Writers Write When . . .

Embracing the Writing Plan that Works for You

You must write everyday.

A writer writes.

Set a word count goal.

You can’t wait for inspiration.

I’ve heard these statements since I started writing. But even after publishing while working a full-time job, it’s still impossible for me to write every day.

Nine years ago, fresh out of a depression, I struggled with never being whom I hoped. As a teacher, I often don’t have downtime during the school year. But that spring, between February and May 2008, my bits of stories formed into three badly written novels.

Now I Sit Me Down to Write

Now I sit me down to write

I ask God for words not trite

I wish I can, I wish I might

Pen a masterpiece tonight.


Many times as we sit down to write, visions of grandeur fill our minds. After all, how hard can it be? I am sure Charles Dickens or Samuel Clemens simply put on paper whatever came to mind didn’t they? It is simply a matter of letting the words flow from our exceptionally creative minds through our fingers to the page. Right?

Good Dialogue – The Author’s Goal

Readers choose books with lots of dialogue and not so much narrative, somehow feeling that dialogue makes a difference between a dull or great book. They don’t know how dialogue defines the characters, brings them to life and creates the tone of the story. Nor do they understand how the writer purposely used dialogue to evoke an emotional response in the reader.

In the following excerpt from my third cozy cat mystery, Black Cat and the Accidental Angel, Black Cat and Angel have just sent their first kitten to her new home. They discuss how they feel about the kitten leaving.

The Ministry of Mingling

Behind the Scenes at the 2017 West Coast Christian Writers Conference

After one of the toughest and most rewarding years in my writing journey, I registered for the 2017 West Coast Christian Writers Conference and asked the Lord to keep my heart open for ministry opportunities. Who can I encourage today, Lord? Who needs to be seen, heard, and loved? Who are You going to use to inspire me, as You reveal the next step in my writing journey?

God didn’t only use the people on stage or in front of the classrooms to speak truth and build up His scribes, although He definitely did that.

Too smart for my own good

by Michelle Janene

Not that anyone would ever accuse me of being too smart, but I have been doing some reflecting on my recent writing struggles. I participated in my fourth NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. Love challenging myself this way and I’ve succeeded in the past so I went into it with great expectations. But getting the words on the pages this time around was like slogging through an alligator infested swamp.

49756985 - girl with laptop in the hand in comic style. woman with notebook . girl showing the laptop. girl in glasses. hipster girl. sexy blue hair girl with laptop.I had a project in mind. Had been mapping it out and mentally filming it for a couple of months. I couldn’t wait for November 1st to stike on the clock. The goal to complete the challenge is 1,667 words pre-day. Day one saw not quite a thousand, and each day that followed saw few and fewer. The weekends I couldn’t seem to catch up. What was the matter with me? Honestly, the creation part is the most fun. I love starting a project. Hate ending one. So what was going on?

As it turned out, in stalling for the beginning of NaNo, I filled my spare time by studying some craft. That doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but it ended up getting me stuck.

What material did you acquire?

by Karen Foster

According to author Willa Cather, “Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.”

Her words hit home with me. I was six years old when I first became enamored with Jesus. Six years later, I asked Him into my heart when I understood that I needed a Savior. As a child, I’d pretend to be a missionary nurse and explain the Gospel to my dolls. When I was fifteen, I wrote a fiction story (which filled three spiral notebooks) based on a missionary nurse in Africa. Alas, I never became a nurse or a missionary. However, sharing the Gospel and talking about Jesus never waned. And that “material, acquired before the age of fifteen,” defines me as an author.

44598687 - children reading books at park against trees and meadow in the parkThe theme of God’s love, grace, and faithfulness revealed in ordinary people’s lives is what I write about on my blog, devotions, first-person stories. If I wrote fiction, I’d incorporate the same theme. I’ve tried to think “outside my box” and daydream about writing the next great American novel. But I always return to the subject…nay, the object of my affection…Christ Jesus.

Granted, some days I question why I’m writing. Wonder if my words make a difference. I grumble that it’d be easier if I pursued a career as a concert pianist even though I don’t play the piano. But then I read the Bible. Or someone tells me about God’s transforming power in their lives—and I’m hooked. Heart ignites. Fingers start typing. Joy trickles along my spine.

Someone asked me, “Why don’t you write a secular novel which translates to the movie screen instead of writing for Christians magazines?” The person implied I’d never earn money or fame. Great point if those were the carrots that compelled me to write. That’s why I’m thankful for Inspire Christian Writers. “They exists to provide a network of support, encouragement, education, and spiritual growth for Christian writers.” I joined years ago and can attest I wouldn’t be the dedicated writer I am today without their positive, godly influence.

What defines you as a writer? Can you trace your subject or themes to your youth?

karen fosterKaren Foster has been published multiple times in Christian magazines such as The Upper, The Secret Place, Bible Advocate’s ezine: Now What?, MomSense, Fulfill, and Discipleship Journal. Her  stories have also appeared in five Inspire Anthologies. She blogs at KarenFosterMinistry.com and is a guest blogger for ThinWithin.org.