Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Scripture in Picture

The story behind Scripture in Picture -
"A devotional writer is a student of scripture, not a novice." ~ Lin Johnson

As a Christian writer, I want to be able to quote scripture off the top of my head. Reading the Bible daily is spiritually uplifting, but I find that as the day progresses, I forget what I read. When I create a 'Scripture in Picture' I commit the words of God to memory. As a visual learner, I can remember the scripture by seeing the picture in my head.

The time I devote to creating the images and adding scripture keeps me in His presence and fosters a deeper relationship. If I can connect more deeply with God, then perhaps I can communicate that connection through my writing and touch the hearts of readers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Writing Resources: Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life

As I continue my series on writing resources, I chose a humorous book that presents a lot of information in an entertaining format 
Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life.
The Peanuts comic strip, written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz, ran from October 2, 1950, to February 13, 2000 (the day after Schulz's death), and continued in re-runs even longer. The strip is considered one of the most popular and influential in the history of comic strips.

Many writers, (my hand is raised), consider Snoopy their favorite character from the strip. We’ve all seen him atop his doghouse, banging out stories on a manual typewriter, usually beginning "It was a dark and stormy night.” But, like many of us, Snoopy has his publishing woes.  (No wonder I relate so well to him.)

In Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life, (edited by Monte Schulz and Barnaby Conrad), 30 famous writers and entertainers write short essays on their favorite Charles Schulz “Snoopy at the Typewriter" strip. Based on the author’s own experiences, these short pep talks, amusing anecdotes, and witty but wise offers of advice focus on how the strip presents an aspect of the writing life—getting started, getting rejected, searching for new ideas, and more—everything that beginning and professional writers deal with on a daily basis.

Contributors to the book include writers as diverse as Ray Bradbury and Julia Child, William F. Buckley, Jr. and Danielle Steele, Sue Grafton and Budd Schulberg, to name a few. There’s even one by the Beagle himself!

For example, several strips illustrate Snoopy's trouble with Lucy, super critic. Author Sue Grafton's essay addresses the issue we writers face when having outsiders take a look at our work in progress.

One of the gems of Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life is the foreword by Charles Schulz's son, Monte. Schulz addresses the writing life and how Snoopy's experience - his tenacity and resilience - can inspire us all.

This writing reference tool contains close to 200 pages of the beloved Peanuts comic strips, all related to writing and getting published. So, no matter what your writing experience, you can take something away from this humorous look at the writing life.


©2011 Pamela D. Williams

Monday, August 29, 2011

See Photo Write

See Photo Write Challenge - Every Monday!

An interesting, amusing, or startling photograph has the power to spark creativity and arouse the writer within.

We would love to have you join in and write whatever story the picture inspires.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

1st Mentions...

Our Favorite Blog Posts of the Week!

Pam's Favorite: If you are going through a rough patch right now, hop on over to Dancin' Through Tearstorms and Rainbows and read Janette's post, He Has My Heart. You will find a faith-filled story that will inspire and encourage you for the week ahead.

Dawn's Favorite: Sabina at Solo Female Traveler! I keep going back...her posts are so interesting. I will never be a world traveler, but Sabina brings the world to me!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Twitter for Twits

I felt like a twit. I was seriously falling behind the technology curve! Social networking was passing me like a podracer and I was the old lady with a walker eating its dust.

I decided to do something about it. No, I didn't get a Smart Phone to keep in touch (in fact, I don't have a cell phone at all). Instead, I found other ways to "get with the times". I got a blog. I participated in blogfests. I found facebook. I joined Twitter.

My husband was amazed. "How did you learn how to do all that stuff?" he asked me.

"I just Google'd it and learned."

And, so can you! Pretty much anything you want to learn how to do is on the internet. Instructions are everywhere. Below are my directions for Twitter.


Twitter for Twits

Q: What is Twitter?
A: A quick way to communicate short messages or shout out what is going on.

Q: What is a Tweet?
A: Sending a message using Twitter.

Q: How do I do Twitter? 
A: Directions are below.

