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“You have a feeling that you are doing something worthwhile”

New Year’s honour for Wendy

Circa 2004. Lower Hutt woman Wendy Zamanek says it’s neat to be listed on the New Year’s honours list. Receiving the Queen’s Service Medal for Community Service not only makes her proud, but she says the award recognises the two women’s organisations that she sweated blood and tears for during the 80s, 90s and today. Continue reading ““You have a feeling that you are doing something worthwhile””

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Brought up in a home for boys was hard, then life turned for the better

Around the world with your baggage

2002. It’s no easy road finding God. At least, for Ian Head (Pictured above). In 1956, he was going to end his life by jumping off the Westminster Bridge in London. A pull to go to the remotest part of the world was stronger. Ian arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, later that year. It was not until 1987 that the emotional baggage he brought with him started to fade. Continue reading “Brought up in a home for boys was hard, then life turned for the better”

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SLT sees training for Christians as wholistic, for life, and from “God’s perspective”

God’s rule and reign in every area of life

2000. God’s perspective must filter into every area of your life, says Barbara Thomas member of the Strategic Life Training board.

“God’s principles apply to every area of life. It’s not just for Sunday’s or church meetings or that you deal with any area of your life differently,” she says. Continue reading “SLT sees training for Christians as wholistic, for life, and from “God’s perspective””

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“Important” healing ministry given permission to work in archdiocese

Healing prayer ministry proceeding cautiously

2006. The facilitator of the School of Healing Prayer, set up last year in the Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington, says the healing ministry is a neglected area because “Satan has been getting his own way for all too long and has nearly succeeded in killing off the healing ministry, especially in the Western Church.” Continue reading ““Important” healing ministry given permission to work in archdiocese”

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Retail outlet for Christian resources has quite an extensive range

House of Hope making a difference

2000. Petone’s House of Hope (In New Zealand) was born out of a “fairly evident need for resources and ministry”, explains shop manager and chairman of Jubilee Ministries, Selwyn Stevens (Pictured above). Continue reading “Retail outlet for Christian resources has quite an extensive range”

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Community get-together an opportunity to look after each other

Antidote for fearful society

2002. St. James’s Anglican Church in Lower Hutt hosted a display of local community and social help organizations throughout the week ending with an ecumenical service on October 20. Continue reading “Community get-together an opportunity to look after each other”

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Children from India inspire Kiwis to lend a helping hand

Compassionate response to unemployment

2001. While watching a slide presentation of underprivileged children from India at a house group meeting, Ken and Wendy Fraser were impressed that God wanted them to help unemployed people in the Hutt Valley (in New Zealand). Continue reading “Children from India inspire Kiwis to lend a helping hand”

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Penalising approach not welcomed

Backing for beneficiaries

2005. A church agency representing the views of the national representatives of four mainline churches (in New Zealand) is concerned that a government bill at select committee stage will unduly penalise domestic purposes beneficiaries who do not establish paternity of their children. Continue reading “Penalising approach not welcomed”

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“We don’t think this year we are facing a major shortage”: Presbyterian secretary

Minister shortage changes methods

2006. The thirty-one advertised ministerial vacancies in Presbyterian churches throughout New Zealand do not constitute a major shortage, according to the church’s assembly executive secretary Dr Kerry Enright. He conceded, however, that parishes with smaller numbers could not attract ministers. Continue reading ““We don’t think this year we are facing a major shortage”: Presbyterian secretary”

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“We are never consciously investing in prohibited investments”: Anglican church

Anglican Church is not wealthy and does not invest in “sin”

2001. The Anglican Church in New Zealand invests socially, and social responsibility is of high priority. Chief Executive of Trust Investments Management Ltd, Peter Jansen, says the Anglican Church is not a wealthy church and does not invest in sin, in response to a 2 September Sunday Star Times article that investigated the Church’s finances. Continue reading ““We are never consciously investing in prohibited investments”: Anglican church”

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Retailers saw an opportunity to expand gospel music in the marketplace

Christian music hits mainstream retailer

2002. The CD Store’s latest venture in retailing Christian music may become a significant part of the music industry in New Zealand, says the chain’s Manager Roger Harper. Continue reading “Retailers saw an opportunity to expand gospel music in the marketplace”

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People still trucking into Bible college

Enrolments steady at Bible College of NZ

2007. Bible College of New Zealand enrolments are holding steady although they are well down on those of the early 2000s. Figures have declined in the past two years because of a drop in the number of international students.

