Saturday, November 11, 2017

Bursts of Inspiration

by Jean Kavich Bloom

Sometimes inspiration comes from the strangest places, at the strangest times, without notice. When it does, it often taps into the river-like currents that already flow through our emotional and creative—even practicalveins.  

For instance, I like a neat and organized home; I’m just wired that way, preferring everything in its place. So naturally, I'm motivated to tackle a drawer or closet that’s become unruly when I see clutter somewhere, like on a TV program.  (Naturally” is a categorization I’m sticking to, so please don't shake your head in dismay!) 

And in church this week, despite our reading from the New Living Translation Bible, it suddenly came to me that I’d like to make reading through The Message paraphrase a 2018 goal. That inspiration probably came from God, for his own reasons, which is not so strange. Still, the thought came out of the blue and I recorded it right then so I wouldn’t forget to follow through. By the way, I'm convinced church bulletins were invented so we can discreetly record sudden inspiration (and be honest, stray thoughts about lunch or a work assignment) but look like we’re documenting sermon points.

We all know stirring inspiration is inconsistently accessible and forthcoming for most writers, so bursts of inspiration for our writing are decidedly welcome. Writing is work, just as subject to procrastination and paralysis as any other task. Writing is often most enjoyed once it’s accomplished. Sometimes we have no idea how to start or where we're going. But other times we are blessed with an uplifting revelation that compels us to transfer its lessons from our minds and hearts to where others can embrace them too, via the written word. And for novelists, fresh thoughts from surprising sources can inspire a unique twist for a story line or greater character depth.

Best of all, a sudden “I want to write now!” inspiration is a joy, even if we’re not sure where it came from or what will appear on screen or paper as we begin. It just comes and we feel it. For me, such bursts of motivation can come from amazing music, from a meaningful book I’m reading, or from a right-into-the-heart message my pastor delivers. They can come from precious words spoken by my children or grandchildren. They can even come from writing deadlines or disciplines like NaNoWriMo, which for perhaps the strangest of us (naturally) causes those river currents in our veins to strengthen and flow more freely.

My question for you today is this: How have you experienced sudden and unexpected inspiration to write?

Jean Kavich Bloom is a freelance editor and writer for Christian publishers and ministries

(Bloom in Words Editorial Services), with thirty years of experience in the book publishing world. Her personal blog is Bloom in Words too, where she sometimes posts articles about the writing life. She is also a regular contributor to The Glorious Table, a blog for women of all ages. Her published books are Bible Promises for God's Precious Princess and Bible Promises for God's Treasured Boy. She and her husband, Cal, have three children (plus two who married in) and five grandchildren, with foster grandchildren in their lives on a regular basis.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fun Reader Quotes for You

Today I thought I'd do something a little different.

I love writing. And I adore's not as much work as writing. Today I thought I'd share some fun reading quotes and images. Feel free to post these wherever you like. :-) Consider these my gift to you!

What's your favorite reading or bookish quote?

An award-winning author of twenty books, Cara is a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Words God Gives

When I was in high school, my favorite teacher pulled me aside after English class one day to give me some advice about a writing project we were working on. During the course of the conversation, he mentioned that it was clear to him that I was a romantic. At the time, I couldn’t figure out what that had to do with anything since the project was a research paper.

That comment has stuck with me all these years and I mull it over now and then. For quite a long time, I had trouble reconciling the idea I had of a flighty, head-in-the-clouds romantic with the more serious, realistic person I saw myself as. It was almost embarrassing to think others saw that much of a starry-eyed dreamer in me.

But what’s so bad about that, anyway? The label has grown on me with time. To the point that I don’t even flinch a little when I tell people I write inspirational romance. Now, I’ve read romance for many years, since I was quite young. I’d pick up a Janette Oke novel my mom had just finished and get hooked. But I always felt like there was a bit of a stigma around the genre. Like it wasn’t serious enough to be real literature.

Since I started writing, it’s crossed my mind many times that maybe I should write about more serious topics. Even compared to others within the romance genre, I write light stories. Sweet books. Easy-to-read. And honestly, that’s the type of books I like to read, too. Does the lightness make them less valid than deeper books that delve into the hard parts of life?

I don’t think so. I believe that God gives writers different focuses for a reason. Many writers, in romance and other genres, handle heavy issues beautifully, touching hearts and healing wounds. But there are others who handle life’s problems with humor or sweetness. Are any of those better than the others? Nope.

Just like God created people to perform different functions within the church and likened it to the human body working together, I believe He made different writers to perform different functions. Together, we make up a whole, a spectrum of writers all writing the multitude of words God gives them. Between us, we can touch hearts with serious words or funny ones, deep words or light-hearted ones. No one way is better because each reader will respond to something different.

So, write what you feel led to write. The words that God gives you will find their mark in His timing. Isn’t that a wonderfully freeing thought?

I’d love to hear from you. Where does your writing fit in? 

Abbey Downey never expected her love for writing to turn into a career, but she’s thankful for the chance to write inspirational romance as Mollie Campbell. A life-long Midwestern girl, Abbey lives in Central Indiana, where her family has roots back to the 1840s. She couldn’t be happier spending her days putting words on paper and hanging out with her husband, two kids, and a rather enthusiastic beagle.

You can check out Abbey's books at

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Me? Contribute to a Writers’ Blog?

It’s been eight years since I dove into National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo). Since that time, I’ve published short stories, contributed to blog posts, and created my own website. I’ve written seven books—each one a little more polished than the previous as I learn the craft. But I still feel new to this business of writing.

