Thursday, 19 December 2019

Fifteen Great Picks from 2019

Throughout the year, on Mondays and Thursdays, we post a blog -  it may be inspirational,  a story of writerly struggles or triumphs; tips about the writing life and writing craft, or an interview of one of our members. Sometimes it's moving, or funny or thought-provoking or all three.. 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 2019(and over the last decade).

As we near the end of 2019, we thought we'd honour our bloggers' contributions with a pick of 15 blogposts that have inspired us this year (in no particular order). 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.

1. Christmas Stories & Fairytales by Charis Joy Jackson

Once upon a time, I wrote a short story about a girl who wanted a Father because Father's are good at providing for their families and because the girl needed to be provided for. It was allegorical and fantastical in nature. The girl travels to Faerie and finds a Wish Box and wishes her father into existence.

I wrote it because I'd forgotten what my Heavenly Father was like as a Dad. I'd conformed to the world's idea and my relationship with Papa God was suffering for it. Read more HERE

2. Talents? What talents? by Melinda Jensen

In more recent years, though, I’ve noted that not all devoted and genuine Christians hover as closely to the poverty line as I have always done. At first, I thought God had simply chosen to bless them in this manner more than He has blessed me…and I’ve been okay with that. The wind blows where it will, after all. (Alright, let me be perfectly frank, there have been a few times when I’ve pitched headlong into a full-blown pity-party, at least for a few minutes, but I do try awfully hard to snap out of it.)

After a fortuitous conversation with a beautiful Christian woman several weeks ago, it dawned on me that I’ve been missing something vitally important all these years. And it all boils down to a deeper understanding of scripture, specifically, the Parable of the Talents. Read more HERE

3. Any Old Donkey by Rose Dee

A wise and faith-filled lady once told me the Lord could use ‘any old donkey.’ I’ve never forgotten that. While I understood at the time she was referring to herself, I’ve often wondered about that saying: any old donkey.

I’ve recently come across several Bible references to donkeys that have made a real impression on me, and given me insight into what she may have meant. Read more HERE

4. Just Write Something by Linsey Painter 

Before Christmas, I was in a bit of a writing frenzy. I was trying to write two short stories and I had deadlines for both.

In the midst of all the editing I ground to a halt with one of my stories. I had to do a whole lot of work on the structure of it.

Structure in stories is the part that I struggle with the most.

I knew what I had to do, thanks to my frantic reading of books on structure. It was going to be hard work. Read more HERE

5. Doing Deep Work by Elaine Fraser

The monotony & solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind. Einstein.
I often wish I could just go into a cave and write and write and write. However, my life only allows me to do that for a couple of hours a day–unless I go on a writing retreat.

In order for me to do my best work, the kind of deep work you have to do in order to go deep into the topic, deep into the research, deep into the thinking, with long cycles of reflection, I need to make sure I get to my version of a cave as often as possible.

That’s how I develop ideas. That’s how I do good stuff.

After a busy couple of years of travelling, I was beginning to forget how to get back into the wellspring of the deep, quiet solitude of work. Read more HERE

6. Whatever could go wrong? A pantster tale by Jo Wanmer

It was a great idea. Whatever could go wrong?

‘I’ll make your wedding cake. Would you like a two-tiered cheesecake decorated with fresh flowers.’ It was my idea. The bride loves my cheese cake so jumped at the offer. At least we had one thing organised for the wedding that was bearing down on us. A wedding organised by a pantster! Read more HERE

7. Five Things Wimbledon Can Teach You About Writing by Nola Passmore

Did you spend more time watching Wimbledon in the last two weeks than working on your manuscript? If you’re feeling guilty, fret no more. All that ‘tele-tennis’ can actually help with your writing. Here’s how. Read more HERE

8. Trust and Obey by Anusha Atukorala

“Trust and Obey”. A simple way to live—the only way really. Several years ago, I decided it was time I wrote a novel. I had published one non-fiction book and ten short stories in anthologies. Two manuscripts (one of which was a children’s fiction book), had made it to being finalists in two writing competitions. I was on a roll. I decided it was time delve into writing fiction. Read more HERE

9. What’s in a Theme? by Julia Archer

What life theme might drive a hero – real or fictional?

‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain,’ wrote the imprisoned apostle Paul to his friends far away in the Greek city of Philippi.

As a theme for a life, it’s hard to beat.

Fiction writer and teacher James Scott Bell may not share Paul’s theology, but he is just as passionate that life-or-death stakes must drive your fictional hero.

