Monday, October 29, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction--October 29

A Step in the Write Direction
October 29, 2012
Seven years ago when my husband was in the hospital for five weeks, a damaging storm hit our mobile home court. I was having trouble getting to sleep, and then these words came to me: “I will lay me down in peace and sleep.” I repeated them over and over, in time to my breathing, until I fell asleep. Later I found them in Psalm 4:8. I still say these words on nights when I can’t sleep.
I was disappointed in the World Series outcome, but after talking with a friend at church yesterday who lost her husband a month ago, and getting an email from a writer friend Saturday night whose husband had just died, how can I complain about baseball?
Busy week ahead. Typing a 192-page book for a publisher, have a manuscript to edit, then will be teaching two classes—How to Write and Sell Your Poetry and Writing Devotionals—at the two-day Arizona Christian Writers Conference this Friday and Saturday. Hope to see some of you there.
Thought for the Day:
Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim (Tyler Knott Gregson)
Laugh for the Day:
A minister had a ready Scripture for every occasion. While he was preaching, he swallowed a fly and quickly said, "He was a stranger and I took him in."
Book Recommendation:
If you’re looking for a gift for your children this Christmas, I highly recommend The First Christmas, retold by Janice D. Green. This book not only tells the story in easy-to-understand language of Joseph and Mary, but also of Elizabeth and Zechariah, the shepherds, and the wise men. Best of all, besides the delightful illustrations by Violet Vandor, the book includes questions at the end of the thirteen scenes that will lead to interesting family discussions. You can order it from Honeycomb Adventures Press, LLC.
Writing Hints:
In editing manuscripts I find that many authors do not know how to properly quote a citation. Following is a sample:
Author, name of book in italics, then in parentheses—city, state of publication, followed by colon, then name of publisher and copyright date), comma, then page number. If one page, then p. 1; if more than one page, then pp. 1-2. Actually, many publishers omit the p. and just put the page number. Example:
Goodrich, Donna. A Step in the Write Direction—the Complete How-to Book for Christian Writers (Enumclaw, WA: UpWrite Publishers, 2011), 15.
If that author and book has been cited previously in the same chapter, then you only need the last name, short title, and page number, i.e., Goodrich, A Step in the Write Direction, 15.
If author and book has been cited immediately preceding, then it's Ibid, 15.
I know you’re all praying for the upcoming election. But as someone wrote on Facebook, “No matter who’s president, Jesus is still King!”
Donna Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction--October 22, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction
October 22, 2012
While singing an old hymn at church recently, one line jumped out at me from the song “Constantly Abiding”—“All the world seemed to sing of a Savior and King when peace sweetly came to my heart. Troubles all fled away…” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, when we became a Christian, our troubles all fled away? Unfortunately, as we know, this isn’t always the case, and we shouldn’t assure people of this when we’re witnessing to them. But, thank God, the line preceding it is true: “Peace sweetly came to my heart.” In the midst of illness, grief, financial worries, worries about our children, we can still have peace “in the midst of the storm.” (P.S. to this: I heard a great song this week by Jason Crabb titled “Sometimes I Cry” that really shows the humanness of being a Christian.”)
This has been a good week. My husband’s Coumadin level went up to 2.2 which is now normal, and we’re thankful for all the prayers. On Tuesday morning I spoke to a group of about 130 seniors on the topic “The Freedom of Letting Go.” One man told me it helped him let go of a state he didn’t want to leave, and another woman shared how it helped her let go of a child who was living a different lifestyle.
Thought for the Day:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. (Mark Twain)
Laugh for the Day:
Five year old Betty was taken to church for the first time. After the service, the preacher stopped her and asked her how she liked it. "I liked the music okay," said Betty," but the commercial was too long."
Writing Hints:
A writer working on her first book asked some interesting questions in a recent e-mail. Thinking some of you may have these same questions, I’ve included them in this blog.
How do you decide on a Table of Contents?
It helps to outline your book ahead of time, decide how many chapters you will have, and what the titles will be. If you've looked at my Web site, you’ve seen the chapter titles of my "Freedom of Letting Go" book. (If not, they are below.)
I had been collecting material for this book for years and pretty much had the topics in mind for the chapters (based on my own experience and the experiences of friends who shared with me). So the Table of Contents was pretty easy.
How do you choose a title?
For some reason the title usually comes to me first. Perhaps your book is related to a particular Scripture verse and you can use that, or a quotation that you put on a half title page, or the words of a song. Mainly, ask yourself, if you saw this title on a store bookshelf or in a catalog, would you want to pick it up?
The Freedom of Letting Go was easy, and I took the title of my writing book A Step in the Write Direction from the name of my daylong workshops I teach. Following are some titles from articles I sold:
“Water, Water Everywhere, but Not a Drop to Drink”—an article on water beds
“The Great Cover-Up”—an article on upholstering your furniture
“Breaker, Breaker”—a story about a neighbor with an irritating CB radio that bled into
our TV and my tape recorder.
“Breakdown in Buckeye”—a personal experience story about our car’s breakdown in
Buckeye, Arizona, on the way to California, and how the Lord answered prayer.
How do you write an Introduction and long should it be?
In my Freedom book I first gave the reason for writing the book (it took me 11 years to let go of my mother after she died), then summarized the contents of the chapters. In the final book, the Introduction was 4 pages.
A note here: It also helps if you can get a well-known person to write a Foreword. For “Freedom” I was lucky enough to get Dennis Hensley, the author of about 70 books. For A Step in the Write Direction," Sally Stuart wrote a beautiful foreword.
How do you write a bio?
First, the length depends on the publisher’s requirements. I have about 10 of various lengths, depending if it’s for writing or speaking. If any of you would like to see these samples, email me at:
Have a great week, and may God’s peace be with you,
no matter what you’re going through. Remember,
sometimes God stills the storm; other times
He chooses to walk through the storm with you.
The Freedom of Letting Go
1 Letting Go of Grief
Do you have trouble saying good-bye to a loved one — a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend? You can let go and move on.
2. Letting Go of Failures — Your Own and Other People’s
Sometimes it’s easier to let go of other people’s failures than it is your own. You can do both.
3. Letting Go of Your Successes
Do you keep reminding yourself and others of your successes? Are these successes in man’s eyes or God’s? Your talents are only on loan from God.
4. Letting Go of Possessions
Do you have an addiction to credit cards? Learn how to simplify your life and break the habit of craving material things to bring you happiness.
5. Letting Go of the Hurts in Your Life
Do hurtful words and actions keep spinning in your head? Do you relive the pain over and over? Put these hurts in the “forgiven” file.
6. Letting Go of Your Children
Are you experiencing the empty nest syndrome? Have your children strayed from your teachings? Let go, and leave them in God’s hands.
7. Letting Go of Health Issues
Is your main topic of conversation an “organ recital”? Do you worry about your family’s health? Let Scripture be your guide instead of
8. Letting Go of Your Youth
Do clerks offer you the senior discount ten years early? Does getting old depress you? Learn how to look in the mirror and laugh!
9. Letting Go of Guilt
Even though you know God has forgiven you, do past sins come back to haunt you? You can leave them all at the cross.
10. Letting Go of Control
Do you always have to be in charge? Does it bother you when someone else is? Accept the fact that God is in control — and He does a much better job.
11. Letting Go of Worry
If worry was an Olympic event, would you take home the gold medal? Turn them over to God and relax.
12. Letting Go of Doubt
Have your family and friends nicknamed you “Thomas”? Accept God’s promises and know that His foundation stands sure (2 Timothy 2:19 kjv).
13. Letting Go of Fear
Are you fearful of tomorrow? There are 365 “fear nots” in God’s Word — one for each day of the year. Select one and make it your own.
The Land Beyond Letting Go
Now that you’ve let go of the things holding you back, discover what can take their place so you can “press on toward the goal” (Philippians 3:14 niv).
Donna Clark Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction--October 15

