Thursday, 24 December 2020

Fifteen Great Picks from 2020

Throughout the year, our blog team share their insights and wisdom - 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 blog team a huge thank you for your contributions throughout 2020 (and over the last decade).

As we near the end of 2020 which so many have called 'unprecedented', 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. Route 2020 by Jeanette O'Hagan

... In the Bible, there are moments of reflection on the way of what has been achieved (often marked by memorials) and bold promises about the tasks ahead. Mount Sinai, the crossing of the Jordan river, Joshua's declaration that he and his house would follow the Lord, and Jesus' call to follow him.

Sometimes I get so caught up with the day to day, month to month details of what I need to be doing as a Indie writer and become so anxious about what I haven't achieved, that I lose sight of how far I've come. At those times, the road ahead seems daunting, even impossble.

Maybe, the start of 2020 is a great time to tke stock, to remember and to re-group, to see the way ahead. ... Read more here.

2.  Writing Brave (Even if Your Knees are Knocking) by Nola Lorraine

Meltdown in Aisle 3

Last Thursday, I launched my author website with the tagline ‘Weaving Words of Courage and Hope’. I’d come up with that line last year and it seemed like a good fit for most of my writing. Rewind to last Tuesday, and I was standing in the toilet paper aisle at Woollies, fighting back tears because the lady in front of me had grabbed the last pack of toilet paper. ... Read more here.

3. Such a Time as This by Admin Team

“Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings)

This is not the first time the world has been in turmoil (the spread of the Bubonic plague, the invasions of Genghis Khan, two World Wars, the Great Depression, the Spanish Flu, the year without a summer, the Cuban Missile crisis and so on). And it probably won't be the last either. Even so, I'm sure I'm not the only one who feeling we've accidentally wandered onto an apocalyptic movie set. ... Read more here. 

4. The Best Scoop of All by Anusha Atukorala

... Despite the hustle and bustle around me and my frazzled nerves within, the meeting went exceptionally well. Detour or not, sweet melodies now began to hum in my heart. Our local library was willing to organise the launch of my next book ‘Sharing the Journey’. I was delighted to hear how well they’d support me. They promised to even serve wine for my guests at no cost. Oh? Yes! Yes, please!

Afterwards I realised that perhaps my detour was a reminder that the year might not flow as smoothly as I hoped! Plan for detours, I told myself when I got home. Go with the flow, Anusha. Dream on but expect the unexpected. Don’t be fooled into thinking my plans won’t get messed up. I spent the next few weeks making goals and plans for 2020. ... Read more here.

5.  How to Keep Wagging Your Tail During a Pandemic. (By Nikita the ShiChi)

In these tough times of pandemic proportions one of the most encouraging and helpful voices on social media has been Pluto, a miniature schnauzer who has been 'breaking the internets' with her wisdom and humour. If you haven't met Pluto yet, I'll pop a link to her YouTube channel at the end of this blog. She is truely good for the soul. In honour of Pluto and the other dogs and cats encouraging us humans (or two-legs as Pluto calls them) on social media, I decided to invite my dog, Nikita the ShiChi, to guest blog on CWD today :). Over to you Nikita... Read more here. 

6. Life Answer for Sceptics by Julia Archer

... But here’s the thing. Can Christian writers learn anything from this story?

Well, first, that it is a story. A true story, included in Scripture for a reason. Along with all the other forms of writing in Scripture, an honoured place is held by stories. This validates our telling stories to share Christian truth, particularly stories of how God has worked in our lives.

Even fiction is included, unless you hold that the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son and his father and brother were real, historical people ...  Read more here.

7. Blast from the Past - The Lamb that was Slain

This Easter will be like none we've experienced in many decades, but one thing is certain: The DIVINE MESSAGE of love and hope it commemorates IS eternal, from yesterday, for today, tomorrow, and forevermore.

Six years ago, Jeanette O'Hagan asked the question:

"I wonder what Easter means for you?"

She went on to say:

"For me it is a time of reflection and wonderment - that the incarnated divine Son would die for me. It tells me how much God loves and values me. It reminds me that I have new life through Jesus, that He can and will mend the brokenness inside of me and that He is a present and powerful. ... Read more here. 