1. Sign up for a Twitter Account. Go to Twitter website and put in your name, email, and password and then click "Sign Up".
2. Customize your account. To do this, click the down arrow beside your username, then choose "Settings". Here are the tabs and what you can do on them:

   a. Account - Set username, email, time zone, etc.
     b. Password - If you ever need to change password
     c. Mobile - Using Twitter with Text Messaging
     d. Notification - Select when to get emailed from Tweets
     e. Profile - Upload your photo and personal information
     f. Design - Select a theme or Change Background Image, then Save Changes
4. Find and follow friends. Click "Who to Follow". Then type in your friend's name and click "Search". Find your friend from the list and click their "+ Follow" button.
5. Post a Tweet. To do this, click "Home". Type in your Tweet in the "What's Happening" box and click "Tweet" button. Note: A Tweet has only 140 characters. 
Here is an example of a Tweet: 
I published my first story! Woo Hoo!


How to Tweet and include a blog/website link -- Type in your message and the web address. Twitter will shorten the address when it posts. 
Here is an example of a Tweet with link: 
Check out this great blog!
How to Tweet directly to one person. Click "Home". Choose the person you want to direct your Tweet to and type in the box that says "Tweet to @theirusername". Click "Tweet".

What is a Twitter Hashtag? Hashtags (like #writecampaign) help spread information on Twitter and help organize the particular event. For more on hastags click here
Here is an example of a Tweet with Hashtag:
Please turn off Word Verification if you are doing #writecampaign
For everything else you might (or might not) want to know, check out Mashable's Twitter Guide Book.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1st Mentions...Spotlight

I have a special 'mention' this week.

Pam, Dawn and I are all taking part in Rachael Harrie's Writer's Platform-Building Campaign. We would like to invite our 1st Writes' followers to join us!

The Campaign lasts from August 22-October 31, 2011. During that time participants have the opportunity to -

  • Meet new people.
  • Become part of a community.
  • Learn more about blogging.
  • Offer support and encouragement.
  • Gain support and encouragement.
  • Get insights from writers in your genre.
  • Offer insights to writers in your genre.
Please click over to Rachael's blog and read all about the Campaign. Once you are convinced it's a great idea, click here to sign up for a group in your genre. Pam, Dawn and I look forward to having you join us in the Christian devotional/article genre, but there are also groups for Non-fiction, Literary fiction, Short stories, Poetry, Beginning bloggers, Humor and more! You may even sign up for more than one group!

Hope to see you along the Campaign trail!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Writing Resources: A Writer's Book of Days by Judy Reeves

Named one of the five hottest writing books by Writer's Digest, A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves is chock-full of ideas to spark creativity. The sub-title speaks volumes: A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse for the Writing Life.

According to Judy Reeves, “Musicians practice. Athletes practice. And so, too, should writers practice.” To inspire writers, A Writer's Book of Days provides a "writing prompt" for each day of the year.

Want to read a few?
"Write about a time someone said yes."
"Write about leaving"
"Write about a remembered sound"

While the prompts are the backbone of this book, also included in its pages is a treasure trove of information and insights:
Techniques for finding time and creating space
Ways to find images and inspiration
Advice on working in writing groups
Suggestions, quips, and trivia from accomplished practitioners

Writers will also find helpful tips:
What stuck looks like and how to get unstuck
What to do when the censor or editor is present
How to transfer real life into fiction
Where to find fresh images
How to discover what you really want to write about.
The ten daily habits that make a good writer

In 1st Writes we use a prompt from A Writer’s Book of Days once a month. We write for 17 minutes without editing; then we read our work aloud. Everyone loves when we do these writing exercises. The group never ceases to be amazed at how God can give each person a different angle using the same prompt.

A Writer's Book of Days has been newly revised and can be counted on for encouragement, motivation, and endless great ideas.

Happy reading!


©2011 Pamela D. Williams

Monday, August 22, 2011


See Photo Write Challenge - Every Monday!

An interesting, amusing, or startling photograph has the power to spark creativity and arouse the writer within.

We would love to have you join in and write whatever story
the story inspires.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

1st Mentions . . .

Our Favorite Blog Posts of the Week!

Pam's Favorite: If you've ever asked yourself "Why do I blog and what exactly do I hope to accomplish with it or with my writing in general?" check out Debbie Dillon's post That Ministry of Yours on her blog Writin' 4 Him Cafe.

