Friday, December 9, 2016

As the Ink Flows! Welcome!!

It is my absolute pleasure to welcome a group of ladies with hearts for ministry.

In August 2016, I had the lovely opportunity to meet (and worship with) Melony Teague at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat in Nashville, TN and through that connection I was introduced to the authors of the devotional, As the Ink Flows - a book that keeps a writer's focus on the soul of our stories. Jesus.

As an Alleycat, I've enjoyed the beautiful fellowship of other authors who love Jesus, so it's so sweet to see other groups combine their knowledge and talents in a way to spread good news to others.

I am excited to introduce these ladies to you today!

They are offering a giveaway of their devotional to one lucky commenter - so stop by and share :-)

Now...let's meet these gals.

Glenda, Melony, Carol, Claudia, and Marguerite, welcome to our alley :-)


(Q1)  I love to see a group of writers come together to create such a thoughtful and beautiful project. What brought the five of you together for As the Ink Flows?
Carol Ford: Our writers’ group was formed in 2012 and we are now in our fifth year of regular meetings. Our common connection was The Word Guild,[i] and while attending the annual Write Canada conference, we discussed the idea of meeting together, as we all lived relatively close to one another. At our first meeting we listed our goals for organizing a writers’ group, and by the next meeting we had picked our mission statement: To prayerfully support, encourage, and inspire one another in our writing goals, to the glory of our God.

From this beginning, we chose a name for our group—“Friends in The Word”—and have been offering each other support, prayer, editorial critique, and creative ideas for writing, publishing, and marketing ever since. We also thought that a devotional for writers would be useful for ourselves and others.

It was Glenda Dekkema who put the project into motion, and we all made contributions to the book. When we finished, we knew that As the Ink Flows: Devotions to Inspire Christian Writers & Speakers would offer readers a unique approach to meditating on God’s Word and responding in writing.


(Q2)  Each of you have a unique writing experience. Would you take a few lines to share your writing journey with our readers?
Melony: Looking back, I realized the signs were there, but I never recognized them. I loved English Lit. at school and was inspired by my English teacher, Mrs. Prinsloo (with whom I am still in contact today). She coached me when I entered a Speech contest on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. As a teenager I was the secret author of a high school gossip column for our local newspaper. (This has remained a secret all these years!) Then I went on to do other things in other fields, and it wasn’t until 2010 that I realized what I wanted to be when I grow up. A writer. I then began pursuing a writing career with the support of my family and friends. It wasn’t easy at first, but it has been worth every minute. I am so blessed to be able to do what I love and love what I do, and contribute to the finances of the family. At first, when I was doing research as to which direction my writing career should take, I thought I might write fiction, but inspired by Letters of E. B. White by E. B. White, I realized I was far more interested in nonfiction, real stories. I have up until this point primarily written nonfiction, but I anticipate branching out to fiction in the future, when my children are a little more grown-up and self-sufficient. I have loved every second of my freelance career, and I love the variety it brings. Each project is unique, whether I am doing an article on a celebrity, writing a profile for a sports star, or doing work for clients (editing, teaching, or coaching). There is always something new to learn about people and about this industry. Being part of our writers’ group “Friends in The Word” has played a pivotal role in my success. I would not be where I am without their support, prayers, and love.

(Pepper commentary here: I LOVE how teacher's can inspire us!!)


Carol: I never thought of myself as a writer, but I have been coaching and writing job search documents (such as resumes or cover letters) for several years. I have also been a corporate trainer for over twenty years, and this requires me to take a lot of information and pare it down for presentations and handouts.  I notice that this experience has helped me be more direct and active in my writing style. I enjoy writing smaller articles and short stories, but I need to complete my memoir about adoption and finding my birth family.


Claudia: My interest in writing started back in 1977. However, it took me until 2010 before I began to seriously contemplate writing my memoir. Initially, I wanted to write this for my grandchildren. I wanted each of them to know about my childhood struggles and how I overcame them as an adult when I put my faith in Jesus Christ. I signed up for an online creative writing course and found myself enjoying the assignments, as well as getting feedback from my instructor and my fellow students. After the first course, I signed up for two more—all on writing a memoir. It was during the last course I took that I decided my story needed to be shared with others who may possibly be helped in dealing with forgiveness. Prior to this, I had become a born-again Christian at the age of forty-one and soon after was able to forgive my alcoholic dad. In 2012, I took my writing to another level and connected with an editor. My book was picked up by a publisher and released in 2015. In the meantime, our writers’ group decided to write a devotional for speakers and writers. Our group was an ongoing support with prayer and encouragement for one another throughout as we progressed in making As the Ink Flows the best it could be!

(Pepper commentary: Claudia, that is definitely a story to share with the world. Your healing. God's forgiveness! Wow!}

Marguerite: I have been interested in writing all my life, and I even worked as a technical writer for a few years, which gave me a really good grounding. However, after a while I moved to other jobs. Years passed, and I guess I started to feel a nudge to get back into writing, especially from a Christian worldview. Then one day, a member of my Bible study group told me that there was an association of Canadian Christian writers called The Word Guild. The moment she mentioned this, I knew that this was exactly what I needed. I needed other people to help me get moving, otherwise I would be forever dreaming of writing and get nowhere. Thanks to this writers’ association, I have been able to contribute to five different books. It is also thanks to The Word Guild that I met the other writers in our wonderful small group “Friends in The Word.” For me, being part of a network of writers has made all the difference.