A Step in the Write Direction
October 15, 2012
I need some prayer today. Believe it or not, I bumped my head again last week on the corner of a metal file cabinet drawer and have a headache. Also, I had to go to the eye doctor twice who removed some eyelashes from my eye that had scratched the cornea. It’s still sore—and tomorrow I’ll be speaking on “The Freedom of Letting Go” to about 150 seniors. I’m praying I’ll be 100% better by then!
Today my husband’s has another Coumadin test to see if his level has gone up. They told him a month ago he had a blood clot in the heart and put him on the blood thinner. His level is supposed to be between 2 and 3. So far it’s only been 1 and 1.3, even though they keep increasing the dosage. He’s up to 3 a day now of 4 mg. So at 2:30 we’ll find out if that’s enough….Also my sister is having a new pacemaker put in today.
I proofread the final copies last week of the grandmother/mother anthology, and also the Advent book “Preparing Your Heart for Christmas” and sent back corrections. So as you can see, it’s been a crazy week here as usual. Our pastor preached a good sermon yesterday on prayer. Aren’t you thankful you don’t have to make an appointment to ask God for help? Or press 1 for English, 2 for another language, or leave a Voice Mail.
I don’t very often forward YouTube information, but if you want to hear a beautiful rendition of “How Great Thou Art” in which one man sings all four parts, go to:
Thought for the Day:
“When you’re in a difficult place, realize that the Lord either placed you there, or allowed you to be there for reasons known only to Him. The same God who led you there will lead you out” (My pastor Ira Brown, 7/8/12).
Laugh for the Day:
One Sunday, a pastor shared a financial need with his congregation and asked them to donate more than usual into the offering plate, saying that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns. After the offering plates were passed, the pastor saw that someone had placed a $1,000 bill in the offering. Excited, he said he'd like to personally thank the person who placed the money in the plate. A very quiet, elderly, saintly looking lady shyly raised her hand. The pastor called her to the front, told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much, and in thanks asked her to pick out three hymns. Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation, pointed to the three most handsome men in the building, and said, "I'll take him and him and him."

