Writers’ Blog Hop – My Writing Goals for 2015

Writers Blog Hop

Welcome to my 2015 Writers’ Blog Hop! This week’s topic is writing goals for 2015

When I reviewed my writing goals from 2014, I noted that I had a few unfinished projects:

I thought these would top my goals for 2015. However, a week or so later, I joined the Kindle in 30 Challenge with Kristen Eckstein. One of our first assignments was a brain dump where I set the timer for 10 minutes and jotted down anything and everything I could write about. Next I put the topics together into groups (e.g. marketing, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads). I wasn’t overly impressed with what I had come up with, but I wasn’t able to continue the process until the next morning. When I woke up, I was amazed at what happened. By writing down all the topics, I had cleared my brain and made room for my creativity to kick into high gear. I realized I could create a series of non-fiction books combining several of my interests and passions.

31 Days LogoThis year, I will be focusing on writing, publishing, and marketing a series of books (31 Days of . . . ) on Kindle. Each book will cover a specific topic. My first book will be Hope: Reflections to brighten the Dark Days of Life. In these books I will combine devotional thoughts, Scripture verses, quotes, and photographs I’ve taken. With my Brain Dump topics (Praise, Encouragement, Thankfulness, Prayer, Joy, Love, Peace, Comfort, Healthy Eating, Family Fun, Leadership, Time Management, Parenting) I have enough titles to publish a book a month and still have some topics left over. We’ll see how far I get!

Once I get the books published on Kindle, I’ll see about getting paperbacks printed as well. I need to decide whether I’m going to publish these as individual books or in groups.

If I find myself with time left over (which looks highly doubtful at this point!) I may return to some of the projects I was going to work on in 2014.

What are your writing goals? Please share them in the comment section or join the blog hop and link in below. On your mark, get set, GO!

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2015 Writers' Blog Hop

Blog Hops in 2015: Come join the fun!

Thank you to those who gave input into the type of blog hop you would be interested in participating in. I’ve taken the feedback I received and compiled it, deciding to run several shorter blog hops in 2015. Look over the topics and let me know which one(s) you will participate in by sending me an e-mail. I also need to know which day works best for everyone to post – leave a comment below. (Most posts will be made the same day, but the link will be live for a week.)

General Writers’ Blog HopWriters Blog Hop
#1 Writing Goals – share what you’re planning to work on this year (Week of Jan 5th)
#2 Writing sample – share a sample from your current Work in Progress (Week of Jan 19)
#3 Favourite character – this can be a real person or a character from one of your fiction stories (Week of Feb 2)
#4 Lifelong learner – Writers need to be continuously learning. What did you learn in 2014 that helped make you a better writer? (Week of Feb 16)

Social Media Blog HopSocial Media Blog Hop
#1 Favourite Social Media Site – Tell us where you spend most of your time/energy and why (Week of Mar 2)
#2 Graphics for social media – Share your favourite source/app (Week of Mar 16)
#3 Scheduling posts – How often? Do you use a program like Hootsuite? Other tips? (Week of Mar 30)
#4 Content of posts – What do you share? Where do you find content? Ratio of promotional/other? (Week of April 13)

Parenting Blog HopParenting Blog Hop
#1 What do you find most challenging about parenting? What helps you get through the tough days?(Week of May 4)
#2 What parenting tip would you give to new parents? (Week of May 18)
#3 Share a family tradition with us (Week of June 8)
#4 Share your favourite holiday destination and/or how you make long family trips more enjoyable (Week of June 22)

Bloggers’ Blog HopBloggers Blog Hop
#1 Share your goals/mission statement for your blog and why/when you started blogging (Week of July 6)
#2 How do you engage your readers? (Week of July 20)
#3 Where do you find your blog graphics? (Share your favourite sources/apps) (Week of Aug 3)
#4 Share some blogs you guest post on and why (Week of Aug 17)

Christian Writers’ Blog HopChristian Writers Blog Hop
#1 Share your testimony with us (Week of Sept 7)
#2 Tell us about your favourite writing conference and how it improved your writing (Week of Sep 21)
#3 Share how your world view affects your writing (Week of Oct 5)
#4 Share a book which impacted your spiritual life and writing (Week of Oct 19)