Dawn's Favorite: A new favorite blog is Writing for Children & Teens by Cynthea Liu. I found her on WriteOnCon (the free online writer's conference).

Brianna's Favorite: Blogger Be Who You Are @ A Minute Captured is a beautiful, encouraging post for bloggers and a good reminder that we are all special with unique voices.

Friday, August 19, 2011

If I Could Do It Over Again

Today's writing theme is:

If I could do it over again...

No guidelines for this one today. Can be fiction or non-fiction. I'll share mine in the comments section later.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Scripture in Picture

This week's scripture in picture is inspired by 1st Writes. I am so grateful to be surrounded by other writers who encourage me!
The textures used on the photos is from Kim Klassen Cafe.

Writing Resources

Pam has started a series on 1st Writes featuring her favorite resources for writers. I couldn't resist adding my two cents.

For grammar, I like Mignon Fogarty's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

and The Grammar Devotional, which breaks down rules into bite-size pieces for a daily nutritious grammar snack.

Fogarty writes in a unique style that is conversational more than educational. Reading about grammar is fun with Grammar Girl.

For example -
To say someone is 'completely dead' or 'very dead' is considered bad form, although occasionally it may make sense to modify an absolute for emphasis. If Big Lips Johnny is questioning whether you've completed your hit, go ahead and say, 'Yeah, boss, he's totally dead." Grammar police are the least of your concerns (p. 204 The Grammar Devotional).
Both books are available at or through her website: Quick and Dirty Tips

Monday, August 15, 2011


See Photo Write Challenge - Every Monday!

An interesting, amusing, or startling photograph has the power to spark creativity and arouse the writer within.

We would love to have you join in and write whatever story
the photo brings to mind.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Writing Resources: Write His Answer by Marlene Bagnull

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that." Galatians 6:4 (The Message)

Jesus knew who He was: "I am the Bread of Life. I am the Light of the world. I am the Good Shepherd."

Likewise, we can confidently voice: “I am a grandfather. I am a licensed driver. I am a member of the Port Ann Wesleyan Church. “

With humility we can admit, “I am a sinner. I am saved by Jesus Christ. I am a Christian.”

How about “I am a writer”? Do you find that hard to vocalize? In her book Write His Answer, Marlene Bagnull reflects, “Even if we know God has called us to write, the statement, ‘I am a writer’ might stick in our throats or be qualified by such words as ‘I think’ or ‘I hope to be.’ Even established writers have days when they don't feel like writers—days when the fruit of their labors may not seem evident.”

Do you battle self-doubts about your writing? Do rejection slips undermine your confidence in your ability to write? Write His Answer offers practical help and encouragement for overcoming doubts, writer's block, rejection, procrastination, and more. And what really appealed to me is that Marlene backs this helpful information up with Scriptures to study and questions to apply the message to your life.

When I first started our local writers’ group, 1st Writes, I searched for a Bible study geared to writers. Write His Answer is the only Bible study specifically designed to encourage writers. Using God’s Word as a lamp to guide us on the writing path, Marlene covers the call to write, overcoming dry spells, writing through the hurts, being honest, and many other pertinent topics.

Excerpts from the book are posted on Marlene’s website Write His Answer. It is available for purchase there, as well as at and other online bookstores, both new and used. I go to this resource again and again and glean something new each time.

Happy reading!

©2011 Pamela D. Williams

Saturday, August 13, 2011

1st Mentions . . .

Our Favorite Blog Posts of the Week

Brianna's Favorite: Check out Write Anything 's [Fiction] Friday Challenge.

Pam's Favorite: Chelle over at Chelle's Blog shares her TESTIMONY this week. Chelle's story covers all the bases of a well-written testimony and will encourage your heart and renew your faith.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Writing Prompt - Water Dripped

Writing Prompt: Use this prompt and write 100 words.

The water dripped...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Story Call Out

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Finding My Faith
101 Inspirational Stories about Life, Belief, and Spiritual Renewal 

Faith is more than reading a holy book or following a set of rules. Faith is a lifestyle; it impacts everything we do. Whether we consider ourselves to be Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or any other religion, our belief in a higher power directs our lives and our thoughts. But faith is not something we're born with. We may acquire faith through the teachings of our parents or religious leaders. Or we might find faith through an event in our lives that convinces us of the presence of God. Friends and even strangers can bring us into the knowledge that life is more meaningful when we have faith.