(Q3)  What do each of you hope As the Ink Flows will offer to readers/writers?
Glenda: I really hope you take the time to do the writing exercises at the end of each devotion. We would love to hear your feedback. Come back to our blogs/websites/Facebook pages and let us know what you think.


Melony: I hope that writers who are discouraged will have their passion for writing renewed. I pray that whether they have been in the industry for years, or are just beginning their journey, they would understand the value in what they do, not only in terms of the publishing industry, but in light of the Kingdom of God. An author’s job is not an easy one, one pours a part of one’s self into each project.


Carol: I hope that readers and writers will be encouraged to pick up their pens or go to the computer and write short responses to the devotions. I also hope that these prompts will spark creative ideas that will blossom into published work or powerful talks.


Claudia: My hope is that our book will encourage writers to use the devotional along with the Bible on a daily basis, in order to be refreshed and enlightened with respect to the significant way in which God may guide them as they write.


Marguerite: I agree with all these great answers. I hope especially that the readers will sense heartfelt support for their work, whatever their level; and also a sense of freedom to be creative and to try something new for them—perhaps poetry, drama, or songwriting.

(Pepper commentary: I hear the words encouragement, support, creatvity, passion, devotion - all beautiful words to inspire us! Thank you!)


(Q4)  The writing journey is not for the faint of heart or spirit. What is one important piece of advice you’ve learned through your process that you’d would like to share?
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Glenda: If you have something to say... say it! Even if it may have been said before, only you can say it in your unique way, with your unique experiences and your unique talents. Go for it!


Melony: I think you have to believe in your dream and go for it no matter what comes along. You have embrace your strengths and recognize your weak areas. Be prepared to learn, develop and know it is a process, a journey and you just have to keep chipping away at it, keep moving forward. And, you really can’t take things too personally.


Carol: Don’t rush the process. I tend to write something and want to share it before I have done enough editing. Often after I have sent something and reread my work, I see so many ways I could improve it. I think the best way to avoid this is to let my work sit for a day or two.


Claudia: To continue with confidence in your goals with respect to what you would like to achieve. If discouragement happens, for one reason or another, spend time in prayer and ask God to keep you focused and determined to complete what you have begun.


Marguerite: If I have learned one thing, it would be the power of partnerships—especially partnerships with other writers who share your faith. There is something very special about connecting with others on a regular basis, especially if you can pray together as well as discuss your writing projects. Moreover, it is much easier to prepare a contribution to an anthology or to a devotional than to write a whole book!


(Q5)  Many of us struggle to make the time for devotions in our days, let alone writing. What is some advice you’d give on making time for both count?
Glenda: You may think you don’t have time for devotions, but you probably do have a few moments every day to slip away from the chaos and spend it reading a devotion and praying. It may be the most important time of your day!

About writing: if you want to make a career out of it, you’ll have to devote time and energy to it every day. You will need to stay glued to your chair and write, whether or not you feel like it at the time. I believe there's no such thing as inspiration without dedication.


Melony: We recognized this dilemma when we were writing our devotional. It is for this very reason that we kept each piece short and to the point. The devotional is broken into sections according to theme, so that at a glance you can pick from a section which appeals to you for that day. I believe it is hard to be creative, to pour your efforts into writing when your spirit is dry. You have to take care of your spirit, soul, and body in order to write from a place of inspiration, life, and health. This goes for any kind of writing you are doing, whether it is for the Christian publishing industry or not.


Carol: This is definitely a struggle for me. I continue to work at a specific time for my personal devotions and protect that time. However, I find that my commitment to a weekly Bible study helps me keep a focus in God’s Word.


Claudia: I find that getting up earlier on the days I plan to write is an essential component to accomplishing both my devotional time and the time I hope to set aside for writing. It has become my habit to do my devotions before I attempt to do anything else. I also keep a notebook beside my bed with a schedule for writing the following day. For me, I find I have to be disciplined in how I divide up my day and determined to stick to it as much as possible.


Marguerite: What helps me is following a book, even if I end up reading it many times. I always discover something new. And being part of a group is an incredible motivation, too, whether for a Bible study, for prayer, or for writing.

Pepper: I love all these answers and the 'heart' of your stories. Thank you for being with us at the Alley today and I really appreciate, particularly, your encouragement!!

Thank you to Pepper Basham for hosting us, we are delighted to be included! 



[i] As described on its website (www.thewordguild.com), The Word Guild is a community of “Canadian writers, editors, speakers, publishers, booksellers, librarians and other interested individuals who are Christian. From all parts of Canada and many denominational and cultural backgrounds, [members of The Word Guild] affirm a common statement of faith and are united in [their] passion for the written word.”

2 comments:

Carol Ford said...

Thank you, Pepper, for sharing our book on your site. So glad you and Mel have become friends; we love this gal and have enjoyour time together as writers and friends.

Angela Verges said...

Thanks for sharing your encouraging words and keeping writers inspired.