Thursday, January 29, 2015

New Every Morning

When January comes around it seems only natural to reflect on the past year, on what’s been achieved, how I’ve grown – or not. Then to look forward to the year ahead and think about new goals, resolutions, aspirations.

As I get older I realise more and more how precious time is, how crucial it is to make the most of each moment, to give thanks for each new day. More and more we have friends who have run out of time, or health, to do the things they might have hoped for in their latter years.

Since my husband retired we’ve done lots of travel as has always been his dream and we’ve been fortunate to have the health and means to do it, so we’ve had wonderful experiences both overseas and in Australia. In between the travel I’m focussed on my priorities; what to do with the time I have at home, in my community, in my writing, with my family.

So these past couple of weeks I’m again focussed on what this new year holds, as I’m sure many others are. What is God calling me to this year? I’ve been challenged by some words of T.S.Elliot, words I’ve often stopped and thought about, but which this time struck a new note.                                                  ‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive   where we started and know the place for the first time.” 

One of my favourite writers, Richard Rohr, caused me to think about this in a different way when he shared his understanding of this statement. He describes it as returning to where we began; the eternal embrace of Divine Love. Our story ends where it begins. Like Adam and Eve we begin a life given to us by God, and spend much of it exploring ourselves, seeking independence and our own selfish ends, only to realise that our true self is in the God we left behind. We all came from God and are headed back to God.

Every morning brings a brand new day. Every year is a new beginning, but the journey is the same; the formation of an ever-growing and deepening understanding of Divine Reality and the reality of our relationship with God, the relationship we were made for in the first place. Our routes, experiences and pace may differ. We have our preferred symbols, rituals, our differing gifts and resources, but we don’t have to allow them to get in the way of what they all point to and lead to – our union with God.

I’m encouraged by this to consider all my goals and aspirations in this light. I have choices to make this year. I have dreams of what I’d like to accomplish. I have preferences about how I use my time. I have books I want to write. I have commitments and challenges to face. I have space for surprises and the unexpected. In all of these I want to keep uppermost in my mind that my ultimate journey is into deeper relationship with God.

I see how Scripture leads us to encourage others in the same journey.   1 Corinthians 12: 4-6. There is a variety of gifts but the same Spirit. There are all sorts of service to be done, but always the same Lord, working in all sorts of different ways in different people. It is the same God working in all of them.                                                                                                           

Whatever our year holds it’s great to know that those of us who walk with God are heading in the one direction.  God’s work in all of us is to bring us back to Himself, where we began, where He has us safely and wondrously in His hands.

For me this makes the year ahead exciting, new, challenging and purposeful. It is filled with possibilities and the joy of knowing I walk each day with the One who created and gave me freedom to explore the world and find my true self and deepest satisfaction in Him.  I pray it is so for you.
 
 

Carol writes historical novels based on her family ancestry in Australia and include the Turning the Tide series; Mary’s Guardian, Charlotte’s Angel, Tangled Secrets and Truly Free. Her earlier novels Suzannah’s Gold and Rebecca’s Dream have been re-released by EBP. You can see more about Carol and her novels on her website or her FB author page.

 
www.carolpreston.com.au
www.amazon.com/author/carolpreston
www.facebook.com/writingtoreach

 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Find your Voice Through Blogging by Melinda

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/imagerymajestic


An author needs an online presence; if not a fully-fledged website, then at least a blog to showcase their (your) pizazz. No one would argue with that, particularly editors and publishers, God bless their pedantic little hearts.

Through the unique flavour of our blogs, we give readers a taste of what to expect from our books, articles, short stories and poetry; and by interacting personally with our readership we build a steady platform from which to approach, and impress, prospective publishers. We prove our popularity, and hence our marketability, by the volume of our followers. Add a link to Amazon or other online store that stocks our wares, and we have a neat hub from which to promote our work. Easy, yes? There’s got to be an App for that.

