I always loved to write. Whenever loved ones, friends or family members, were sad I created a poem trying to comfort them. Whenever my parents had heated arguments I wrote to encourage them to continue in their marriage. (Now and then, I shared my gratitude with them as well; I told them that I was proud of them for staying together when times were tough.)
Whenever and wherever there was an opportunity to write I got hold of it. I even started to write a novel called Meeting in the Strawberry Restaurant. How I thought of that title? I have no idea. I just remember that one of my friends really enjoyed following my story. During the preparation for my confirmation in the Lutheran church I read something about seal hunters, and I got very upset. I wrote an article about furs and seal hunting which appeared in the newsletter of our parish. A reader must have passed on my article to an animal protection organization because I received a lovely box full of tracts and little gifts along with an encouraging letter to keep up fighting against the cruelty to animals.
Things changed dramatically around the 8th grade when I started to hate writing. It happened during a time when the red correction symbols on my essays outweighed the blue ink of these marked papers. Ninety minutes were never enough for me to jot down my ideas, create a first draft, edit and rewrite it in ink. I lacked many of the skills of format writing, grammar, and spelling, and I didn't know how to catch up on the missed knowledge.
Later on in life I started to write again, but my love for writing was always suppressed out of fear that my work isn't up to the mark. The written words played against me. I just couldn't let go of them. I always felt an urge to correct the weak words, the wrong tenses, the misplaced punctuation right away. I just couldn't let the text flow, and so I got sidetracked thinking of all the mistakes that could happen while I'm writing.
Some of you might say, "This is what proofreaders and editors are for." I disagree, and so do many other Christian authors by the way. If we do not have the skills to write well we have to improve our English by taking courses and/or putting our noses into textbooks. Good authors never stop learning and reading to improve their writing skills.
I've made a few attempts to study grammar and writing skills. I tried to work my way through several English textbooks, but I kept running into the same problem. (I will share more on that in future posts.) It wasn't until recently that I discovered the books by Frode Jensen and gave them a try. The light came on, grammar started to make sense, and now I'm actually having fun learning it. What I needed was a course that would take months, not years, and would give me a good foundation to build on.
A few weeks ago my book project came to a full stop. I was upset especially since it made such great progress. “Why, LORD?” I asked. I just could not understand the meaning behind it all. Now it makes sense!
I love reading books about writing, and I like adding more to my collection every now and then. About a week ago I bought one called The Little Handbook to Perfecting the Art of Christian Writing.
Reading through the first few chapters of it I gained a realistic perspective on whether or not it is worth to write and publish a book these days. The authors share facts on the publishing business; and, yes, we should think of writing as a business. They mention the influence the media is having on book publishing and that it is important to get the word out. Also, we need to realize that:
Writing is a challenge and a process, and to develop diligence and skill is hard work.
Something else this book has given me is a fresh look into what a healthy relationship between author and editor should look like. I'm not a well-known and famous author. I wrote a few articles, a part of a chapter of a book, and translated some texts for a few publishers. Therefore my thoughts on working with editors are quite limited. Hence, reading this book gave me a much better perspective on what a editor and author friendship should look like.
Did you know that I'm living in the Sunny South East of Ireland ― in Co. Wexford? On a clear day I can see the Irish Sea from my windows on the east, south, and west side of our home. God has blessed us so much when we moved into this house.
We have two dogs, a purebred sheepdog called Rap and a good Wexford Mix (not my but the vet's words) called Missy. I take them to the beach which is only 4km (2.5mi) away from where we live. Would you like to join me? Let's go!
Walking on the wooden path and then entering the beach we see the water waves coming ashore. Which way shall we go today? Hm, let's go left. What a beautiful day! If you want to you can take your shoes off and walk barefoot on the sand and in the water.
Stop for a moment and glance back. Do you see him? Do you see the angler way back there? No? Okay. Let us move on while keeping our eyes open to discover the beautiful plants along the way. There are no flowers at the beach you say? Look over there!
Oops, we better mind our steps. We almost stepped on a jellyfish. I don't like them. Do you?
