What Do You Pray For Your Writing?

Praying Woman You might think that’s a silly question. Of course we pray for our writing. But what, exactly, are we praying for?

If we’re honest, are prayers are often centered on requests for favor with agents and publishers. Book contracts, large advances, and strong sales top our lists. While these are not bad things to desire, here are some other things we could and should be praying for:

God to be glorified

Everything we do, we do in Jesus’ name (Colossians 3:17) and for His glory (I Corinthians 10:31). This includes our writing, whether we’re writing for the Christian or secular market. It’s not about us. It’s not even about our readers. It’s about bringing glory to the Living Word, the One who gave us the ability to communicate through written words. Let’s be intentional about praying for His glory!

Our own spiritual growth

Even though our writing is not about us, we are still part of the process. I teach a weekly Bible study class. People often express wonder at the amount of preparation required to teach the class. But I don’t consider it work because I benefit from my study as much, if not more, than the class members. If I’m not growing spiritually, then I can’t be an effective teacher. It’s the same with my writing. I can’t draw water from an empty well. Whatever we write, let’s pray for the Lord to fill our spiritual wells with His creativity, wisdom, and insight as we grow in our dependence on Him.

The spiritual growth of our readers

We write our stories, poems, songs, and plays to benefit our readers. However, while our target audience may be children, our readers also include their parents, teachers, or other adults. It’s often an adult who makes the purchase, and, in the case of younger children, it’s an adult who reads to them. Are you praying for lives – both children and adults – to be changed and blessed as they read the words you write?

Timing

We belong to El Olam – the Eternal God. Although He created time, He is not bound by it. That’s sometimes difficult to remember because we are finite beings who are bound by time. We’re especially sensitive to the passage of time when we’re in the middle of a project and struggling with writer’s block or when we’re waiting for the response to a submission. But God is sovereign and His timing is perfect. Will you use your times of waiting to trust God for His perfect timing?

Rejections

Years ago, I had a great idea for a series of children’s picture books. But while everyone I spoke to loved the concept, not one agent or acquisitions editor said yes to the project. After several years, I wondered if I should just file it and move on. Then I met a terrific children’s author who agreed to partner with me for the series. She applied her rhythm and rhyme abilities to the existing manuscripts and made them sing. (Thanks, Crystal Bowman!) The project was picked up by a children’s publisher soon after our collaboration. I’m so grateful for the early rejections because those initial drafts did not have the polish the published books have.

There’s nothing wrong with praying for commercial success for our writing. But something is terribly wrong if that’s our only focus. Our heavenly Father is continuously working to conform us to the image of His Son. If we want to look like Jesus, we need to share His priorities.

Now it’s your turn. What other topics can we pray for related to our writing?

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Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is co-author of Faith Basics for Kids. The first two books in the series are Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called.

In addition to her writing, Ava also teaches a weekly, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit her at www.AvaWrites.com.

 

Do you have a brag?

by Jan Prahl

At Write2Ignite, one of our goals is to encourage you to write quality material for children and teens. As you pursue that goal there will be many opportunities to brag.

Got a brag? Lay it on me!

Here are a few questions to get your brag on. We want to share your brag on our social media sites. Currently that is Facebook and Twitter, but other social media may follow.

  • How often do you write?
  • Are you published? If yes, where and book/ article title please.
  • Do you blog?
  • If yes, what is your blog address?
  • Do you have writing victories? (manuscript going to editor, signing with an agent, book /article publication, book signing, etc)
  • May we share them on our social media pages?
  • May we link to your successes?
  • Did you take any photos at any Write2Ignite conference you attended?
  • What is the last book you read? (children’s literature or other)
  • Do you have a favorite children’s book?

This last one is for general self-analysis.

  • How serious are you about your writing? Using a scale of 1-3, 1 being full on gangbusters to 3 being ho-hum,

Please reply in the comments below or copy/paste the questions with your responses to:

Info.write2ignite@gmail.com

Note that your reply, in comments or by email, grant Write2Ignite permission to share your brag on all our social media sites.

I look forward to hearing your brag.

Write to the Heartfelt Needs of Kids

I was surprised at my reaction to the back-to-school sales. Last spring, I left teaching to write full time. I didn’t expect to have strong feelings about back-to-school supplies this summer, but I did. It was obvious that the children and parents in the store had their own range of emotions, too.

  • Nervousness
  • Excitement
  • Dread
  • Happiness
  • Fear
  • Pride
  • Worry
  • Denial

Continue reading

Read What You Write

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.
Simple as that.”  ~ Stephen King

I don’t like the horror genre (it gives me nightmares), so I’m not a fan of Stephen King. But when he’s right, he’s right.

Romance writers read romance. Science fiction writers read sci-fi. Historical novelists read historical fiction. And children’s writers read children’s books.

