The Write Course: 3 Minute Tips for the Beginning Writer Episode 10

Jennifer Hallmark here. Welcome to my You Tube series called “The Write Course: 3 Minute Tips for the Beginning Writer.”

We start this new part of our trip with a fork in the road and the thought, What type of publishing should I seek?  Join me in the discussion.

Episode 10: Today’s topic is Launch into the Adventure: What road should I take? What type of publishing should I seek?

Click to tweet: The YouTube series for the beginning writer. Catch Episode 10 on the Inspired Prompt blog: Writing: What kind of publishing should I seek? #amwriting #WritersLife

5 Questions Wednesday with Jean Petersen

jeanpetersen new head shotGood morning! Today is a special 5 Question Wednesday interview. Hey, everyone needs a little change now and then. 🙂 And it is our pleasure to welcome freelance writer and weekly columnist Jean Petersen  to the Inspired Prompt.

Good morning, Jean.

Do you have any interesting writing rituals?

JeanMy only writing ritual is I need quiet, or at a coffee shop, which doesn’t make much sense since those are two polar opposites. I can be creative in my quiet work space at home or other venues-no tv, music, kid distractions, animals crooning, or even laundry thumping the dryer, but there’s something that inspires me at a coffee shop-maybe it’s the aroma, the unknown people and the unknown stories I create as I observe their interactions or routines, special treats and uniqueness of the different orders, relationships and conversations.

I agree, there is something special about coffee shops 🙂

What is the book about?

Jean:   Kind Soup has several layers to it. It’s about an enthusiastic girl who has an opportunity to join with her mom in something she loves, cooking. This time they’re making an unusual recipe called Kind Soup, made with Fruit-Fruits of the Spirit, that is. Each of the soup’s ingredients represents one of the virtues of the Galatians 5:22-23. When the recipe is complete, the little girl and her mom share it with community members, as her mom said, “A friend shared with me”. The element of the ‘friend’ is Jesus, and this is the base of the virtues and the makings the soup. As the little girl serves, visits and shares eagerly about her new soup made with fruit, she comes home with the ‘ah-ha’ moment of the depth in how good it felt to have tangible responses and outcomes from those she shared with. She finds living and demonstrating the Fruits of the Spirit within her is a mighty important gift she’s been given.

Sounds like a fun way to present the Fruit of the Spirit to kids.    Next question…

What is your favorite part of the book?

JeanWhen Kate and her mom visit and serve community members, and she comes back and says, “You know what my favorite part of making Kind Soup is?” “The way it made me feel inside when we gave it away.” The little girls realized and feels the deeper gratification of what she’s done and why she feels this way. It is the love within her spirit that’s being additionally confirmed and recognized as she shared what she made. It full-fills each of the Fruits of the Spirit’s virtues in that instance.fruits-1388848_1280

What a great maturing of love moment.  And…

Is there a message in your book you hope readers will grasp?

Jean:   My hope is for the reader (big or little) to go out and serve with a glad heart and spirit, that they would practice on and reflect in the virtues shared in Galatians 5:22-23, and spend time together, be it cooking, reading, serving, discussing, sharing stories or anything that creates virtuous moments. I encourage the reader that their ‘together’ doesn’t always necessarily need to be those you comfortably know, like your family and friends. I encourage the reader to meet new people (safely-children should always be accompanied by adult known to them), make the soup at a community center-invite anyone, read to school classes or local libraries-get out of your immediate comfort zone because these ‘uncomfortable-or out of your normal comfort zone and leap of faith opportunities’ are often the moments God offers the biggest blessings, growing experiences and relationships. The trickle effect has the ‘God opportunity’ to begin as a ripple in a puddle and become the mighty waves of the sea, you just never know how, who or when He’s going to bless another through the Fruits in Your Spirit.

What a great way example for others to put in practice.  One last question…

Where can readers find you online?

JeanI’m on Facebook, Intstagram,  Twitter,  and Jeanpetersen.com

Thanks so much, Jean, for dropping by!

Click to tweet:   An interview with author and columnist Jean Petersen at the Inspired Prompt blog.   #amreading #fruitsofthespirit #kindsoup #jeanpetersen

Readers, Jean will give away a $10 gift card to use on her web-site, Jeanpetersen.com. Please leave a comment to be entered.

Kind Soup

Kind Soup wo grad from Little Lamb for release

Kate and her mom are in the kitchen and their making something delicious-a special soup wrapped in prayer and ladled out with love, composed of the Fruits of the Spirit, Kind Soup is as much a joy to make as it is to share.
Pre-orders begin in November with Little Lamb Books.