Sadly, no. Most of us muddle about for years, tossing half-begun blog posts into the cyber-trashcan at a rate that would accelerate global warming to critical levels if we were actually using paper. And it’s not just blog posts that are treated to the great delete, but entire blog identities too. I’ve ditched at least eight blogs over the years, eventually settling on two Wordpress titles based on different concepts. I decided to stay with these two for one simple reason - they feel like me. I’m comfortable at last with how I sound and with the way my followers respond. I no longer cringe when I re-read my work months after I’ve written it. In author-speak, I’ve found my voice.

As a tool for discerning your voice, the humble blog is underrated. I didn’t find mine and then begin to blog. It happened in reverse. If you’re in the early stages of your writing career, blogs offer you real freedom.

You can:


  • Write under any name you like and hide your identity until you’re confident sharing it.
  • Vary your writing style and subject at will.
  • Wipe out all traces later on, if you decide a particular post (or entire blog) doesn’t make the cut.
  • Modify your viewpoint, information and style, after feedback from readers.
  • Relax. There’s no need to feel stressed when writing a blog. There are no rules, no limitations, no expectations, and no need for approval. If you want to write for an audience of one, you can.  There are also no deadlines and no-one looking over your shoulder. Use this opportunity to let your pen or fingertips roam free. You never know what you might discover within yourself. Be bold. Our God did not give us a spirit of fear.
  • Write on any subject that interests you, ensuring each blog has a central theme. Swing high and try to hit whatever it is you’re passionate about. A passionate voice is almost always irresistible.
  • Experiment. Go on, give it a go. You always wanted to write humour? Here’s your chance. You want to take off on flights of fancy? Launch yourself from a blog page! If, like me, you look over your writing months later, only to discover you can’t even make yourself laugh, or that you’re infinitely more stable with both feet on the ground, then hit that merciful delete button and proceed to the next experiment. Set the ego aside and listen for the still, small voice that never leads you astray.


The time will come when people begin to thank-you for your insight, or encouragement, or whatever gift you’ve offered them through your writing. That’s the time to clear your throat and get ready to exercise your new-found voice.


Melinda has had a smattering of short stories, poems and articles published in magazines and anthologies. Keen to spread the word about protecting and nurturing the environment, she is currently working on two fantasy novels for middle school children, each with an environmental theme. She is also passionate about raising awareness about the devastating effects of verbal, emotional and psychological abuse within relationships. You can find her here: www.killingmesoftly.co

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A timely reminder - Jo-Anne Berthelsen

I stood at the counter of the Christian bookstore, fuming. Not a good scenario, whichever way one looks at it! Before leaving home, I had checked on the store’s website to make sure the book I wanted—one of my own earlier novels—was in stock. I had none left and needed a copy in a hurry. I also decided I would see if my current novel, of which the store seemed to have plenty, was on display.

At the store, I discovered that the one copy left of my earlier novel was already set aside for another customer. Sigh. I then went to find my latest novel--but alas, it was nowhere in sight.Yet there were supposed to be fifteen in stock. Where could they be? A staff member helped me look for a bit but then gave up.

‘You’ve come at an awkward time,’ she informed me. ‘Our books are being moved around our different stores and we’re also tidying up after the sale.’

I understood totally on both counts. And I think it’s a good idea to shuffle those books around the different stores so they are available across the country. Still, it seemed odd there were no copies at all to be found in this large, busy bookstore in the meanwhile. There was nothing I could do about it, however, so, in very grumpy author mode by now, I gave up and left.

I drove home—and then a long way to another bookstore, after discovering two copies of my earlier novel still available there. Soon, self-pity set in big-time. How come that staff member could not find those copies for me ... and also did not seem too worried about it? How can my books sell if they aren’t even on the shelves? Clearly too, I was just some crazy old author lady to be humoured but not taken seriously! Humph!

