Meeting 3A, scheduled for March 14, 2020, was cancelled due to bad weather. This was available online for meeting 3 B, March 28, 2020, which was cancelled due to the Corona Virus.
How can you prepare yourself to have something to say and to develop your God-given gifts, natural talents and skills so you can do it well?
1. Grow consistently in your relationship with the Lord:
A. Read God’s word every day. Get to know as much as you can about the Bible. Memorize scripture passages and their Biblical addresses as well (i. e. Book, Chapter, Verse No.)
B. Pray to God daily and develop a personal, one-on-one relationship with Him. Get to know your God and the love He has for you. As much as possible, walk in a prayerful attitude, calling on God as you go about your daily routine.
C. Find a local Christian church and attend regularly so you can get fed, get fellowship, get involved and learn to love and serve God and others.
D. Develop Godly relationships with other Christian believers. Learn how to reach out to others and share God’s word. By sharing God’s word and testimonies of what He has done in your life, God will work through you to reach others with His message of forgiveness, mercy and salvation.
E. Learn to listen to God and obey His commands. Do your best, enlisting God’s help, to live a Godly life and shine your light and love upon those you encounter every day.
F. Know that a neglected spiritual life will kill your writing ministry because it leads to an empty heart. It also opens the writer up to making wrong conclusions, writing with wrong motives and/or for the wrong reasons and developing incorrect viewpoints. Keep focused on Jesus and the path He has set before you in your writing journey.
2. Develop the correct attitudes
A. You are servants in search of God’s place for you to minister. You are not performers seeking after applause, reputation, or vast monetary wealth.
B. You are Ambassadors for Christ and He is your boss. Share what God puts on your heart. Share God’s message of forgiveness, hope, mercy and love. If God puts a warning for His people on your heart, make sure it’s truly from God and not from your own flesh or the enemy. Fear and discouragement come from the enemy. God gives warnings to correct and restore people, not to bring discouragement and fear into their hearts.
C. Be willing to step out in faith to experiment and, if you discern God is leading you to walk in an area where risk is involved, trust Him and move forward. As long as you’re continuing in your walk with God, experiments and risks won’t threaten you. Rather, they will challenge you and provide opportunities to gain greater confidence in the God you serve.
D. Develop persistence, perseverance and endurance. Gain the attitude of an ‘overcomer.’ Remember we have an adversary who will try to rob, kill, and destroy us and keep us from fulfilling God’s calling on our lives. Learn the scripture and how to use God’s word as your weapon against our adversary. The enemy will use whatever device he can to discourage and/or stop you. People’s critical comments, confusion, fear, and rejection (whether it’s from people or pink slips from work or rejection slips from publishers) are a small sampling of the enemy’s devices. Learn to stand in Christ, discern enemy attacks, and use the Spiritual weapons God has given you to battle against our adversary.
3. Gain a practical, working knowledge of English: grammar, language skills, spelling and vocabulary skills. Be resourceful. When you don’t know the correct grammar, definition, spelling or language usage, be resourceful and look it up in a reference book. Learn how to use the available resources to improve your skills.
A. Explore your local library to find out what resources they have available to help you. Check out books, magazines, and media. If you find something that’s helpful to you and find yourself using it a great deal–if possible, order a copy of your own through your local bookseller or an online store. Build up a library of resources (up-to-date, not old as things continually change) to help you.
B. If you have access to a college or university, check out the courses that are available in your area or online.
C. Check your local library to see if they have tutors available. Our Sandpoint public library has free tutors available through the “Lifelong Learning” program. Tutoring sessions can usually be scheduled at your convenience.
D. There are many software programs and resources for computers, tablets and phones that connect to the internet. Many of these are free or cost only small fees. If you don’t have a computer, the library has a large supply on hand that you can use for free. They usually have a staff person who can help you get started.
4. Develop good reading habits. Reading has eight important benefits:
A. Reading causes us to grow and expand our personal perception of life. If we are to grow, we need our points of view challenged, expanded, and perhaps even altered.
B. Reading helps us discover the needs of potential readers and to better understand the audience you hope to reach with your writing.
C. Reading helps us become familiar with editorial needs. As much as 50% of the unsolicited manuscripts received by magazines may be rejected simply because they are the wrong subject or slant for that magazine. Many magazines plan their issue months before they go to print. The editors will often have writer’s guidelines to help the writer know what type of written pieces are needed, the date, word count, and subject matter they seek. These guidelines can usually be found on the website of the magazine or publishing house. Studying magazines will give you an educated feel for the kinds of writing each one accepts for publication.
D. Reading serves as a method of researching for writers. Word definitions, grammar usage, and verification of facts in an article or story are only a few of the reasons for researching before you write your piece.
E. Reading can give us ideas for future projects and can inspire us to move forward. It can arouse your curiosity about a specific issue, person or subject. If you decide to seek out information to satisfy your curiosity, you may later decide to write about that topic.
F. Reading gives you an awareness of many sides of an issue. When you read about a controversial issue be sure to read articles that present opposing viewpoints to help you see both sides of the argument. These mind-stretching exercises help keep us alert, believable, flexible and informed
G. Reading provides us with instructive examples of techniques and style. Every piece we read provides us with a lesson, demonstrating what should be done and what should be avoided. The more we read, the larger the well of Biblical and literary knowledge we can have, store, and use in our writing endeavors.
H. Reading can inspire us to write with excellence. When we read what great writers have written, it can inspire us to work harder to improve our own writing. We can also glean tips from seeing how other writers choose their words and organize their pieces of writing.