Writers’ Marketing Blog HopMarketing Blog Hop
#1 Share your most recent published book/article with us (Week of Nov 2)
#2 Share a marketing idea that has worked well for you (Week of Nov 16)
#3 What advice would you give to someone who is wanting to market a book or article? (Week of Nov 30)
#4 Which websites/groups/social media sites have you found helpful? In what ways? (Week of Dec 14)

If you have any concerns or questions, let me know. I’m looking forward to learning with you in 2015 🙂


New Blog Hop starting in 2015

At the beginning of this year I hosted a blog hop for writers. We posted every other week and the blog hop included six topics (Click on the links to see the posts):

1. My writing goals for 2014

2. Writing tools I use

3. Character Sketch

4. Advice to a new writer

5. My favourite genre

6. My current works in progress

 

Blog hop for writers

Everyone who participated in the blog hop learned from other writers and had fun. We also had increased traffic to our sites.

Blog Hop

I would like to put together a blog hop that will kick off early in 2015. I haven’t picked any topics yet. Writing? Parenting? Special Needs? Technology? Please let me know if you’d like to participate and give me your suggestions for general topics and post topics. Also let me know how often you’d be able to post (I’m thinking of running the blog hop all year long with posts once a month).

I look forward to hearing your ideas 🙂

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My God Love Story

bandaged heart

“Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. … He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.”

-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I’m enjoying another Proverbs 31 online Bible study. This one is based on Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Am I Messing Up My Kids? … and Other Questions Every Mom Asks. This week we’ve been studying the section titled, This is All I Have to Give. For our blog hop this week we were given three topics to choose from:

  1. My God Love Story
  2. Favorite Ways to Relax and Refill
  3. This is All I Have to Give

I would have found it easy to write about topic 2, but God told me I needed to share my God love story with you. So here goes . . .

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to feel weak, or flawed, or broken. In contrast, God’s Word says:

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” I Corinthians 1:27

For the past year, God has been taking me through dark places, allowing things to happen to me and my family that I would never choose. I haven’t been happy with God. These dark places hurt. They’ve shown me things about myself I didn’t want to see. These places have left me weak, flawed, and broken, utterly dependent on God. Most people have no idea of what I’ve been going through, because I haven’t been at liberty to share. I’ve had to trust God. And, surprise! He’s been faithful (actually, that’s not such a surprise, is it?!)

In June I attended the Write Canada conference in Ontario. I thought I was going to learn more about writing and to spread the word about InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship. God had other plans. He wanted to demonstrate His love to me through complete strangers who love Him.

Two women hugging

The first “hug” came through two ladies from Alberta who shared a hotel room with someone they’d only talked to on Facebook. Instead of having to pay the full cost of a hotel room, I only had to pay 1/3. Not only that, but these ladies shared from their hearts about the dark places God has lead them through. It was as if God was saying, “You’re going to make it. Hang in there.”

The second “hug” came through a pastor from British Columbia who prayed over me for no reason other than that God placed it on his heart to do so. He had no idea what I was going through, only that I was burdened.

The third “hug” came through a lady from Ontario. She has the same first name as me, grew up as a missionary kid like I did (but in a different part of the world), and has just finished going through the exact same deep dark place God is taking me through. We had never met before the conference. I went to encourage her after she asked a question during a session, and she started sharing with me about this deep dark place God had led her through. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She understood, because she’s walked the same rocky path I’m on. God used her to tell me, “There’s hope. You’re going to make it through to the other side. Trust God. He has a good plan for you.”

My way is still dark, but I’ve been reminded that God loves me, because His followers have been faithful and obedient. He cares, and He will bring me through. In fact, I think He’s carrying me right now. I can almost see Him smiling down at me saying, “We’re almost there. Just a little bit further. You won’t believe what I have in store for you!”

I don’t know what you’re going through today, but God does. Let’s trust Him together. He really does love us, and sometimes He uses other people to remind us of His love.


My Writing Process – Blog Tour

Blog hop for writers

Thanks to Bruce Atchison http://bruceatchison.blogspot.ca/ for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.

What am I working on?

I have several projects on the go right now:

  • The San Francisco Wedding Planner Series with Helping Hands Press. For this project I’m working with 5 other authors on a light romance. Several of the volumes in this series have been released already. My volume will be releasing in July on Amazon. I recently posted about Life Lessons, which is the backstory for Heather Donovan, the main character in the series.
  • Olga’s Discoverya full-length historical fiction novel. I’m working at having the whole novel written by the end of August this year.