Everyone's "faith story" is different. Some of us find faith late in life. Others lose their faith after a tragic event or spiritual dry spell, only to rediscover it through a divine nudge. Faith can appear quickly or build up over time. It can hit us like a sledgehammer or whisper in our ear. It can show up in a miracle or in an ordinary event. However faith arrives, it is life-changing and powerful.

If you have an inspirational personal story of finding your faith, we want to hear from you! Did a pivotal event bring you to your knees in prayer? Was a special friend or family member the catalyst for your faith journey? Did you lose your faith and then find it again? Was God's presence made known to you in a way that just couldn't be ignored? Your story may even inspire someone else to find their faith!

Please remember, we do not like "as told to" stories. Please write in the first person about yourself or someone close to you. Do not ghostwrite a story for someone else. If a story was previously published, we will probably not use it unless it ran in a small circulation venue. Let us know where the story was previously published in the "Comments" section of the submission form. If the story was published in a past Chicken Soup for the Soul book, please do not submit it.

If your story is chosen, you will be a published author and your bio will be printed in the book if you so choose. You will also receive a check for $200 and 10 free copies of your book, worth more than $100. You will retain the copyright for your story and you will retain the right to resell it.

Select the Submit Your Story link on the left tool bar
and follow the directions.

The book will be published in October 2012. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Scripture in Picture

Inspired by this post on Pam's blog.
Message: Take time to enjoy the small things.
Texture used on photos: Water-stained Frame from Kim Klassen Cafe

Monday, August 8, 2011

See Photo Write

See Photo Write Challenge - Every Monday!

An interesting, amusing, or startling photograph has the power to spark creativity and arouse the writer within.

We would love to have you join in and write whatever story
the photo brings to mind.

Sieur de Monts Spring, Acadia, Maine

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Writing Resources: Daily Devotions for Writers

Have you ever wished you could refresh your memory about long-ago-learned grammar rules? Do you sometimes need a writing nudge? Are you wondering where you might market a piece?  

Beginning today, Pam Williams will be posting on some of the many books, classes, conferences, websites and online groups where writers can turn for information, inspiration and evaluation.
Do you have helpful reference books or writers’ websites you go back to again and again? There are several on my shelves and saved in my “Favorites” that I run to regularly when I am writing. Most of the books were purchased used, online at Abebooks, Amazon, or eBay; a few were gifts. Many of the online reference sites were recommended by my writing mentor, Eva Shaw or by fellow bloggers and writer partners.

As the intro to this post states, I am going to be posting some biased reviews of resources that have proven beneficial and at times, downright vital to my creative processes.

If at any time in the series you think of a writing resource you feel is especially helpful, please leave a note in the comments. Like every writer, I am always looking for recommendations.

Since I mentioned Daily Devotions for Writers in a recent post on my 2 Encourage blog, I am going to begin the series with this book.

When I felt led to start 1st Writes, (our local writers’ group, not the blog) I searched for months for a book of devotions geared to writers that I could use to open our meetings each week. It was a long and discouraging hunt.

Thankfully, just a few weeks before the 1st Writes kick-off date I found Daily Devotions for Writers. It was written by members of The Writing Academy, a non-profit organization founded in 1982 by Christian writers to support beginning and published writers of all genres and to encourage writing excellence.

The list of contributors is quite extensive and includes author and speaker Patricia Lorenz (who compiled and edited the book), Melanie Rigney (former Writer's Digest editor), Dennis E. Hensley (Professional Writing Program Director--Taylor University), Julie Sevig, (Associate Editor--The Lutheran magazine), Tommie Lenox (video producer and author of Crying in the Wilderness, a Voice for America's Children), Kathleen Deyer Bolduc (disabilities speaker and author of His Name is Joel: Searching for God in a Son's Disability), and Barbara Crooker (author of two poetry books Radiance and Line Dance). Other contributors to Daily Devotions for Writers come from varied professions and walks of life and all levels of writing experience.