After a while, as I covered those kilometres to the other bookstore at just under the speed limit, I began to calm down a little. Then I heard that gentle whisper of God somewhere in my spirit.

‘Firstly, Jo-Anne ... isn’t it a good thing someone had already ordered that only copy of your earlier novel remaining in the first bookstore? That novel came out almost seven years ago—that’s amazing it’s still selling at all. Secondly, while that young staff member couldn’t locate those stocks of your current novel, the fact they are in the process of being moved around different stores is surely a good thing too? Could you perhaps look at the positives in all this and be thankful?’

I took a deep breath. Yes, I decided, I could. I needed to forget my gripes and grumbles. I needed to be thankful the bookstore in question has stocked my books for years now. In fact, I needed to remember all the blessings of my writing journey—and be so thankful for it all.

How about you? What things are you thankful for in your writing journey?
Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess 5:18
Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through both the written and spoken word. She is the author of six published novels and one non-fiction work, Soul Friend: the story of a shared spiritual journey. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and four grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.jo-anneberthelsen.com.

Monday, January 19, 2015

No such thing as 'The Best'



Jane Austen wrote the following paragraph in her personal papers, about people's reception to her books. I loved stumbling upon it on an Austen website.

'Cassandra liked 'Emma' better the 'Pride & Prejudice' but not so well as 'Mansfield Park.' Mrs A. found 'E' more entertaining than 'MP' but not so interesting as 'P&P'. Mr Cockerelle liked 'E' so little, Fanny wouldn't even send me his opinion. Mrs A Bramstone thought 'S&S' and 'P&P' downright nonsense, but decided 'MP' is the worst.'

Having written nine novels at this stage, I found I could relate to her. If I relied on public opinion to help me decide how I'm going, I'd be very confused. Some people have said they prefer 'Picking up the Pieces' to anything else I've written, because of the strong forgiveness theme. Others think 'Best Forgotten' is the best, for the mystery thread, while a few even choose 'A Design of Gold,' including one man who was touched by my hero's past as it was similar to his own. Others say my latest, 'Imogen's Chance' drew them in more than all the others.

The only clear conclusion is that 'the best' is subjective. I follow a reviewer from America whose opinions I often agree with, and she shocked me last week by writing a harsh review about a book I loved. To add to the confusion of opinions, any person's feelings can change down the track. I once read Beverly Cleary's 'Ramona' books with my kids. I remembered them as a series I vaguely enjoyed as a kid, when I identified with the heroine. To my great surprise, years later I found myself identifying strongly with the mother as well as both daughters, and loved the books!

Differing opinions may be explained partly because all readers process books according to their own unique attitudes and life experiences. Last year, I read a memoir by a lady named Rebecca Mead who followed the footsteps of George Eliot. She wrote, 'My 'Middlemarch' is not the same as anyone else's Middlemarch', and not even the same as my 'Middlemarch' of twenty-five years ago.'

It would seem that in spite of what we may expect, the experience of any given book isn't something that simply strikes a generic impression into every heart. Life would be pretty simple if this was so. What if each reader brings part of his or her own personality to the experience of reading our stories? That's why differences of opinion can be poles apart. It also means that not only the writer's character and way of expression is responsible for good impressions, but the reader's too. This leaves us free to simply shrug and accept random reports that a particular person hated our work. We needn't believe that we're bad authors just because we didn't strike a chord with Jane Doe.

On the flip side, I'm well aware that whenever a reader thanks me for a good read, it's more than just a throw-away compliment. It means that while they read my novel, something deep in their heart responded to something in mine. Imagine if somebody with admirable, heroic qualities ever attribute them partly to reading our books. There's a thought for another blog post.





