Monday, August 27, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction--August 27, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction
August 27, 2012


Several months ago I submitted two gift books to a publisher: one for mothers and one on friendship. They turned them down because they had changed the length of their gift books and mine weren’t long enough. I took the chance and wrote and asked them if I doubled the size, if they would look at them again. I also asked if they were interested in one for fathers. They said yes to all three questions! So last week I worked on doubling the first two gift books and will resubmit them tomorrow.

Thought for the Day:

Flying Lesson

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It's too high!
And they came,
And he pushed,
And they flew.
—Christopher Logue

Laugh for the Day:

A visitor at a state prison asked one of the prisoners, "What's your name?"

"9742," the prisoner replied.

"Is that your real name?"

"Naw, it's my pen name."

Time Management Hints (continued):

10. Occasionally Forget Writing

Sometimes you need to get away from writing entirely and recharge your batteries.

In one “Winnie the Pooh” comic strip, Rabbit carries a ladder past Pooh and says, “No
time for talk, Pooh! I’m busy, busy, busy fixing my roof.”

Pooh says, “My goodness, Rabbit! Don’t you ever take time out just to smell the

“By George! You're right, Pooh!” Rabbit agrees.

Later, when Piglet stops to talk, Rabbit breathlessly says, “No time for talk, Rabbit.
I’m busy, busy, busy smelling the flowers.”

Get away from the computer for a while. Read a good book. Attend a concert. Watch
a favorite TV program. Go for a walk. Take your children or grandchildren to the park
or the zoo. Browse the mall. Take time for yourself, and your writing will be better for
it. You’ll pick up a lot of new ideas as well!

Have a good week spreading the gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction

A Step in the Write Direction
August 20, 2012

Thought for Today:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade wins in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” (Mark Twain).

Laugh for Today (good for this time of year):

"What do you mean," roared the politician, "by publicly insulting me in your paper. I demand a public apology."

"Just a moment," answered the editor, "we printed the item exactly as you gave it to us, that you had resigned your office."

"I know," the politician replied, "but why put it under 'Public Improvements'?"

Comment from last week’s blog: I am concerned about my own "dropping of the baton."…Every time I try and pick up the writing something else comes along to put it aside for a while. The past years have been draining for me and I don't use that as a reason not to write, but I need God's guidance. I am attempting to rest in His timing and hear what it is He has in mind for my writing.

My response: (I’m going to skip the Time Management hints this week to answer the above comment.)
I had a number of years when I was unable to do any writing: 18 years of owning and running an income tax/secretarial service; taking care of my husband (who has 12 different diseases); my mother’s death; and caring for an elderly uncle. But during all that time I stuffed a lot of notes in my “Ideas” folder, and the last couple of years I’ve been able to get back to my writing. I know many of you are going through rough times right now—financially, physically, perhaps even spiritually, but think of these trials as seeds for future articles, devotionals, short stories—even books!

My business led to two books published by John Wiley & Sons: How to Set Up & Run a Typing Service and How to Set Up & Run An Income Tax Business. My mother’s life led to a book God’s Christmas Angel, and a number of short stories, personal experience articles, and devotionals (some about my stepfather with dementia who visited us every year). I wrote about being a caretaker in “Living with a Disabled Husband,” and hopefully that will also lead to a caretaker anthology. Years ago, breaking up with a person of another faith led to the multi-published article “Should We Break Up?” All of my short stories were taken from events in my life with a “What If?” ending. Almost all of the chapters in my latest book The Freedom of Letting Go use personal experience illustrations.

My “bucket list” several years ago contained two main items: the Letting Go book and a writing book to offer people who called me saying, “I want to write. How do I get started?” Then my editing/proofreading work took a sudden dip and so did my income BUT that gave me more time to write, and during that time I finished A Step in the Write Direction—the Complete How-to Book for Christian Writers and The Freedom of Letting Go.

