Monday, 7 January 2019

Fifteen Great Picks from 2018

Each week on Mondays and Thursdays, someone from our faithful CWD blog team uploads a blogpost - sometimes it's inspirational, sometimes a story of writerly struggles or triumphs; sometimes it's funny, other times it's serious or both; sometimes the post reminds us why we write and for who, other times it gives practical tips - on writing, marketing or getting published. And sometimes, it's a member interview or a cross-post with ACE exploring genre. Always, it's the result of thought, research, experience, passion, creativity.

The CWD Admin team would like to give our blogteam a huge thank you for your contributions throughout 2018 (and over the years) and to all our readers who have taken the time to comment and interact with our bloggers.

As we start the new year, we thought we'd honour our bloggers' contributions with a pick of 15 blogposts that have inspired us in 2018. Out of over 100 posts, it wasn't easy to choose and there are many other posts equally deserving of notice. We have a wealth of information and inspiration on the blogsite - accessible on multiple subjects and themes.

We hope you enjoy this selection from a rich smorgasbord of offerings.

1. Clutterbust into the New Year by Ruth Bonetti

Do you embrace or resist making resolutions as you pass that annual threshold? My goal is to declutter. Not just the old year, but past decades.

It's not easy. Mess with closets and mere muddles inflate into chaos.
Breathe. Do it. Breathe.
Believe that beyond the pain threshold lies freedom, lightness of being. 

2. How to Write Awesome Dialogue for Your Film by Charis Joy Jackson 

Today, I thought it might be fun to give all our CWD followers a bit of advice on how to write for film.

When it comes to knowing how to make movies, screenwriters should pay special attention to the dialogue they use for their characters. When it’s good, people don’t notice, but when it’s bad even your gran can tell.

You don’t want this.

I don’t want this.

So how do we write awesome dialogue?

There’s no magical formula -- creativity needs to breathe -- but I do think there are a few tools that can help you. Here are a few things I’ve found in creating awesome and strong dialogue.

3. Total Wipeout or Total Write it Out by Mazzy Adams  

About a decade ago, the first Wipeout game show aired in the USA. Contestants threw and bounced themselves into, around, across, over and through an absurd array of obstacles, mud, more obstacles, mud, creative obstacles, water, (washing off the mud), challenging obstacles, watery downpours … anyway, you get the picture. Total Wipeout, the British (BBC) version, followed hot on its heels, eventually airing in Australia (and currently repeating on ABC ME).

 Over the last twelve months, I’ve been whacked and dumped and drowned by a plethora of challenges and disappointments that have seriously undermined my writing progress. I’m sure I’m not the only one. But a couple of weeks ago, the Holy Spirit challenged me with this thought:

Read more here.

4. Story Telling in 3 D by Debbie Roome 

Those who know me well will be familiar with my love of travel. This dates back a few decades but recently has become a way of life. I’ll never forget the day that travelling changed from a postcard view to something more tangible. And no, it wasn’t the day I first climbed into an aeroplane or travelled to a foreign land. I had seen many glossy brochures of London and Europe and could recognise Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but it was a flat and one- dimensional view.

5. I Need a Personal Bubble for my Writing Space by K A Hart 

A distraction-free writing space. Does anyone have one? I have lived in this house for four years and I still haven’t found the right spot.

Somewhere that’s comfortable, but not too comfortable. A place with a view or inspirational pictures and famous quotes. Coffee, tea, a few snacks. Music. No music. A clean space, clutter-free. That’s what most writers suggest.

So. Writing space. Where have I made my writing space? Where have I not?!

6. Confessions of a Genre Butterfly by Susan J Bruce  

The author platform. Do these words fill you with confidence? Do you say ‘I know who I am as an author and I know who I want to reach? I know what my brand is?'

Or do you think, ‘Eerk!’

Earlier this year I realised that as I belonged to the second category, I really should do something about it.

Read more here.

7. Legacy and Eternity by Elaine Fraser  

Through the mere act of creating something—anything—you might inadvertently produce work that is magnificent, eternal, or important. Elizabeth Gilbert

We don’t always set out to create something as a legacy or for eternal meaning. Creating comes out of who we are on a daily basis, even when we’re not aware of it. When we create, make or design something and release it to the world (or maybe just to our family), when it’s released, the effect it has on others is out of our control. We’ve let it go.

Read more here.

8. Finding Direction by Josephine-Anne Griffiths  

‘Sometimes to move forward in life we need to turn around.
It does not mean we wasted our time –
We just didn’t know then what we know now.’

I’ve talked about the busyness of life before, but what if we are busy accomplishing nothing? That is how I have felt the past twelve to eighteen months.

Read more here.

9. Rights and Responsibilities of a Christian Writer by Melinda Jensen 

Being a Christian writer is clearly not for the fainthearted. We have the right, of course, as human beings, to churn out whatever inspiration comes our way. That’s what so many writers are all about, after all, isn’t it? Freedom of speech? Freedom of the press? Creative license?

As Christians though, our rights are coupled with a weighty responsibility. We are to be ‘in’ this world but not ‘of’ it.

Read more here.

