Archive for the ‘Writing’ Tag

The Real Problem   2 comments

I had an epiphany.

I’ve had this project I wanted to work on, for over a year. But every time I had a chunk of space, I couldn’t get into it. And not even just couldn’t get into it. I mean I had this feeling like I shouldn’t even be thinking about it even though it’s a project that I love and can get fired up about and can be turned into a vehicle to get more of my writing out there. All of the positives of this project meant nothing, when the feeling came up to make me feel bad about the project. Now, some people might say “That’s God telling you not to do it.” Those people would be wrong. In fact, I’ve very clearly received a kick in the pants from God on this very issue. It surprised me, because I hadn’t realized until that moment that God had anything to do with it. The writing didn’t seem particularly godly, and the person I’d be working closely with is not a Christian, so it never dawned on me that it was of interest to God beyond the principle that all things should be done as if for the Lord.

So it wasn’t God holding me back. What was it? It would seem like something God wanted me to do, once I knew was something He wanted, would be pretty high up in the priorities, right? But still that feeling nagged at me. And finally, I figured out what it was. And once I really truly figured out what it was, I was able to unpack it and examine it and put it away. But just in case it should plague other Christian writers, I wanted to speak about it here.

BookshelfI was a writer before I was a Christian. Whether you count from my childhood decision to follow Christ or from my adult decision that led me back to God, the fact remains that I was a writer first. I learned to read, so that I could write. I have a vivid memory of being about five and I was writing something, but I didn’t know a lot of words, so I had to ask my mother how to spell just about every single word that I wanted to write. How she was so patient, I will never know. What I was writing, I have no idea. But I remember the incident very clearly.

All that to say that many of the stories locked in my head are not “Christian” stories. I would estimate that about 90% of my characters are not Christian. Do I love Christian fiction? As long as it’s good, yes. I have a great appreciation for Christian romance novels because I feel like I’m getting two love stories for the price of one. There’s the love story between the two individuals and the love story between God and Man. They are often very beautifully written and I love the way the chosen Scriptures speak to the conflict. But I cannot write Christian romance. I have tried. It is not what God has gifted me with. It is not inside me to produce. And that is the real problem I’ve been having.

Several years ago, a member of our church was asking about my writing and asked if all my stories had the Gospel in them. I said no, because that’s the truth and their response was to ask “Why not?” And the unspoken part of that question, the part that I heard, though it wasn’t said, was what kind of Christian writes stories that don’t contain the Gospel? What kind of Christian writes stories where the express purpose isn’t to convert the masses? What is the point of writing, as a Christian, if it’s not to bring others into a greater understanding of God’s desire to be in their lives?

And all of that unspoken junk has kept me from really seriously writing since then. I was in a lull at the time and even when I’ve attempted to break from that lull, that sense of shame, of not measuring up, has pulled me back. So, here, for others who may struggle with this, or for me, if I should need to hear it again in the future, I answer those questions.

All of Heaven and Earth proclaim the glory of God to those who have ears to hear. Everything beautiful points to God. He does not have to sign his name at the bottom of the painting for us to know the strokes of the Master who created it. I do not have to shout to those around me for them to see Him at work in my life. In fact, many won’t listen unless you speak softly. Christian literature is for Christians. Atheists and agnostics do not purchase the latest Love Inspired titles. They do not read Karen Kingsbury books. Christians do. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There is a place for those works.

There is also a place for the works of Christians that do not keep to those tight restrictions of content. There is a place for works by Christians that are relatable for non-Christians. There is a place for Middle Earth and Narnia, worlds where perhaps the Gospel is there, but it isn’t obvious and it doesn’t beat you about the head. That place is where my foul-mouthed, gypsy-cursed Hungarians belong. That is the place where my timid, pyrokinetic redhead belongs. That is the place where my genetically-altered government assassin belongs. That is where my writing belongs. It belongs on a shelf not labeled Christian, where someone might pick it up, and believe that it is beautiful and be interested in the soul that it came from. And when they go looking for that soul, they will find this place. This little spot on the internet where I have poured out my heart about what God is doing in my life. And I have been vulnerable and imperfect and I’ve shown a true face to the world. And maybe, on that day, they’ll believe.

And maybe they won’t.

It doesn’t matter. What matters is that all things beautiful show God’s face to the world. And I want to write beautiful things. And no matter what I think a Christian should be writing doesn’t matter. Because a Christian should be writing what is inside them to be written. Especially when God tells them to.

