There are two types of writers, the “Pantser” and the “Outliner”. I think I may be predominantly a “Pantser”. These are popular work-styles of Writers. Pantsers write as a process of discovery. I love the sound of the word “Pantser”; it injects excitement and great anticipation for the writer whose story is unfolding before his/her eyes. There is so much to learn, so many great writers have traversed these paths and as a result have shared many useful tips and lessons with us.
Jerry B. Jenkins is one of those writers. Learning from Jerry is great. You can check out his videos on YouTube. I love the fact that he has so much to share and is so liberal in doing so. While I am not very familiar with his work, his videos, articles and blogs inspire me to work harder towards improving my writing.
Isn’t this how we pursue purpose? By chasing our dreams, by nurturing our gifts and abilities and taking action by faith? We stir our appetite for excellence by training our minds to focus on activities that can build our art, our skill and our knowledge base, in the area or areas of interest.
Whatever you are seeking to achieve, give yourself that opportunity to make it happen. Maybe you are seeking to become a better cook or baker, or you may be dreaming of producing a movie some day. There are so many directions one can take, so much to explore. I sincerely hope that if you have procrastinated and doubted all your life that you would quickly shake it off and begin to walk briskly towards your next project.
It was never a plan of mine to be a Writer but, it is certainly one now. It happened when God chose to refresh my spirit during a dark. lonely time in my life, by stirring me to write. It was therapeutic and I was able to breathe hope into the lives of others.
My journey has only just begun and I expect by God’s grace that it would grow more and more exciting everyday. I am so thankful that God would desire to use me and I’m extremely excited about the writing projects to come, those already envisioned and those to be discovered.
Many of you share similar experiences and I am confident that someone reading this article will be inspired to “go for it”. There is something you need to master, go do what is necessary to master it and see your dream come through,
(Written as a writing challenge inspired by a picture prompt which is the featured picture above – google images)
Maybe it is just a dream, but I would continue to bask in the beauty of my imagination! What I see is pure beauty, tranquility, lush greenery and freedom. Is it really just my imagination? I take a deep breath with my eyelids shut and feed my imagination even more.
My body slips into a trance and every single muscle softens into complete stillness. Then I see the stream, the surface as pure glass, capturing the smile on my face, surreal! My Imagination plunges on desperately to satisfy its desire.
I see a white castle, a mystery to behold. I would love to explore its chambers, its highs and its lows. Maybe, there are dozens of mirrors lining the walls, chandeliers and classy staircases. I am totally consumed by what I see and I think to myself “No, it can’t be my imagination!” I am torn between my fantasy and my reality. My imagination refreshes me.
Let me start by admitting that I do not read enough. However, I often read articles posted by other bloggers. From time to time, I also read poems written by other writers, and pieces that may be shared with me personally, or posted on other blogs not owned by the writer.
To a lesser extent, from time to time I would read books. Let me say that I am better at reading shorter articles, maybe 2 to 5 pages. It is more of a challenge for me to read an entire book from front cover to back cover.
The point is, I read and lately, in the last year, or so, the content I am reading are from local writers. One of my observations as I read, is that there are too many grammatical errors, too many displaced words and too many pieces that does not seem to have a central theme. Mind you, I critique my work often.
So here are some practical tips for all of us, some have been shared with us before, by Presenters at our October 13th Event:
Read often! If you want to improve your quality of writing, it is not enough just to have something to say. or to be passionate about saying, it even if you believe it came directly from God. It needs to be written properly and one way you can improve your writing quality is to read. Read properly written articles. Articles written by universities or well known producers like “Time Magazine”, “Forbes” and “Business Week”. Read books produced by well established Christian Writers or organisations eg: Focus on the Family, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Myer and many more. Read! Read! Read! Read poems, read commentaries, read varied types of pieces.
When you write, remember not to focus on getting your grammar write on the first draft, just write freely, capturing your thoughts as they flow. After you have done that, leave it for a few minutes then go back and edit. This process can be repeated as often as necessary but you may want to edit at least three times. The larger your content, the more you should edit. As a back up, to ensuring your editing is thorough, ask someone to edit your work as well. In other words, invite feedback from others.
Always keep your reading audience in mind and be sure to write to communicate. Readers should not be confused after reading your article; I see this many times in poetry. Notwithstanding that some poems are designed to make you think and develop your vocabulary, it is important for you as the Writer to remember that you are not writing to yourself but to someone else who is not carrying your brain. Your language needs to make sense.