The college expects 650 full time equivalent students this year at its national campus in West Auckland, nine regional centers, and distance learning center – the same as last year. Continue reading “People still trucking into Bible college”

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Missioners OMS share testimonies from abroad

OMS – Reaching the nations for Christ

2000. OMS is reaching the city of Medellin, Colombia (pictured).

Over the last year OMS International has seen growth in missionary numbers and new directions in missions with a greater emphasis on international partnership with the emerging national churches on “mission fields”, says New Zealand National Director Denis Shuker.

Continue reading “Missioners OMS share testimonies from abroad”

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Responding to the issue with heart and mind

To Be or Not to Be?

2000. Norman has always been a man of decision and authority; in fact some people have found him difficult and boorish.

He has recently, at the age of 56, suffered a heart attack and then, some four days after a severe stroke as a result of a blood clot detaching itself from the wall of the heart. The brain swelling after the stroke made his condition much worse and it was feared that he would die. He was ventilated and treated vigorously for his heart, lung and brain damage.

Continue reading “Responding to the issue with heart and mind”

stories

Church relaunches with expansion

New $5.5 million building shows growth in Hutt

2007. A church’s $5.5 million building investment in an old relocated Mitre Ten shop is further evidence of growth in the Hutt Valley.

The Hope Centre, in Lower Hutt, previously the Hutt Christian Covenant Church, has re-launched because of rapid growth and attracted hundreds on its opening day.

Continue reading “Church relaunches with expansion”

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“This vision to be a place of hope and inspiration and love for all has been growing in my heart for over 20 years.”

Church steps out in faith to build $7m worship centre

2006. The Presbyterian Church in the South Auckland village of Clevedon (a town in New Zealand; see picture below) has paid $1.2 million for 8ha of rural land on which it hopes to build a $7 million “worship centre”.

Clevedon, in South Auckland, New Zealand

Continue reading ““This vision to be a place of hope and inspiration and love for all has been growing in my heart for over 20 years.””

stories

“After a while there was a need to have clear leadership”

Baptist churches face shortage of pastors

2006. Larger Baptist churches are having difficulty filling senior pastor roles meaning nearly half the pastor vacancies in Baptist churches are either for congregations of 300 or more or in multi-staffed churches.

Continue reading ““After a while there was a need to have clear leadership””

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Annual appeal and rebranding church website

“Together we can help Kiwis in need”

2004. The Salvation Army’s theme this year is “together we can help Kiwis in need” elaborated in a breakfast presentation with a series of short messages about the work of The Army and their annual appeal. One hundred and twenty years serving New Zealanders was celebrated at Booth House in Wellington, April 16, which also looked forward to Salvation Army Week, to kick off on April 28 until May 4.

Continue reading “Annual appeal and rebranding church website”

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A house for pregnant teens

Home to grace pregnant teenagers

2003. When Treena and Marcus van Rijssel purchased a house in Wellington last year for the purpose of housing and supporting pregnant teenagers, two pregnant girls approached them to use the facilities which were not furnished or decorated. One of those girls has gone on to appear on Kids – a TV 2 documentary about teenage mums.

Continue reading “A house for pregnant teens”

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Everyone “should have access to the arts”

Caring Christian community

2001. Twenty years ago, a person who had a psychotic experience may have been admitted into a hospital ward for years.

That same person or a person with the same set of symptoms may never enter a hospital today because there is better care in the community and more support for the family. The illness can be treated without necessarily having to be admitted into hospital.

Continue reading “Everyone “should have access to the arts””

stories

Christians stir controversy at Parliament

Enough is Enough

2004. The Rally for Human Rights preceded hundreds who marched Monday in the Enough is Enough rally taking a message to Parliament’s steps about the sanctity of marriage, proposed legalizing of civil unions and the Care of Children Bill deemed to undermine the marriage institution.