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Posted February 18, 2015 by Maidenfine in God, Writing

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Found Mommy, Following God   Leave a comment

This has been a hard post to make myself sit down and write. Not because the subject matter is difficult, but just because the very nature of what I’m going to say doesn’t lend itself well to being written. But, if I’m going to continue on this blogging journey in any form, this post has to come first. Because the last thing I posted was talking about making a decision about whether or not to continue blogging. And that question needs to be answered.

When I changed my blog from Maidenfine’s Musings to Finding Mommy, Finding God, I had a mission. My mission was to explore who I am and who God wanted me to be, while also trying to strike a balance between being a mother and wife and my writing. And while I could continue to write here, I can’t really continue on that mission. Because I feel like I’ve found the path that God has for me. And I feel like I’m living the life he wants. And I feel like I’m not just someone’s mom or someone’s wife. I’ve found my own identity again.

My sister, mother, and me at the Rock and Worship Roadshow in November 2011.
My sister, mother, and me at the Rock and Worship Roadshow in November 2011.

 

So what do you write about after you’ve reached the goal you set out to achieve?

I suppose the answer to that is. . . whatever I want. But I’m not wanting to hold myself accountable to some posting schedule that a social media expert said is the minimum for blog growth. I don’t want to force myself to produce, even if it means producing junk. So I’m going to keep going. But I have a few other things that I want to do that don’t necessarily fit here. And I don’t want to sacrifice those things for maintaining a writing schedule here.

So, I’ve set up a MailChimp mailing list. I’ll still write here as the Spirit directs. But I’m working on other things. Things that will require a hefty chunk of my time. And I don’t want anyone who’s interested to miss my posts here. So if you want to keep reading as I’m inspired, sign up. It’s not likely to be a lot of emails, but there will be some.

Posted February 1, 2013 by Maidenfine in God

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A Decision To Be Made   Leave a comment

Something is going to be cut out. I’m not one hundred percent sure yet what it’s going to be, but I’m leaning toward the blog. I enjoy it. But I don’t always have time for it. And the only way to be a “good” blogger is to be a consistent blogger, so when I realize a week has gone by without a post, I feel shades of guilty and wonder if I should be apologizing, or if, since it’s my blog, I should just do whatever I feel like and who cares if other people decide not to read anymore because I just wasn’t feeling it for a couple weeks.

I’ve been enjoying doing the book reviews. Though I’ve slowed down considerably in my reading. I had a couple weeks in there where I was just devouring anything I could get my hands on. And while I’m still reading, it’s not as much, or as quickly, and the couple things I still need to review just haven’t grabbed me like past items. The urge to share them with everyone right now so they can get their own copy just isn’t there. So the reviews haven’t been written.

Then there’s the computer issue. For various reasons that make me want to spank every single person that lives with me and then go find the electrician who wired our house and spank them too, my netbook battery is fried. So it will only work when plugged in. Which is, unfortunately, more difficult than it sounds. The plug-in that’s hidden enough to actually keep the thing plugged in, is part of a group of things that like to randomly have power outages that leave the rest of our house unaffected. Plugging in to an outlet not affected by this random wiring issue that I hope doesn’t burn our house down before we have a chance to move out of it, means using an extension cord that my children then step on because if there’s an empty room with one small item on the floor, they will find a reason to step on that small item. Please tell me this is not restricted to my children.

The result of all that is that I haven’t been spending much time on my computer. And when I’m on there, I usually have a bazillion emails that need to be dealt with because I can’t do a lot of things on my phone so any email that requires an action gets left for me to deal with “Later, when I can get on the computer.” And then there’s the fact that I’m the education director for my church now and I have this grand plan for our front bulletin board. But it requires me to spend some time making the various elements to put up. And then, through God’s crazy workings, I’m the Sunday School teacher for kindergarten through 3rd grade, and that is definitely a class that requires preparation. They are so easily distracted, if I don’t know what we’re doing, they’ll have us dancing around listening to music for the whole hour.

Plus, we’re getting ready to move. Sometime. We have to wait for someone else to move out before we can move in, so right now we’re just waiting and hoping we don’t lose our house before we can move.