Do not use words if you are unsure of their meanings. Study and understand the meanings first and once you are convinced that it is the right word to use within the context you are writing, go right ahead.
When you are writing, seek to have a central theme. For example if you are writing about “The Wind”, focus on the wind, don’t stray and begin to speak about “The Snow”, unless each stanza is speaking about a different aspect of the Weather. If you are writing a book about “Forgiveness”, try not to create confusion about your focus. All your examples, illustrations and sub topics should connect to “Forgiveness”.
Read articles that would help you to develop your writing. Take advantage of the teachers in your family or in your circle or those who have a very good command on the English Language and ask them questions.
Finally, spend lots of time with the one who gave you the gift, the ability and the desire. Spend time with God, discover and rediscover who He is and who he wants you to be. If you don’t, you would find your writing is shallow and ordinary and lacks spiritual foundation. Even if you are writing a fictional piece, somewhere, somehow, your beliefs would seep through. For a believer, every aspect of our lives should be governed and directed by God himself.
That’s all for now. All we need is a few practical reminders to keep us focused.
Do you have a tip to share with us? Please do in the comment box below.
On October 13th, 2018, I was blessed to be able to successfully host, the first ever Christian Writers’ meet-up. It was a vision given by the Holy Spirit Himself. Sorry, I really have no apologies, but I can’t take the credit. If you don’t believe the Holy Spirit can speak to people, then the rest of the article may not interest you.
I confirmed that it was the Holy Spirit when I saw the outcome of the Event and when I received feedback from those in attendance. I met a number of persons for the first time at that Event and I immediately connected with them, wanting to get to know them better. Following feedback received, through the evaluation forms circulated at the Event, I saw the need to organise a simple follow-up activity and that’s what I did. On December 8th, we held a follow-up Social.
Now, if you were one of the persons who sponsored the Event held on October 13th, you would be happy to know that it was not in vain. As a result of your blessings, as a result of the support of each Writer who attended and as a result of the faithfulness of God, I can truly say, it was not in vain.
One writer told me that he has been writing for years, has written 13 books and now he is seriously considering embracing online technology as he prepares to launch his 14th book. Maybe, just maybe, he would start his first website.
At our Social persons in attendance shared what God has used the Event to do and what he is currently doing in their lives. One lady said, “before I would receive inspiration, have a lovely thought and never write it down, then I would loose it…..not anymore, I have been noting those inspirational thoughts that come to mind”. One young lady spoke about her fear to share her poems with others as she thought they were not good enough and told us how she finally found the courage to share them and received unexpected highly positive responses.
What really stood out to me was the testimony of another young lady; she indicated that she has been taking notes at church during the sermons. Her Pastor recently presented a series of messages and as a result of faithful note-taking, she was able to summarise these messages and present it to the church as a “Spoken Word” or Poem. This was certainly a new idea to us. We loved the fact that she took the initiative to approach her pastor, requesting his permission to present it during the church service. Because he said “yes”, persons were blessed and got the opportunity to see poetry in action at church and it was well received.
As persons continued to share, I felt a warm sensation in my stomach and a comforting reassuring peace that this step of obedience, this drive and perseverance to walk this vision towards life, was not a coincidence but a well thought-out plan orchestrated by God himself.
Too many times we live as if we are powerless, hopeless, totally ridden of resources and we can’t make things happen. I think it is because our eyes are often on ourselves and not on God and others. Life is supposed to be about pleasing God and others.
So, to my dear fellow writers, if you are enjoying some success as a writer, don’t let pride sneak into your heart. Remember you are gifted with a purpose; please stay on course and honour God with your gift. For you who are still struggling, trying to write something that others would read, keep practicing and for others who are prompted to start and are waiting for a golden pen to fall from heaven, stop waiting. Take up the pencil and the pad available to you and start jotting down your daily thoughts. Yes, you can start right there.
I am thankful to God for breathing hope and life into others through this recent movement to motivate Christian Writers to write, so that someone in their world can be reached.
I will be posting a related article later today, presenting useful tips for developing your writing. Be on the look out!