Continue reading “Christians stir controversy at Parliament”
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Visiting evangelist responds to “move of God”

‘God moves’ in Lower Hutt church

2000. “We are sitting on the brink of the greatest revival we will ever see. Only time will tell but that’s where we are at,” says Mike Livengood, a visiting American evangelist to Hutt Christian Covenant Centre (CCC) in Lower Hutt.

Continue reading “Visiting evangelist responds to “move of God””
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Enthusiasm builds for conference

‘God chaser’ coming

2001. Revivalist Tommy Tenney, author of the best-selling The God Chasers, told O.A.C. Ministries evangelist Tim Findlay that he was open to come to New Zealand after his tour of Australia this year. Their relationship was born when the American itinerant minister spent time in Nelson last year, where approximately two thousand people attended his conference.

Continue reading “Enthusiasm builds for conference”
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Imaginatively using irony

Sometimes, slight sense of irony in a sentence can add color to what would be a pedestrian line of writing and irony can brighten an otherwise flawed expression. It’s simply about the “art of writing” when one sketches art in a piece that seems flawed.

Art of writing may be fused throughout the whole, ordinary, unexceptional flawed piece, to give it an air of mystery and aloofness. It may be flawed prose in one sense, but how the piece is structured or designed gives an illusion of art through each line.

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Merely interesting?

When an article is merely interesting. If its my article, I deny it. Because I believe, rightly or wrongly, that articles need to be more than interesting. But there are two types of interesting which sort of makes up for it. A stimulating interesting in that one is always engaged in the article, that while it doesn’t jump off the page or screen, is always stimulating. And a dull interesting, in that the way it’s done isn’t that imaginative, but is always readable.

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This is stimulating reading

For me, when it comes to reading a piece, the best effect is when I’m intrigued and stimulated by the writing. From beginning to end, the piece falls into place nicely and sits well. The reader, that’s me, senses the piece is drawing one in, rather than away. How would one do that, as a writer? I think one must make it always interesting, with facts, color and imagination, descriptive prose, and good ideas, producing “the effect” on the reader.

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Between truth and experience is the writer

in 1999, I wrote a short piece that was implicitly about truth but even I, the writer of that article, found myself caught between truth and experience. On one hand, truth is solid. On the other hand, experience is fluid, it flows. They can be in contradiction, but sometimes the two can intersect perfectly. This was not one of those times. My article stated a truth; but something in my nature was also going in the opposite direction as well. I went along with the truth, but had I ignored writing about experience at my peril? The editor encouraged me that the article was about a good truth. Yet I got the feeling that wasn’t enough in his eyes. Myself, I thought the article was great and even now I think it’s the best article I did for that magazine up until that time.

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Cliches are pain, are they not?

I’ve heard it said that it’s better not to use cliches in one’s writing and it’s better to say it a more imaginative, colorful way. Eschewing that rule, I used two cliches in a 200-word article I wrote some years ago and I didn’t mind. I didn’t consider them cliches, but still quite inventive and keeping their flavor. But I did reverse their wording, so that “to be or not to be” was “to go or not to go” and “mountains into molehills” became “molehills into mountains”. A twist I quite enjoyed and I’m sure my readers did. Or moaned.

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When endings make sense

Sometimes, articles sign off with the big takeaway point — but if a reader will engage that point depends on how well it’s done. Unfortunately, some articles may require too much thought. Having to think about what an article is saying may be detrimental to the writer’s point they are trying to make. Clear, concise, lucid article writing is always good, one that shows commitment to the point the writer is making. Then, the reader just gets the sign off in one go, without any confusion and ambiguity.

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Reflecting on what’s going on in the mind of a writer

An article can reveal the state of mind of the writer, if the reader can see through the writer’s lines. States of mind can change — overtime — and the writer may be embarrassed or pleased by what they were thinking in the past. Whatever it was, reflecting on that state of mind can help the writer face it afresh and see whether that philosophy still stands today. It’s an intriguing exercise.

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Writers taking a break everywhere

Sometimes, a writer may get bored writing in the same genre. So, taking a break may do wonders for the writing and the outlook. One may turn their writing wares to another genre for a while and come back to the other one later.

