Time to Write

Welcome to January, 2019 at Inspired Prompt. I’m Betty Thomason Owens, one of the blog’s founders, and I’m so glad you’re here. We’re starting the year with a topic all writers need, whether you’re just starting out or multi-published. In our busy, busy world, how do we make time to write?

Finding time in a compromised world can seem almost impossible. I’ve learned to grab time where I can, be it five minutes, fifteen, or five hours. Grab it and make the most of it. That may mean keeping a notebook and pen handy. I use a note app on my phone. That way, I can even dictate a scene for my work in progress while walking. The best ideas pop into my mind in the midst of my daily exercise.

Plan ahead: It’s a simple idea, but many times our schedules and plans get preempted by…well…life. If you have a family, you’re all too familiar with interruptions. Some moms get up early or stay up late for a few minutes of writing time. I’ve always been an early riser. I’m an empty nester now, but I still have a couple of part-time jobs, household chores, and a husband to factor in. Those things are like the bread of a sandwich. Writing time is the filling. Sometimes it’s thick and juicy. Other times, it’s thin and kind of tasteless. But it’s always there.

It’s there because I create it. I make space and time for the things I care about. I care about finishing what I’ve started. The show must go on.

January is a time of new beginnings. Inspired Prompt’s contributors are all going to chime in as the month goes forward. We’ll be sharing ideas, encouraging thoughts, and a few helpful hints. We’ll share what works for us, doesn’t work for us, and maybe a funny story or two. We’ll dig deep, ask questions, and I hope you will, too.

Help us get to the heart of this timely question: How do you find time to write?

[Click to Tweet] January is a time of new beginnings. Inspired Prompt’s contributors will share ideas, encouraging thoughts, and a few helpful hints to help writers find Time to Write. #NewYear #amwriting

About the author: My friends say I’m creative, loyal, thoughtful and funny. I’m a storyteller. A word-weaver, writing stories that touch the heart. If I was an artist working with oils, I’d want to paint scenes so real, you’d think you were looking at a photograph. They’d include minute details that grab your attention and pull you into the picture. My characters could be your next-door neighbors. They’re open and friendly. They include you in their conversations. My themes include the grace of God, forgiveness, restoration, and redemption, but most of all, love. For years, my tagline has been Love is the Legacy. That’s my desire, to leave a legacy of love. Betty Thomason Owens

I find a lot of my answers in scripture. We can pattern our daily lives after the teachings we find there. Apply a simple principle of living to your writing life. Take what you’re given and live in it.

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it!–Colossians 2:6-7 MSG

Inspired Prompt Thanks You!

Hello, friends of Inspired Prompt! It’s hard to believe that 2018 has almost come to an end. Wasn’t it just January?

We want to take a moment and thank you for being there for us. Your comments, thoughts, shares, and visits mean the world to our Crew. Our purpose and the work put in by Betty, Gail, Shirley, Tammy, Fay, Christina, Harriet, Carlton, Bonita, Karen, Cammi, Kristy, myself, and all our guest bloggers is to help YOU be all you can be when it comes to writing.

We truly want to make a difference in our part of the world. 2019 is going to be our best year yet. We will explore such topics as:

  1. Time to Write.
  2. Basics of fiction writing.
  3. Publishing in 2019.
  4. Other ways to break into publication.
  5. Releasing a book.

And so much more! Join us for our Monday and Friday posts on the topic of the month and our fun Wednesday and Saturday interviews. We’ll also be adding articles to our pages:

  • “How To” of Writing
  • Inspired Marketing
  • Creativity Tool Box
  • Choose Happy

Maybe you’d like to be interviewed or be a guest blogger. If so, go to our guest guidelines page to learn more.  We’d love to showcase your book, blog, or yourself. 🙂

We’ll see you soon!

Happy New Year from Betty, Jennifer and the entire Inspired Prompt Crew!

 

The Transformation-Deadline Resolution

By Julie Arduini

butterfly-1518060_960_720Resolutions. Honestly, the word conjures up the image of a few years ago when I tried to find a parking spot the first Monday in January for my YMCA swim class. The lot was full with new members with their resolutions. By the third week, the parking lot was back to the regulars.