Paula Vince is a South Australian author of contemporary, inspirational fiction. She lives in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, with its four distinct seasons, and loves to use her environment as settings for her stories. Her novel, 'Picking up the Pieces' won the religious fiction section of the International Book Awards in 2011, and 'Best Forgotten' was winner of the CALEB prize the same year. She is also one of the four authors of 'The Greenfield Legacy', Australia's first and only collaborated Christian novel. Her most recent novel, 'Imogen's Chance' was published April 2014. For more of Paula's reflections, please visit her blog, It Just Occurred to Me. You may also like to visit her book review blog, The Vince Review where she also interviews other authors.
 



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Anthologising

by Jeanette O'Hagan

Image courtesy of John Kasawa at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I was in my early twenties, I sat down and wrote a novel – late at night, in lulls between seeing patients, on scraps of paper and notepads. It took perhaps a year to finish the first draft, longer to do the second and third. A friend (thank you Wendy) typed it up for me and I sent it out to a couple of publishers. I got a strong nibble but, naive as I was, I had no idea that didn't normally happen so quickly, so I quibbled. And then my writing got shoved in a drawer as a new career, ministry, marriage, family and more study took over my time and creative energies.

So when, at the beginning of 2012, I dusted of my writing dreams and enrolled in post-graduate studies in writing, I also dusted off my old manuscript and plunged straight back into writing novels and searching for publishers. Writing long fiction feels natural to me – if I’m not careful my shorts become novels and my novels become series.

Four and a half manuscripts on – and I’m still looking for that elusive publisher.

Which is why the last couple of months have been so exciting. No, not because of my books (though they still ignite my imagination).  I've had some success with a couple of shorts; a placing in Faith Writer’s flash fiction challenges, the acceptance of a 5000 word story in the Tied in Pink anthology (released last month) and the acceptance of one of my poems in another anthology. Just baby steps but exciting nonetheless.

It has been a steep learning curve as I’m not a natural short story writer. It took me three stories to get within the 5000 word limit for the Tied in Pink anthology. (On the plus side, I now have three stories not one.) 

Short stories can of course be submitted to competitions, magazines or even published as e-books, on their own or part of collections. Meredith Resce, for instance, has recently published a short novella Where’s There’s Smoke. Incidentally, she along with Anusha also have stories in the Tied in Pink anthology with a number of other writers from different walks of life and philosophies.

So what is an anthology and is it worth getting involved?


An anthology is a collection of works by different authors that share a common theme. The works might be poems, devotionals or inspirational true stories, essays or fiction (or some mix of these). The theme might be related to a genre, a subject, an idea or a target audience.

Anthologies may be commissioned by a publisher if they feel a certain theme is not well represented in the market. It may come about by the collaborative efforts of a group of authors or even from a single author inviting others to contribute.

Anthologies are a great way for different authors to showcase their writing style. They provide an opportunity for new writers to be noticed and for established writers to keep their name visible while working on their longer works.

Writing short stories require some different skills and strategies than long fiction – just because they are short doesn't mean they are easy to write. However, they usually can be written in a shorter time frame than a novel and can be more easily discarded if they don’t work out. They provide the opportunity to experiment with ideas, style or genre. It is easier (though still hard) to get a short story published than a full length novel.

As anthologies generally have a number of contributors, they provide an opportunity for fans of one author to discover they enjoy the work of others within the collection. For authors, this may mean new fans – for readers, the discovery of new authors to follow and enjoy. Also, hopefully all contributors will be involved in promotion of the anthology.

If your story is not accepted, you can submit it elsewhere (with or without changes).

Be strategic. Most of my stories tie in the fictional world of my novels and are connected in some way with each other. In this way, I hope they are a natural springboard into my novels. I also envisage including them in a collection which I could self-publish at a later date with new material.

It’s not all sunshine and oranges


Anthologies don’t always sell as well as novels.  Readers may not like anthologies because they aren't as immersive as a novel and have a certain element of pot luck about them (you may know and like one or two authors, but not all). Alternatively, you can think of them like a box of chocolates – perhaps you don’t like hard (or soft) centres but you are just as likely to be delighted as disappointed. And it’s easy to read a story in one sitting.