And while all of this is perfect fodder for blogging, and I seriously have moments when I’m out and think “I need to write this down so I can blog it,” the reality is that I’m too busy living it, to blog it. Maybe if I had an easy way to get things from my Kindle to my computer, I could do it. But I don’t currently have an app that would allow me to create a document on the Kindle and get it to my computer. And I hate handwriting stuff that I want to blog because I just don’t have time to do the retyping later. When you barely have time to write, you don’t want to cut that in half by making yourself repeat work.

So. All that to say that I don’t know how long I’ll be trying this. And really, my hosting runs out at the end of November, and unless life takes a drastic turn for the prosperous, I can’t afford to renew it. Which means going back to wordpress.com. Not a completely unhappy thought, since I actually rather liked all the things they took care of for me (like having an email list where people could get updated when I post or keeping really awesome statistics regarding visitors and such). But in the blogging world, it seems you’re not a “real” blog if there’s a “wordpress” or “blogger” in your blog’s address. But maybe I can upgrade from wordpress.com and get my own domain name without paying an arm and a leg for it. If I decide to keep going. I still haven’t decided that.

For now, I’m going to keep giving it a go. Next week, hopefully I’ll get around to talking about what we’ve been doing in school. And how in the world I ended up teaching the age group that frustrates me most. And I still have a couple reviews to write.

Should be good times if I can get myself to the computer to write it all out.

Review: Let’s Write A Short Story   Leave a comment

Let’s talk about writing. Actually, let’s talk about the writing process. It’s not just writing. Anyone can write. And most people can pull off something good. A majority of people can pull off something great. And quite a few people can pull off something extraordinary. At least some of the time. That’s where the rest of the process comes in. Prewriting increases the chances that awesome is going to also be coherent. Editing and revision pull the awesome out of the muck and highlight it, adding to it in order to increase awesomeness. And publishing. . . well, publishing is a whole different beast, but it’s the culmination of the process that takes the awesome and gives it to the world.

But how many of us get to experience the entire process? As a novelist, I sure haven’t. Prewriting, yes. In fact, I’ve gotten really good at prewriting (hence my 30 Days of Prewriting book). Over the years, I’ve used just about every method of prewriting there is. Writing, yes. I’ve written until my hands were sore. I’ve typed until my eyes were blurry and my brain had long since stopped functioning. Editing. . . well, not so much. Not that I’ve never edited. I have. But I wouldn’t say that I’ve finished editing anything. I write rough drafts and then I get started on the editing and revision and it just starts to feel so overwhelming. And then my projects die. Which is where Let’s Write a Short Story by Joe Bunting~ has changed my way of thinking.

Not only does this book go through the information you’ll need to write better short stories (and just plain write better in general), it also explains why you should bother with short stories in the first place. And the biggest reason that stuck out for me? You get to experience the entire writing process and practice your craft from start to finish. That appealed to me. And it also got my brain going. Honestly, I could have finished this book much sooner if it didn’t give me so much to ponder. And there are action steps in the book as well. Places where Bunting basically says “Now put the book down and go do.” This is definitely not some book about theory. It’s a book about practice. And it will get your mind going in new directions. It certainly did so for mine.

After reading the book, be sure to join the online community designed to continue where the book left off. If Bunting can cram so much stimulation into a fairly short book, I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can provide in a community.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Links in this post are affiliate links.

FF: From Cabin 6 at Camp NaNoWriMo   Leave a comment

So, I’m not doing much better at Camp NaNoWriMo than I did at the regular thing in November. It’s a little disheartening that I used to have 10k days and on the 1st, I struggled to hit 1500 words. My mojo has most definitely wandered off somewhere. Maybe I’ll send a search party out after it. And the applications for returning MLs are out right now, so I need to decide if I’m done with this stuff or not. The problem is, I don’t know if I am. I’ve been struggling. Big time. But at the end of the day, I love NaNoWriMo. I love everything about it. I love having a ridiculous goal that I’ve met multiple times (even though I can’t seem to figure it out right now). I love writing with other people, or even just going to a coffee shop and sitting there to write. I love getting into this part of my brain that I don’t normally access. This part of my brain that houses plots and characters I don’t even know about until I start typing and they just appear. I love having people all around the world cheer me on just for the sheer effort of putting fingers to keys. I don’t have to write anything good, I just have to write. I love the idea that there are thousands of people around the world doing the same thing that I am. And I love that when people donate to the Office of Letters and Light (the nonprofit behind all this), schools all over get amazing materials designed to teach children to love to write too. And that’s on top of all the NaNoWriMo goodness they put on every year.

