn the cleaning over to someone else—but would they do it well enough to suit me?
To prioritize how I use my time and allow for the development of better writing habits, several writing experiments come to mind that I would like to try:
1. What would it be like to have whole days dedicated to just writing? Of course, I would need to eat, sleep, exercise, pray, and read my Bible—so it wouldn’t be the whole day.
2. How about all morning every morning for a week? That seems possible. It would require giving up my cleaning schedule (Oh, my!), and my volunteer hours at our church’s phone desk, but, yes, it is very doable.
3. Maybe a silent writing retreat would be a good idea—get away from ALL the responsibilities of running the house—even feeding my time-sensitive cat. I think that would be nice for 24 to 36 hours, though I am not sure I could be silent for that long. I would probably get bored with writing, and more than likely end up pacing around feeling antsy for at least part of the time. Then there is the eye strain and restless legs that would result. And I would miss my hubby way too much. Still, I wouldn’t mind giving it a try.
4. The idea of a writers’ conference, with speakers and writing time and writing exercises and critiquing sessions, sounds good to me. Just spending time with other writers would be fun. If First Writes Wednesday night writers’ group is any indication of what it would be like, I would love it.
5. A writing retreat has possibilities. A Saturday dedicated to fellowship and writing with other dedicated writers, even just twice a year, would be motivating and encouraging.
How about you? What has helped you form better writing
habits and encouraged you in your craft? We would love to hear from you.
©2011 Pamela D. Williams

Friday, April 8, 2011

Series for New Bloggers

Any talk of starting a blog seems to cause feelings of trepidation and uncertainty, so I'm unrolling a series here at 1st Writes aimed towards our members who are currently contemplating whether they want to start a blog. This series will answer the what, why, who, where and how of blogging.

Series 1: Blogging - What is a blog? Why do I want to blog? Who has a blog?

Blog -the official definition

[noun] Formed from the combination of Web and Log, it's an on-line journal or web-zine, which is like having your own magazine but really simple and easy to use, made accessible through the internet. The difference between a blog and a website is that a blog has facilities for reader comments and discussion threads. It's built on the idea of reader and writer interaction.

[verb] To read, write, or edit a personal on-line journal or a shared on-line journal

Blog -my definitions

A blog is a tool for expressing yourself. A blog can be about any topic you want. You can share pictures and video on a blog or not; it's up to you and it's super easy.

A blog is a way to connect with others. It's like having pen pals. I never had a pen pal, but the perk of having a pen pal was communicating with someone in a different part of the world and blogging allows you to have as many friends in as many different parts of the world as you can imagine -all without the charge of postage.

A blog is a way to connect with family and friends that live far away. Share memories of times gone by or share happenings in the present.

A blog is a tool for learning and teaching. Whether you have a blog about writing, crafting, exercising, getting married, having a baby, raising children, or home organizing (to name only a few), you are bound to learn something new and useful from a fellow blogger. And in turn, there's a good chance your sharing of experiences and knowledge will teach a fellow blogger something he or she did not know.

A blog encourages writing and creativity.

Reasons Why You Should Blog:

You like to write.
You would like to write more often.
You have stories to share.
You have recipes to share.
You have tips to share.
You want to learn more about writing.
You want to learn more about anything.
You want to meet new and interesting people.
You want to join other members of First Writes in their blogging journey.
You already have a built in audience of readers who care about what you write.

Who Blogs?

Blogging is for people of all ages. And to show you I'm not exaggerating, here are links to a blog by a little girl and blogs by not so little girls:

Once you've decided you'd like to try and blog (and why not? You have nothing to lose! You don't like it; you delete it), you're ready to move on to the next step and part 2 of the Series for New Bloggers: Where do I blog? And How do I create a blog?

The next step is to create a Google account.

Under sign in with your Google account there is a box that says 'Don't Have a Google Account?' 'Create an Account Now' -click on that box.
Follow the simple instructions.
Then come back to First Writes and leave a comment.

You are one step closer to having a blog of your own!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sweet Spot of Service

 Sweet Spot of Service

 Read: Romans 12:1, I Peter 4:10, Mark 10:43-45

In What’s Next, God? Stephen J. Carter writes: “Tennis professionals tell of hitting the ball in the sweet spot of the racket for maximum results. God leads us to find our sweet spot of service where our God-given gifts intersect with his kingdom purpose.”

To determine our sweet spot of service in the body of Christ, Carter recommends we ask ourselves, “What is my passion? What are my strengths? In what service do I find the most fulfillment?”

This group, First Writes, is a place where we can come to be nurtured and encouraged as a writer for Jesus. Those of us in this group have discovered that we not only seem to possess a “knack” for writing, writing is our passion. We find fulfillment in expressing our thoughts, ideas and feelings so others can relate to them and benefit from our words. For us, writing is where our gifts and passions connect with God’s purposes for His kingdom.

Where have you felt led to put writing, your sweet spot of service, into practice? Is it writing devotionals or short stories for inspirational magazines and books? Has God asked you to tackle a book, write memoirs that include your spiritual journey, or share your personal Bible studies with others? Is your sweet spot editing, creating newsy letters, or writing encouraging cards?

Need ideas on how to serve? Pray! God will lead you. Contact the church office at your home church and ask if there is any way you can put your writing gifts to work for the church. Or perhaps you are involved with a charity organization close to your heart that needs a writer for newsletters, correspondence or press releases. The possibilities are varied and endless.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, help us to serve in our sweet spot where the gifts You have given us intersect with God’s holy purposes. In Jesus name. Amen.

©2011 Pamela D. Williams