Thursday, August 7, 2014

And So I Write...A Writer's Blog Hop

I've been on quite a long and unintentional sabbatical from writing. Sometimes it is good to just step back and reassess the what and why of this whole blogging gig.

Sometimes life just begins to take over and all those words remain floating in the recesses of my mind…anxiously awaiting that moment when the dam breaks and the words just flood out all over the white space….spilling over the edges in a mess of words looking for their proper setting.

And so…I begin…again. As I was anticipating what I would write about,  my sweet friend, Cheryl Lutz, invited me to participate in a summer Blog Hop. In this blog hop we not only answer questions about our own writing, but we get to introduce you to several of our own writer/blog friends…and it just keeps going.

I first met Cheryl through an online book launch group for Jo Ann Fore's book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice.  We are both Pastor's wives and have a passion for leading women to connect to the heart of God, and that common desire just 'sealed the deal' of our friendship. We also had the opportunity to meet and connect in 'real life' on a retreat in Tennessee and experienced that sweet bond that sister's in the Lord often find.  I just love her and I know you will too! Cheryl writes over at Securely Held, check her out!

And now for the questions. I have to say these questions are a challenge, as I have been pondering some of the very same thoughts in recent months.

What am I writing or working on?

This post at the moment. (wink)  Seriously, I'm always a work in process myself and my writing tends to reflect that.  I do have a book project that originally started out with a small group of women; each  contributing a chapter of her own. However, something happened in the life of the woman coordinating the project and now the entire book deal has been dropped into my lap to do with as I see fit. I have already written a chapter of just over 9000 words, but it was meant to be a chapter that fit into a book that consisted of a collection of writings from mother's who have experience raising a special needs child. I don't even believe any of the original women stuck with the project long enough to get their chapters completed. So there's that. I think my next step on this project is a long talk with the marketing agent at WestBow Press on what direction I need to take…and much prayer!

I've also been working to improve the design of this blog. Learning a little html and tweaking things here and there to give it a more streamlined, clean look.  Eventually, I will be moving over to my own self-hosted Wordpress site, but my url will remain the same as it is now.  What I need to be working on is writing consistently. SBICAW! Sit butt in chair and write! God has called me to this thing and I may flounder from time to time, but I will 'keep on keeping on'.

Photography has become quite a hobby and I am working on figuring out how to get some of my photos and graphics available for sale in the near future. For me, this hobby of 'clicking' and writing have and will continue to be connected. It just might evolve into something much different in the future. We'll see.

My latest most important 'work' is just being the best Gigi ever to my precious grandson, Judah. I love that little man!!








How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Great question! Any takers? Anyone?  Oh…right…I'm supposed to answer that one. I think at the moment I would be categorized as faith-based lifestyle writer.  There are many bloggers writing within this genre. My work differs because I write from my own experiences and my own observations from life around me.  No one else lives in my skin…and/or processes life in the same way that I do. I am not one to tell you every little detail of those life experiences, but just enough to bring across the point of my writing.  Which brings me to the next question...

Why do I write what I do?

have actually written about this very question in a previous post. You can read it here: Write! That's All He Said. I think the very last paragraph of that article sums it up quite well for me:
I continue to write because I believe God has called me to this thing. I will probably never be a well known writer, but I'm okay with that because I believe God will use the words that He has given me to further the work of His Kingdom here on earth. I believe He has and will continue to use me to encourage my readers in seeing every part of the culture in which we live through the lens and filter of God's Word. And that is enough for me!  
As I have said before, "When He says go…go. When He says do…do. When He says WRITE…I'm going to write!

How does my writing process work?

Wait!! There's a process?

I think the process for me goes back to SBICAW:Sit butt in chair and WRITE!  Yes…it's true. When I sit down to write and make myself begin the words start to flow out of my crazy brain, through my finger tips out onto the page. It's true…I just have make myself begin writing and it happens.  Sometimes the writing is proceeded by much research, depending on what prompted me to begin an article in the first place.  I have also written about this flow elsewhere on my blog, in the form of a poem, which I find amusing as my mother was the poet in our family. I write prose. You can read it here: Write…Wings to the Words of My Heart. (It's a quick read).

I have found it easiest to begin writing when I participate in a regularly scheduled link-up, such as Lisa-Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday post. She gives a one word prompt during a wild and crazy fun 'twitter party' on Thursday nights and then 100's of bloggers join in the exercise of writing in five minutes an unedited free flowing post on that one word. We then all link up on Lisa-Jo's page on Friday!  I have to admit though that even in this, I break all the rules. I only participate sporadically and when I do it usually takes longer than five minutes to write…and then…sometimes...I do the unthinkable. I  edit! Gasp!! But the original intent of the exercise is to just get us writing.  Sometimes I do it in the 5 minutes and other times, not so much. Either way it's a win-win for me when I choose to participate in the link-up.