I have had opportunities during my church life as a youth and young adult, to plan activities at church, whether for the children, the youth or women’s department. It allowed me to explore my abilities to plan, co-ordinate and lead others towards the successful execution of these activities. From a simple outdoor Sunday School Class to Youth Weeks, Christmas Programmes, Retreats, Camps and most recently Conferences. Opportunities at work brought the business perspective as activities planned was of a “Customer” focus ensuring we kept customers happy and desirous of returning, to get access to more of our services.
All these activities have one thing in common however; there is a room, a space, or a location, where it all goes down. There is “The spot” where the magic unfolds.
“The Christian Writers’ Meet-up” was no different, my first Event outside of the bounds of my local church or my workplace.
The chosen location was the “Allamanda Beach Resort” Conference Room. I knew from experience that the “Room” was important; it mattered how it looked, the first impression created, its ability to keep you awake to the end and its ability to create a pleasant and unforgettable moment. Never under-estimate the power of “the room”.
If you attended our first Event, you may want to comment on “The Room”. However, here are a few things I considered when preparing “the room”.
The walls of the Conference Room were all white, the table cloths were all white, in other words there was quite a bit of white space. I could’ve chosen to add dark colours, may be a straight colour scheme like black against the white or blue against the white or some other colour. However, InspireMe and Inspirational Events are about just that “inspiration” and I felt I was on the safe path with colour, bright and present colours. This is one thing white space allows in an almost unlimited fashion, colour and a variety of it. I chose bright green, orange and purple as the theme against the white background, with slight variations here and there.
I chose to use white table-cloths because I was going to run a risk trying to get the right shade to match the colour-scheme selected. So, I played it safe but still took little risk. The head table to the front and the table on which the water was placed, at the back, were covered with green table cloths, while all other tables were covered with white.
I chose to have large letters plotted because they clearly communicated “it was all about writing”, it was appropriate in my view.
I also used foam boards covered with fabric (I have found that soft fabric adds class and elegance) to give it a unique and different look, applying innovation and creativity. I stayed away from what was familiar to me and launched out putting new ideas to the test. Note, that it was important for me to stick to the three main colours as much as possible, notwithstanding, getting uniformed shades was not possible in all cases, but the difference was not significant.
Then there was the need for flowers; the room needed either a really large floral arrangements or a number of small ones. I went with the first option as I thought, less hassle; I would just need to find one focal point as against finding a number of focal points. Note that it is important to focus your decorative pieces at key focal points; the areas that will be mostly seen. I chose a large bouquet and placed it in-front of the podium.
Finally was my favourite decorative piece that added the final touch, in my view; the “Pen Prop”. Oh how I loved that pink pen! It was designed and created by Nahshon Jeremiah, Visual Artist and Entrepreneur. The “Pen Prop” was “pink”, yes, pink in colour but it “blended in quite well”.
From feedback received, it seems that we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish with the “Room” and that is to make sure the environment created an inspirational memorable moment that fully complimented all the activities that unfolded as part of the “Meet-up”. Despite the positive feedback however, I have asked myself, “What could’ve been better?”
How did I feel about the room! 95% Satisfied!! I think that is pretty good for a hard self-marker.
The atmosphere in the room must also be credited to Nahshon Jeremiah (Pen Prop), “This&That Grenada” (Advice, Ideas, physical support), Colleen Edwards (beautiful floral arrangement) and my beautiful, helpful daughter (prepared the writers’ folders).
I wish to add the projector screen, it was also creatively used to share our logo and inspirational pics; made possible by Quasim Joseph and my son Jonathan Jeremiah.
I also wish to Add music. Music played softly as participants entered the room and at intervals when appropriate. Music chosen for the Evening was “Jonathan Mc Reynolds” Album “Make Room”.
We must admit that “The Room” is important to the execution of “The Vision”. It is important that we put some serious thought into it, plan and execute well.
Hope you enjoyed this! Feel free to send in your comments!
About a month ago I met Jerel Langaigne. We met in April, 2018, at a Seminar for persons interested in photographers; I was introduced to Jerel by a very good friend and sister in Christ, Genel Forteau. Genel had told me about this Christian young lady who was into fashion and I anticipated meeting her.
I always wanted to hear more about her, to hear her story, especially because fashion and models have really been sold in a manner that glorifies the bodies of the models, the sexy garments they display on the runway, and the designing and construction skills of many creative designers out there. I saw it as an Industry, like all other industries focused on gaining recognition and business opportunities. I wanted to find out more about her perspective on fashion and the role to be played by Christians within this industry.