I did this not knowing what good it would do me. I’d been film reviewing exclusively for four years but then turned to writing articles about film. I wrote and wrote and wrote article stuff about films that I look back on today and find hidden gems that give me insight into, funnily enough, film reviewing. When looking back on those articles, they encourage and reequip my reviewing. So when I do more reviewing these days, I’m more equipped, because I have reflected on the meanings of my old articles about film and how I can apply it.

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Did that inspire you?

I may have grown out of writing articles for one reason or another, but I hope my published articles inspired, encouraged or made someone think, in terms of what the article was saying to a specific reader, who might have been seeking an answer, or food for thought, on the topic I raised. Some people need answers to a topic – such as how does one go about complaining about a film? And why would one go deeper into analyzing a film? And so on. It just depends on who’s reading the article and if the article is a right fit for a specific person on the day, among the readers the writer is reaching, no matter the “page views”.

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When the page comes together

The headline, the opening paragraph, and the photos, all come together to set the tone for the article. The editors did this extremely well, although I wasn’t expecting it, nor did I intend it. But it did serve the readership and I am pleased how the article turned out. The whole article reflected one basic idea that was introduced in the headline, the photos, and the opening paragraph which would make the reader identify with one main idea. What a writer thinks should be emphasized isn’t always going to be fitting or appropriate for the readership so the editors can construct a frame for the article which fits. I am quite happy with this, although I intended another emphasis, but can still along with how it was done.

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No explanation required

Some readers know implicitly what a writer is talking about and the writer does not need to explain a thing. I say this in light of an article I wrote, about how many Oscar nominations The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King got in 2004. I didn’t even have to explain what The Return of the King was and what it was about because the readers would already know. Although, on the off chance someone didn’t know, I thought I should have explained it, but in the end, didn’t. There was no problem with it as the editor published it anyway, probably knowing that the subject was so well known among the readership that it didn’t require anything more than a mention.

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Editing SOS

Ever thought an article of yours that was published sounded uneven? Like some parts could have been better, but other parts were good. But in the end it sort of comes out in the wash and the effect of the article actually says something well. That’s a bit of a strange working, if I may say so. That’s how writing can go, for one reason or another. The writer, on a reasonably off day, may not be 100 percent “on the ball” but gets it right in how it all jells together. Uncanny. Maybe the writer was so enthusiastic in writing the article, and side stepped thinking it through, as it appeared to sound okay as is. With the published article, the blemishes showed through a little (at least according to the writer), yet the article still works (according to the writer, again)!

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First paragraphs as they say matter

There’s nothing like a good paragraph to start an article, but what if your own paragraph (this one I’m writing excluded) sounded gratingly off-putting? That’s how I felt about a 2001 article of mine. Now, I don’t necessarily agree with what was said in that first paragraph, but back then I probably found it interesting. However, the middle of the article made me think. It actually made good sense, and if one applied this wisdom, it would do some good. I wish I had applied it earlier. Even so, one knows what one knows at the time. That’s life. But just maybe I will write the sequel….

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Moments that matter

It’s great to read an old article of mine. What somebody said in it are quite simply words of wisdom and even encourage me today. I think that anyone who enjoys reading, will find that the stories and articles that they look back on, can still resonate, years later. It’s like those pleasant surprises one finds in the attic and the basement; a long lost card or report that surprises one and causes a most pleasant feeling to come over you.

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Why do editors not edit things?

Why would an editor not edit a piece that is going to be published? The answer may be simple. The piece is good enough and so good enough that editing it would waste their precious time when they could be doing other things. Why spend time on what doesn’t need fixing, when they are other, perhaps more pressing things to do that need the editor’s time and effort? When it’s a weekly newspaper or such like, time is a precious commodity.

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Submitting agony

There comes a time when I must decide on what devotions I am going to submit. The pain of it all. Agonizing. But somehow exciting. I honestly struggled and labored with the idea of what ones to send. It was a to-and-fro, back-and-forth decision, until I revised and revised again. In the end, I had five devotions to choose from, but picked a certain three because they fitted better. But with more revision of the other two, they are looking good for another assignment somewhere down the track.

