Preparing devotional books in my mind’s eye

I have enough devotions for the equivalent of a book’s worth of devotions, one month’s worth, but with the second book, another month’s worth, there is still some editing and additional writing to be done. I am writing and editing at this stage. I am thinking of publishing though.

A “viable alternative for young people”

Fifteen issues strong but still a way to go

2002. Since 1998 Soul Purpose magazine has targeted Christian and non – Christian young people aged between 12 – 25 years.

The magazine has reached its 15th issue and while the crew could rest on their laurels, Founder and Chief Editor Hamish Stevenson feels they have a long way to go. Continue reading

Writing in anger

A reviewer assumed a screenwriter/director was driven by anger to make a work, but being driven by this emotion seems a stretch too far. How does one manage that emotion while working with it? Wouldn’t anger get out of control and interfere with the person doing the work, effectively disabling the person from thinking straight?

I guess anger in writing can smolder underneath, under layers one has built up to protect oneself from exposing the driving, motivating force behind a work or works.

The problem with writing in anger is that anger may be seen in how one treats the subject they are irritated about. An exaggerated treatment may reveal a bias towards a certain institution, but it isn’t the way it is. This is when things become unfair.

I think it is best to avoid those writings that are driven by the emotion of anger. There are other emotions to write with, and these can be negative ones. For me at least, anger is detrimental to getting on doing the work properly.

In the end one may be misrepresenting something or some group entirely and perhaps regret doing so afterwards.

Not widely known

I have no idea of the matter but I trust the reference book is correct. This is on the matter of who co-wrote the play Where the Rainbow Ends. The reference book cites that Reginald Owens was a co-writer which isn’t stated on Wikipedia. The reference book says he was the brain child of the play as well.

I have a good feeling the reference book is right, although I could be wrong. Clifford Mills is cited as the co-author (along with Reginald Owens) in the reference book. On Wikipedia, Clifford Mills wrote it with John Ramsey.

But where is Reginald Owen on that Wikipedia page? “It is perhaps not widely known that the famous children’s play Where the Rainbow Ends was the brain-child of Reginald Owen…” the reference book says (Page 13, Film Review 1973-74).

Abandoning one project isn’t abandoning the ship

There is a difference between abandoning something and abandoning ship. Abandoning ship means whatever you were occupying is abandoned for ever. Abandoning something means you let go of part of the whole. I may have let go of a long cherished but burdensome project without abandoning ship. I will still write of course, but I won’t be writing a certain project that I really am unmotivated to write anymore. I guess one should be motivated to write a project, but when it becomes a burden, one loathes the thought of writing it. So, I think I should stick to those writing projects, in terms of fiction, that I really have a strong motivational investment in.

When public profile does not matter

He just wanted to write. He did not want to show off. But Mrs. Humstead wanted to show every one of importance his writing. Except no one wanted to read it. The writer observed rather than get upset. He knew being such a small timer not everyone was going to have the time to read his work. But he just wanted to write. He knew there were many competitors and more over those who would pillage his work for their own ends…He was wary of those but remained calm. What did it matter? Peace of mind reigned over him before action strikes. Another piece of writing.

Writing reflections is, well, a reflective exercise

I’ve been working on a book of reflections based on my readings of the Gospel of Mark. The gospel is from the Bible and I am aware of being accurate to the text and not saying something myself in my writings that was not intended by the writer of the gospel. But I am writing reflections and this genre is not explaining or expounding a text academically as one would when deeply examining what the author was saying. Reflections are simply hopefully effectively relaying my thoughts about what I read…meaning it is not a thesis on the text or a critique but a reflection on the text itself. I reflect from a devotional basis so it is not a reflective critique which has a soft edge.

I don’t know if one can do reflections from any kind of text, but I think copyright issues are the barrier to a writer taking any printed text and writing a book of reflections on it, although I don’t know. I know that there is a whole genre of devotional writing that uses the Bible but does not copy it. I know I am not doing anything wrong in using the Bible as a basis for a book of reflections, unless everyone who was writing devotions from the Bible has got it wrong. It is only wrong if copying the Bible exactly as it is for a profit, without permission; and copying it even without wanting to make a profit or commercial gain.