According to Literary Rejections, Chicken Soup for the Soul received 140 rejections headed ‘Anthologies don’t sell’ before finally being accepted for publication and has gone on to be a best seller.

Still, you probably won’t make a fortune from an anthology even if you receive royalties.  With the Tied in Pink anthology, all time and skills were donated and the profits are going to breast cancer research. As an author it is still a viable way of getting your name known and attracting new fans.

An anthology includes a range of authors and stories. With a secular anthology, this will include many with different values and philosophies. The guidelines will give some indication of what might be considered acceptable – but interpretations may vary. The Tied in Pink anthology included a few more risque stories than I or many of my friends would normally read or write which has meant that I have had to been more cautious about how I promote it (say in church circles). On the other hand, many of the stories are moving or fun to read.

As with publishing a novel, you need to beware of vanity publishers. Some publishers rely on the fact that the contributors are likely to buy multiple copies to give to friends and family. Multiply that by the number of contributors and they can make a profit at the expense of their authors.They don’t need to ensure the quality of the anthology and put little or no effort into promotion. For more info, check out this link.

Follow the guidelines. Make sure you know the submission requirements – the type of story, word limit, any exclusions, when and how to submit etc.

Be clear about what rights, royalties (or payment) and obligations (are you expected to buy copies etc). I prefer anthologies that ask for first (serial) rights and/or non-exclusive (or exclusive for a set time period – say 6-12 months after publication). This means that you can sell (or self-publish) your story as a reprint after the specified period. Look at whether digital, print, worldwide and/or audio are included.


Here is just a small sampling of anthologies you might consider submitting to:


Faith Writers challenges –  Breath of Fresh Air press plan to publish the top entries in a series of Mixed Blessings books.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is always looking for contributors. 

Like a Girl anthology is looking for submissions. This is a charity anthology, with profits going to boost education for girls through Plan Australia. Submissions deadline is July 12 2015, the 18th birthday of Malala Yousafzai.

Glimpses of Light Anthology - in conjunction with Christian Writers Downunder  


2015 is the International Year of Light. I've been considering the possibility Glimpses of Light anthology – with (fictional) stories and poems tying in with the theme or symbolism of light – with ALL profits going towards an accredited charity that helps people in developing countries (such as Christian Blind Mission, Tear Fund or World Vision). This anthology could be done in conjunction with Christian Writers Downunder – giving an opportunity for selected CWD writers to showcase their work. Details are yet to be worked out (title, charity, deadlines, guidelines, submission and selection process, publishing process etc).

There are a number of ways of participating   Please prayerfully consider your involvement. We would love you to join the Glimpses of Light Facebook group – either direct message Nola Passmore or myself (Jeanette O’Hagan) or click on this link and request to join.

So maybe in 2015 we can get anthologising :)

Jeanette has practiced medicine, studied communication, history and theology and has taught theology.  She is currently caring for her children, enjoying post-graduate studies in writing at Swinburne University and writing her Akrad's fantasy fiction series.  You can read some of her short fiction here. She is about to have a short story published as part of the Tied in Pink anthology next month (profits from the anthology go towards Breast Cancer research) . 

She is actively involved in a caring Christian community. 


You can find her at her Facebook Page or webistes  JennysThread.com or Jeanette O'Hagan Writes .


Monday, January 12, 2015

Permission to just stop....

In our house, the lead up to Christmas is especially busy. As well as the usual Christmas and end of year activities, my younger son has his birthday a week before Christmas. I had a couple of manuscripts that needed editing sitting there and calling me to get to work. By the time Christmas came around, I was exhausted.

This year, we did something a bit different to what we normally do the week after Christmas. We did nothing!

That's not completely true, we did do things, but nothing we had to do. I didn't even do any writing or editing. I left it all in their files and didn't touch it. I even spent time just lying under a tree and thinking about nothing.