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Looking closer at my work

There was a period where I again read, but critiqued, my own work, because I thought it wasn’t as readable as it should have been. But in a clearer frame of mind, I looked back at those articles, and saw the “big picture”, which changed my view of my older work. It was readable and sounded good when I saw the whole. This was encouraging as my previous view was negative, now turned positive. Seeing the context or big picture change my view of a work or piece.

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When editors publish your work

It’s good even great to get editors to accept your work and publish it even when some things were edited out because they were “inappropriate”. The editor must make a judgement call and cut the inappropriate stuff out. This is done so the readers are served. Most of the article is suitable, but some additional things in the article may not be serving the readers, so are slashed out of the article. The edited parts seemed innocuous, but then I’m not the reader and the editor has an obligation that their readers are served.

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When using language, remember to cross your t’s

An editor has the ability to put a rough edge in a sentence into context, so it sounds just right. Take for example this:

“…looked like costing $150,000 and one year ago when Mr B___ took charge of the project, with much able assistance from technician and friend M__ B____, he knew $150,000 would not arrive on his doorstep.

This is rough for only one reason. I mentioned $150,000 twice, but a careful editor would change that to sound like this:

“looked like costing $150,000 and one year ago when Mr B___ took charge of the project, with much able assistance from technician and friend M__ B____, he knew that price would not arrive on his doorstep.

The editor contextualized the $150,00 figure by referring to it as that price later on, whereas the unedited version had mentioned the $150,000 figure twice in the same sentence. Now, it sounds better, when $150,000 is referred to as that price later on in the sentence. Again, thank you editor.

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When someone gives an opinion

This post is about when someone gives their opinion of your article: good, boring, needs improving or is too long. Naturally, I like it when someone says my article is good, but am unsure how to respond when someone tells me her husband thinks my article is “boring”. Getting that remark happened only once and I didn’t hear it through the horse’s mouth as it was, so how was I to know it wasn’t the wife telling me indirectly that she thought my article was boring?

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When something goes wrong

It’s so easy for the details to slip through the cracks if one isn’t paying full, conscious attention. Years back, I did an article about pastor’s views on an issue of the day (and still is). One pastor complained that he didn’t get the photo of himself back. Each pastor who was interviewed had a photo by their opinion, and one said he hadn’t got his photo back. The photos were provided by the interviewee and sent to the publisher who should have sent them back. Alas, one slipped through the cracks, apparently, even though I huffed and puffed about sending it back. Apparently, the publisher no longer had it. Lost. These are the painful, unfortunate incidents that when on the receiving end are difficult to swallow. It’s like losing a book someone borrowed from you. Then, it’s gone. The pastor, however, was understanding, although it would have been much better for everyone that this one didn’t fall through the cracks. Sending the photo back is evidence one is paying thoughtful attention to the needs of their interviewees, which is very important.

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Thoughtfully approaching a piece if it’s cluttered

It’s a problem that I have been overcoming. With some of my work, a problem when I’m writing is saying so much that some paragraphs become cluttered or not saying enough when a thought should be expanded so as to provide the meaning. But I had to be more thoughtful about these difficulties. I somehow conquered this by getting everything in my head down on paper. And with a certain amount of editing, say it in such a way, that it’s clear. Being more thoughtful in other words.

Difficulties in writing can pass, but one must be aware of them first, for without awareness, then there is no rectifying.

So, I tried to sort it out with those pieces that on second reading sounded a little underdone or overdone.

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Interviewees are interesting, always

Some articles can be eye opening. The insights from people I’ve interviewed can be astoundingly insightful, helpful and eye opening. Like the ones I was looking at today, an article where I interviewed a person who works in materially poorer countries. Little snippets like: ‘The poor find it difficult to accept the gospel when those who share it live affluent lifestyles.’ A challenge. And the list of attributes someone must have to work and live with the poor makes me think I haven’t got it together in my own field of endeavor, although it makes me want to do better, but perhaps perfect to a fault. Articles can stir us up, even the writer of them.

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Are some articles not helpful?