8.  The Selfless Self-Promotion Conundrum by Ben Morton

... But God gave me talents so that I could use them, not to bury them and wait for him to return. I need to work and my family need to eat. How do I navigate the issue of being a humble follower of Christ when my talent is the thing I have to sell and it seems unanimous that self-promotion is how artists ‘sell themselves?’ Can I actually sell myself when I belong to Christ? ... Read more here

9. She plays the guitar. He runs with the wolves by Kirsten Hart

How many of you spend hours and hours researching what vegetables commoners would be able to afford during winter in the 18th Century, or how bad the storm was in January of 1956, in Sydney? What about how long the average person can hold their breath?

As a writer, we are always researching something, whether you’re a romance author, historical-fiction author, non-fiction author or fantasy author. ... As writers, we need to go out into the world and experience as much as we can. I would never have known the satisfying pain of accomplishment you get in the tips of your fingers if I never started learning to play the guitar. Read more here.

10.  Eyes to See by Jenny Glazebrook

This is a long post, but I wanted to share with you some of the amazing things God has done in my life and my writing over the past few months in the hope that they will encourage you.

God took my vision so that I would see him again.

He slowed me down so that I would hear his still, small voice and work with him to achieve the supernatural, in his way, his time.

He showed me again that writing is worship when I do it with him and that is when he brings about supernatural ideas. He is my limitless inspiration. He is my strength, my life.  Read more here.

11. How to answer the biggest question writers get asked ... by David Rawlings

If you're a writer reading this, you've probably been asked this question as many times as I have.

What do you write?

It's a question that writers get asked because it's a way of connecting with our art; with our ability. It's a way to pigeon-hole what we do and get a sense of who we're like, helping others to understand what we put on the page. It's a way of picturing what we do as an output.

Over the years I've found that people's engagement with that question - outside of the infuriatingly common 'I'm going to write a book one day' - depends on my answer. ... Read more here

12. What Makes a Good Book Dedication? by Nola Lorraine

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been giving out gift copies and review copies of my debut novel. Some readers have told me they really enjoyed the book. However, a few people have also said they loved the dedication. I’m glad they liked it, because I put a lot of thought into it, but it got me thinking about other dedications I’ve read. What makes a good one? What things do you need to consider? Do you even need one? ... Read More Here

13.  A Good Yarn by Mazzy Adams

The notes of the Westminster chimes echoed down the hallway, subtly weaving their way into my sleep-sodden psyche, insisting I relinquish my cherished nana-nap. Before dozing off, I'd been researching the etymology of the word yarn. Though I'd discovered a miscellany of interesting facts, the art of spinning the various threads of thought into the fabric of an etymology essay had proved frustratingly elusive. Read More Here

14. Writing with Passion - Jo Wanmer

... My dad on the other hand only wrote occasionally. His short letters were eagerly awaited, even if his spider scrawl was hard to read. He died half way through year 12….and the letters stopped. The few I still had I kept for about forty years, and then I reduced them to a few quotes.

Mum’s letters detailed her daily life. Dad’s letters taught me how to live my life.

“If you have 40 men in a hut you have to be extra careful with money and other easily stolen things. But you can usually narrow the field down in a few weeks and in due course you know who it is.”

I can’t remember what I wrote to elicit this response but he used the occasion to teach me. As I recalled his writings after his death, I realized he was trying to prepare me. Did he know his time was limited?

The other author I honor today diid know his time was limited. He wrote with passion to his ‘family’, teaching and exhorting them, cajoling and rebuking them, loving them and discipling them. ... Read more here.

15. Pressing on To Meet our Goals by Ruth Bonetti

... It’s time to stretch my writing muscle.

What goals haunt the too-hard section of your mind and heart?

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 NRSV)

St Paul didn’t always know where he was heading, but trusted God’s driving directions. Read more here


We hope you've enjoyed this selective review of the many great blogs of 2020. And 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 and a wonderful New Year in 2021.


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