Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Writing Process (and other weighty questions answered)

As I mentioned in another post, I attended the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer's Conference at the end of July.  There I met the lovely Kathryn Ross who blogs at The Writer's Reverie.  She invited me to participate in a blog hop of sorts where I answer four questions about my writing, and introduce you to three bloggers who then do the same.  

I hesitantly took on the challenge, concerned I wouldn't be able to find three other bloggers.  I read a number of blogs, but I know people are busy and it might not be possible for them to carry forth the challenge.  Unfortunately, this was in fact the case.  Several have already participated, a few are in transition with their blogs, and so on and so forth.  But to keep my obligation, I have answered the four questions below, and, because I love these other blogs, I will introduce you to three of them without requiring them to carry on the "hop".  In fact, one has already participated, so I will be redirecting you to her earlier response to a different challenger.

Here are the questions:

What am I working on? 

I've had a memoir in the works for about 3 years.  It began as a submission for a writing competition held by Women of Faith and was only required to be 10,000 words.  In the two years since the contest, I have pulled it out, dusted it off, submitted it for critique, added to it, reworked it and had it critiqued again.  Last year, after the word count had doubled in size, it became obvious to me it was really two books: a memoir and a "how-to" book on outreaches.  At this year's writer's conference I shared some articles I wrote on outreach as well as the idea for the book and they were met with favorable feedback, so the memoir is on the back burner for now as I work on the outreach book.

This month I became a regular contributing writer for circlesoffaith.org and so I'm also working on a continuing series of articles about women making a difference in their communities.  The first article was called The MAKE IT Program.

Of course, I'm always working on posts for my blog as well.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

The outreach book is different from others I've seen in that it will provide details like time frames, resources, and appendices with step by step instructions missing from other publications.  Rather than a book that just lists ideas, it will be a book containing solutions. Each chapter will start with a story of how someone was impacted by the outreach, and it will be followed by the logistics of the event making it personal and instructional.

Why do I write what I write? 

As a young teen, I wrote poetry and short stories in my journal.  I've always excelled at writing in shorter form, so blog posts, devotionals, and articles are easy for me relatively speaking.  Developing ideas into book form is far more difficult.

The blog posts I write because God has laid something on my heart to share or has taught me something I think others would appreciate reading about.  It is extremely personal in content. 

I'm writing the book because in the past four years God has placed a passion in my heart for servant evangelism through community outreach.  It is my dream to see churches large and small all over the US and the world step outside the doors of their buildings where it is easy to become inward-looking and self-serving and turn their gaze to those in their very backyards who will perish without the life-giving water Christ has to offer.  So many of them might never knock on the door of the church to request it, but if the church goes to them and offers the cup, they are far more likely to drink of it.

The bottom line is I write what I write because I'm compelled to use the gift of words God has given me to further His kingdom and to encourage those who already know Him.

How does my writing process work?

It works differently depending on what I'm writing. So many blog posts are born out of personal experience.  A situation will occur, something will be said, a word picture will present itself, and a title or "hook" line will come to mind.  I will marinate on that, working it out in my brain, trying different approaches often long before a single word hits the page.  I know it's truly from God when the words flow out of my fingers which often have to fly to keep up with what my brain is spitting out.  If things come to a halt and re-reading what's there doesn't restart the process, I'll let it lie for awhile, coming back to it in an hour, or a day.  I'll pray on it, think about it some more, then re-read what's there and edit.  It's been said that writing is rewriting and there is no bigger truth.  I am always rewriting - sometimes even after I've hit that "publish" button.

The writing process also involves a great deal of procrastination for me.  Because I use the computer to write, I run the risk of being tempted to "pop on" Facebook or check email and before long the shiny ball syndrome has struck and I'm doing everything BUT write.  I am still looking for that perfect place, that little corner where I can hide and type.  It's tough because the lap top I use only works when plugged in - the battery is basically dead.  This makes portability an issue!

Okay...now to those other bloggers I mentioned.

I met Beth Bingaman my first year at the conference.  Kind and wise, I liked her straight away and I'm glad we can keep in touch via Facebook.  It was a delight to reconnect in person at this year's conference.  Beth is a teacher and speaker and you'll find her blog on her website, http://www.bethbingaman.com/ .  It is filled with solid, Biblical truth.

Linda Cannon writes at One Woman's Pilgrimage...Pressing On.  Her Haiku is beautiful, and her lessons, memorable.  I met Linda at church.  She is a great motivator, life coach, certified group fitness instructor, and friend.  She also blogs at Coach Linda Bush.

Lastly, Susie Klein has already taken this challenge.  You can find her responses via this link on her blog Recovering Church Lady.  The name alone grabs attention, doesn't it?  Susie writes with wit and wisdom and is currently luxuriating next to the pool God gave her at her new Texas home (she transplanted a month ago from California). 

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about me and that you'll visit these other awesome blogs!!


  1. Wow Toni, I am so honored you would mention me so beautifully and generously! Thank you very much! Susie

    1. I'm trying to get a pool invite Susie :) J/K - I love reading your blog and I'm happy to point others in your direction!

  2. Toni - I'm so glad you did this! I want an autographed copy of that book! You have my heart in your passion as I seek to equip others to step outside of their comfort zones and explore the gifts God has given them - specifically in creativity and the arts - and touch their sphere of influence in the community for them. Will love to see your step by step programs!!!
    Blessed to know you!