Thursday, November 30, 2017

Running Ahead OR One Step Behind?

First Day of Nanowrimo! Oh, I am pumped. My pantser instincts are gung ho. Fifteen hundred words under my belt in less than two hours. Budgeting three hours a day on this project should work well.
My story’s ambitious. Women’s fiction, complicated relationships, moving back and forth in the times of their lives. Fifty thousand words should be a snap.

Second week of Nanowrimo begins. The story is unfolding nicely. I have notes all over the place. Now to find that one detail I wrote down…
Life keeps getting in the way. I need a new phone. I have three blogs to get done this week. My husband would appreciate a home-cooked dinner. I absolutely must clean the bathrooms.
I’m tired.

This story stinks. I’m stuck. What should my main character do next? Any conversation that comes to mind sounds boring. Not worth the time to type it.
I’ll try again tomorrow.

11/30/17 I won! 51,251 words toward my new novel!

Those of you who have tried National Novel Writing Month, does any of this sound familiar? This is my seventh Nanowrimo, and I follow the same pattern every time.
Week One: rarin’ to go.
Week Two: slowin’ down.
Week Three: dead in the water.
Week Four: the grand push forward.

I’ve succeeded at fifty thousand words twice. Would the year I completed forty-four thousand count as an honorary runner-up?

Here’ s what I've discovered. 

I must ask the Holy Spirit to lead. I’ll follow, one short step behind. By checking with Him first before I initiate anything, He can arrange my day in the best sequence for tasks to be accomplished. That includes my ability to get words from my mind into a written form, an obvious necessity during the frantic month of November.

If I will only walk with the Holy Spirit as He sends me on paths of discovery in my plot and getting to know my characters, I always have plenty of words to type that are satisfactory. 

Those other four years when I didn’t finish? I knew what to write. I dictated where the story was going, and I didn’t bother to ask for guidance when sitting down at the computer. I ran ahead of the Spirit. And galloped off in the wrong direction.

In spite of knowing how much I need His guidance, I still tend to drift down my own path. It takes purposeful reminders to wait for direction. This week I’ll get back on track. I know my story has promise. It’s worth the write, and it’s worth a prayer of seeking God’s inspiration before placing fingertips on the keyboard.

Whether we participate in Nanowrimo or not, everything we write can only improve as we choose to follow Him, one step behind.

I don’t think I’m alone in my tendency to run ahead. Do you have a story to share about your own writing journey with the Lord, a confession of when you wandered off and dead-stopped in quicksand? Or a celebration of a project where every step was in sync with the Spirit? I’d enjoy  reading about it! 

Linda Sammaritan writes realistic fiction, mostly for kids ages ten to fourteen. When she's not involved with Nanowrimo, she concentrates on the 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, 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.

Photo credit:;   image=22856&picture=evening-dawn

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.