During the first ACFW-IN meetings I ever attended in 2013, one of the officers voiced a plea for writers to contribute to the Hoosier Ink blog. No way, I thought. I’m too inexperienced. I’m not published. What could I possibly contribute?

This year, I became one of the officers! It was kind of expected that I should contribute to Hoosier Ink. I thought, I’m still too inexperienced. I’m barely published. What can I contribute? Others in this organization know far more than I do.

Notice the difference in the italics above. While I may question my worth to the organization, no way, is no longer part of my vocabulary.

God directs us in every stage of our development. With the talents He’s given me, I’ve been obedient to teach school, lead worship in church, and direct a nonprofit agency. Currently, I’m a writer. He has walked beside me in life, guiding me in the roles of  daughter, sister, wife, mom, and now grandma.

I become a blessing to others as I depend on Him. Since He has sent me on this roller coaster adventure of writing, I’ve discovered that I can create a blog post out of any slice-of-life episode and offer Light to readers. Not only that, I can take the same blog post and relate it in such a way as to create a completely different article and use it somewhere else, offering another ray of Light.

For example, I wrote a spiritual metaphor, Wound Therapy, on my personal blog. I compared the medical steps taken in cleansing and repairing deep puncture wounds to God’s ministrations when we are deeply wounded in spirit. How could I relate Wound Therapy to a post for writers in Hoosier Ink? No problem! Within the Wound Therapy post is the message to writers that anything can be used to communicate Truth.

Truth? Why I just completed a third article on the concept of Truth for another blog! See how this goes?

Those of you who feel you have little to contribute, rethink your possibilities. You are members of ACFW. God directs your lives in a thousand different ways from mine. He’s taught you lessons that you could pass along to me and others. 

Hoosier Ink has several blog post openings throughout the month. We don’t feel pressure to fill every slot for thirty days a month, but two or three times a week would be nice. If you’re a beginner like I am, committing to a monthly post is fantastic practice. I’ve gained a lot of confidence and a bit more skill. If you are way beyond my experience in the writing life, we need your wisdom.

Like a dog nosing her sleepy puppies to get up and move, the Holy Spirit had been nudging me toward writing for Hoosier Ink for a year or more before I obeyed.

Maybe God is already prompting you toward contributing more of your talent via this blog site.

If He is, may you be   quicker to obey than I was! Be a blessing. Let your Light shine.

Linda Sammaritan writes realistic fiction, mostly for kids ages ten to fourteen. She is currently working on a middle grade trilogy, World Without Sound, based on her own experiences growing up with a deaf sister.
Linda had always figured she’d teach middle-graders until school authorities presented her with a retirement wheelchair at the overripe age of eighty-five. However, God changed those plans when He gave her a growing passion for writing fiction. In May of 2016, she blew goodbye kisses to her students and dedicated her work hours to learning the craft. She still visits the school and teaches creative writing workshops.
Where Linda can be found on the web: 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Embracing the Editor Among Writers

by Jean Kavich Bloom

I once attended a writers’ conference where, in a lunch group made up of all writers, I was asked what I write. That's a question I commonly get in such settings. When I answered that, although I write, I’m primarily a book editor, one new-to-the-whole-world-of-publishing woman said, “Well, then, I don’t understand why you’re here.”

Ouch. That felt more like a challenge than curiosity, as though I were a fish who'd jumped out of her assigned body of water, a flopping curiosity on the other side of the table.

Bu like many editors, I’m also a writer. I write professionally, I write personally, and I write for a few blogs. I write nonfiction, and I write a little fiction (also my long-term goal). Some authors with whom I have an ongoing, trusting, author/writer relationship even allow me to write a paragraph as I’m editing to show what I have in mind to fill in a gap or flesh out a scene (subject to their changes, of course), and they seem to like many of those entries. That's especially fun in novels.

But mostly, I love to hang out with writers, people who love books and words, including the small writers’ group at my church. And though I, like many editors, attend writers' groups in part to encourage writers and provide information about editing and the publishing process when asked, I'm also there for encouragement and growth in my own writing and to soak up the pure joy of the craft. But sometimes I do feel like that fish out of her own water, and I imagine others who are primarily editors in those settings might feel that way too.

Now, I’m not talking about physically embracing the editors among you, unless you're the hugging type anyway and think hugging a fish makes sense. But I do suggest making them feel welcome, as though they have something to offer, even as a writer.

Most of the times we editors are with writers, no one says, “You’re an editor? I don’t understand why you’re here, then,” and we feel just fine. But any editor who even sometimes feels like a fish out of water can use some depth of welcome and support anytime you’d like to offer it. Whether you come across the species at a writers’ group, writers’ conference, or your own American Christian Fiction Writers chapter meetings—even if their presence seems a little fishy to you—make some emotional space for them. My guess is more of us are swimming among you than you know, even if we don't travel in obvious schools with you other fish in the sea!

Jean Kavich Bloom is a freelance editor and writer for Christian publishers and ministries

(Bloom in Words Editorial Services), with nearly thirty years' experience in the book publishing world. Her personal blog is Bloom in Words too, where she sometimes posts articles about the writing life. She is also a contributor to The Glorious Table, a blog for women of all ages. Her published books are Bible Promises for God's Precious Princess and Bible Promises for God's Treasured Boy. She and her husband, Cal, have three children (plus two who married in) and five grandchildren, with foster grandchildren on a regular basis.

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