Finding the Right Writers Group for You

Tips for Finding the Right Writers Group for You

Writers need writers! We need to share our ideas over our hot cup of coffee or tea. What do we do when we do not have the help and support of other writers? Where can we find a good writers group?

When I moved, I had to leave my old writers group. It was difficult for me because I trusted them with my poorly written articles. I could trust them to be gentle with me as I was with them.

We not only drooled over each others’ words, but we shared personal journeys as well. We became a writing family.

A writers group is so much more than sharing ideas and critiquing each other’s work. A close writers group is where a writer and author can engage in honest critical feedback. A writers group is a source of support and encouragement. Every writer knows that in the beginning of his or her writing journey, there are more rejections than acceptances. We need like-minded people to hold us up when we have been rejected over and over, as well as, rejoice with us when we’ve sold an article or even signed a book contract.

I lack this connection. I lack the help of other writers, but more importantly, I miss the support and friendship of other writers. When we join forces with other writers, we talk a language that no one else can understand. We talk plots, stories, punctuation, spelling, grammar, characters, rhymes, publishers, editors and research.frog-with-a-question-hi

Will any ‘ole group do?
Should we join any ‘ole writers group?
Should we be picky?
Are all writers groups the same?

I began the hunt for my perfect group. Being so new to this very small town, I searched and searched until I finally found one. It was a mixed age of female writers who meet right at the library in town and the time slot was perfect.

However, when I went to the first meeting, I found out that I had to apply on line and submit some writing samples. They would vote as a group if I was to be accepted or not. There were annual dues to pay as well. Because I was desperate, I followed their instructions. I hurried home, submitted two of my previously published articles,  only to have a rejection in my “in” box the next day. I was not accepted into their group. I was crushed.

This experience made me take a step back and really think about what I was looking for in a writers group. Did I just want a group of warm bodies or did I want more than that?

Ideas for when looking for a writers group.
How can we find a writers group that’s going to meet our needs? While continuing my search of that perfect writers group, I spent some time pondering what I needed and wanted. Here are some of my ideas:

• If you are a mystery writer, joining a research writers group is not a fit.
• If you are a non-fiction writer, joining a romance writers group is not a fit.
• If you are a poetry writer, a science fiction writers group would not work.
• Do you want to pay dues? Some groups charge.
• Do you want to be interviewed to join? Some have a certain criteria in order to join.
• Do you want men and women present?
• Do you want to be with young or old writers or a variety of age?

I was so excited to be with warm bodies that I thought they shared the same drive to write. I was wrong. You see, I have been commissioned to write to encourage people. This group was a local, liberal, female, historical writers group. I am sure they are a wonderful group of ladies and have written some fabulous material; but the door was shut and not only shut by them but by God as well.

So, I got to thinking, maybe I should start my own group?

When a writers group does not fit and you are tired of searching,  have you considered starting your own group?

Where would you begin? Here again are some of my tips to consider.

• Try to advertise. Put flyers around town or a short ad in the local paper. You also, can post on social media including Craig’s List. Maybe you can put up flyers at your church if you want a Christian writers group?
• Where to meet? Why not at a local coffee shop? Local coffee shops love your business and are usually pretty open to having your group use their facility. Maybe you can try your church? I’ve worked in a library for years that hosted writers groups, so why not contact your local public library?
• Goals: Don’t forget to write the goals of the group you want to start. My perfect group would  consist of Christian and or spiritual authors that would want to meet one day a week for an hour or two. In my perfect group,  I would not charge any dues but would set guidelines. My guidelines would be simple. Do not steal the ideas of other members and be kind in criticizing.

Right now, I continue to write from my little counter-top and continue to search for writers groups. I am praying about starting my own as well. I am not sure of the direction I will go, but one thing I do know, the local, liberal warm body group was not a fit for me.

How about you? Do you belong to a writers group? If so, did you have any expectations? Hope over to Edie Melson’s Blog:thewriteconversation@blogspot.com if you’ve like to tweet your response or read how other’s have commented.

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Fluctuating Frost Heaves

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Do your emotions fluctuate? Do you strive to maintain your composure during sticky situations and yet, crack under the pressure?  I learned a valuable lesson in learning about Frost Heaves.

I was out for a drive when I saw an orange warning sign on the side of the road that read, “Frost Heaves.” I didn’t think much about it until I was right up on a tremendous protruding pot hole. BAM!!!