Remember, our ways are not always God’s ways, and neither is our timing!

Note: To read more about my background, click on the blog below:

Tapes for sale:
I know not many of you use cassette tapes anymore, but for those of you who do, I’ve been sorting through tapes of writing classes I’ve taught and have the following at $1 each, plus s&h, or all 33 for $25. Would be great to loan out to your writers group:

8 – Writing Your Personal Experience
5 – Where to Get Ideas
4 – Writing the Short Story
2 – Writing Devotionals
7 – Writing and Selling Your Poetry
9 – Selling What You Write
1 – Preparing a Manuscript for Publication
2 – Income Taxes for Writers
Donna Clark Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction--August 13, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction

August 13, 2012


Today, August 13, 2012, my husband and I celebrate our 52nd anniversary—and celebrate is the word as I’ve nearly lost him 12 times: a heart attack, 4 heart surgeries, diabetes, 3 fractured vertebrae (at different times), back surgery, broken hip, and double pneumonia, plus pernicious anemia, ankylosing spondylitis, and car accident (as a driver’s license examiner in which the driver taking the road test died of a heart attack). Can you see why I’m celebrating?!

Thought for Today:

In the 1988 Olympics, the world assumed that the United States would be victorious in the 400-meter relay. They simply were the best. The gun cracked and they were off and running. After the last curve the unthinkable happened. The United States was ahead by 10 meters with no real competition in sight. And then, with victory in their grasp, it happened. They dropped the baton. The thousands in the stands gasped in disbelief. The United States team—sleek, muscular, and fast as leopards, lost the race. Why? Someone dropped the baton. I would hate for us as a church [writer!] to be the people who dropped the baton. What is God calling us to be and to do as God's people in this time and this place? It's not a question of resources but a question of faith. (King Duncan, Collected Sermons,

Laugh for Today

An atheist was walking through the woods. ”What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!” he said to himself. Walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. As he turned to look, he saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path, but the bear closed in on him. He tripped and fell on the ground. Rolling over to pick himself up, he saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him. At that instant the atheist cried out, “Oh my God!”

The bear froze. The forest was silent. And as a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky. “You deny my existence for all these years and teach others I don't exist. Do you expect me to help you now? Am I to count you as a believer?”

The atheist looked directly into the light. “It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps you could make the bear a Christian.”

”Very well,” said the voice.

The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. The bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head, and spoke: “For this food which I am about to receive, may the Lord make me truly thankful, Amen.”

Time Management Hints, continued

9. Learn to Say No

There is nothing wrong with church, school, and community involvements, but what
takes precedence in your life? Do these jobs crowd out what God wants you to do? My
mother used to say that God sometimes takes away the good so He can give us His best.
We can keep saying yes to so many things we enjoy doing that we end up not having
any energy left over for what God has called us to do.

Jan Johnson said that she kept committing herself to projects that left her feeling
empty. “I grew afraid,” she said, “that I would wake up at the end of my life and wonder
why I hadn’t accomplished my dreams—or even attempted them.”

Don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t feel guilty when you say no. And don’t feel you have to defend yourself. For years, whenever someone asked me to do something, I responded with a long list of my “to do’s.” It was almost as though I felt I had to justify my reason for saying no, and was too embarrassed to tell them I wanted to write. One evening I turned down a typing customer, telling the caller I had another job. “I didn’t know you had work to do for someone,” my husband commented when I hung up. “I don’t—for someone else,” I replied. “I plan to write tonight. That’s a job!”

Say no to something this week that SOMEONE ELSE can do so you can do what God has called YOU to do!


“We are called to write, and I feel we will be held responsible at the Judgment for the people that we could have helped but didn’t because we didn’t write what God laid on our hearts to write” (Harold Ivan Smith).
Donna Clark Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction--August 6, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction

August 6, 2012


One disadvantage of sending out proposals via e-mail is that you get rejections (or as our critique group calls them “pre-acceptances”) so much faster. And, to make it worse, when you send them out in the evening, you think you won’t hear anything until at least the next day. But when you send them to countries in other time zones, you can hear within the hour!

