#1 A Writer Must Write with a Clear View

#1 Every Writer Must Have a Clear View! In other words every writer should know their worldview and stick with it. No one likes a writer who straddles the fence and is noncommittal.  Even if we disagree with an author’s premise, we can at least respect their writing if they remain consistent with that premise. We may enjoy following someone on their journey to discovering their worldview, but eventually…and sooner than later…we really want them to make up their minds.

This is the view from my writing desk. All day little critters join me in my “tree house” on the hill. Or should I say, I join them in their tree house.

I love my view! It doesn’t matter what season it is or what the weather is my view is a delight and refreshment to my soul.

It holds great value for me and I guard my view tenaciously.

This past winter we needed more room in our living area so I moved my writing desk into our bedroom. There I stayed sequestered away from my tree house friends for five months. Finally I just couldn’t stand it anymore. The separation anxiety was too much. I rearranged the living room, swept up all the dust bunnies and rolled my writing desk back to it’s rightful spot. Our small group could just be squished.

Ahhh! Now I could write. Well, I could write in the bedroom and I did. But I had lost my view in more ways than one and I needed to get it back.

That happens to writers. We lose our view, our dreams, our focus. Sometimes we try to be all things to all people. Sometimes we worry and fret over who will read our words and what will they think. Sometimes we fret for hours, days, weeks and even months about page views and subscribers and forget to just write. Then again, sometimes we forget our words are just words if no one reads them. And sometimes we forget our passion. We forget our skills and talents. We forget our expertise. We forget our calling or our desire. We don’t think they have value or worse yet, we think they never did.

In all these “sometimes” a writer can lose the foundation of their worldview and that is not good.

This site is dedicated to helping us keep our view clear and sharp while at the same time always learning and always growing.

Helpful ideas and tips for better writing will be here most Thursdays as part of the Turn Write Series with links to writers much smarter and more experienced than me as well as general organizational and time management skills that will be useful for any part of your life.

Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. I John 2:28

I hope you will join me. Share your foundation. Share your tips and ideas. Share your successes and failures.

Share your view!

7 Must Haves for Every Writer

By Elaine Baldwin| @elainehbaldwin

#1 Every Writer Must Have a Clear View! In other words every writer should know their worldview and stick with it. No one likes a writer who straddles the fence and is noncommittal.  Even if we disagree with an author’s premise, we can at least respect their writing if they remain consistent with that premise. We may enjoy following someone on their journey to discovering their worldview, but eventually…and sooner than later…we really want them to make up their minds.

#2 Every Writer Must Have a Well! In other words every writer must have more words than they will ever use in print stored in their repertoire. This might seem like a “Dah” statement, but I’ve met individuals who say they want to write, but when asked what they read their answers are limited and one dimensional.

The best of the best writers; the ones we want to emulate, are ravenous readers. If they aren’t writing, they are reading…everything and they don’t just read within their genre. For the Christian writer, their number one book resource needs to be the Bible which helps us keep the main thing, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the main thing.

#3 Every Writer Must Have a Target! In other words every writer should have a specific individual they are writing to. I’m not necessarily saying you should write to your Auntie Em, but if she fits the target audience you want to write to then she’s a good place to start. An objective of writing to the masses just doesn’t work. You cannot appeal to everyone, unless you are God and writing the Holy Scriptures.You’re not, so don’t go there.

Christian writers do well to remember they are always writing to an audience of One, God, as well as to their target audience. (link)

#4 Every Writer Must Have Designated Drivers! In other words every writer, novice and seasoned, needs at least one someone who will be the voice of reason when they are intoxicated with their own words. This was a hard must have for me to accept. I am a “Do it myself” kind of gal and wrote that way for a long time. It showed. When I took the plunge to write a novel series and spiritual growth series I quickly learned a one woman show just wasn’t going to cut it.

There are still individual people I need to find, with God’s leading, to guide and coach me on this road called publication. But I have been blessed with those willing to edit and critique my work. They’ve been priceless in this process. I’ve also relied heavily on the numerous contacts I’ve made at conferences and through the World Wide Web. I am amazed how freely others are willing to share their knowledge and expertise and even their mistakes. I am no longer an army of one!

#5 Every Writer Must Have Office Hours! In other words every writer should have a daily allotted time for writing. One of the biggest differences between a hobby writer and a professional writer is the hours they keep. Back in the day when I was doing it myself I was also doing it only when I was inspired. That’s not necessarily bad, it’s just not very professional and certainly not what it takes to finish and publish a book.

This was also a tough lesson for me to learn because I wasn’t used to taming my muse. I let the muse control me. Not a good idea. Of course we all have writer’s block, but the professional writer/author sits down at her designated time and writes. It may be a piece of junk for a few lines or even pages, but it doesn’t take long for her muse to catch up with her office hours and the words do become a work of art.