ReadYou may have heard the illustration describing how Treasury agents are trained to detect counterfeit money. The illustration explains that Treasury agents study genuine money until they are familiar with the smallest details. They are taught to recognize characteristics such as the feel of the paper, color, background patterns, and watermarks. After in-depth study of the real thing, counterfeit money will be obvious.

What does counterfeit money have to do with writing for children?

Many writers who wouldn’t attempt to write for adults think writing for children is easy. After all, they reason, how difficult could it be for a college-educated adult to write a thirty-two-page book for a six-year-old?

Truth is, it’s extremely difficult. Even more so than writing for adults. Children’s writers must communicate their subject using age-appropriate vocabulary. They must write in a way that will hold the child’s interest, because children have short attention spans and fickle interests.

Writing in rhyme requires more than the ability to match similar-sounding vowels. It requires the ability to rhyme words without sacrificing the essence of what we wish to communicate and without forcing the rhyme.

The children’s author also needs to understand meter. Writing in rhythm is not just about counting syllables. We need to recognize the difference between various meter patterns, too.

Creating excellent children’s writing means refusing to take shortcuts. Children’s writers must hone their craft as much as those who write for adults. We start by reading the genre we wish to write, whether it’s board books, picture books, beginning reader books, or chapter books.

Writing for children may be difficult, but it has its rewards, too. You and I have the opportunity to change the way a child thinks and behaves. We can entertain and instruct. We can communicate joy and wonder. We can write a book that a child will someday read to his children. Through the power of the written word, we can create memories that will last a lifetime.

Read what you want to write. Then go write it.

What children’s books have influenced your writing?

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Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her most recent book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is co-author of Faith Basics for Kids. The first two books in the series are Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called.

In addition to her writing, Ava also teaches a weekly, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit her at www.AvaWrites.com.

 

 

Where is your writing place/space?

Do you have a special place where you like to write? What makes it work for you?

Kathleen M. Muldoon wrote a chapter in her book Sowing Seeds: Writing for the Christian Children’s Market about the importance of setting up a place to write. Here are the first few paragraphs from Chapter 3, “In the Beginning”:

The book I most re-read while growing up is Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. This semi-autobiographical novel chronicled the lives of the four March sisters growing up during mid-19th century America. Despite the fact that I read this book from my favorite reading spot, the fire escape of our inner city tenement building, I still fancied myself as Jo, the second oldest of the sisters and an aspiring writer. Her need for private space in their cozy Concord, Massachusetts, home resonated with me. Whenever inspiration struck, Jo headed for the only place she could have some private writing time—a cubby she’d carved out for herself in the dusty attic.

Writing is a solitary, personal activity that requires a special place. Before you begin writing, determine where you will write. Before you crunch numbers to see if you can afford to rent an office somewhere, let me describe my “office” space.

I do not own a home nor do I rent an apartment. For the past 16 years, I have rented a single room in a friend’s two-bedroom, one-bath house. That room (one of the two bed-rooms) is about 10’ x 10’, and it suits me just fine. My friend allows me the run of the house for cooking, bathing, and entertainment. But my rented space is where I live and work. My writing nook is the 4’ x 4’ northwest corner of my room. I’ve set up a computer hutch in that corner, next to a window on the right that looks out onto our street and neighborhood. On the left of the hutch is my dresser, on top of which sits my printer and a three drawer Rubbermaid “thingy” that holds printing paper and envelopes. Going clockwise around the room from my computer hutch, on the other side of the window are two bookcases which form an “L” in the northeast corner, my twin-sized bed, a nightstand, a two-drawer file cabinet, my clothes closet, a chest of drawers, the door to my room, and a small roll-top desk which abuts the dresser. Oh, and on the carpet beneath the window is a cat bed meant to sleep one large, literary feline named Walter. Of course, Walter much prefers stretching out on the bottom of my bed, from which he can jump into my lap while I’m writing.

I tell you all this because I want you to know that no matter what your circumstances, you should be able to find a cubby, however small, that will be used for only one thing—writing. One of my colleagues, a prolific author and mother of four, has her space atop a card table in the laundry room. Any place will do it if affords you some privacy, comfort, and quiet.

I learned about Kathleen Muldoon’s book, Sowing Seeds at one of the Highlights Foundation Workshops where we discussed the importance of establishing a writing space. One of the other authors attending the workshop shared that her writing space was in an unused closet in her home. I marveled that her home was so large that she had an unused closet that was big enough for a writing nook, and found it amusing that even her husband didn’t know she was writing in there. What a cool get-away place!

Where do you write?What writing tools do you keep at your fingertips? What kind of surroundings best inspire you to write? Please share in the comments below.

 

Sowing Seeds: Writing for the Christian Children's Market

Sowing Seeds: Writing for the Christian Children’s Market

On Amazon Sowing Seeds: Writing for the Christian Children’s Market

 

Copyright: undrey / 123RF Stock Photo (featured image)