Most of our telephone calls last weekend were to and from our daughter and family in Oklahoma. The fires were about four miles from their house, and they could see thick black smoke and flames from their front door. One of their church members lost about 40 acres of land, but her horses and cattle were safe. I’ve put pix on Facebook for anyone who wants to see them. The first picture is from their front yard; the last three are where houses once stood.

Thought for Today:

"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).

Laugh for Today:

The cub reporter was told to keep his copy short and stick to the bare facts. Sent on his first accident story, he turned in this copy: "S. White looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on its way down. It was. Age 45."

Top Ten Query Mistakes

Go to to read agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog on this.


Q: An editor told me to single-space my assignment with no indents in paragraphs. How do I do this?
A: First, do single-space your manuscript as instructed. Second, put a hard return (click on “enter”) only at the end of a paragraph. Third, do not indent your paragraph using a tab or spacing. Adding the hard return will indicate a new paragraph.
Donna’s note: On a normal, double-spaced manuscript, use tab for an indent. DO NOT use space bar. This makes it easier for an editor to delete tabs when desired. Also, DO NOT use space bar to reach the center of a page. Use the shortcut Ctrl e.  
Time Management Hints (continued)

Comments on last week’s hint: “On # 5, when I worked at Mary Kay as a consultant, she advised we write down the 5 things we needed to do the next day at night before going to bed. Five is an easy number to handle. I still try to do that, when I remember!” Anne Grace

And Pat Rowland writes, “I see myself in your description of personal list making. I tend to put way too many things down. A close friend told me once I couldn't set goals because I had to write them out too perfectly. That was dead on. My friend's remark was really a wake up call for me. I don't know that I'm a lot better, but I’m certainly aware of my problem now.”

On to more hints:

7. Set Goals

If you can’t write every day, set a goal of perhaps writing one article or a certain number of pages in a week. This gives you the freedom to choose which hours or days you will write. Regardless of what you hear at every writers’ conference, there is nothing magic about “two hours a day.” Don’t put yourself on a guilt trip if you have younger children or a spouse with health problems or aging parents. Can you find one afternoon or evening a week? Can you exchange child care with another writer? Can a neighbor or friend sit with your spouse or parent for a few hours while you go to the library?

Do you want to write a book? Make a list of what needs to be done before you can start
the actual writing. What research do you need to do? Who will you need to interview?
Now set a goal for each month; for example, by the end of January you'll complete
research for chapter 1. Even with limited time, you can finish this book. One page a
day, five days a week, will give you a 261-page book at the end of the year.

If you have a number of projects in mind and don’t know where to begin, make
a list and study it. Which project is the most important to you? To God? Which
book or article, story or poem, does a hurting world need today? Decide, and start

8. Organize

One author writes that we spend six weeks a year looking for things! Think of what you could do with those six weeks—organize your marketing files, write a book proposal, perhaps write a chapter or two of a book, a short story or article, read some writing books. The list goes on.

A file cabinet is the simplest method of organization. Buy one at a “crash and dent” sale;
it doesn’t matter what it looks like. Set up files for clippings (unless you have a scanner and can scan these clippings into categorized files), for ideas, for manuscripts, for sample magazines, for workshop notes, and an “A to Z” file for correspondence. Some writers work toward a “paperless” office. (The last time I did that and tossed my marketing records, my computer crashed and I had to go back and reconstruct all those records!) But however, you do it, as author/speaker Emilie Barnes says, “File, don’t pile!”

(To be continued, or you can read these hints in more detail in A Step in the Write Direction.)


“We are called to write, and I feel we will be held responsible at the Judgment for the people that we could have helped but didn’t because we didn’t write what God laid on our hearts to write” (Harold Ivan Smith).