    Twenty-two-year-old Olga Tymchuk, a newly graduated teacher, eagerly anticipates marrying her fiancee, Viktor, in July 1959. However, before they marry, Olga is committed to teaching for a year in Gillmore, Alberta as a requirement for the bursary she received in university. Viktor and Olga are separated when Viktor accepts a challenging job as a scientific researcher for the National Research Council in Ontario.

    Olga is enjoying a challenging first year of teaching when Viktor is injured in a chemical accident. He seems to be recovering well, but then Olga receives a telegram that will change her life forever. Olga is drawn into a search for the truth, which forces her to deal with uncooperative hospital officials, death threats, and a sudden disappearance.

  • Twitter Tips & Tricks for Writers – I’m looking for beta readers for my first draft of this book. If you’re interested, send me an e-mail at sun dot beam3 at Yahoo dot com.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My light romance provides an enjoyable story that makes you stop and think. Because I’m tackling the project with 5 other writers and we’re using a single plot, there are a lot of interesting twists and turns in the plot. I’ve been told my stories are intense. Olga’s Discovery is set in Canada and gives a glimpse into rural Alberta farm life as well as Ukrainian culture. Twitter Tips & Tricks for Writers is divided into three sections, for writers who are beginners, intermediate, and advanced on Twitter.

Why do I write what I do?

  • I enjoy stories.
  • Stories are powerful – Ted Dekker says, “Story is the shortest distance between a human being and the truth.”
  • I am called to write

How does your writing process work?

Every project I work on starts with an idea. The idea can come to me through something I see, hear, or experience. Sometimes the idea comes in the form of a picture, or a character, or a lesson I’ve learned. Once I have an idea that keeps trying to get my attention, I brainstorm where I want to go with the idea. For fiction this usually includes the starting point, the main characters, some high points in the story, and where I want to end up. Then I’ll sketch out a plot summary in very general terms.  For non-fiction, I’ll jot down a basic outline of what I want to include in my book. Once this is done, I do some preliminary research and start writing. Sometimes I have to revise my plan as I write.

In terms of getting the writing done, I make sure I get up at 5:10 on weekday mornings so that I can spend time reading my Bible and praying, catching up briefly on my e-mail, and then writing for a half hour before my family gets up for the day. I also schedule specific days and hours for writing.

Next Monday (June 30) check out the following authors and their blog posts about writing process:

Marianne JonesMarianne Jones

Marianne was named International Poet Laureate by Utmost Christian Writers. She is the author of “Here, on the Ground”, a collection of poetry, “The Land of Mogan”, a Christian fantasy-allegory for young readers, “Great-Grandma’s Gifts”, a picture book, and the soon-to-be-released, “The Serenity Stone Murder”. To read her blog, see https://www.mariannejones.ca.

 

 

Sharon HooverSharon Hoover

Sharon R Hoover writes devotional and inspirational works for all who are exploring and growing in the journey of faith. Her passions for education and global issues led her from being a high school teacher to a middle east analyst and then to serving in the church. Through writing and speaking, she encourages women as they seek God in life, in play, in family, and in work. Sharon’s first book, Soul Motive to Pray, is a personal retreat workbook to encourage deeper conversations with the Lord. She enjoys connecting with local and global outreach partners as Director of Missions in her local church. Connect with Sharon through her blog and twitter. New discipleship site, Soul Motive, will be available soon!

 

Stephanie NickelSteph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel co-authored former Paralympian Deborah L. Willows’ memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances. Steph is eclectically-interested and you can read more on her website and her blog.

 


#MapIt: Understanding Zephaniah 3:17

Zephaniah 3:17This week in our Proverbs 31 Bible study using Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray, our key verse is Zephaniah 3:17. The NIV version is above. Here are some other translations:

“Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you.
Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs.” (The Message)

New American Standard Bible (NASB):

 “The Lord your God is in your midst, A [a]victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy, He will [b]be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”

a. Lit A warrior who saves

b. Or with some ancient versions, renew you in

“The Lord your God is with you, a Powerful One Who wins the battle. He will have much joy over you. With His love He will give you new life. He will have joy over you with loud singing.” (New Life Version)

God is with you

Stop and think about it for a minute. The mighty, all-powerful God, who created the universe by speaking a few words, is with you. He is “omnipresent” – present everywhere. Psalm 139 talks about this in great detail and reminds us that God is in the heavens, the depths, on the far side of the sea, in the darkness, and even inside the womb when a baby is being formed. No matter where we go, we cannot hide from God, because He is there too. Hebrews 13:5 states that God will never leave us or forsake us.

