Monday, July 28, 2008

Writer's Little Book of Wisdom reviewed by Moonine Sue Watson

Writer’s Little Book of Wisdom by John Long is written by a best-selling author who shares three hundred and two thoughts about writing. The book is full of pearls of wisdom he’s gathered from other authors and various sources.

I think I won this book as a door prize at a writers’ workshop. I found it when I was looking through a stack of books. I was curious and pulled it out to take with me to my doctor’s appointment, where experience has taught me to always bring something to read while I wait my turn.

The title page has a sentence beneath the title stating:
A treasury of tips and warnings for every writer and aspiring writer-the traps to avoid and gold mines to explore.

His introduction hit me between the eyes. He mentions how some people spend so much time learning techniques and studying how to write that they never get around to actually writing. I’m guilty as charged. Right away, I decided it was no accident that I’d stumbled across this little book tucked in among my many stacks of “to read” books.

Item number one was “Art without practice is nothing.”
Number two was “Sit down every day and write.”

I figured with the introduction and the first two items being exactly the encouragement I needed, the rest of the book would be filled with further good advice.

I was not disappointed. I’m going to keep this little book next to my computer for a nugget of truth each day as I “Sit down every day and write.”

Monday, July 21, 2008

I've Got Clutter!

It seems no matter how hard I try to organize my writing time, I eventually fail. I've tried to use time management techniques, schedules, and my PDA alarm, reminding me to get busy. I keep praying God will help me realize where I go wrong. He answered my prayer.

Clean-up the clutter!

from clutter to clarity, simplifying life from the inside out, by Nancy Twigg has helped me get real with my problem.

Mrs. Twigg defines clutter as: anything that complicates your life and prevents you from living in peace as you live out your purpose.

Now I know one of my purposes in life is to write. I'll be the first to admit that the reason I don't write more often is because writing makes me feel guilty when my house is messy. So, I spend my time cleaning and doing laundry and then try to make time for a couple of days during the week to write.

How's that working?

Not so great.


Because I've Got Clutter!

One thing, which Mrs. Twigg describes in her book is that clutter is a symptom of an emotional problem. Discontent is a reality in our world and in our lives. Clutter then becomes a symptom of our discontent. So, how do we go about finding contentment in our discontent world?

Once we adjust our attitude the next thing we work on is our schedule. In our busy society, we cram every moment of the day with activities. So, now not only is our attitude cluttered, but our lives are too! We have to learn how to say and mean a very powerful word, "NO".

Those of us who have problems with our attitudes being cluttered, our lives being cluttered, we also have problems with our finances being cluttered. Learning to live in freedom is the last section where we can at last find contentment in our budgets.

Now that I'm transforming into a creature who is content to possess just what she needs, I'm finding more time to write. Perhaps, from clutter to clarity, isn't a book written on the craft of writing, however it will help you to find the time to write.

This book can be found at Here is the link:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Writer's Idea Book by Jack Heffron

Stumped for a new idea?
Too blocked-in from junk to think creatively?
The Writer's Idea Book stimulates the creative juices and gets you rolling again. I've owned this book for six years and use it to jump-start stories. Heffron gives several prompts within each chapter as food for thought.
A for-instance on page 59 says "Show the change in a character by showing how a once-loved hobby or object or activity now holds no interest to that character."
Heffron doesn't only tell his readers to write about our longing, but he tells us to compare our longings to a place. Describing hope is impossible without comparison. He suggests thinking of a time of suffering and how we weathered the storm. What feelings went through our mind?
He asks us to write a short description of something and then "go long" by expanding it to twice the original length.
Each short chapter with unusual titles such as "Minding Other People's Business" and "Vast is the Power of Cities" begins with an inspirational and thought-provoking quote. He tantillizes our imagination, then gives his prompts.
I have several pages dog-eared (I know, not nice), but I use it whenever my mind quits thinking as it does when I've been away from my writing too long. It's my creative accelerator.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hinds Feet on High Places

Hannah Hurnard (1905-1990)
1955 Christian Literature Crusade

My oldest sister was an avid reader throughout her short life. Once she established a relationship with a book, she couldn’t part with it. The walls of her home were literally lined with shelves of books that she read and re-read many times.

While I share my sister’s passion for reading, (inherited from our father), I recycle most of my books. I do have a couple shelves of books that I have a “relationship” with. However, I can’t seem to keep one of my favorite titles in stock. The lesson of this particular story is so powerful that I have given several copies away—mostly to women—with prayers that the message would impact the next person as much as it had me.

The book is Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. Hannah published this best seller when she was fifty, which encourages this writer immensely. Hannah was raised as a Quaker and spent much of her life in missionary pursuits, witnessing to Jews in Palestine from 1932 until Israel became a nation in 1948. This experience inspired another book, Watchmen on the Walls.

Hinds Feet on High Places was written while Hannah still had a true heart for the Lord; long before she accepted the doctrine of universal salvation and even went on to dabble in the New Age. Sadly, she would later be scorned in evangelical circles.

Hannah took her title from Habakkuk 3:19; “The Lord GOD is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds' feet, and makes me walk on my high places. (NAS) It’s an allegory pertaining to the challenges and triumphs of the devoted Christian’s walk with Christ, in the time honored fashion of the John Bunyon classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress. Hannah’s theme, however, is taken from the biblical book of Song of Songs or Song of Solomon.

From her home in the Valley of Humiliation, our long suffering heroine, Much Afraid can see the High Places where the King lives. Much Afraid has crippled feet that makes her work difficult and tedious, and she longs to be free of the drudgery. Like everyone else in the valley, Much Afraid works for Chief Shepherd, who makes his way between the valley and the high places with miraculous speed and agility.

Much Afraid belongs to the Fearing Clan, and it is decided that she will marry her cousin, Craven Fear. When she appeals to the Shepherd for help, he places a Seed of Love in Much Afraid’s heart and offers to lead her out of the Valley of Humilation to the High Places, with the help of Sorrow and Suffering. Of course, she recoils at the notion of taking the hands of such travel mates. The seeds must blossom, because no one can enter the High Places lest love blossoms in the heart. Although the Shepherd cannot make the perilous journey with her, he promises Much Afraid that he will be near and all she need do is to call out his name.

When the path becomes steep, Much Afraid stumbles along the way because of her crippled feet. Interestingly, a “hind” refers to a female red deer, compared to a male deer called a “hart.” A hind is described as being very sure footed in the mountains, lending much significance to Hannah’s prophetic title. Choosing titles is a particular challenge for this writer. A title like this—woven so deeply in the fabric of the plot—makes me almost covet a gift for titling like Hannah’s.

Predictably, Much Afraid will face hazards along the way, such as the Shores of Loneliness, Precipice of Injury, the Forest of Danger and Tribulation, and the Valley of Loss. She eventually takes the hand of Pride, and the Shepherd must be called upon to drive this demon away. I won’t spoil the rest of the story for you.

Hind’s Feet in High Places inspires me as a writer to present scriptural principle in fiction with appealing plots, out of the ordinary characters, and a powerful message crafted so subtly that my reader will congratulate themselves for arriving at their own profound conclusions.

Hind’s Feet in High Places is a love story. Our relationship with the Shepherd and our Christian walk should be passionate love stories, like the Song of Solomon. How sad that many preachers and teachers avoid these ardent passages of Scripture. Christ’s love for us shouldn’t make us blush but rather sing out our devotion from the steeple.

I encourage anyone with a romantic heart and a passionate spirit for the Lord to purchase a few copies of this book—you’ll want a few to give away.

Writing Tip of the Day