Monday, January 27, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction--January 27, 2014--Why Do You Write?

A Step in the Write Direction

January 27, 2014

Update: Continue to pray with me that I can find another publisher for A Step in the Write Direction—both the original book and the student edition. ...Celebrated our youngest daughter’s birthday Sunday, and now—for three weeks—our children are 49, 50, 51. (Don’t know how they got that old that fast!)…Good thought from our pastor: “My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord has given me.” A conference speaker told the story of a minister glancing over the bookstand at a camp meeting. Picking up book after book, he finally said, “There’s nothing here to help me.” The speaker then asked our group, “Has the Lord called you to write something that would help that minister?” What has the Lord called you to write? What is keeping you from it?

Thought for Today:
After Judgment—Blessing in the Messiah’s Kingdom
Joy shall then be revealed,
And rest shall appear.
And then healing shall descend in dew,
And disease shall withdraw.... 
And anxiety and anguish and lamentation pass...
 And...abusive talk, and contentions, and revenges... 
envy, and hatred...are removed. 
2 Baruch 73:1-4
(Thanks to Wesley Tracy’s “Manna Morsels” for this thought. If you would like to get his daily 1-minute devotions, email him at:

Laugh for Today:
A man in prison was visited by a friend. "Have I got a proposition for you," he said. "When you finish your sentence, there's a bank out there just waiting to be robbed. I have it all figured out."  
So the prisoner got out, contacted his friend, they robbed the bank, and were immediately caught.
Moral of this story: Never end a sentence with a proposition!

Song for Today:
Take time to be holy. The world rushes on.
Spend much time in secret With Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, Like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
            (“Take Time to Be Holy,” William D. Longstaff)

Comments from a reader on last week’s post:
Thank you, Donna for the encouragement to do the small writings and not worry about the big project. I needed that right now. I've written on assignment for 2-3 places most years since the mid-80s, developing devotions for them. I love doing it and feel I do touch thousands through this ministry. There are times, however, when I feel it is too small of a ministry and want to do the bigger thing. I have a book in the making but believe the time isn't just right and maybe the story isn't complete yet. …Can't work much on it though I have six of the stories written. Hubby still requires much time and mental attention. Your thoughts encouraged me to keep on with what I'm doing.

 Writer’s Tips—Why Do You Write?
Some write to satisfy an inner need. But as a Christian, it’s more important to think how your writing can help meet the needs of others. As you write, ask yourself: What are my readers going through? What answers are they looking for? How can I help them? Sharing problems you’ve experienced in your life, and showing how God has helped you will encourage others going through something similar. There are other reasons to write, however.

Because Writing Is Therapeutic
Have you gone, or are going, through a rough period in your life—a divorce, a move, a broken relationship, the loss of a family member or friend? Putting these thoughts on paper not only helps you get through the experience, but your story, article, or poem can help others in their struggle.

Perhaps you’ve had days when you felt you didn’t have any friends. I experienced such a time in college and wrote about it in a story entitled “No Need to Be Lonely” which I sold to a teen Sunday school take-home paper.

Money problems? I wrote my first poem at the age of 9 for my mother when I couldn’t buy her a Mother’s Day gift.

Are you hurting inside? I wrote another poem for my father when I was 11, after he left my mother and married another woman.

Maybe you have health problems. My granddaughter looked forward to getting her driver’s license on her sixteenth birthday, but shortly before that day, she began having seizures. She wrote a story entitled “My Birthday Gift” and sold it to two teen magazines, sharing how a particular Bible passage became her life motto and helped her through this tough time.

(Continued next week)

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

Donna Clark Goodrich

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction--January 20, 2014--more editing hints

A Step in the Write Direction
January 20, 2014

Update: It’s official: WinePress Publishers has closed down. They sent me the files to my Step in the Write Direction book and also the student edition, so I’m presently searching for a new publisher. I’m thankful I do have an inventory here to sell as their printer is not printing any more orders at present….

Notes from yesterday’s sermon on Zechariah 4:6-10 on repairing the temple, especially verse 10: “Who has despised the day of small things?” Don’t worry if you don’t feel qualified to write a book right now. An average book may sell 3000-5000 copies, while a magazine article may attract 50,000 or more readers. Do small things faithfully, instead of trying to do one big thing in one big swoop. Also verse 6: “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.” Our pastor said, “Don’t focus on the obstacles or the rubble; focus on the Power.” He also talked about people who plan and plan and plan. “Stop planning,” he said, “and start doing.” And his final thought: “You’re still alive because you haven’t finished the job God gave you to do.” (Thank you, Pastor Ira Brown, for these thoughts!)