Image Source
For me, and many writers I know, it's sometimes hard to just stop for a while. After the crazy times we had in December, having a complete rest from writing and other things I had to do, was just what the doctor ordered.

This rest helped clear blocks to getting writing and editing done and the ideas are flowing once more. I'm excited about revisiting manuscripts I was polishing in 2014, and jotting down ideas for new projects for this year. It has also helped me focus on my writing goals for the coming year and I have a plan for the projects to start working on. 

I know there's a lot of advice out there that says to be a successful writer, you need to write every day, but there are times when you just need to give yourself permission to stop for a while. It's amazing how much fresher you are when you come back to writing again.

Giving myself permission to stop is something I'm getting better at, especially when I really need a break. Before Christmas, 2015 was looking overwhelming. I'm now really looking forward to 2015, it's great starting the year refreshed and ready for the year to come.




Melissa Gijsbers is a Melbourne based author and the mother of two boys. She has had flash fiction stories in five anthologies and published her first children's book, Swallow Me, NOW! in October 2014.
Follow her writing journey at www.melissawrites.com.au and visit her website at www.melissagijsbers.com

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Broken Stars

by Dianne Riley

There seems to be a theme running in the recent posts.....so I thought maybe I should write something different, but no inspiration came, maybe there is a message for us all from God......what do you think?

My girlfriend Ang and I decided to do some Christmas cooking. 
I love to cook and my gal Ang loves to have a go.  
So Christmas star cookies were the object of our adventure together in the kitchen.  
Settling on a date became a task all by itself, let alone getting our aprons on!  Back and forth the texts went as we tried to match up a time before Christmas day drew near, too near for baking cookies.

Finally the Sunday before Christmas we had Ang over for a family dinner.
Then the cooking began. 
                                                                                                                    
                                                                      
Wish I had taken a couple of photos, the concentration on her face was beautiful, not to mention the little dancing action she was getting on as she stamped the cookie cutter into the pastry.
Tray after tray went into the oven.  

Finally with more pastry ready in her hands, she asked “have we made enough?” So, we had made enough.

It was fun. We laughed and chatted, then we dusted our little stars with icing sugar and it was time for Ang to go home with her share of the cookies packed into a snap lock bag.  Great plans we had for those cookies. Off to work they would go with us the very next day to share with our respective colleagues.

Then the text arrived.  ‘My stars are all broken’.  We laughed together at all the effort coming to crumbs and no cookies to share.
I messaged her ‘There has to be a sermon in there somewhere’.
And for me there was a God inspired message.  
My stars of writing have been broken.  Somewhere along the way I fell off the writing pathway. I have a folder of unfinished and unedited stories, just like Ang had a snap lock bag of bickie crumbs….and nothing to share.

Somewhere inside me I know I have something to share.

When our stars are broken, no matter what those stars might be, we do need to look to the Saviour.

Thankfully Christmas does come around every year, the reminder of God in flesh coming to us, meeting us.  I write on my gift tags every year ‘Wise men still seek Him’, and those wise men followed a star.  The star brought them to the Saviour.

My star cookies, in fact Ang’s broken star cookies, brought me to the Saviour again.  To seek His guidance to show me how to find my way back onto the writing pathway.  So I won’t be a spectator in the year to come, I will be taking a fresh page and writing, writing, writing.


PS My gal Ang has decided I can show her how to make gift tags next year; we’ll hang up our aprons for our next adventure in the kitchen…

You can find out more about me here.....
www.dianneriley.com.au I have self-published a book to encourage girls to find their significance in Jesus.


  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

From Resolutions to Actions by Nola Passmore



Have you made some New Year’s resolutions?  “This year I’ll lose weight, get more exercise, write that novel, marry Prince Harry.”  Sadly, only about 8% of people actually keep the promises they make to themselves.  One of my goals for 2014 was to finish the first draft of my novel, but I fell way short of that mark.  It’s easy to beat ourselves up when we don’t meet our expectations, but that doesn’t mean we give up.  Perhaps we need to set more achievable goals or come up with a better plan for achieving them.