It’s probably apples and oranges, but I use the new year to have a theme. It’s often a word, sometimes two, that I am constantly on the lookout to see how it applies to my life. Previous words have been activation, chosen, preposterous, fierce, and perspective. This year?

Transformation.

My problem is I always try to define what the word will mean before the ball drops. I knew going into 2017 I was growing my hair out and using a deeper shade of red hair color. I’m hoping to use contacts and be done with glasses. We will become grandparents this year. But I know as true as these things are, God’s got something more for me with this theme.

As an author, I know I have my work cut out for me no matter how I look at the new year. Resolution or word of the year, I want to improve my craft. Find more dedicated readers who can spread the word about my books. Meet and pray with other women who have been impacted. Already I’ve come across readers who are transforming as they find freedom through surrender in Christ. How do I keep that momentum going? What are ways I can bring goals and transformation to my laptop?

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The biggest thing I’ve done is take my *iBloom planner and set some specific deadlines. I realized I didn’t pencil in previous years when a certain chapter should be written, or when I should revise something that was sent back by critique partners. With that kind of vague plan, I can see how I got sidetracked. I had written in goals for other aspects like answering emails and marketing. And before I knew it, those things bled into my writing time.

Will I perfect the process? Probably not. I missed a couple writing goals for one project as I shuffled kids to medical appointments. I need to give myself grace. However, I also need to keep the YMCA emptier-lot-in-late-January visual close in mind. I don’t want to let go of my self-imposed deadlines. The transformation I want to see at the end of 2017 should be a positive one. I really believe creating deadlines for my writing will help me get there.

Do you keep deadlines for yourself? Do you have a difficult time meeting them?

Writing Prompt:  Chelsea had the mall’s gate nearly closed for the tween store called The Jewelry Box when she heard heavy breathing and footsteps coming in her direction. Chelsea turned and saw a woman with a stroller blazing toward her. The stranger stopped short of the gate, panting. “Please, I need your help. Let me inside the store before…”

*The iBloom link is an affiliated one where I receive a small royalty off any purchase.


december2016daycareJulie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—chocolate. She’s the author of the re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

Connect with Julie on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Goodreads, and Amazon. Check out her monthly newsletter here.


Entangled: Surrendering the Past

Book #2, Surrendering Time Series

entangledfinal“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”

Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives. 

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Purchase Link:  Amazon (Kindle and Print):  http://www.amazon.com/Entangled-Surrendering-Past-Time/dp/0692713476/

Entangled is book #2. Although it can standalone, if you’d like to read Entrusted: Surrendering the Present first, click here: https://www.amazon.com/Entrusted-Surrendering-Present-Time/dp/0692709177/

Mornings

by Harriet E. Michael

Are you a morning person or a night one? I’m a morning person, so naturally this month’s theme of New Beginnings made me think of morning—the beginning of each new day. I love mornings, they always have a freshness to me as if they hold a secret promise of great things that might happen as the day unfolds.

morning sun

Some years ago as I was researching and writing my book on prayer, I came across so many passages in the scripture where one Bible character or another rises early in the morning to do something God had called them to do that day, or to seek God in some way. Here are some examples, just to list a few:

Abraham rose early the day he planned to offer Isaac as a sacrifice according to Genesis 22:3. He rose early again the day after Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed and he hurried to a place where he could look down on the cities to see if they had been destroyed or not (Genesis 19:27-28).

Joshua rose early to travel to the Jordan before he crossed over (Joshua 3:1).

David rose early to obey his father Jesse and take supplies to his brothers in battle (1 Samuel 17:20).

God instructed Moses to rise early when he was to stand before Pharaoh and tell him to let God’s people go (Exodus 8:20).

… and on and on it goes. If you look for this pattern in the scripture, you will find it.

So, what’s the lesson here? Is this bad news for those of us who do not care so much for mornings and need a little time and maybe a cup of coffee before we can even begin to embrace the new day?

coffee

I don’t think so. I don’t think the Biblical point is to love mornings as much as it is to get on with whatever God has for you to do in life. In the Bible times, before electricity, if they were going to apply themselves in whatever action they felt God had asked of them, they’d better not waste any daylight; they’d better get on with it.