Writing Hints:

For any of you who write poetry, there’s a good article in this month’s “Writing for Dollars.” Check it out at: There’s also a place where you can subscribe to this free newsletter.

Supplies (continued)—Books:
Roget’s Thesaurus
Strunk/White Elements of Style
World Almanac/atlas
Rhyming dictionary (if a poet)
Writer’s Market
Christian Writer’s Market Guide
Chicago Manual of Style 15th edition
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 11th edition (12th edition coming soon)
Though you can find much of this material online, I love my books of poetry and
quotations. I also have a number of biographical books in which I can look up almost
any famous person and find a few paragraphs about him or her, including their date of
birth and/or death. Depending on your writing, you may want to purchase medical and
legal dictionaries, and other books relating to your particular genre.
You’ll also find it useful to get on government mailing lists. If you send to any one of the following three agencies, you can receive tons of information on various topics. Much of this information is free; the rest can be obtained for a small fee.
U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents
Washington, D.C. 20402
(on GPO Quick Links, click on Catalog of U.S. Government Publications)
Consumer Information Center
Department CA
Pueblo, CO 81009
(ask to be put on mailing and e-mail list)
The Council of Better Business Bureaus
4200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 800
Arlington, VA 22203-1838
(ask for list of publications)
(information also available on this Web site for Canadian Council)
You can also get on other mailing lists such as the Department of Education and
Department of Health Welfare. These offices will send you fact sheets on such topics as
abortion, latchkey kids, and many others, including changes in legislation.
I pray you have a good week. Next week we’re answering some questions a reader asked about writing an Introduction, a bio, and a Table of Contents.
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction--October 8, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction
October 8, 2012
Not much to write along the personal line. Pretty normal week with a proofreading job (Israel and Iran) and proofreading the latest anthology: Grandmother, Mother, and Me—Stories, Poetry, and Recipes…
Do you ever wish you knew what the future would hold (blood test coming up this morning for my husband)? Two songs come to mind:
If we could see, if we could know, we often say,
But God in love a veil doth throw across our way.
We cannot see what lies before, and so we cling to Him the more.
He’ll lead us till this life is o’er. Trust and obey.
(“If We Could See Beyond Today”
and these words from an old hymn, “Lead Kindly, Light”:
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene;
one step enough for me.
Thought for the Day:
“Try and fail, but don't fail to try. . . . Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength” (Alexander Pushkin).
Laugh for the Day:
A man has a dog called Mace, which he keeps in the house all the time because all it does is eat grass. He also has a favorite tool, his wrench, which he uses all the time. One day he loses the wrench. He looks everywhere for it but can't find it. The dog gets out, eats all his grass and there in the middle of the lawn is his wrench. The man starts singing, "A grazing Mace, how sweet the hound, that saved a wrench for me." [Insert groan here.]
Setting Up Your Office (Supplies):
After purchasing necessary equipment such as a computer, printer, and desk, below is a list of other supplies you may want to keep on hand:
  • Toner—can get refilled at some office supply stores
  • Paper—copy paper fine (not “Xerox” paper; “Xerox” is a trade name, not an adjective). (Staples often has big sales on cases—buy one, get one free, etc. Go in with other writers and buy a case.)
  • Pens, pencils, paper clips
  • Envelopes—#10, 9x12, priority (for publishers who accept manuscripts snail mail)
  • Address labels
  • Scotch tape; scissors
  • Maps, travel brochures (great for accurate information when writing fiction and nonfiction)
  • Stapler, staples, ruler
  • Tape recorder—tapes and batteries if you’re not using digital recorder (someday I’ll learn how to use my new digital recorder)
  • Camera, film, batteries, memory cards
  • Index cards
  • Rubber bands
  • Postage, postage scale (however, anything over 13 oz. has to be mailed at a post office)
  • Legal/steno/scratch pads (legal pads are my weakness!)
  • File folders
  • Telephone message pads
  • Business card holder
  • Telephone/address/Internet address book
  • A “Do not disturb/Writer at work” sign (unless they bring chocolate!)
Use this list to keep track of your writing expenses for tax purposes. As a writer, you are considered self-employed and will have to file a Schedule C. All your writing and speaking income will be taxable; however, your business expenses are deductible as well.
After you deduct your expenses from your earnings, if you make over a certain amount,
you’ll have to pay self-employment tax. (I have a list of tax deductions for writers. Email me if you’d like it.) You may want to purchase two sets of supplies: one for the family and one for your office.
Have a good week! (Remember, you can send in questions and prayer
requests for this blog.)