But my mojo ran away. And no matter how much I love NaNoWriMo, if I can’t find that rascally mojo, it’s all for naught. Because MLs are required to attempt the novel. So as much as I’d love to say “Let me help and I’ll just skip the novel,” that’s a no-go. Which means I better find my mojo really fast, or I’ll have to forget all of it altogether.

Anybody seen a mojo running around?

Disclosure: The donation link goes to my personal fundraising page, which just means that I get credit for my fundraising efforts on behalf of the Office of Letters and Light. This could mean prizes for me. But I’m really terrible about remembering how these things work. I really just think they’re an awesome non-profit and the rest makes no difference to me.

FF: Camp NaNoWriMo, Day 1   Leave a comment

At midnight this morning, I could have begun writing. I didn’t remember that today was June 1st until about 10:30, though. So that’s when I started making my writing preparations. What are those preparations, you ask?

1. I had to adjust the NaNoWriMo Report Card spreadsheet that someone else made, so that it had the right dates in it for this month.

2. I had to reread the beginning of my novel, so that I remember what the heck I wrote last November and can pick up where I left off.  I wrote just shy of 6,000 words on an alien novel in November. I plan to add another 50,000 words to it this month. But I haven’t really read the whole thing since November.

3. I had to create a blank document for containing this month’s writing. I could just continue in the other file, but it’s easier to figure out my word count when I don’t have to do math.

And, for your reading pleasure, here’s another 500-ish words from said novel.

“Some guy is here to pick you up,” her brother said as they re-entered the house. “He said he is a friend of Tom, I guess. I have never seen him before. Must be from across town or something.”

Moriah shrugged and wondered if her father and brother had already grilled the poor kid. Jenny should have known better and sent a girl to pick her up.

“Jenny seems to think parties are about quantity, not quality. I am sure I won’t know half of the people there.” She looked at her mother’s frowning face and smiled. “Do not worry so much, Mom. I promise not to drink anything that you wouldn’t serve me, watch anything you wouldn’t show me or talk to anyone you would lock your door if you saw across the street.” Her mother did not look completely reassured, but she did let her head to the front door where the unknown boy waited. As soon as he looked her way, Moriah froze.

“Hey,” he said, completely unaware of her reaction to him. “I am Jeff. Tom and I used to go to school together back in the day.” He looked at her, then looked at each of her parents in turn, seeming to be slightly confused by something. She wasn’t sure what could confuse him, but she knew what was shocking the heck out of her. In her entire life, she’d never met anyone with an eye color like hers. Until that very moment. It made her wonder if somehow her wish really would come true this year. Maybe this boy would be the key to finding her birth mother. When her brother nudged her, she shook her head.

“Uh. Sorry. I’m Moriah, the birthday girl. I am guessing you already met my dad and brother, so since you’re still alive, I guess you passed their test and we can go.” She walked toward the door with the strange boy- Jeff- and tried to keep her breathing even so as not to give away the thrill of excitement that she felt at their meeting. As she passed him, he leaned close to speak to her quietly.

“Your glamour is excellent. You’ll have to tell me later how you ended up with this family.” She looked at him, her brows wrinkled and wished she knew what he was talking about. But whatever it was, it gave her hope that he could be the key to finding her birth parents. He knew something and she wanted to know whatever it was. No, she needed to know whatever it was.

“See you guys later,” she called over her shoulder. “I love you.”

Posted June 1, 2012 by Maidenfine in Fiction Friday, NaNoWriMo, Writing

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Hurray!   Leave a comment

FireworksNo longer will visitors to www.maidenfine.com see a “Coming Soon” message from GoDaddy. I have figured out how to get a website put up there. So now, they’ll see something fairly similar to what we have here. And that means that I’m done with all the absolutely basic “Putting it up” stuff. My well-trusted friend told me my site is plain, so there’s plenty of tweaking that can be done. But it’s there. And that’s way more than half the battle. And that means that now, I can present to you this week’s goals.

1. Type up the half-dozen blog posts I’ve handwritten and get them scheduled.

2. Write at least 3 more posts for the days after the ones I’ve already written.

3. Finish reading the book I’m supposed to review (last November).

4. Bask in a job well done, since this may be my only chance to bask for a while. Now that the “setting up” is done, that means the “consistent writing” work will begin.

 

Posted January 24, 2012 by Maidenfine in Reading, Website, Writing

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