Copying 1000 Bible verses as they are written is okay with some Bible publishers, without seeking permission. It just depends on each Bible publication policy which is at the front of each Bible. Always check copyright notices at the front of each book you may want to copy in some way. There it will explain what one can legally do or not do with that particular book. And get a grasp of copyright law. Books are legally well protected from people trying to illegally copy them, but the copyright notice at the front of the book will inform of any leniencies, if any, and what you can do if you want to use a portion of the book in some capacity.

So far, my reflections have taken up one small exercise book, which I completed this week. For the rest of the week in terms of reflective writing, I just felt to blob, as if I have done enough for a little while in that genre or until I get my reflective writing mojo back.

The writing life is fluid

Writing is never over. Even the so-called “off-seasons” have a purpose, to enjoy and do well, and to lead one into the next stage. One does not always have to be successful, as each stage has a uniqueness of its own.

At least that is how I think of it, in my experience. Live, learn, and develop (no one has ever made it) and move on to the next phase, consciously aware of the moving on or not.

The writing life can be built on stages or phases. One is in one stage then moves on to the next. Maybe this is not every writer’s experience, but I would say it has an element of truth in mine.

Sometimes, I did not know what stage or phase I was in, as the writing life takes over. But other times, one does know the phase and aims to do it like one would do a job, before moving on…

The writing life is never over.

Commitment is more than ambition

One of things a publisher will want, I think, is commitment, and not serving the writer’s ambition first and foremost. This commitment, I think, must extend to a writer’s readers, so that even if a writer is posting blog pieces all the time and is not publishing the book, but shows a sincere commitment to their readers, is doing a better thing than someone who is not even making an effort with their readers, but has published the book. The book is always where the writer’s ambition lies, but the reader is the generous soul who makes an effort to connect with the writer and should at least be acknowledged if not put on a pedestal.

Persevering in the face of successful others

“I have two websites I use for information on publishing,” said the fledging writer to her inquisitive hearer. She was ashamed of being a fledging in front of this successful person, but thought that with possibility, possibility should never die and keep her going, until it reached fruition, with the possible becoming more than probable, and turning her notion into something real.

Lessons of rejection: belief

Rejection can be a task master making you try harder, be different, fit in, conform, and do what will make you feel accepted. In writing, this may make the writer try to perform. But, acceptance is another story. If your story is accepted as is, for what it is, and published just as it is, then you are blessed. You don’t have to do anything different or more to be accepted by a publisher. But what happens if some kind of work of yours gets continually rejected? Maybe you don’t know why you are writing something and even if you did and got rejected it wouldn’t matter–because you know why you are doing it.

Personally, I have found the key is to find security in why I am writing something, then any amount of rejection won’t matter. It’s the harder path to come to realize why I want to write something, but the one which says, I don’t have to write in this another way, because I know why I am writing this. Who cares about rejection!

A discipline of writing

Writing foundations—the core values—and the silent voice they come through. At other times, the abstract nature of writing takes over everything else. It is a piece of artistic license drowning out any other concerns. Should I go back and edit, or let it be? That would be the question I ask, if my writing hand got away with me.

Does one have to sell their writing to get published?

Writing my own stories may be best left with a free online platform like WordPress, because I wonder if the traditional publishers will ever take my own stories on board? Of course, traditional publishers do take stories, but they tend to be the ones that suit the publisher, not any old story, not the ones that I may want to write. My own stories may have to be written a certain way before they are even considered by traditional publishers. I can’t be myself or else face a rejection because it wasn’t written the way the publisher wants it written.

Continue reading

Competition is fierce

I don’t know how many times I’ve come across the statement “competition is fierce” in writers guidelines. But it’s really true. If one goes the traditional road to getting published and not the self-publishing route, the competition to get one’s work out there, published in other words, is extremely fierce. This may be the reason why one’s work doesn’t get published. You have gone as far as doing your homework in every aspect, but the work is still rejected. As long as you know you’ve fitted the requirements and then some more, I think the reason for one’s rejection is simply, once again, that competition is fierce.