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

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction--October 1

A Step in the Write Direction
October 1, 2012
It can't be October already! Seems like we just celebrated Christmas! This week hopefully won’t be as busy as last week’s was with doctor’s appointments and a funeral for our good friend. Just finishing a 416-page proofreading job on “Big Questions on the Bible.” Very interesting. Today I get another 240-page job on “Iran and Israel.” Very timely.
I don’t get into politics, but our pastor preached a good sermon yesterday on respecting and praying for our leaders. Even if and when we don’t agree with them, we need to be in prayer for them and for our country, especially with the election coming up.
If you check out my blog site at you’ll notice I finally figured out how to put a profile and a photo on it (hope that doesn’t scare any of you away!). Now I just have to learn how to put a “follow” on it. If any of you know how to do this, email me @
Thought for the Day:
“Don’t you know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who lives in the eternal now, can enter that old painful memory and heal it so that it will no longer control you?” (Richard Foster, cited by Cynthia H. Bezek, “The Role of Inner-Healing Prayer in Spiritual Transformation.”
Laugh for the Day:
When comedian Yakov Smirnoff first came to the United States from Russia he was not prepared for the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He says, "On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk—you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice—you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to myself, “What a country!"
Writing Hints: Organization
F.A. Rockwell defines an expert as “someone who knows no more than you do, but who has it better organized and uses slides.” Successful writing requires organization. For me that means at least one four-drawer file cabinet. I did put all my manuscripts—sold and unsold—on a CD, with a copy in a fireproof safe, and this emptied two drawers. For my posterity, however, I printed off copies of each one and put them in notebooks divided into nonfiction, fiction, devotionals, poetry, and so on. And I still keep paper submission records, even though I include that information on the CD with each manuscript.
Several writer friends subscribe to Carbonite, a software program that automatically and
securely backs up the contents of your computer for an annual fee. Even if your computer
is stolen, Carbonite has it all. (See for more information.)
I also keep idea folders. When I get more than one idea on the same subject, I give it a tentative title and a folder. Then when I find more material relating to that theme, or I have time to work on that particular manuscript, everything is in one place. You can also scan this information into a computer file.
And I keep files of quotations and articles. I read the newspapers with a pen and scissors, and as soon as I clip something, I immediately put the source and the date at the top. These clippings can also be scanned onto a CD or into a file, but I like the idea of going through the folders looking for a specific illustration. Whenever I do this, I always get ideas for other projects. Quotations or illustrations I find on the Internet, or that friends send me via e-mail, I download to a “Quotations” file….I also keep files related to different aspects of writing.
What organizational ideas would you like to pass on?
Christmas is coming. Below are some ideas for gifts for your friends:
NEW in 2012: Celebrating Christmas with...Memories, Poetry, and Good Food. 292 pages of Christian stories, poetry, and delicious recipes.
Price $20, plus $3 s&h
COMING IN OCTOBER: Grandmother, Mother, and Me: Stories, Poems, and Recipes. 250 pages. You'll enjoy these authors' reminiscences of times spent with their mothers and grandmothers, and the recipes they enjoyed sharing with them.
Price (tentative) $17, plus $3 s&h
Preparing Your Heart for Christmas--31 devotionals to help you celebrate the Christmas season.
Price $10, plus $2 s&h
Rhyme-Time Bible Stories for Little Ones--12 Bible stories in poetry that your little one will enjoy hearing read time after time after time. Price will be around $15.
Other books are listed on my Web site.
Donna Clark Goodrich