 


jeanpetersen new head shot

Jean Petersen is excited about her January release of her children’s picture book, Kind Soup with Little Lamb Books.

She recently released The Big Sky Bounty Cookbook-Local Ingredients and Rustic Recipes with Arcadia Publishing and The History Press as a part of their American Palate series with Chef Barrie Boulds this summer, and her first non-fiction children’s picture book, Moose Shoes, was released in 2007.

Jean is Colorado State University-Journalism alumni, and has been a freelance writer and weekly columnist for 12 years with Western Ag Reporter covering a host of topics. Her weekly children’s column is called Life on the Ranch with Banjo celebrated 10 years this past spring, and some of her feature articles can be found published in Distinctly Montana magazine and Raised in the West Magazine.

Jean lives near the Beartooth Mountains in scenic southern Montana on her small farm with her husband, four children, and a host of animals knocking at her door, all of whom give her lots of fuel for all her writing.

 Facebook, Intstagram,  Twitter,  Jeanpetersen.com

So You Want to Write a Devotional Book?

by Shirley Crowder

The Devotional Writer

Before we can look at writing a devotional book, we must first think about the writer. There is one imperative foundational spiritual aspect to writing a devotional book—a consistently growing relationship with Jesus Christ. The depth of that relationship depends upon your communication with God.

Your walk with Christ and your understanding of His Word is strengthened through a powerful prayer life. Your prayer time is rich as you communicate with your Savior. It’s a two-way communication—you talk with God and He talks with you, primarily through His Word. So, a Christ-follower must regularly engage in reading, studying, memorizing, meditating, and contemplating upon God’s Word—being a student of the Word. This means you are digging deep into passages by studying other places in the Bible that speak of the same topic, reading and listening to sermons, teaching, blogs, articles, commentaries, etc.

As the Holy Spirit is teaching you the Word you are also learning to apply that Word in your life. It is upon this foundation of truth that you begin to recognize biblical truth and insights in and through everything you observe.

Gather Ideas

My co-writing friend, Harriet E. Michael, and I talk about “thinking devotionally” which means that as we go about our lives, we see biblical truths in the things we observe and hear. These spark ideas for devotionals, so we get these ideas jotted down quickly.

Look-up stickyThese can be handwritten or typed notes or even voice memos to yourself. I also keep a prayer journal and sermon/Bible study notes from which many of my devotionals come.

These don’t have to be written in complete grammatically-correct sentences. Bullet points or phrases that record enough of what you saw and thought of will jog your memory later on.

My Approach

Pray! Choose a topic. It can be narrow, such as: Advent Meditations; or it can be broader, “New Beginnings.” Some devotionals take one specific passage, Psalm 23, for instance.

Pray! Decide how many devotions will be in your book. Some are 30 days, 365 days, and everything in between.

Pray! Determine the length. Most suggestions I’ve seen tell you to keep it between 250-500 words per piece. The devotionals in the books I have written are between 600-900 words per devotional.

Pray! Choose the audience to whom you want to write. Devotionals written specifically for single women are different from those written specifically for married women.

Pray! Sometimes a Scripture passage comes to mind before the specific devotional thought. Sometimes the biblical truth comes to mind with the devotional thought and I discover the right passage in my study. I do a biblical study of the topic, making notes of passages and their meanings and applications. It is imperative that you do a thorough study of all Scripture passages you use so that you are not taking things out of context or misquoting the passage. Make sure you note the version of Scripture you are quoting.

Pray! Remember to give credit to the appropriate resource for quoted material.

Pray! Start writing. Don’t edit and rewrite, just get your thoughts down first. Then go back for edits and rewrites. When all the devotionals for one book are completed, I like to lay the manuscript aside for several weeks. Then, I read it again with fresher eyes.

Structure

I suggest you go to a bookstore or library and look at devotional books to get an idea of a format/structure you like. Keep in mind that traditional publishing houses often have a format/structure they want you to follow.

Most devotionals follow a basic structure:

Scripture Passage/Verse
Be sure the wording matches the version you want to quote and make certain you follow the grammar, punctuation, and capitalization for that version.

Devotional Thought
This is something that helps the reader connect and apply the Scripture Passage/Verse. Don’t try to copy someone else’s writing style—let your personality come through, as frightening a thought as that may be😊. I often teach/talk aloud through the devotional thought which helps me choose the words I use in writing it.

