Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Next Step by Nola Passmore


It was a fabulous conference.  You heard some amazing speakers, had lots of worthwhile conversations, got more ideas for your current work in progress and came home with a head ready to explode from all the input. In Monday's blog, I gave some suggestions for keeping your conference momentum once you're back home.  However, lets get a little more personal and interactive.  What will be your next step?  What is one specific thing you want to put into practice?  It could be something you heard in one of the sessions or it could have been the still small whisper of God you heard in a prayer time.  Let me share something unexpected I felt God leading me to do.

I've always loved poetry and have had more than 60 published in various magazines, journals and anthologies.  However, my dream is to one day have a published collection of my own.  That's a hard sell in Australia, where poetry isn't exactly at the forefront.  You'd be hard pressed to even find a poetry book in some bookstores.

One idea I've been working on is to have a collection based on Biblical characters, but with each poem written in the first-person so that they could double as performance pieces.  I need to write a lot more on that theme before I'll have enough for a collection, so the idea's been on the back burner for a while.  That is, until I went to Cameron Semmens' workshop on 'Fire! Your! Imagination!' at the recent Christian Writers' Conference. He encouraged us to spend a few minutes answering the 'What If?' question and I was intending to answer it with regard to the novel I'm currently writing.  However, God had other ideas.  As soon as I picked up my pen, I felt Him say 'Why don't you include a spoken word CD with the poetry collection?'  Huh?  Where did that come from?  I wasn't even thinking about my poetry collection.

As I reflected on that idea, and discussed it with a couple of trusted others, more ideas started to take shape.  A professional recording of the poems would show their potential as performance pieces. Maybe I could use voice actors.  Perhaps sound effects and music could be added.  Maybe the recordings themselves could even be used within a church service or Christian event.  I started to see the whole poetry project as a package, not just a book of poems. I still have a lot to do to make that idea work, but it's given me a new direction to try.

How about you?  For those who were at the conference, what was the one thing you felt inspired to do when you got home?  For those who weren't there, what has God impressed on you regarding your writing?  By sharing ideas, it not only 'puts legs' to some of those dreams, but also let's others know how to encourage you and pray for you.  It also helps us to be accountable.  At next year's conference, feel free to ask me how the poetry collection's going.  In the meantime,I'd love to hear about your dreams and how you're going to put them into practice.



Nola Passmore is a freelance writer who has had more than 140 short pieces published, including devotionals, true stories, magazine articles, academic papers, poetry and short fiction.  She loves sharing what God has done in her life and encouraging others to do the same.  She and her husband Tim have their own freelance writing and editing business called The Write Flourish.  You can find her writing tips blog at their website: http://www.thewriteflourish.com.au

15 comments:

  1. Hi Nola - love the idea of a whole package and bringing the poems off the page through audio/acting and sound effects. All the best with the idea. At the moment, I'm just trying to catch up with non-writing related tasks but I do feel a firmer resolve to hold on to the different projects I have in mind - finishing what I've started, and venturing into new ground with self-publishing next year.

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement Jenny. Looking forward to seeing which of your many projects gets across the line first. You're an inspiration the way you have your fingers in so many writing pies.

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  2. Hi Nola,

    I'm glad you captured my good side in the photo! I thought your were sleeping on the bus but you managed a quick candid shot through closed eyes. Very sneaky!

    Let me know if you need help putting things on YouTube. I have some friends who might be able to help with the voice acting too.

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    1. LOL Simon - I did try to get some shut-eye on the bus. Four hours sleep the night before and knowing we still had to drive home to Toowoomba once the plane landed. But I did manage a few sneaky shots :) And thanks for the tips about YouTube and the voice actors. Will have a chat about it at the retreat.

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  3. What a great idea, Nola. Go for it! The conference glow stayed with me until yesterday when I had to dive back into the real world and work *sigh*. It felt unnatural - as if story and ideas were my true place and the vet clinic was a smelly intruder ��. Anyway, I've resolved to increase my productivity and believe that God can use my writing. I let too much doubt in. He told me once that if I do my bit and nurture and tend my writing, he'll do his bit and make it grow. He's good like that ��. God bless your poetry project! xx

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    1. Sue, I can certainly relate to the feeling that writing is your true place and work feels unnatural. That's how I was feeling the last couple of years I was in my job. But in the meantime, maybe think of the vet practice as the setting for your next bestseller - Beautiful vet treats a gorgeous cavoodle, only to find out he's a Martian scout sent to find Princess Cowabunga of the Red Dunes. I'll look forward to that one :)

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  4. Some inspiration came for me at conference when I was listening to Elizabeth Klein talking about dialogue. For some time I've been wondering how to give more life to my non-fiction manuscript. I'm not a great storyteller and find it tedious to add illustrations. However Elizabeth made the comment that dialogue can add life to a manuscript and create visual interest through white space. So this is something I'm going to experiment with.

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    1. Sounds like a great key for your writing, Susan. we often don;t think of using dialogue in nonfiction, but it can really bring passage alive. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. That definitely sounds worth exploring Nola. Go for it. I have plenty in the pipeline after conference. First, some great editing tips from Deb have made me determined to work hard on one of my manuscripts and to make it of publishable quality. Can I do it? Probably not on my own steam. But following Anne Brown's inspirational talk at the end of conference, I will not allow those negative thoughts to take hold. I shall persevere with God's help. And one day I shall make it! :) Thanks for asking. And thank you for your informative session on creative non fiction which also helped me. Bless you my friend.

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    1. Glad to hear you're taking that advice on board Anusha. And you can definitely do it. You have a lot of great material that people need to hear. Praying that God will show you how to proceed and looking forward to seeing the finished product :)

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  6. Go for it, Nola. Spoken poems. Great idea. Also, don't be frightened of indie-pubbing your poetry. There are plenty of people who read/listen to poems. Also a lot of people don't immediately think of the Psalms as songs/poems - it's how they're positioned to the reading audience.

    Another suggestion, if the poems are short perhaps connect with an illustrator and catch a hold of the colouring craze. Inspirational colouring books are now getting some traction in the market.

    I think you're onto something, Nola. And be assured that if the Lord's nudged you He'll keep guiding you. Just keep listening.

    Bless,

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    1. Thanks for that encouragement Ian. I think Indie publishing probably is the way to go with poetry. The standard has really improved over the last few years and it could make an attractive package. Some great suggestions there too about the illustrations. Thanks so much.

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  7. I love your creativity and lateral thinking! God gives us the best ideas. So looking forward to seeing this new shape of poetry! Your workshop on creative nonfiction inspired me to go further with prayer and encouragement to writing on a new website for a couple in our church embarking on a very unique venture.

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    1. Thanks for those encouraging words Anne. It will indeed be interesting to see how things unfold re the poetry. I can't reneg on it now. I've told too many people!

      And I'm glad you got something out of my workshop too. I'm sure that couple in your church will be greatly blessed by your writing, as will their readers. God Bless xx

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  8. Great ideas, Nola. It's amazing how one creative spark can lead to another. Looking forward to seeing your project come together. :)

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