In my former life as a social psychologist, I came across a theory that might explain why our resolutions don't always lead to actions.   According to the Theory of Planned Behaviour, there’s a correlation between our intention to perform a behaviour and what we actually do.  No surprises there.  However, our intentions are affected by three things: attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control.  Okay don’t panic!  Let me give some examples to show what each of these mean and how they apply to our writing goals.   

Attitudes 

If you feel there are more positives than negatives associated with a particular behavior, you’re more likely to do it.  As you’re reading a blog from a writer’s group, I’ll go out on a limb and assume that you’re already favourable towards writing.  Creating something fresh gives you a buzz.  You like the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a manuscript or receiving positive feedback from a reader. However, it’s not always fun.  It can be hard slogging your way through the middle section of your novel without any guarantee that you’ll find a publisher. 

While it’s important to be realistic, we need to recognise that the negatives are not always the barriers we perceive them to be.  Yes, it is harder to get published these days.  Yes, most writers don’t make a lot of money.  Yes, cleaning the oven would be more fun than editing the mess you wrote yesterday.  However, don’t use the negatives as excuses to give up.  If God has given you a desire to write, He’ll enable you to do it.

Subjective Norms 

Subjective norms are based on what significant people in our lives think and also the values that society places on a goal.  For example, if writing is seen as something worthwhile and our family and friends encourage us, we’ll be more likely to write. 

If you’re already feeling discouraged because the people around you aren’t as supportive as you’d like, your dreams don’t have to stop there.  You can surround yourself with like-minded peers who do value writing.  Groups like Christian Writers Downunder, Omega Writers, FaithWriters and Australasian Christian Writers can provide the support and encouragement you need to pursue your writing goals.  There are also many genre-specific groups that will adopt you as part of the tribe, whether it’s romance, science fiction, creative nonfiction or Amish steampunk. In the cyber world, you never have to swim against the tide alone.

Perceived Behavioural Control 

Perceived behavioural control refers to our beliefs about whether or not we can perform a particular behaviour.  Can we actually write that novel, screenplay, magazine article or biography?  It’s important to note the word “perceived” here.  Our intention to pursue a particular writing goal doesn’t depend so much on our actual ability, but on whether or not we think we can perform the behavior and whether we have the resources and opportunities to do so.  Perhaps spelling and grammar aren’t your strong points or a significant person was critical of something you’d written.   Maybe you have seven unfinished novels in your drawer and have lost confidence. 

The good news is that we can always learn and improve.  Try subscribing to a writing magazine or joining a critique group.  Go to workshops in your area or enrol in one online.  However, as Christian writers we also have a huge advantage. We have God on our side.  Nothing used in His service is ever wasted.  If you have a desire to write and you step out in faith, the Holy Spirit can nurture your gifts and guide you in your journey.

Be Specific

Although attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control can all affect our intention to write, intentions are more likely to translate into actions if we’re specific.  If your New Year’s Resolution is to write a book, try breaking it down into manageable steps.  For example: “I will attend the workshop on ‘plot and structure’ being offered by my local writers’ centre (or enrol online).”  “I will buy some index cards and use them to jot down ideas for different scenes.”  “I will write X words per day or per week.”  You’re more likely to do it if it’s something concrete and manageable.

Don’t be dismayed if your plans for 2014 didn’t quite work out.  It’s a brand new year with a whole new set of possibilities. Let’s stand alongside each other in prayer and cheer each other on towards our writing goals for 2015.


What are your hopes for the new year?


Nola Passmore has had over 140 short pieces published, including poetry, devotions, true stories, short fiction and magazine articles.  She's currently writing her debut novel and loves encouraging others to develop their God-given talents.  She and her husband Tim have their own freelance writing and editing business called The Write Flourish.  You can find her writing tips blog on their website