Today, doing what God has asked of you may require staying up late instead of rising early. But the point remains–embrace the day! Or rather, embrace what God is calling you to do, and get busy doing it, whether that means getting up early or sleeping late because you stayed up late the night before.

new mercies

Dawn

Me? I prefer getting up early. I love mornings. The scripture has a special blessing for mornings in Lamentations 3:22-23 which tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning, and his compassions never fail.

Writing Prompt – Using the dawn photo, write a short paragraph describing the scene. Remember, each time you answer a prompt, you’ll be entered in our blogaversary prize drawing!

 

 

 

New Year – Joy

I’m bad. I never seek a word from God–a one word theme for the New Year as so many do, but this New Year, God gave me the word anyway. Really put it on my heart.

From Christmas onward, it began…the word “Joy” kept popping up everywhere. In sermons at church, in my readings, in dreams, in songs, in my thoughts…

…even on the battered old cup I drink from every day.

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Photo by Holly Michael

So, I didn’t even make a New Years list of resolutions this year. I have my goals, but I don’t need a list of resolutions. I just need to hold onto JOY.

A new year holds promise and hope. January 1st…and for a few weeks, it’s easy to hold on to joy, promises, goals, dreams.

But…then there is reality. We have to deal in day to day stuff, hardships, issues, struggles. Two weeks after starting that new diet, we fail. (At least I did). A few months in to the new year, we often find ourselves disappointed. Our work is boring. Bills still must be paid. Sickness and illnesses still strike us and our families. Those goals we set are still so far from our reach.

James 1:2-4 says, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Which I take to mean that Joy is the key to Christian living, even if the circumstances of our lives are far from joyful.

Though, I will admit that a couple years ago, during a Bible study, when we pondered on this Scripture quote, I actually got a little bit angry. Seriously? Who is joyful when everything is coming against them? It’s not reality. Life is hard. But as I pondered on that verse…God spoke to my heart. Be joyful anyway. Trust me.

Philippians 4:4 says, Brethren: Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Baruch 4:36, 5:1-4 says, O Jerusalem, look about thee toward the east, and behold the joy that cometh unto thee from God. Put off, O Jerusalem the garment of thy mourning and affliction, and put on the comeliness of the glory that cometh from God for ever. Cast about thee a double garment of the righteousness which cometh from God; and set a diadem on thine head of the glory of the Everlasting. For God will show thy brightness unto every country under heaven. For thy name shall be called of God for ever The Peace Of Righteousness, and The Glory of God’s Worship.

Fanny Crosby (Mrs. Frances Jane Van Alstyne), a blind poet, wrote thousands of gospel songs including “Blessed Assurance,” “Rescue the Perishing” and “Saved by Grace.” She knew how to hold onto JOY. I’m going to take a cue from her.

Here’s a story about Frannie from, Our Daily Bread (August 12, 2003):

Fanny Crosby lost her sight when she was only 6 weeks old. She lived into her nineties, composing thousands of beloved hymns. On her 92nd birthday she cheerfully said, “If in all the world you can find a happier person than I am, do bring him to me. I should like to shake his hand.”

What enabled Fanny Crosby to experience such joy in the face of what many would term a “tragedy”? At an early age she chose to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). In fact, Fanny carried out a resolution she made when she was only 8 years old: “How many blessings I enjoy that other people don’t. To weep and sigh because I’m blind, I cannot and I won’t.”

Let’s remember that “the joy of the Lord is [our] strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Let’s also take comfort in the teachings of Jesus, who in John 15:11 said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” When faced with the choice of self-pity or rejoicing, let’s respond with rejoicing.

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photo by Holly Michael

Here’s to a JOY-FUL 2016!

And the writing prompt: Try this…Sit quietly in a comfortable place with a pen and a writing journal or piece of paper. Say the word “JOY” out loud. Now close your eyes. Now say the word “joy” quietly to yourself. Allow the word joy to bounce around your mind. What images come to you? What memories? Open your eyes. Now, get out your writing journal and write down your thoughts!