Thought for Today: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes" (Matthew 6:34 The Message).

Laugh for Today:
The Bathtub Test

During a visit to a mental asylum, I asked the director, “How do you determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.” “Well,” said the director, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup, and a bucket to the person and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.”

“Oh, I understand,” I said. “A normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.” “No, said the director. “A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed by the window?”
Top of Form
Bottom of Form

Song for Today:
(A song that meant a lot to me the night before a scary surgery when I was a pastor’s wife and the mother of three preschoolers):
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
                                    “In the Garden,” C. Austin Miles

Writer’s Tips:
Some other tips from a recent editing job:
·         You can use initial caps for Deity pronouns (i.e., He, Him, His, You, etc.) or lower case,  but be consistent.

·         Indent a quotation over four lines. In this case, you won’t need beginning and ending quotations marks, and use double quotation marks for any quotations within that quote.

·         Decide if you’re going to spell out numbers ten and under or ninety-nine and under, but be consistent. (Use your ABC sheet to jot down what you’re doing.) BUT spell out numbers at the beginning of a sentence (i.e., First Corinthians), and don’t change within a sentence (i.e., if you spell out a number in a sentence, then spell out the next ones—even if it doesn’t follow your selected rule).

·         You can use a comma in a series (i.e., red, white, and blue) or not, but be consistent.

·         Use a tab at the beginning of a paragraph. DON’T space over.

·         Same with centering a title. DON’T space over. To center something, simply click on Ctrl e.

·         After the last line on a space, don’t do numerous carriage returns to reach the next page. Simply click on Ctrl Enter, and this will take you automatically to the next page.

·         In days past, underlining a word indicated to the publisher that you wanted it placed in italics. This isn’t necessary anymore. Just click on Ctrl i and Word italicizes the word. (Ctrl b puts it in bold, but this isn’t used much anymore either.) E-mail me for more Microsoft Word shortcuts.

·         Don’t overuse “he said,” “she said.” Change paragraphs with each new speaker (I know; I didn’t do that in today’s joke); call the other person by name so the reader knows who’s speaking; or have the speaker perform some action. For example, instead of, “I’m going to the store,” said Janet. She picked up her purse.” Write, “I’m going to the store.” Janet picked up her purse.

Remember, the easier you can make it on the publisher, the better your finished book will look.

 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, January 13, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction--January 13, 2014--more editing hints

A Step in the Write Direction

January 13, 2014

Update: First of all, a happy birthday to my hubby. After nearly losing him 12 times, every birthday is a blessing!...We’ve attended four funerals at our church the last six weeks, older people who were the foundation of the church—one a charter member, and one I’ve known since I was born. Our pastor called them “matriarchs and patriarchs.” Listening to their eulogies and the influence they had on so many people reminded me of one of my dearest friends who was my Sunday school teacher when I was a teen-ager and continued to be a family friend until she passed away at the age of 101. Clara Bostwick was “Aunt Clara” to everyone. After she moved from Michigan to California, we enjoyed one of her chicken dinners every time we went to Disneyland. In one of her last letters to me she wrote, “It won’t be long before I’ll be going Home. Will you take my place?” I thought, “Take her place? No one could take her place.”

What about you? Is there someone today who has been your mentor and a godly person you look up to? If so, drop him or her a line today and thank them. If they’re gone, send a note to one of their family members and let them know how much this person meant to you! Or are you a godly mentor to someone you know?

Thought for Today: What was intended to "tear" you apart, God intends to use to "set" you apart (Ann Voskamp).

Laugh for Today: “I've just heard from a friend in Alexandria, Minnesota. She says it has been snowing heavily for three days now. Her husband has done nothing but stare through the window. If it doesn't stop soon, she'll probably have to let him in” (Southern Gospel News newsletter, 1/7/14).

Song for Today:
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow—
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

            —Thomas O. Chisholm, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

Writer’s Tips:
Some more hints from an editing job I just finished:

·        Be careful switching back and forth from present tense to past tense. Be consistent, unless it’s a flashback, then use a transition to bring the reader back up to date.