There are different ways readers can respond, or react for that matter, to articles. Anger is one reaction; the article is so stirring that one is thrown into a negative emotional reaction. Articles that deal with issues that polarize can always get a rise from some people. These can be basically useless articles if anger is the main response. However, for the unconverted on some issue, these kinds of articles are ‘dangerous’ in that they have the power to persuade.

Factual articles outlining the issues and going in depth are better, as they help someone find where they stand on an issue, rather than persuade or coerce.

There are also articles that make one think, but these tend to make one think for a moment, and then, that’s that. No further action and thinking required–but, what if, in that moment of thought, a writer drew someone towards a conclusion? This is when articles that make one think are useful or put someone on the wrong track. In the end, they can have the power to persuade. The best articles they say are those that inspire someone, be that personally, or to action. Then, one may ask: inspire to what? Writers can be ‘dangerous’ people.

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When there is already an angle – in the readership

There was an article I did a while ago that was supposedly about a controversial issue, but the readership weren’t blank canvases where I could convert their hearts with my writing. They knew where they stood on the issue. The editor seemed to put an angle on the piece, as my submitted piece differed slightly to the published one in the places where it mattered. Even so, the readers were already converted, this way or that.

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Fancy editing

This week I’ve been turning paragraphs around in terms of their arrangement within the paragraph. But what about swapping two paragraphs around, so that the bottom paragraph goes at the top and the top paragraph goes to the bottom. As there are only two paragraphs in this piece this wasn’t a case of plowing through many paragraphs to see if swapping top to bottom wouldn’t make cohesive sense. Even so I risked the possibility of losing the sense of this two paragraph piece. But it sounded better when I swapped them.

Uncategorized

Hard questions

We need writers who are not afraid to ask the hard questions as this brings balance to the status quo of everything is all right, jack. Hard questions will make one think and contemplate what may be or is actually happening but is rarely or never breached, rather than the idea that everything is going along honky dory on some issue.

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Editing freshly

Some articles I wrote in the past, I used to send off to the editor in a bit of a rush, but these days I know an article (in this case, a devotion) isn’t finished when it seems to be. These days, I will wait another day to see the article with a fresh pair of eyes and see if anything more needs editing. This process may take weeks until I know that on one reading it sounds just right.

 

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Confession: the editor saved my article

In retrospect, certain embarrassing turns of phrase and articulations in a column I wrote were going to make my column sound off-color. But a good editor saved me from such embarrassments. Having wrote the article, I sent it off to the editor, this was back in 2002. Sometimes, I may write a sentence or paragraph that I don’t double check for how it sounds. Looking back at the version I submitted, most of the article sounded fine — apart from a couple of things that would have spoiled the entire tone of the article. Just imagine it got published exactly as submitted. Such was my thought as I looked back at my submission. But an editor looked over my submission. And the editor who is doing a great job can save an article by making a few necessary adjustments. And save the writer from embarrassing moments that would have spoiled the tone of the article and make the writer look a little embarrassed. Consistency can be important to an article, or at least a sense of it. But a few off-kilter moments can spoil the broth. But the day the editor saved me from such moments is a day I had a great editor.

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Risk: just do it?

I wrote a piece that might have been a risk; would I jeopardize my column? Not that it seemed to matter in the moment, because I wrote it. But with a sneaking suspicion in the back of my mind, what would happen? And months later, something happened. The column came to an end.

I reacted inside myself, but years later, I looked over the columns, and reflected somewhat on them. And if a risky article was the reason for the termination of the column, I realized why I wrote a risky article in the first place, putting it down to this and that. I looked at the wider picture and found more insight. Ideally, I should have thought before I acted. This, I would say now, is a rule of thumb. Think before sending anything. Very important.

 

 

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The contributor’s risk understood

I found this helpful on Image Journal: “the risk of sharing work with us”. What I say there may be an oxymoron, for why is the risk of sharing work with them helpful? Let me bring in the context. They’re saying submitting work is a risk: when someone shares their work with an editor, it is a risk. Sharing one’s work with an editor is exhilarating and nerve wracking. One doesn’t know the outcome, but is excited nevertheless. A risk in other words. Yes, risk is the right word; the word risk illuminates what I do when I submit articles, stories, and devotions. And Image Journal appreciate that in a writer as do many other journals.