Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Finding Our Niche: Opportunities for Christian Writers

Kim Carpenter

Ethel Herr, in her God-inspired resource, An Introduction to Christian Writing: An In-depth Companion to the Complete Writing Experience.: says that the highest goal of our writing ministry will always be to “see people transformed by the power of God through what we have written.”

As we craft our words, who do we visualize reading our work? To what niche is God calling us as Christian writers? Ethel Herr suggests asking ourselves a few questions to clarify God’s vision for our writing gift.
  1. Will I write for the secular or Christian markets?
  2. Will I write fiction or nonfiction?
  3. Do I want to write as a general outreach to a wide range of readers or for a limited, specialized readership?
  4. Am I seeking publication or am I writing strictly for personal use?
  5. What form do I want my writing to take? A book? Articles? Stories? Posts? Dramas? Poems?

As we begin to write, Ethel suggests 1) writing in the form we enjoy as readers; 2) starting small—a devotional for a meeting, a short skit for youth group; and 3) trying a variety of forms.

Pray first and then write a piece sharing God’s vision for your writing. Be sure to include your answers to all the questions above. Also share what writing form (novel, article, blog post, etc) you would like to attempt and what audience (children, youth, adults, women, pastors, etc.) you are striving to reach.

Joy and Peace in Believing

Hope you come visit my guest post over at Here's a snipet:

On all my Christmas cards last year I wrote: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing…” (Romans 15:13).  This passage has special meaning to me right now as my teenage daughter struggles with the hard questions of faith. Recently after youth group, she asked me

  • How do you really know there is a God? 
  •  How do you know Christianity is the right faith? I don’t want to die and find out I picked the wrong one. 
  •  Was Jesus a real person? How do you know for sure? 
  •  Is it documented anywhere besides the Bible that Jesus did miracles?  
To read the rest, click here

Monday, January 28, 2013

Beneath the Surface Lies

by Sandy James
The birds are flying
The water is calm
The sun has risen
The dawn long gone.
Below the ocean’s surface
It’s teeming with life
Fish dressed in beauteous colors
Looking for a wife.

Just like the Holy Spirit,
Jesus Christ within,
Dwells beneath our flesh exterior
We’ve been forgiven of our sin,
Teeming with His life
Producing fruit galore
Filling us with His love, joy and peace
Forever and ever more.
And Jesus too is looking for His church, His bride,
We who with Him have been crucified.

This poem was inspired by just looking out the window. What inspires you outside your window?

Friday, January 25, 2013


Writing Prompt for the week:

Write your own parable in 400 words or less.

parable -- a short story with a spiritual message. 

If you like to brush up on the parables in the Bible go to All 47 Parables over at and scroll to the bottom. 

Please share your parable with us in Comments Section!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

In Memory of Ethel Herr

This semester 1st Writes is teaching from Ethel Herr's book, "An Introduction to Christian Writing". This morning I went to look up Ms. Herr's website. I wanted to thank her for writing the book and to tell her what a blessing it is to us, but I found that she passed away last October.

I did not know Ms. Herr, but she has given everyone who has read her book a gift by passing on her knowledge and wisdom from her many years of Christian writing. Thank you, Ms. Herr!

Here is a memorial blog for Ms. Herr.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Looking Inside the Christian Writer

Lush Quotes

1st Writes began an exciting study this week! With so many new writers joining our group, Dawn, Brianna, and I decided to center our Spring 2013 classes around Ethel Herr’s God-inspired resource, Introduction to Christian Writing: An In-depth Companion to the Complete Writing Experience. Available through Amazon, “this exhaustive textbook covers everything a beginning writer needs to know about getting published and serves as a solid reminder for the professional who needs an occasional bit of advice.”