Prayer
Include in the prayer aspects of thanksgiving and petition that related to the devotional.

Thought for the Day/Action Point
What do you want them to think about during the day? What do you want them to do as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work in their heart through the Scripture and your words?

All the devotionals are written, now what?

Lay the manuscript aside for several weeks. Then get out your purple (OK, most folks would say red, but not me!) pen and start editing and rewriting. I also suggest you have at least one other person read the manuscript and give you an honest evaluation. I find it helpful to find someone with similar biblical/theological views and understanding.

purple penEven if you are good at grammar, spelling, and punctuation, you need to have an editor work on your manuscript. By the time I’m at this stage of the process I’m so familiar with the devotionals and know what I MEANT TO SAY that I often do not see that I didn’t SAY WHAT I THOUGHT I DID!

Look back at some of the past InspiredPrompt.com blogs on publishing: traditional, assisted/partnership, or Indie for information about getting your book published.

 

Click to Tweet: Don’t try to copy someone else’s writing style—let your personality show through your writing.

Writing Prompt: “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” Psalm 3:3 NIV. Take this thought and using my structure mentioned above, write a devotional thought. Share it below if you’d like…


Glimpses of the Savior

Final_Front_cover50 Meditations for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year
In early November, we get busy preparing for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year, and we often forget the real meanings behind these celebrations. We can guard against this by preparing our hearts to seek Him as we focus on God’s Word, and by remembering that Thanksgiving is a time to give God thanks; Christmas is the celebration of the Savior’s birth; the New Year brings new beginnings. Then, as we go about doing the things the Lord has called us to do where He has called us to do them, we catch Glimpses of the Savior and biblical truth in the things we experience and observe. These devotionals are based on memories of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year celebrations in Africa and America. May the Holy Spirit work through these meditations to help readers recognize Glimpses of the Savior in the things they observe, and become skilled at finding Jesus among the celebrations and decorations.

Order from Amazon

 

October Winners

Cold weather has arrived and Thanksgiving will be here before you know it. Are you ready? Me either.  But it’s going to be okay because during the month of October, we had 6 more winners…

Michelle Medlock Adams will give away a print copy of Fabulous and Focused: 365 Daily Devotions for Working Women to Karen Sargent. Congrats!

Sharon Rene would love to give a print copy of  A Mixed Bag of God’s Grace to Melissa Henderson. Yay!

Mary DeMuth is gifting a copy of her book, The Seven Deadly Friendships to Laurel Blount. Woo hoo!

Melanie Dickerson is giving a digital copy of Magnolia Summer to lelandandbecky.

Lenora Worth gifted Lisa W. Smith and Marilyn R a copy of her latest book, Undercover Memories.

A big THANK YOU to all our faithful readers for taking the time to stop by and comment. We so appreciate you!

Hopefully Devoted

by Carlton Hughes

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: God has a sense of humor.

Proof of this truth came during the final evening of the 2016 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. A faculty member announced that an editor friend needed new writers for a devotional book. If interested, attendees could drop by the faculty member’s book table for submission information for The Wonders of Nature, about finding God in the great outdoors.

There are two things you should know about me:

  1. At the time, I had never written a devotion and did not consider myself a devotional writer.
  2. I really love . . . the INDOORS! Had it been The Wonders of a Recliner, The Wonders of Air Conditioning, or The Wonders of Salty Snacks, it would have been a natural fit.

Even with these strikes against me, I returned to my room, pulled out my laptop, and prayed my usual prayer, God, give me something! A story came to mind about butterflies. I wrote a rough draft and polished it once I got home the next day. I sent it off and forgot about it.

Several days later, I got an acceptance and ended up signing a contract for ten devotions—me, in a book about nature! After I signed the contract, I sat at the keyboard staring at an empty page. What now, God? My prayer life increased as I searched for things to write about. Slowly but surely, I found the secret to devotional writing—look for God in the everyday moments of life.

I found Him in the most unusual places—a snow-covered football field, a brightly-colored autumn leaf, a rainy morning drive. If we are intentional about seeking Him, we will find Him in the tiniest of details, in the heat of every moment.

What to do when you find Him? Write about it! What is He teaching you in those moments? What scriptures line up with this thing? What prayer do you have to offer based on this situation? Think about that word “devotion.” Are we devoted to God in our everyday lives? How can we show it and give others insight about Him?

[Click to Tweet] God is there—you just have to look. And then write about it.

PROMPT: Go outdoors (or look out the window) and really notice your surroundings. What is the evidence of God there? Write about it.