God saves you

God is our mighty warrior who fights on our behalf and saves us. What a beautiful picture! Jesus Christ loved us enough to give up His rightful place and be born as a helpless human baby. He submitted Himself to the same restrictions and frustrations we face, yet without sin. He lived a perfect life and allowed His life to be sacrificed on the cross as the Lamb of God, so that He could save us and give us limitless life.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)

One of my Bible School professors challenged us to “live beyond the comma” – allowing Jesus to save us AND living life to the fullest extent possible. Ted Dekker talks about the fact Jesus didn’t just save us from Hell; He also saves us from a meaningless life here on earth.

God delights in you

You make God dance with joy! He shouts because He’s so excited about you. You give God pleasure. You are His priceless treasure. He is like a lover who delights in you so much that He declares his love for you wherever he goes. You make His heart sing.

I’m amazed at our Father’s love. I’m grateful that He’s set me free. I serve Him, not because I have to, but because I want to, because it brings me joy and fulfillment and the opportunity to tell others about His amazing love.

Are you living beyond the comma, or are you still hungering for God’s limitless life? Ask God to reveal His love to you in a new way. Then, be prepared to be swept off your feet by the tidal wave of His love. Jesus loves YOU!


Life as a Writer – Author Support Blog Hop

Author Blog Hop

Thanks to Sharon Bayliss for hosting this author support blog hop.

WHAT do you do? Give us a summary of your crazy life and all your responsibilities

HOW do you do it? How do you manage to find time to write? What tips can you share?

  • I use a planner and calendar to keep track of activities and events for the whole family.
  • On weekday mornings I get up at 5:10 to have a quiet time where I read my Bible, pray, figure out priorities for the day, and write for a half hour.
  • When I have a project, I break it down into smaller steps and set daily goals for myself. I try to leave extra time so that if something unexpected comes up I’m still able to meet deadlines.
  • My children are all in school now, so I write while they are away.
  • My 16-year-old daughter enjoys helping me by looking after her siblings when I need extra time to write.
  • I’ve learned to say “no” to things that don’t fit in with my goals.

WHY do you do it? Other than just sheer insanity, what keeps you going? Why have you chosen the life of an over-stressed author? What keeps you motivated during dark days?

  • I write because I believe God has given me the ability and responsibility to write.
  • I primarily write for an audience of One. If I write to the best of my ability for the glory of God, that’s really all that matters.
  • When I write, I’m happy.
  • Other people enjoy my writing.

QUESTIONS and PLEAS for help. Other authors will be reading your post, so if you have questions or want advice, you can ask. Also, if there is anything you need, or anything you can do to help others, mention that here as well.

  • How do you help others understand the importance of treating writing as a profession?
  • I’m working on Twitter Tips & Tricks for Writers. If you’d be interested in receiving a copy in exchange for an honest critique, please email me.

Is there anything else you’d like to know about my life as a writer?


#Snapit: My Favourite Place to Study

My Favourite Place to StudyBy the time you read this post, I will be flying across the country to Guelph, Ontario, in order to attend Write Canada. One of the prompts for this week’s blog hop with the Proverbs 31 crew was, “Share a picture of your favourite place to study or write.” This chair is situated in a corner of our dining room, between two windows. I usually come downstairs just after 5 a.m. to read my Bible, pray, and get some writing done before the rest of my family gets up for the day. This chair is my private sanctuary where I sit with my Bible, books like Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray, and my iPad. It’s a place where I can turn on the light without disturbing anyone, and also easily walk into the kitchen to grab a cup of lemon water or Rooisbos tea.

When I read, I enjoy sharing what I’m learning by participating in these blog hops, posting pictures, and sharing on social media. Here’s a quote I highlighted in my book this week:

“Jesus is the living water; He alone gives us His life for our life…so that we can live the life we could never live …” #quote D.L. Gray click to tweet

I also like to sit in this same chair to write. My iPad allows me to write without the distracting bells and whistles (notifications) I have on my iMac computer. For more information on my works in progress, check out this post.

What about you? Where do you like to read, study, and or write?

share a picture of your favorite place to study or write – See more at: http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/current-study/#sthash.0YpgMzOu.dpu