I found Gail Welborn’s review of Daily Devotions for Writers particularly helpful. “During the summer of 2007, Academy member, Patricia Lorenz, suggested the group publish a book of devotions written specifically for writers...The true short stories feature author’s joys and struggles, and are specifically designed to encourage writers. Devotions include a brief illustration, prayer, and quote. For instance, Agnes Lawless, Washington, wrote about the need to submit her writing to God. . . She used her three-year-old son’s impatience with a new toy to depict her theme. She asks the Lord to teach her, and quotes Alfred Lord Tennyson’s, 'More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.' ... Written for writers, by writers, these 366 daily devotions share real-life writing experiences to encourage and inspire writers to continue to hone their craft and share their writing gifts. All writers will benefit from it. It belongs on every writer’s bookshelf.”

Gail’s glowing recommendation says it all!

Blessings upon blessings!

Psst. Amazon offers great deals on used copies of Daily Devotions for Writers. Check it out!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

1st Mentions...

Our Favorite Blog Posts of the Week 

Pam's favorite: Check out What Alzheimers Has Taught Me About Writing posted by our own Brianna Renshaw on her blog Pocketful of Playdough. If you are a writer touched by this insidious disease, you will find encouragement.

Dawn's Favorite: Granola Bar Devotionals and a sample devotion Tree on Rock (Wow, just the snack I needed!)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Scripture Writing Prompt

Writing Exercise: Choose a passage of scripture and write about it. If you feel comfortable, share it with us. 

My response is below.

Hebrews 13:14
For this world is not our home: we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come.
I decided to do my writing in the form of a comic strip...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Series for New Bloggers: Part 4

Last week in our Series for New Bloggers we embarked on our journey to start a blog. The first step was to think of a name. We got some great feedback from other bloggers suggesting tips for naming your blog:
  • Consider the length of your URL for those typing it in. Shorter is better. Here are two examples: vs. (courtesy of Dawn @ The Write Soil)
  • Pick a URL that you can live with for the long haul. (also courtesy of Dawn @The Write Soil)
  • Consider using your name as the URL, especially if you are a writer. Blogger, writer and author, Alex J. Cavanaugh says, "since my blog IS my author website, I did select my name for the address. A search for my name turns it up immediately. It's also the title of my blog. No way someone is missing it!"
  • Consider a compromise like Lynda Young. Her blog URL is but the title of her blog is W.I.P. It. She agreed that it's "a good tip to start a blog with your name in the URL".
  • Use a pen name if you are not comfortable using your real name.
  • Browse blogrolls for inspiration. When you visit a blog, look on the left or right sidebar for a section titled 'Blogroll' and browse the wide variety of titles. Perhaps one will spark an idea for your own title.
  • Ask for suggestions on the 1st Writes Blog! We're happy to help.
Thank you Dawn, Lynda and Alex!


Now that you have a title, it's time to create a Blogger account.

  • Go to where you will need to sign in to your google account.
  • You will be asked to enter the name you want to use to sign posts. It's your byline.
  • Check the box accepting the terms and conditions.
  • Finally click on the 'continue' arrow on the bottom right side of your screen.
  • You now have a Blogger account. It is possible to have a Blogger account and not have a blog.
  • To create a blog, click on the blue button labeled 'Create Your Blog Now'.

1. Name your blog
  • Enter the title you want for your blog.
  • Enter the URL you want for your blog.
  • Click on 'check availability' to see if the URL is available.
  • If the URL is available, enter the word verification prompt. If you get it wrong, they'll give you another one to try. Word verification is a pain for a lot of people, but it's a necessary evil sometimes.

2. Choose Your Template
  • Designing the look of your blog is fun, but at this stage, we are just creating a blog so choose whatever template you'd like. It can be changed at any time.
  • At this point you can click on the 'start blogging' arrow.

Congratulations! Your blog has been created! There's so much more to do, though, so stay-tuned for more of 1st Writes' Series for New Bloggers!

As always, members here at 1st Writes are happy to help. Leave a comment if you are struggling and someone will help you figure it out.

Monday, August 1, 2011

See Photo Write

See Photo Write Challenge

An interesting, amusing, or startling photograph has the power to spark creativity and arouse the writer within.

We would love to have you join in and write whatever story
the photo brings to mind.