Solomon so eloquently stated there is a time for everything and that includes writing.

#6 Every Writer Must Have a Location! In other words every writer should have a place, a spot where they write. They may and often do have several spots. J. K. Rowling’s story of writing in the laundry mat while her little one slept in a stroller is one example of having a place to write. Was it ideal? Well, it wasn’t a seven foot cherry mahogany desk, but it obviously did the job. I’ve read about authors who write best on planes (it is quiet and away from phones) or on the bedroom floor with the door closed.

Many authors do have a designated office either in their home or in their business. On the cover of his well-known book, On Writing, Stephen King is pictured writing in his office with pooch under foot. King states when it is time for him to write, he goes to his office, shuts the door and writes. I don’t have an office, but I do have a desk that sits next to our L-shaped windows. Sometimes I move to the couch or to the family room, but I find I get a lot more words down when I am sitting at this specific location. The key is to find that magic location and determine to be there every day.

#7 Every Writer Must Have a Vessel! In other words every writer needs a pen and paper or computer, or iPad or voice recorder…some way to record the words gathered in our brain, heart and soul. This also seems like a “Dah” must have, but I don’t want to skim over the obvious. Paper and pen are not as obsolete as you think. I still use them especially when I need to brainstorm. I have notebooks full of one-liners, potential projects and story lines, character sketches and outlines for blog posts like this one.

When I use my laptop for brainstorming I worry too much about spelling and grammar and fragmented sentences. My wonderful MS Word program won’t let me stop worrying about these issues that can wait until I get the story out of my head.

When I have to figure out how to get my heroin out of the jam she is in and nothing has worked so far, I pull out my favorite pen and just write. I also keep pen and paper in my purse, on my nightstand and on the coffee table. Great plot twists and solutions have come to the front of my brain in the dark of night and at the Kroger check out line. If I don’t write them down immediately, the perfect words are gone and I’m the loser.

But, in this marvelous age of iClouds and flash drives some authors may not even own a pen. Each of us has to figure out what works best for us to deliver our very best writing.

So there you have them in a nutshell. Seven must haves for every writer. We will un-crack these shells in the weeks to come. I would love to hear your insights to these or maybe you have additional must haves you would like to share.

Write or the Rocks Will Cry Out

By Elaine Baldwin| @elainehbaldwin

I propose the ultimate goal for any Christian writer is not to have millions of books sold for millions of dollars or to acquire millions of social media fans, but rather to write for an audience of One and for His honor and praise and thereby keep the stones silent.

I am not just talking about Christian non-fiction like Bible studies, theology books or inspirational poetry. Whether a writer composes lyrics, writes greeting cards, pens novels or creates screenplays he or she should write with the persistent purpose of using their God-given talent to bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ.

 If we don’t write with that kind of consistent objective Jesus tells us in Luke the stones will cry out in place of our silence.

As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: “BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” Luke 19:37-40 (NASB)

The context here is Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The disciples were making such a raucous the religious leaders told Jesus to make them be quiet. I don’t think it was the volume that really bothered them. It was the message the disciples were shouting that disturbed them. If they simply shouted, “Here is Jesus a good teacher with some good ideas.” I don’t think the Pharisees would’ve given it another thought.

But, that wasn’t the disciples persistent purpose. Their purpose was to shout praises to Jesus and to the Lord God of Heaven and Earth. They could’ve just shown up to see who was coming into town and remained silent. But they would’ve missed their purpose for being there in the first place. The objective of that time and place was to shout praises to the King who came in the name of the Lord. If they were not persistent in that purpose, Jesus said the stones would have cried out.

And so it should be for the person who puts the name of Christ before the title “Author/Writer”. For every project we undertake, it should be done with the persistent purpose of shouting praise to our Savior and King.

That doesn’t necessarily mean we put Jesus in every phrase and quote Scripture on every page. It does mean we dedicate our craft to the One who endowed us with so great a gift…words. It means we offer every project, large and small, as a living sacrifice to God and allow Him to do with it as He pleases.

It means we don’t just show up to write and aimlessly place one word in front of another. Instead we answer our calling, we know our persistent purpose and we fulfill our objective as Christian authors and writers.

Are your writing historical romance or a cozy mystery? Write with the persistent purpose of godly principles throughout your pages.

Do you write space fantasy or science fiction? Write so your story gives honor to Jesus.

Are you called to write ABA? Write so that others know you are in the world and yet not of it.

Are you writing textbooks; history, English, math, science? Write so the world will know Him.

Do you have a love song or poem to write? Write so His love is exalted.

So what are you writing? Whatever it is…make sure the rocks remain silent!