Will you join us on the journey? Where is God leading your writing this year? Do you share some of our goals?
  • Write every day: Remember, writing doesn’t have to be done sitting down.
    • Install the app “Dragon” on your smart phone. Dragon transcribes spoken words.
    • Pick up a mini notebook with attached pen (available at Staples) or 3x5 cards and never leave home without them. Jot down ideas wherever and whenever.
  • Take definitive steps toward publication—for some it is a book; for others it is a devotional.
    • Research markets: Talk to others, check online, study the market guides.
    • Meet with a publishing coach: Now we are getting serious about our writing!
  • Finish a project started weeks, months, or years ago. No more procrastination!
    • Break it into smaller bites.
    • Work on it a while, then write something for fun. Work on it a while, then write something for fun.

How do Christian writers differ from secular writers? Mechanically we differ very little. However, spiritually, Christian writers believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord: Like Ethel Herr says, “He gives us our typing orders. For each of us, those orders will be uniquely fitted to our individual capabilities.”

The Christian writer sees writing as a ministry—as acts of service for God’s pleasure that reveal God’s character.

How can our writing gift be used as a ministry? Our gift of writing be used in conjunction with the ministries of pastors, Sunday school teachers, missionaries, musicians—all those who have been gifted and called to God’s service and need materials from which to work. Our gift can challenge, encourage, and educate both those who do not yet know Christ and those who do. Though it may not seem like it to us, writing is just as important a ministry as preaching or teaching or leading worship.

What are the challenges of ministering through writing? Ethel Herr shares several:
  • Not only grabbing our readers’ attention but penetrating their hearts
  • Presenting all of life from the Christian viewpoint
  • Providing a clear, accurate, biblical picture of God
  • Writing to meet others’ needs rather than our own
  • Admitting our own weaknesses
  • Avoiding the tendency to preach

Scriptural Standard for Christian Writers: We suggest two from Colossians. Can you recommend others?
  • Colossians 3:17—“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus . . .”
  • Colossians 3:23—“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. "

Will you pray with us as we dedicate this year to becoming better equipped, more prolific writers for Jesus, following His Word in Matthew 28:19-20?
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Homework (for January 23): Write a devotional on what you see from one of the windows of your home
Write a Christian fiction piece based on this prompt: You are the last one to leave church and you hear a loud thump between the aisles. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Writing Nudges From God

Prayerfully write down three goals you feel God is nudging you toward in your writing in 2013. Make these as concrete and specific as possible. 

Bring these to share with the group on Wednesday evening. On-line friends, please share in Comments.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

1st Writes' Intro to Christian Writing

1st Writers,
We will be starting a new session this Wednesday. The lessons will come from "An Introduction to CHRISTIAN WRITING" by Ethel Herr.

Here's the schedule, so mark your calendar. Class is 6:00-7:30pm and will include critique time, lesson, and homework assignment.

January 16 - What is a Christian Writer?

January 23 - Perceiving Your World    

January 30 - Christian Writer Opportunities

February 6 - Choosing Words

February 13 - ASH WEDNESDAY - no class

February 20 - Am I Qualified to be a Christian Writer?

February 27 - Writing Effective Sentences

March 6 - Excerpts from several chapters
March 13 - Writing Strong Paragraphs

March 20 - Writing the Personal Experience Story

For more information on Wonderful Wednesday at First U.M. church, go to FUMC website.  


Monday, January 7, 2013

Do you need a swift kick?

Fellow Writers (my dear, dear friends), 

What have you been writing lately? 

(insert sound of snowflakes falling)

What?! No sounds of pencil scratching on paper?

Don't let the winter doldrums get you down! Set your New Year's resolution to write something every day or, at the very least, every week!

I am here to encourage you to WRITE!  Get out that pencil and get moving! I expect a full report by COB tomorrow.


P.S. Here is my report:
  • Finishing up a devotion called "Believing" about tough faith questions for
  • Working on another devotion about a broken relationship.
  • Planning to type up my edited book manuscript (scribbles, red marks, and all)....pray!

And just for fun -- if you really have writer's block, try writing on this photo prompt.