10.  Waiting by Jeanette O'Hagan 

In my latest release, Stone of the Sea, one of the characters thinks, 

Waiting was all they seemed to do these days. Wait for food. Wait for to learn their fate. Wait for Baba to return and take back the realm.

Sometimes being a writer can feel like that - waiting to finish a novel, waiting for feedback, waiting to hear back from agents and publishers, waiting to be published, waiting for sales, waiting for reviews, waiting for traction in the market, waiting for... it doesn't seem to end.

Read more here.

11. Posing Questions by Adam David Collings 

Christian fiction has often been accused of being preachy. Sometimes justifiably so. We’ve all read books like that. These are the types of books that go out of their way to preach a message that pulls you out of the story. In fairness, it’s not just Christian fiction that suffers from this problem. One of the early chapters of the novel Ready Player One (which I loved) interrupted one of the early chapters for an extended tirade against religion, although the author balanced this by introducing a sympathetic minor character who was a Christian.

And yet, the best books are often those that delve into a topic or theme, and explore it. This gives a story depth. So how do you explore an important theme in a story without it feeling “preachy”?

12. Practice Makes Perfect by Nola Passmore 

I got my first guitar when I was seven, and I couldn’t wait to play like Keith and Bruce. Not Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen. I’m talking about those spunk muffins of the sixties—Keith Potger and Bruce Woodley. Together with Judith Durham and Athol Guy, they formed the fab folkie foursome The Seekers. I was sure it would only take a few lessons and I’d be singing and playing along like my favourite group. It didn’t quite work out that way.

In the first lesson, my music teacher gave me a crash course in theory, taught me the notes on two strings, and sent me home with some exercises to practise.


13. Pillow Talk by Adele Jones

This is not the blog I was preparing for today. I was going to bring my vulnerability and talk to some of those doubts we writers can wrestle. Instead, as I was reflecting on the content of my post, the wise words of a friend came to me: “Get some sleep before you make a decision on that.”

(You would be surprised how closely related my decision and the content of my blog were.)

It occurred to me that my greatest challenge recently has not been self-doubt, but sleep deprivation. Given my constant nemesis doesn’t appear to be going away, I thought I’d share some advice frequently dispensed by my also wise husband. Maybe we can all learn a thing or two about sleep hygiene while we’re at it. Somehow, I don’t think I’ll be the only writer out there in need of some reminders!

Read more here.

14. Your Lights are On by Anusha Atukorala  

When I reached my car, my eyes opened wide in surprise. A lady walking past called out to me ‘Your Lights are On.’ What? How come? As a new driver, I had already done that. Twice. It had of course led to a dead battery each time and a call for roadside assistance. So ever since, I have had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder whenever I leave my car. I check if the lights are off not once but three or four times. I make certain all four doors are locked. I walk around my car ensuring all is well.

How had I left my lights on? Perhaps my rumbling stomach had a lot to answer for?

15. Why Didn't God Book a Room for His Son? by Jo Wanmer 

Why didn’t the Father book a room for His son? He wasn’t taken by surprise the day Jesus entered the world. He could have organised somewhere…after all He is God.

‘No room in the inn’ seems a poor excuse. Jesus’ Father could have booked weeks earlier. God can orchestrate these things. A few years ago, we decided on Tuesday to go away for the weekend. It was Easter. So two days before we left, I searched for a quiet place to rest and recover. I found a lovely cottage–overlooking a river valley, less than two hours away. When we arrived it was the perfect place for us. We asked the hosts why it was still available. They shrugged, puzzled themselves. They’d been booked solid nearly all year - except Easter!

If God could organise a room for me, why didn’t He do the same, if not for his Son, then for Mary. A young girl still a virgin untouched and inexperienced in the realities of women’s struggles. She had to labour on the floor of a barn.

Read more here.

Thanks to our bloggers for taking the time to share their wisdom, experiences and inspiration with us. I'm looking forward to new blogs for 2019. Aren't you?


Coming in March - Omega Writers Book Fair 


  1. Thanks Jenny! What a smorgasboard of writerly delights to feast on, in the new year. Thank you for spending time choosing them and for a great job of sharing them too. I shall spend some time soon reading through and being inspired as I begin to WRITE in 2019. Well done to all the contributors for their wisdom, insights and inspiration. A big THANK YOU to you all. And oh yes, HAPPY WRITING EVERYONE!

    1. Smorgasboard is such a great description - and yes, it's great to have such inspiring, practical, challenging posts to spur us on. Thanks, Anusha.

  2. Thanks, Jenny, and I feel honoured to be included amongst so many excellent posts. Glad it's holidays so I can go back and read them.

    1. You're welcome, Ruth. I'm planning on putting your tips on de-cluttering in practise this year.

  3. Love all the great articles and advice packed into one post. So good! Thanks for the shout out Jenny. Feel honoured to be included with this bunch of creatives :)

    1. We have such a wealth of great articles and advice on our blogstie - good to give them a plug now and then. Thanks for your contributions, Charis :)

  4. Well done, everyone. It was as great to revisit those wise posts as much as seeing them the first time, and good to catch up with some that might have slipped through the radar. A good wrap-up indeed.