My head almost hit the roof of my car.FrostHeaveI had hit a frost heave!

Frost heaves are the result of pressure created from a combination of freezing temperatures and soil defrosting. The fluctuating freezing and thawing conditions heave, or lift, the soil, which is often characterized by deep cracking of not only the soil but the roads as well.The frost heaves are much worse this spring because of the harsh winter we have experienced. Todays normal thirty minute destination took me almost an hour. Why? The heaves were colossal, unpredictable and dangerous.

This experience got me to thinking about my fluctuating emotions during the unpredictable  seasons of my  life. My emotions can be very unpredictable and dangerous. I can crack under pressure and allow my mouth to spew things I really don’t mean to say. Do you do that? Do you reach a breaking point? If so, what do you do?

When I reach my breaking point, I need to take some deep breaths, slow myself down and focus on God.

During this dangerous road condition season, the State puts up as many warning signs to remind drivers to slow down, especially at night because its hard to see the pot holes.

What can we adhere to during our rough-weather seasons?Question

  • Remember we have a solid foundation named God. He can be trusted always. Psalm 9:9
  • Be aware of our surroundings. Don’t be in places with negative energy, and negative people. 1 Corinthians 15:33
  • Stay grounded in prayer. Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:13

Although we will always travel bumpy roads, and feel like we are being jolted and jarred, we can be reminded that, “This too shall pass.” God has a purpose for everything in every season of life.( Ecclesiastes 3:1)After spring, the Maine roadways will settle down, summer will come leaving us with smooth terrain again.

Have you ever heard of frost heaves? Have you ever thought about your life in different seasons? What do you do when you feel like you are in a turbulent season? Come and join us as I lead the discussion on living by grace. Thanks for stopping in.livingbygracepic.jp

Why do we Need Jesus?

Why Do We Need Jesus:Days of Purpose – by Karen Pourbabaee

http://www.faithwriters.com/devotional.html

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It’s an awe-filled moment contemplating such a word from You, Lord. When You thought about me, even before I was born, You knew my exact purpose. Why I was needed in this world. You planned how many days it would take me to live out my purpose. And You wrote it all down!

Lord, Your thoughts fill me with wonder …

Then You knit me together in my mother’s womb with marvelous workmanship. You designed me just perfectly to fulfill Your plan. You created in me all that was necessary for a life of meaning and fulfillment.ID-100277541

“The Lord created everything for His own purpose…” (Proverbs 16:4)

Lord, I seek Your purpose…

I wait to hear Your purpose for my day. If You planned each day, recording it in Your book, it’s an important day. Every day links together as the pages of the book are turned, creating a life that is pleasing to You. A life that honors Your intention.

Lord, speak, I am listening…

“Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately…” (Ephesians 5;15 Amplified Bible)

Lord, let me live days of purpose. Amen.

Karen is a Christian writer who uses God’s word to heal. Find more of her writing at http://www.faithwriters.com.

Karen is a south Louisiana native currently living in Oklahoma. As a retired nurse with a lifelong yen to write, she continues her mission in Proverbs 13:17 “A faithful envoy brings healing”, in her written works. A Faithwriters member since 2009, Karen has published award-winning short stories and devotionals in various venues.

Sabbath or Nap?

Is honoring the Sabbath Day just a church thing? Is it a family day thing? Do we just honor it on Saturday or Sunday? Some think Sabbath time is nap time. What do you think?

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While growing up, especially during Lent, every Friday around 4:00 we were instructed to come in from playing to reflect on all that God had done for us. It was a time of rest and meditation. As a child, this was torture. I wanted to be outside frolicking with my friends. But, now, I look back on that time and cherish the memory that my mom instilled in me. Take time to rest and be thankful to God for all that I have.ID-100260588

Now that I’m into my 50’s, I regretfully admit that I am not always consistent with the concept of keeping the Sabbath holy.  How about you? Are you forgetting to keep the Sabbath holy? Do you forget to reflect?

Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8

The Sabbath commandment in Exodus 20:8-11 teaches us four things:

  • How are we commanded to keep it? Holy
  • When are we commanded to keep it? 7th Day
  • How are we commanded to keep it? Resting and reflecting.
  • And why? To reflect on God’s goodness and blessings.

If we work all week long, cram in house work around our office hours, and try to schedule in activities either for ourselves, spouse or children, how much time do we have left for the Sabbath? Question

It is impossible for me to take a whole day off from my job as I am a live-in care giver 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. I have a very special friend that I take care of. He has Alzheimer’s and he and his family depend on me. I am very fond of him and enjoy working for him, but, if I don’t find time in my day for a mini-Sabbath, I will end up be filled with resentment, anger and darkness.