·        You can put your scriptures in Roman or in italics, but again, be consistent. However, if you’re using italics, the reference shouldn’t be in italics, just the verse.

·        Any verses (or other quotations) over four lines can be indented. In that case, you won’t need beginning and ending quotation marks.

·        The word Lord in the Old Testament almost always has the “ord” in small caps, i.e., Lord.  You can make the small caps by clicking on Ctrl, Shift, k, then type it in lower case.

·        Decide if you’re going to put a comma in series (i.e., red, white, and blue), and be consistent.

·        If you want to use a dash (for instance, if a person’s dialogue is interrupted by another speaker), this is made either by typing the word, two hyphens (no space before or after), type the next word, then when you hit the space bar, it automatically becomes a dash. Or, you can click on Ctrl, Alt, and the minus key on the number pad—again with no space before or after.

·        Spell out the books of the Bible. If the editor wants to use abbreviations, let it be up to them.

·        When you use an abbreviation (i.e., HR), spell it out first, then you can use abbreviations after that—i.e., Human Resources (HR).

·        Change paragraphs with each new speaker.

·        Don’t use the phrase “I thought to myself”—don’t need the words “to myself.”

·        Use the ABC style sheet to jot down any words you look up so you’ll be consistent throughout your manuscript re: one word, two words, hyphenated, etc. I’ll send this sheet to anyone who requests it. Write me at:

 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, January 6, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction--January 6, 2014--Editing hints

A Step in the Write Direction
January 6, 2014

Update: I’m brain dead today. It seemed like January 1 was just another day; didn’t take time to make resolutions (haven’t done those from last year!) or set goals (still working on last year’s, although I did reach a couple—sold a couple of books). Too many hospitalizations and illnesses, and lost too many friends. There! Now you know I’m human, and like a lot of you. But I am looking forward to the New Year and know, that whatever happens, God will be there with me!

Thought for the Day: I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied, “Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be better to you than light and safer than a known way” (“The Gate of the Year,” Minnie Louise Haskins, 1908).

Laugh for the Day: A California scientist has computed that the average human being eats 16 times his or her own weight in an average year, while a horse eats only eight times its weight. This all seems to prove that if you want to lose weight, you should eat like a horse.

Song for the Day: (paraphrased)
They gave me the credit, but they’re all wrong,
I hold the pen, but God gives the song.
            (On Joey and Rory Feek DVD)

Writer’s Tips:
·         A shortcut I learned this week while editing a manuscript written by a blind lady who inadvertently put a lot of text in upper case—all caps. In my Word 2007, I clicked on  the down triangle next to the black Aa (above Font) and where it says “Change Case,” I clicked on “lower case” and it took out all the caps (except the initial cap to begin a sentence).

·         Words I found misused in a recent editing job: reign/rein; lead/led; lightening/ lightning; maize/maze; vice/vise; stationary/stationery (remember, stationery – e for “envelope”); shuddered/shuttered; desert/dessert.

Some other hints:

·         Only one space after a period. I know this goes against earlier rules, but that was when we used typewriters. Putting two spaces can lead to extra spaces between sentences when the manuscript is typeset at the publisher’s. If you’ve done this—accidentally or on purpose—you can do a search and replace. In the “Find” line, click the space bar twice, and in the “Replace” line, click it on once. (I do this after finishing every manuscript as many times I put in the extra space accidentally.)

·         Don’t justify the right-hand margin.

·         Decide how you want to type your thoughts. You can put them in quotes or italics, but be consistent.

·         On dates, you don’t need a comma between a month and year (i.e., January 2014), but you need one if you have a month AND date (i.e., January 6, 2014), and if it’s in the middle of a sentence, you need a comma after the year (i.e., January 5, 2014, is the fifth day of the year).

·         Also, re: capitalizing the fist letter of Deity pronouns, either is okay  (i.e., Him/his; He/he; You/you; Your/you) but, again, be consistent. (This is where the ABC sheet comes in handy when I’m editing as I can make a note as to which the author uses.) When using Scripture or another quotation, use whatever that version or author uses. Whenever I see a verse the author says is from the King James Version and I see these pronouns with initial caps, I know the author hasn’t copied it exactly as KJV doesn’t use initial caps, while many of the newer versions do.

Hope these hints help. They will show the editor you have done your homework and you’re a professional!

 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"