Lack of genre knowledge may not be a barrier

If freelancers do not have the precise knowledge of a genre of writing, how would freelancers get their work published in that genre? This would be because some publishers are not exacting. It’s possible to get through on one’s own merits rather than what’s usually required by the more exacting publishers. At least, that’s my experience. The editors liked my ideas, my work, and I wrote it well enough for them. I was never employed as a journalist, but I was an external contributor and I had an affinity with the type of publisher they were.

 

Writing rejection is not the end

Getting rejected by a publisher hurts, like it did for me today. In my case this time it was a rejection in the devotional genre. But after the “throwing writing in” thoughts subside, it occurred to me to try another publisher or use it in some other genre or reuse it into something else completely. It’s not over yet…

Binning one’s work may be premature

Once this week I thought: I’m still ruthlessly deciding on what devotional ideas to use or not to use. If any are worth writing up formally, so I can relax by writing less.

But the material’s mostly gone –been rubbished, binned and formally incinerated. Remnants, though, survive. Even those I thought I could recycle in another form are mostly gone. But as I say, some survived the burning process. And one has an eye on better devotions for the future.

Marketing one’s work alone

Writers on their own, with a book in hand, may need an agent or representative, because agents are closer to the publishers. Agents are also good because they save the writer having to concentrate on marketing work as well as writing it.

One can go it alone in the grand scheme of choices a writer has in getting their work published. Send an email. Try and meet the publisher, even if out of town. This is the hard work of marketing one’s work alone. Some go out to the workforce and work as a writer, full-time. They are in the job as it was.

Stories that go on forever

Creators don’t like people saying that only 1 episode matters. The creator says, it all matters (They also tell the picky fans to get a life). Scope. Some like their series to never end.

One part after the other that continues the story on and on.

Continue reading

To revise or not to revise

Writing is a catch-22, but I’m not talking ’bout the film or novel on which a film is based. Catch-22 is a novel and a film, but let me use that title’s meaning for the purposes of this post. Saying catch-22 is synonymous with making a choice between two equal values and one or the other won’t really do considering that you’re in a predicament between the two. So, writing is a catch-22 in that sense or something like it. I mean that one may write a piece. The writer thinks he should revise it out of the normal process, and also thinks it’s probably good as it is and doesn’t need revising. What does the writer do? This is my predicament at the moment. I would say to myself, just wait. Let the piece smolder under the surface for a while until it’s ready to resurface and face the writer once again. Then, all becomes clear. 

 

A writer with strong motivation is a storm force

Motivation can be an issue for a writer if not on assignment. It’s possible for a writer not on assignment to be extremely motivated, but it’s also possible that a writer not on assignment is unmotivated to produce their own material. But the writer with a strong level of entitlement is a storm force.

Getting the assignment done on time

One of the pressures of being on “assignment” is getting the job done on time. It requires a little foresight and maybe planning. If one is very busy it takes astute time management around other activities, work and social life. If one has the time, being on assignment should be a breeze, but then again who has that kind of time these days? For most, writing on assignment requires time management to get the job done. One thing the publisher does is penalize writers if they don’t hand the work in on time. It may be a loss of some of the fee or you forfeit the whole fee if the work is too late. The publisher has assigned the work and needs it, so brings some sort of “incentive” to get it done, like losing some of your fee which is a good way for them to see the work on time. For busy writers sacrificing one assignment for a better one may be the way if one can’t fit it in. It may mean the writer loses with one publisher, but hopes to make up for it with a better one, or thinks it’s a better one.

Approaching publishers with the picture book idea

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been writing a children’s short story, originally intended for a picture book. The inspiration was in my garden. I may approach publishers, but on speculation that they may or may not publish it. Of course there are the usual doubts that it won’t work for children, it’s too Watership-downish, although Watership Down was a goldmine in the end.