‘The stakes have to be death – physical, professional or psychological’, he writes at the outset of His lively and instructive book Conflict and Suspense. Read more HERE

10. Indie Publishing anyone? by Jeanette O'Hagan

In the past there were two main routes to publishing - through a traditional publisher or through a vanity press. With the advent on e-books, print-on-demand, and online sales, it's become more and more viable for authors to become their own publishers. This means much more than finishing a book and then banging it up with a cover and no editing or proofing on somewhere like Amazon (though that can happen). A serious Indie publisher is committed to producing a quality book with professional covers, with well edited and structured content that will connect with readers. Read more HERE

11. Learning about Honesty Writing about Honesty by David Rawlings

My new novel is out next week. A second novel, another modern-day parable hot on the heels of The Baggage Handler, which I’m humbled to say was named as the best Christian debut novel of 2019. (My publishers make me say that …)

It's called The Camera Never Lies.

I wanted my next modern-day parable to cover the issue of truth. We live in a post-truth world where honesty can be sometimes subjective, and sometimes denigrated. And the best place to explore the concept of honesty – in a context that is most relatable to us all – is in our closest relationships.

What would you do if your secrets were revealed to those closest to you? Read more HERE

12. The Danger of Words by Jenny Glazebrook

Dare I write this post? It could be misunderstood … and held against me for years to come.

Words are dangerous.

They can set a forest on fire; they have the same power as a small rudder which changes the path of ships (James 3:3-9).

They can be so positive but they can be equally harmful.

Words are powerful and that’s what makes them dangerous. Read more HERE

13. Our Patron Saint of Fangirls by Paula Vince

Do you enjoy a good story? You look forward to reading a book, watching a movie, or listening to a podcast simply for curiosity. The fun of finding out a new fact, making an unprecedented connection or adding new favourite characters to your book lists is what drives you. The phrase, 'fascinating discovery' makes your ears twitch. Maybe you just want to know who's going to get married by the end of the novel, or who the bad guy is. And you've covered the backs and fronts of several pieces of paper with scribbled notes.

But an obvious drawback makes you sad. If someone asks the purpose for your reading and research, you'd be hard pressed to make a decent reply. Read more HERE

14. Going Big, Going Small, Making the Most of it All by Mazzy Adams 

... We’ve all been there, longing to gather with like-minded souls, fellow creatives who understand the word-driven psyche. We desperately want to participate, contribute and make the most of any and all opportunities to connect, learn, promote, celebrate, and, er, commiserate. Let’s face it—there’s a unique blessing that comes when chatting to someone who UNDERSTANDS. When I say to a fellow writer, ‘He says, “Just put it up as an ebook”,’ and her spontaneous laughter tells me she KNOWS there’s no ‘just’ about it. She KNOWS it’s not that simple.  Read more HERE

15. What Do You Think He Meant? by Meredith Resce

... None of them expected the promise to still be on track—poised and waiting to break forth.

What do you think Jesus meant when he talked about overcoming the world? Where are you situated this coming Easter? Are you poised with your mobile phone ready to record the miracle? Read more HERE

And a couple of Bonuses 

The Exploring Genre posts in conjunction with ACW. Like Cecily Paterson's post on Memoir
After three years, these have now come to an end. Next year the cross-posts will focus on Omega Writers. 

And the popular, Meet Our Members posts. For instance, Carolyn Miller or Anne Hamilton and many, many others. MOM posts will continue in 2020.

We'd like to thank all our active CWD members and bloggers who interact, comment and support each other and the group  - and to wish you all a blessed and joyful Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour and Lord.


  1. Thanks for the pick, Jenny! Glad to mix it up with our illustrious crew of CWD contributors. May I also add my HUGE THANKS to EVERYONE who has contributed to the Blog and the group, whether it be via their written POSTS, their encouraging COMMENTS, or their PRAYERFUL and/or PRACTICAL SUPPORT for the Christian Writers Downunder admin team, Facebook members, and blog followers (from all over the world). Together, we release a functional and inspirational force for good.

    1. It was fun picking:) And I'll second your vote of thanks. Everyone plays a part in making CWD a great group :)

  2. Thanks for including me in the list, Jenny. You've done a fabulous job, and so the rest of the team - Mazzy, Paula, Anusha, Kirsten, Sue -- I'm sorry if I've forgotten anyone. Sorry too that I've been a bit MIA the last few months with everything that's been happening. Looks like I have a lot of reading to catch up on.

    1. Hi Nola - perefectly understandable with all on your plate. Yep, some great posts in 2019.

  3. Thank you for the list. I too, have a lot to catch up on, but at least I am home from hospital.
    Thank you for compiling this list. :)

    1. Thanks, Susan. Glad you're home from hospital :) Hoping you stay well. And enjoy the read :)