Friday, October 22, 2010

Extra, extra! - Page-a-Day Tool

Having trouble keeping up with your page-a-day writing goal? Here's a website that makes it easy:

Trying to figure out how to market your work? Here's a link that gives some how-to's for a successful pitch:

Creating a Culture that Fosters Writing

Something there is in a postmodern that loves to hear a story. But... postmoderns should also love to tell a story.

Kent said it best: We need more Lukes!

Cut to my life. I’m overjoyed to report that since I last blogged on helping one of my students start a book, a second student has come to me about writing a novel! (All this while I helped a first-semester student publish some short fiction, and she’s raring for more.) I truly am happier about seeing my students progress with their writing than I am about any of my own projects.

We do need more Lukes, and I think it’s incumbent upon both teachers and experienced Apostolic writers to encourage our peers and those coming after us. So on the heels of Kent’s post, I want to figure out how we can foster and encourage more Lukes.

Why the Surge in Writing?

Here’s why I think writing is starting to blossom at our college:

1)Our administration over the last ten years has implemented writing across the curriculum. While there will always be some students who struggle with this, I believe it has shown students the value of writing, and the practice has developed articulate students who can communicate aptly through written word. The policy itself says to students that writing matters.

2)I believe that now its fifth year, the Writing Center is achieving one of its purposes. It is initiating student writing projects by giving them both a place to seek guidance and encouragement as well as technical support and training.


It Just Takes One

Maybe the biggest factor is just how contagious writing can be. When word got out that the first student was writing a book, it encouraged the second student to take action on a dream he’d never (for whatever reason) been able to pursue on his own.

The point? Alone and isolated, the idea of writing—much less getting published—seems foreign and unattainable. But when you see the testimony of someone else, you have a model that builds your faith in the process and the possibilities.

So How Do We Apply This

If we agree the world needs more Lukes, we need to help writers around us. Here’s what I came up with by applying what’s worked for us at the college.

#1 – Support through Community.... If you know someone with an interest in writing, get them connected to this blog. It can provide them with a network of support as well as practical writing help.

#2 – Partner with the Writer.... Help someone with those “getting started” woes—you remember how overwhelming it was. A positive word can validate and give courage to what could be one of our next great Apostolic writers. Help him/her—we don’t need lone ranger Apostolic writers out there battling with no support. Writing is a solitary enough act as it is; at least be a positive voice for the fledgling writer. Encourage, encourage, encourage!

What’s in It for Me?

I subscribe to the belief that in helping others, your writing craft will be strengthened. Not some kind of help-them-and-the-universe-will-one-day-give-back-to-you-the-perfect-novel-of-your-own karma vibe, but in seeing where these writers struggle and helping them through it, I’m learning how to apply this to my own writing one day. And most importantly, and it’s incredibly fulfilling be part of the process of a writer finding his/her voice.


A - Who do you know who has a story that needs to be told? Help him or her. It’ll strengthen your ability as you look from the outside-in over someone else’s shoulder, and you’ll bless that person whose story needs to be told and the world who needs to hear it.

B - Let's create a list of helpful books for beginning writers. What 3 must-read books would your recommend to a new writer getting started? Won't you share?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

For How Shall They Hear Without A Writer?

To me, the saddest verses in the Acts of the Apostles are where Paul and Baranabas split up forever. Acts 15:39-40 says:

“And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.”

I’m not sad that there was an angry scism between these two Apostolic giants. (And make no mistake, Barnabas was a spiritual giant on par with both Peter and Paul.) Holy Ghost-filled humans are still humans. Both continued in successful ministries separately, probably respecting and admiring the other.

No, why these verses are so sad is because Luke didn’t follow Barnabas and John Mark. But if he did that, then Paul’s ministry would have been overlooked, you say? No one would know of this amazing missionary’s many triumphs! And that’s why I’m so sad. If only another Luke had followed Barnabas and John Mark to record their amazing miracles and multiplying revivals! Barnabas’ incredible minstry disappears from our minds because there was no one to record it. But he kept living and bringing people to Christ. Think how many more powerful chapters could have been added to the Acts of the Apostles if someone had done that!

Of all the multiple thousands involved in the First Century Church, only Luke seems to have recognized the importance of writing all of these miracles and wonders down. We think it must have been obvious - Acts is swarming with incredible spiritual events! - but evidently it wasn’t to the locals, because no one else wrote it down.

Luke was a physician by training, but a writer by calling. No one told him to do it. No one paid him to do it. But what if he hadn’t done it?

Humans have never had more tools to record stories than they do today. You can blog, video, tweet, text, snap, and email with the simplest effort. Our problem is the problem of the rest of the First Century Church—we don’t recognize the importance of what’s going on around us. What are the Acts of the Apostles in Tulsa, OK? What are the Acts of the Apostles in Denham Springs, LA? What are the Acts of the Apostles in Long Island, NY? What are the Acts of the Apostles in Montgomery, AL? What are the Acts of the Apostles in Chicagoland? Are we overlooking the Barnabas revivals in our lives just because we’re “busy”? Will future generations never hear of any local moves and miracles in 2010 because we don’t have the clarity to see what’s right in front of us?

It’s time for a generation of Lukes to arise and record that God is still alive and participating in the world today. Are you up for the challenge?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Appendix A: Facebook, Twitter, Books! Oh My!

More to come soon, but until then enjoy the links!
  • This is old news: Anne Rice quit Christianity (but not Christ). Naturally the media gave this much more attention than when she announced her conversion. Oh well.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Appendix A: Your Marriage Is Too Easy

  • Apparently you didn’t want to be married to Leo Tolstoy. (Not that you ever had a chance.)
  • Don’t buy the media hype, as too often the echo chamber ignores the truth about print: Bookstores can thrive in the 21st Century!
  • Benjamin Percy has been on the horizon as an author to watch. Here’s a full interview about his latest novel.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Appendix A: Are Labels Useful?*

Anna has an interesting discussion going on over at Transpositions on whether there is (or should be) such a thing as "Christian Literature". What do you think?

*Edited for spelling. Thanks to whomever pointed out "lables" should be spelled "l-a-b-e-l-s". Just checking, folks!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Nimrod 2010

OK, so admittedly my research skills are a bit rusty...What do the University of Tulsa's literary journal and the first mighty man, a hunter, of scriptural fame have in common? The name Nimrod. I've just never been able to discover the connection between the two or even imagine one.

An easier connection to make is the one naturally occurring between the Nimrod literary journal and the annual conference by the same name held each year. It kind of figures that if you publish a world-famous literary journal, you should name your prestigious conference after the journal. Wield that mighty pen, O Nimrod!

A connection I will be making, God-willing, is the one from here to Tulsa where said literary conference is being held October 23.

Between now and then, my pen-wielding hand will be revising odd fragments into great art. This year, the Nimrod theme is "Spinning Legends, Telling Truths". Besides breakout workshop sessions with such notables as Molly Peacock (How to Read a Poem and Start a Poetry Circle) and David Wroblewski (Edgar Sawtelle), there are one-on-one sessions with an editor. Fifteen minutes with a pro can be worth a semester of half-hearted peer reviews. This I know from experience.

November fast approaches, comrades. Are you ready for the challenge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)?

With a milestone birthday occurring in November, I think thirty days of dedication to the novelist's craft might be just the way to celebrate.

Reading: G.M. Hopkins' "Hurrahing in Harvest"
Listening: Kate Rusby's folksy "Old Man Time"