So how do I honor the Sabbath?

Almost every day, I slip upstairs for a short span of time, sit before His feet, reflect and journal. I cease all working and reflect on God’s goodness. It is never at the same time nor for the same length of time, but when the opportunity arises, I drop everything and seize the moment.   DogMeditation

God commanded that the seventh day be observed as the Sabbath. A glance at almost any dictionary or encyclopedia will show you that Saturday is the seventh day of the week, while Sunday is the first day of the week.  The seventh day according to God’s calendar is—and always has been—the Sabbath day. Although we have modified calendars through the centuries, the seven-day weekly cycle has remained intact throughout history. The days of the week have always remained in their proper order, with Sunday as the first day of the week and Saturday as the seventh. So, does this mean that you can’t observe the Sabbath any other day or even take a mini Sabbath? God wants our  attention and dedication any time we can give it.

Psalms 8:3-5- “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, {4} What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? {5} For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.”

Sabbath is about attitude.

Deuteronomy 6:5- “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Does God want us to dread the Sabbath? No! He wants it to be a blessing. But if we don’t have a love relationship with Jesus, we’ll be watching the clock. When the Sabbath approaches, we’ll be thinking, “Oh, heavens! I’ve got all this stuff to do. Is it Sabbath already? Now I don’t have time to do it.” That’s not the attitude God wants us to have. It’s as if the Sabbath is a burden rather than a blessing. It means we need a change in our hearts and attitudes.

I believe that it is the Devil’s plan to erode us with convictions regarding how we honor the Sabbath. He would much rather trip us up on the details on how, when and why so that we falter from spending ANY quality quiet time with Him.

God said, there is holy time. What did He mean? The word “holy” means something “dedicated, set apart, or consecrated to God.” And it’s clear from the Bible that some things are holy and should not be profaned or treated as common. Our Sabbath time with God should not be treated as common time. 

What does my Sabbath time mean to me?

My Sabbath time is a time of delighting and rejoicing in God.
My Sabbath time is a time for meditating on a scripture or two.
My Sabbath time is a time for asking for forgiveness.
My Sabbath time is a time of prayer.
My Sabbath time is a time of healing.
My Sabbath time is a time of resting in His love.

What does your Sabbath time look like? I would love to hear from you as I am hosting the discussion on Living by Grace; a Facebook community.livingbygracepic.jp

I keep my Sabbath time in perspective, when I don’t get all bogged down with the “do’s and don’ts.” I try very hard to practice the Sabbath commandment regularly so that the Spirit of the Sabbath commandment is genuine, holy and sanctified.

The Screaming Wind

 

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The wind is screaming at me today. The gusts are violent and unforgiving. As the rotation of the wind becomes stronger, broken tree limbs are dangerously flying through the air. The branches are being torn from the trunk whipping by my window as if to say, “Stop! I can’t stand it anymore; this hurts!”

We too will experience violent and unforgiving spans of time in life, and we will at some point want to scream, “Stop! I can’t stand it anymore; this hurts!”

 

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Life is never going to be consistently calm and sunny. It just doesn’t work that way; we can’t avoid it. We will experience hardships of some sort and trying to hang onto our Godly foundation  can be very difficult.

During different cycles of my life when I was in the trenches of a stormy season, I felt separated from God. I felt God didn’t love me or was punishing me because of a choice I had made. It was only through much prayer and deep soul-searching that I realized that was not the case.

There is nothing we can do to separate us from the love of God!

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
Romans 8:38 NLT
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
Romans 8:35 NIV

When experiencing my violent trenches though, I have to be very careful as to not blame others for my own actions; nor blame them for my reactions! Look at the first word in Romans 8:35…Who! Why is it who and not what? Because we are so quick to blame someone. We can blame others for every hardship, persecution or famine that we’ve had to endure. We should not allow blame to bubble to the surface. It is in blaming others that can make us feel separated from God because deep down inside, we know He wants us to take responsibility for our own actions and we possibly may need to simply ask for forgiveness.