I have had my own dreams (and still do) of somehow impacting the world through fashion because, I love designing.
Jerel Langaigne grew up in a Christian Family, she attended the St. Joseph Convent in Grenada, one of our Prominent Secondary Schools. Jerel was desirous of becoming an Architect; her dream was to travel to Cuba to study Architecture. Cuba, because she would then get the opportunity to be bilingual. She felt confident this was God’s will for her life and waited, with high expectation, for it to materialize. Well, it didn’t, her scholarship application was turned down.
While waiting for answers and still seeking God’s will, Jerel began teaching. It later became paramount that she become qualified as a teacher, hence her quest again to obtain a scholarship. Her story takes an interesting, mind boggling turn; Jerel received a scholarship but not for Teaching but for Fashion Designing, she was told, this is the area available. Her question was, “Lord, why Fashion Design?”.
In our journey through life, there are those moments when all we could do is trust God’s leading. You see, as he leads, we are often taken through a maze that makes very little sense to us and all we could do is draw closer to God praying for a word soon, for the revelation.
Jerel held on to God’s unchanging promises and waited for him to reveal his plan for her. She successfully completed her degree graduating with great distinction (Magna Cum Laude), from the University of Trinidad & Tobago – Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design. You can get a taste of what I am speaking of by checking out her awesome thesis collection on YouTube; you can see the application of Fabric surface treatment on most, if not all of her pieces. Jerel speaks of her financial limitations that restricted her spending and how blessed she was to have learned how to treat fabrics (tie-dying) She was able to take one basic colour fabric and transform them into beautiful fabric. I enjoyed every bit of the video, pressing “replay” more than once.
Jerel speaks of countless challenges while studying in Trinidad and is grateful today, for each one. After listening to her story, I am convinced that her journey was personally designed by God and her success at the University confirmed that he was there all along. Jerel (with a capable team) was able to pull off the first ever “Totally Local Grenada Fashion Week”.
The journey to Fashion Week began in 2017. The Fashion Week was held from July 7th – 14th, 2018. I really wanted to be there to experience the display of our local talent, but my work and family schedules made it difficult. However, owing to the Facebook connection, I was able to follow to an extent.
The Fashion Week started with a Beauty Conference organized by M.E. Salon and Virtue School of Beauty, Grenada, who partnered with Grenada Fashion Week.
The Beauty Conference was held at the Salon and offered the opportunity to learn more about;
“Sin came to take man away from God’s glory. What does that have to do with purpose? Everything! Our purpose is locked up in understanding God’s glory and yielding to God’s glory”.
This statement struck me deep; it was the statement of essence and it summed up the point of the entire presentation, pretty much!
The Bible reference given was;
Matthew 6:33 King James Version (KJV)
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”.
Another of Genel’s quotes:
“When it comes to our purpose project, when it comes to our destiny, it is all in the Creator”! I just love this.
Following the Conference, three Fashion Shows were held, the first in St Mark’s, on July 11th, the Second in the Parish of St. Andrew’s on July 12th and the final one in the Capital, St. George. As I looked at the designs, I was truly inspired to see the great attempts made by our young and thriving designers. Something Grenada can be proud about.
I asked Jerel, “As someone working in the field of Fashion, how do you manage the conflict, being involved in the Fashion Industry and being a Christian?” I loved her response “By Ministering to them.” She further explained that what is important is that you openly share your faith and do not compromise on your Godly standards. She reminded me that Jesus dwelt among sinners, so he can reach them. The idea is to infiltrate to influence; not becoming like them but remaining uncontaminated, so that our Father can be glorified.
The curtain came down on the last day with a reward and recognition ceremony.
I pray that Jerel is successful in drawing others to Christ as she seeks to be salt and light in the Fashion Industry. I may not understand everything about the “how” and it is not my duty to. What I am, is filled with anticipation, to see how God would use her in such a time as this.
I started writing songs as a teenager; my sentiments is that while it can be a boring experience, it is also exciting and fulfilling. It is a wonderful opportunity to share your stories through songs. For some reason however, I never thought much about the songs I wrote. I never felt fully confident about sharing. Despite those feelings, I did share some of the songs I wrote and I have no regrets. They were simple songs in my view, which exposed my humble upbringing and inexperience in song-writing and in music generally.