Oh, see the seaweed over there in the wet sand? It comes in different shapes and colors. Fascinating, isn't it?
There are so many things to discover at the beach; stones and shells are among some of my favorite findings here.
I've never seen something like this before I moved to Ireland. Have you?
It's called a sea wash ball, and it's a cluster of egg cases of the whelk which is a sea snail. By the end of September they appear more frequently on the beach.
Watch your step! Oh my goodness! Look at that. What do people think of when they dispose of their razors, fishing hooks, and other dangerous items? Don't they realize that people might step into them and get hurt?
Talking about danger, do you see the lifebuoy over there? While this is a lovely wide beach we are walking on today it can become quite narrow especially during the winter. That's when it is good to know where these buoys are located at. Yes, you are probably right. Who wants to talk about winter on a sunny warm day like this?
I hope you enjoyed our little stroll at the beach today. I would love to show you more of Ireland's beauty, culture, and people in future posts. So please stay tuned.
Do you write? Are you working on a book, or are you writing articles, blog posts, or the like? Do you have a plan for writing? You should. It will make your writer's life so much easier.
1 Topic: What is the main idea? Can you state it in one sentence? If not, it might be too broad. Then you will need to narrow the topic.
2 Brainstorm: A Map to Follow Did you ever sit in front of your computer not knowing what to write? This will hardly happen to you if you have a map to follow. The map will consist of ideas which are related to the main topic. Organize the ideas into headings and subheadings and details. That is one way to create the Table of Contents which will be your guide through the writing process. No more blank pages. You will have your outline in front of you and know exactly what to write about each day.
3 Estimate: Words & Time First, ask yourself how long the article, book, blog post will be. Then, ask yourself how many words you can write within an hour. Divide the word count by the words you can accomplish within an hour. That will give you an idea of how many hours you will need to finish your text. Don't underestimate possible delays. In fact, expect them to happen. You might be able to write 750 or 1000 words per hour, but can you accomplish that many words within an hour when distractions are in your way? As for me, I like to count on no more than 300-500 words per hour. I know that doesn't sound like much, however, this will enable me to write at a comfortable speed. I don't have to worry too much when things are not working according to plan.
4 To-Do-Lists Before you begin to write make research lists (online searches, articles and books to read, places to visit, and questions to ask). Create a table to fill in details of articles, audio files, books, web addresses, etc. for the bibliography of your book. These lists will help you stay focused on your tasks. That way, when you sit at the computer and write you will not get distracted by doing research. Keep the list/s on your desk and make note of what research/es need to be done.
5 Schedule Your Writing This is so important. I can't emphasize this enough. There is a time for everything under the sun. There is a time for writing. Create a weekly planner and set aside a block of time for writing. Guard the time to write. Withdraw to a quiet place. Avoid any distractions. Work according to your plan.
Just two words that meant the world to a homeschool mom. She invested a lot of time and patience teaching her daughter to read. The little girl looked at her mom and walked to the fridge. She moved the ABC magnets around.
"C - æ - t. Cat."
Mom tried to catch her breath.
"Don't cry, mom! Why are you crying, mom?" the girl wanted to know.
"You've got it," mom replied.
"Yes," the girl grinned, "I can read now."
I wish all of our homeschool days were like that. Yes, we had a lot of fun in the beginning. However, the excitement didn't last long after our restart in 7th grade. In fact, I was ready to give up. I asked myself if homeschooling made any sense at all. Learning was slow, tough and senseless. We were in need of a complete turnaround. We longed to experience a progress in learning.
Learning progresses once the student is motivated to learn. You will not motivate him by drills of facts and formulas. Drill the facts, yes. By all means, teach the formulas. However, raw data will not be useful to the student unless he is able to apply it. Once he can make use of the facts and formulas learning will begin. As soon as he connects the new information given to things that are familiar to him learning will begin to make sense to him. Motivation comes by learning that is meaningful.
I'm a helpmeet, homemaker and writer. I was born and raised in Germany but I'm now living in the stunning Sunny South East of Ireland.