The actual process goes something like this:
When I write I tend to just let the words flow just to get them written down. I might stop for a tea break, and then go back and read back over what I had written, editing as needed. I will do a read-through several times before hitting the 'publish' button.  It helps to step away for a few hours or even overnight and come back with fresh eyes and go back over it; this time with an eye on grammar, spelling, and clarity. Inevitably I will read it after it has been published and see something I missed in the editing process. At some point I just have to 'let it go' and pray that God will use my words to encourage and inspire.

And now for the fun part!  I get to introduce you to some pretty awesome ladies! 

First, I would like to introduce you to my friend, Donna O' Shaughnessy. I'm really not sure how long I have known Donna but we met and have gotten to know each other through two different Facebook groups, Better Writers and Better Bloggers. Also, we both participate (rather sporadically) in the Five Minute Friday link-up community.  I love her passion for life, family, Jesus, and photography! Oh and 
when you visit her page be sure to ask her about 'river-tiquing'. 

Born and raised in good 'ole Brooklyn, NY, Donna, the hubby, and their 4 amazing children moved to the beautiful mountains of NE PA just over fifteen years ago. At City Chick in the Country she discusses Faith, Family, and Facing {Mid}Life head on! As the empty next draws near, she is anticipating the post-parenting years and is excited for whatever God has in store. She is passionate about Christ, inspired by photography, and LOVES all things NYC! 
You can visit Donna's blog, City Chick in the Country, to hear words of  encouragement, or connect with her on Facebook , Twitter, and Instagram.

Next I would like to introduce you to a wonderful friend, Jennifer Saake, whom I have just had the privilege of getting acquainted with earlier this year.  We actually connected because I had planned to host an (in) Real Life Conference meet up in our area and she was interested in attending with a few other ladies. I ended up going to Tennessee to do a combination Book Launch/(in)RL meet up Retreat instead and did not get to meet with Jennifer. We did find that we have some things in common…dealing with the aftermath of stroke.  Of course while I have never suffered a stroke, I do understand some of the struggles with rehab because my son, Brad, has gone through this.  Jennifer leads an online group of the most amazing Christian women who all deal with brain injury in one way or the other and encourage one another on the journey.  You will love getting to know Jennifer as I have.

"InfertilityMom" Jenni Saake, by God's grace, has been married to her college sweetheart for 22 years and they are parents to 3 living miracles here on earth and 3 beloved children awaiting them in Heaven. She is the founder of Hannah's Prayer Ministries and author of Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage and Adoption Loss. After a chiropractic accident at age 39, she suffered 6 strokes, sustaining significant brain injury, and is blogging the spiritual and physical recovery journey at StrokeOfGrace.blogspot.com

Visit her blog, Stroke Of Grace, to hear her amazing story and find out about her latest book project. Connect with her on Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest.

Last, but certainly not least, we're going over the pond to introduce you to my long time friend, Selena Jones.  Selena and I met many years ago in Indiana. We were both serving as youth sponsors at White River Christian Church in Noblesville, Indiana.  Our daughters were good friends, so we naturally became friends.  We mom's have to stick together!  Selena was an accountant from Texas, but don't let that accountant title fool you…she is so.much. fun!  We had lost track of each other through the years and then reconnected on Facebook and discovered that we have more in common now…both being bloggers and loving photography and travel.  Since working along side her in Indiana, she has experienced some rather drastic and adventurous changes in her life. She met and fell in love with Matthew(a.k.a. The Englishman), married, moved to England and has been travel blogging ever since with her 'prince'. She has won numerous awards as an expat travel blogger and when you visit her site you will see why! I have  vicariously traveled through Europe and beyond while reading her posts! I hope to one day actually get together with her again(in person), on her turf…because, after all, why meet here in Nevada when we could be having tea in London? Right?!
This is how she describes herself:
Meet Selena: An American expat living in London. Not your typical, adventurous travel blogger. "I'm a Texas accountant who married a globe-trotting Englishman. We're now living in London and exploring the world. Travel+Photography+Blogging = Happiness.  I'm way over 40. I hate carrying a backpack, too heavy.  I don't own a pair of hiking boots, binoculars or an Outback hat.  You will never catch me rock-climbing, bungee-jumping or sky-diving. I refuse to do anything that involves, a harness and a waiver. I'm not very adventurous and I quite enjoy my comfort zone.  But, I am a traveler and a blogger."

She and 'the Englishman' travel and write together about their travels…and I would just disagree on one thing. This woman loves adventure. ;-)     You can read more about them and their adventures…um, travels at Oh, The Places We Will Go.  You can connect with Selena on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can follow her on Instagram to get a look at some of her amazing photos!

And now I must come to a close on this post, my part of this blog hop is over. I hope this has been as much fun for you as it has for me! Each of these ladies will be introducing three more writer friends next week, so be sure to check back with their blogs to discover more amazing bloggers! One last thing.

What is your passion? What questions would you need to answer in order to pin point that passion, that burning thing that won't let go? Perhaps it is God's call on your life. So don't ignore it. Just do it!