Despite my lack of confidence, passion emerged, passion that is difficult to ignore. Recently, I have taken a more serious approach to writing; this time, I have decided not to listen to the doubts in my head. Now, I understand that it is my purpose to write and to share what I write. I need not be the one to assess whether my songs are good or bad. What I have come to realise, is that my focus was in the wrong place; I was just a little too concerned about whether my song was “good enough” to bless someone.
The days of hiding my songs are over. While, I would critique my work and ask others to do the same, I am no longer defining God’s gift as “not good enough”. So happy to see the light! :). I confess that I dream of writing that one song that would capture the heart of everyone who hears it, but more importantly, I dream to please God with every song I write.
In this season of my life, I am embracing song-writing anew, with divine purpose and determination. It is all about purpose!
As God continues to unfold new and exciting projects in my life, I would continue to share my story, but for now I share the words of the latest song I wrote; “Let Faith Arise”
Many times we want to take that step but we keep ourselves down by allowing procrastination and doubtful thoughts to dictate our actions; we succumb to these thoughts and feelings, and we do nothing. We talk about faith but we don’t practice it.
It is from within this context that I wrote this song. It is a motivation to myself to “let faith arise” and hopefully, it would stir you to act as well. Don’t look down on your gift, acknowledge it and share it with the world.
Let faith arise
Here you’re sitting, contemplating anxiously
Here you’re thinking, over thinking senselessly
But you’ve got dreams
Let faith arise, won’t you walk by faith and not by sight
About five years ago, I decided to teach myself face-painting. I was motivated because I had a young daughter, who would’ve been about six then. I thought she would be a great model for practicing and it would be an exciting way to spend time together.
I purchased a professional face painting kit from Amazon and started to have fun, experimenting with designs. I managed to paint three designs on different occasions, a butterfly, a bumble bee and part of spiderman’s face (this was painted on another’s child’s face). My favorite was the butterfly; I have seen a few butterfly designs, all pretty and captivating to the eye.
It has been a while however, since I practiced, and I have been thinking it is time to have some face-painting fun again. I thought to myself, I need to get my face painting techniques on.
My motivation received even more steam, when about one month ago I attended Gospel Expressions. It is a Gospel Concert, with great children attractions, held every year during the second quarter of the year. As part of the children’s attractions, face-painting was offered and this year and previous years, Nahshon Jeremiah Arts was the Organisation responsible for making these kids smile. It was really nice to see there was face painting for kids.
When my daughter’s eyes found the face-painting corner, her face began to glow, and she was immediately interested. Not too long after, she was sitting having her face painted. I sat and observed the artist in action and was so impressed and inspired by how smoothly and confidently she worked, creating part of a butterfly on my daughter’s face. It was beautiful! I immediately thought “this is pure creativity and should be shared with others”. I loved it that much.
A few days later, I invited Nahshon Jeremiah Arts to share a tutorial on my blog and they agreed, I am so grateful.
Maybe you love working with children or you are just excited about art, then you would most likely find this tutorial interesting. Sometimes we wonder “where could I find face painting near me?”, well next time the thought comes to mind, you can probably make it happen right in your living room.
Note the beautiful models in this article. :).
Face Painting with Nahshon Jeremiah Arts!! Written by: Princess Jaggasar of Nahshon Jeremiah Arts!!
What do I need?
Invest in some quality Face Paint. Ensure that it is non-toxic and friendly to faces of all ages!
Brushes and Sponges
Most persons use sponges designed for face-painting, or make-up sponges, as it is less time consuming when covering large areas, but paint brushes are handy, when it is necessary to produce sharp edges and well-defined styles!
Glitz and Glamour
These are the extras or enhancements that you can use to make the painting ‘POP’! Yah! These little glitz are multi-colored, neon, translucent and textured ‘Glitter’. On the other hand, glamour is the various types of rhinestones, beads and jewelry used.
To produce this painting, we followed 4 very simple steps:
Step one – Base – Using your sponge, lay down the main colours.
Step two -Outline – Use a high contrasting colour to outline the shape of the item being painted.
Step three – Frills and Designs- Add unique styles (curves, sharper edges than usual etc.) to the design.
Step four- Glitz and Glamour- Glitz it up! The more it sparkles/pops out to the eye, the more attractive it is.