As I continue to watch the boughs of the mighty pines twist left and right, I am reminded of the painful storm I’m enduring right now. I can easily blame some people but what good will that do? Blaming others is like the thrusting of the tree limbs breaking from their foundation. Blaming rips me from my rooted foundation in God.ID-10060095

Tomorrow an absence of motion will come; there will be a stillness. Tranquility will arrive. I will glance at the limbs of the pine trees, standing firmly connected to their foundation once again.  There will be no blowing to and fro. I too am reminded that when in my ignited space of my deepest suffering, I can release my deepest fears and reach that familiar peace. I can only achieve this by staying rooted in God. I have been finding it to be true in every path, in every way…in every storm of my life, that is when God appears. 

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

Mom’s Blue Bags

Do you ever find that you’ve learned a lesson from something small or something you thought to be insignificant? We’ve all heard the saying, You’re never too old to learn something new. I for one find this to be very true. As a writer, I observe so much of what is going on around me while searching for the lesson to be learning. Just recently, I learned a few valuable lessons in my mom’s blue bags.

I opened the freezer door only to find blue plastic bags crammed in piles.FullSizeRender-28

Growing up, my mom was famous for washing out her plastic bags and drying them out over the kitchen faucet. She used them until the plastic film would start ripping. Now living with my mom again, I knew some things would not change and reusing plastic bags was one of them. However, she has now taken it to a whole new level.

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I recently opened the freezer only to find a bunch of royal blue plastic bags containing made-up burgers and individually wrapped chicken. “Okay ma,” I said. “Where did the blue bags come from?” “I just collect them.” She replied, walking away from the question. It wasn’t until it finally dawned on me that she was re-using the blue newspaper bags to freeze her meats.

Let me explain something about my mother.GE DIGITAL CAMERA

She is a loving, caring and intelligent woman who really doesn’t need to be frugal with her money. She worked hard her whole life and should enjoy the fruits of her labor.  I find it so ironic that my mom will go out and purchase a brand new car but will use duck tape on her ironing board cover. She’ll buy some nice L.L. Bean clothes but wrap her food in blue newspaper bags.

I don’t waste much either. I re-heat left overs. I wash out butter tubs to re-use for left overs . I cut  fabric sheets in half and I used vinegar and water for cleaning solutions. I guess I am frugal as well but what can I learn from this?

Question

“Okay ma, you’re busted,” I said. “I have finally figured out where the blue bags are coming from. But why ma? Why do you use them when you can afford freezer zip lock bags?” I asked. Her reply, “I don’t want to waste them. I grew up during a time where you just didn’t waste anything and I figured, why not re-use them?” I let the conversation go for a few days but not without pondering the meaning behind her saying, “You don’t waste a thing.” How can we apply that statement to our own lives? No, I’m not asking you to re-use newspaper bags. How can we not waste any experiences?

God doesn’t want us to waste anything He has given us!

Every day we are given plenty of opportunities to do good things for others. But there are only a handful of us that actually act on them.

We should not waste our opportunities: We don’t have to wait for some sort of huge thing to happen in order to do something nice for someone. We have small opportunities floating around our space all day long.

Here are just a few simple things that we can do on a daily basis:

We can smile at someone having a bad day.
We can pay for a coffee just because.
We can watch a friend’s child so she can get some much needed quality time.
We can bring a meal to a friend that may be too sick to cook.
We can carry grocery bags for an elderly person.

We should not waste our talents: We should use the talent that God has given us.
Don’t waste the opportunity to join a choir if God has given you the gift of singing.
Don’t waste your gift of hosting a party if God has given you the gift of hospitality.
Don’t waste the opportunity to work in the nursery at church if God has given you a true love to be with babies.

Is there an opportunity to help in your church? Are you able to donate some of your talents volunteering for something in your community?

We should not waste our time: Time is passing faster and faster. We should not waste our time on things that serve no purpose. I can easily waste time in front of the television rather than getting out for a walk and praying. I can easily waste my time just lying around rather than working on an article I need to finish. We can easily waste our time building up our collections, only to find we have no more room. We can easily waste our time being angry with someone dear to us only to find they may be very sick and are in need of hearing our kind words. What are you doing with your time?

Through all of my joking with my mom and her desire to collect blue bags, we were able to come to an understanding. I asked, “How about we not use the dirty newspaper bags but I’ll wash out the old zip lock bags and re-use them?” Good compromise; however, we should not waste any opportunity that God has given us. We should not compromise for Him.

What valuable lessons have you recently learned? How did you learn them? Were they simple things that just jumped out at you or did you have to ponder a bit? Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Beth                           livingbygracepic.jp