Friday, December 29, 2006

A childlike belief...

The following quote is from the Jan. 2007 issue of The Writer magazine.

"A novelist must preserve a childlike belief in the importance of things which common sense considers of no great consequence."

W. Somerset Maugham, A Writer's Notebook

Thursday, December 28, 2006

You are needed...

Today, I’m doing things a little backward, and I’m giving my thoughts before the quote. You’ll understand . . .

Tricia’s Thoughts:
Have you ever walked into a bookstore or perhaps a book convention and thought, “Why, am I doing this. I’m crazy. Why try?”

There are so many books being published, dozens of writers vying for the same position on the store shelves, or within the pages of a magazine.

I have to admit I’ve thought this. More than once. Just doing a search on has me convince Solomon was right, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

Yet . . . there’s something inside that believes different. A gentle stirring that tells me my words are important. Here’s encouragement if you’ve ever felt that way:

“No one can ever fully do your work for you. God has given you a background, a special set of personal experiences of His faithfulness, and a personality, and He has invested His mercy and grace in you in such a way that you can bless some people better than anyone else ever could. You are God’s most perfect instrument for some tasks. You have your own role to play in the plan of God, and no one else can take your place.

“You are needed by God for the task for which He is preparing you. It will take all your love, prayer, and faithfulness to fulfill God’s call and will for you. If I leave part of my work undone and you fill my place, then you leave empty the place God wanted you to fill and some of the work God wanted you to do will be left undone. None of us has a right to conclude, ‘Well, if I don’t obey God someone else will take my place.’ If you fail to obey God, there will be a gap in the work of God (Ezek. 22:30). There are many unfilled gaps in the work of God around the world today.”

--Wesley L. Duewel, Let God Guide You Daily, p. 182

P.S. I highly recommend this book, although it is out-of-print and hard to find.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


This quote was sent in by my writer-friend Elece Hollis:

“Do you realize what would happen if Moses were alive today? He'd go up Mt. Sinai, come back with the Ten Commandments, and spend the next eight years trying to get published,”

–Robert Orben, humorist

Tricia’s Thoughts:

A smile for your day :-)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


"How do I set my priorities when all things seem equally important and/or urgent? While our children were living at home, their needs came first. After all, they didn't ask to be born. We asked for them. For me, that meant writing part-time around the kids' schedules."

--Elizabeth Lowell

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Forward or backward...

I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.

--Charlotte Bronte

Tricia’s Thoughts:
There are many places you can look for help with your writing today. You can pick up a writing book. Call or email a writer friend. You can look backward to consider how far you’ve come. Or look forward to future training, a soon-to-be published work, or a soon completed task. But the best place to look for help us upward. God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and He loves you completely. Is there help you need in some area that you haven’t thought of asking for help before? Try it today.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It is tempting...

It is tempting sometimes, or at least it seems so to me, to think of my work here on earth in rather large and grandiose ways. It may be that writers are the only ones who suffer from such a thing, but I am not sure it is so.

I like to think of my work in terms of building the kingdom and spreading the gospel. It is not a bad thing for us to step back and try to see how the labor of our hands and hearts and minds fits within the grand scheme of things. In fact, it is the proper thing to do.

But it is also right that we recognize that a goodly portion of the things we do that can seem mundane and ordinary are the very places we are likely to live out the gospel.

--Robert Benson, A Good Life: Benedict’s Guide to Everyday Joy, p. 67

Tricia’s Thoughts:
Practice what you preach. Live what you write. Do what you say. Only then will the world believe our words on the written page.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Health and the Writer by Camy Tang

Whether you’re a writer who also works a full-time job or are a busy stay-at-home-mom, it’s hard to stay healthy. I researched and figured out a bunch of tips and tricks to help me stay in shape without carving out of my precious writing time. I also found some tips to help me have just general better health. Pick and choose which of these will work for you.

Try a light workout in the morning

When you exercise soon after getting up, even a very light workout, it can boost your metabolism for the entire rest of the day—up to approximately 15 hours. It will make you feel more energized the rest of the day.

Morning exercise will also help you not feel so hungry throughout the day, so you will be able to make healthy food choices.

I’m NOT a morning person, so I videotape a morning workout program and watch it when I get up later in the morning. I also buy workout DVDs from thrift stores.

Your morning workout doesn’t have to be long or strenuous—I only take about 20 minutes, and I often do Denise Austin’s Fit and Lite exercise program, which is low impact and very easy.

With kids, it’s often a little harder. You could try getting up earlier or waiting until later when they’re doing something you can leave them at for about 20 minutes. If you prep everything ahead of time (like the night before), you can jump right into your workout. And don’t feel guilty if you need to cut it short, either—even a little is great.

Camy Tang is a novelist also fighting the battle of the bulge. Find out more about her and her books at, or enjoy the read on her blog at


Friday, December 15, 2006

Word and deed...

I think of painting and music as subcutaneous arts. They get under your skin. They may get deeper than that eventually, but it takes a while, and they get there to some extent tinged by if not diluted by the conditions under which you saw them or heard them. Writing on the other hand strikes me as intravenous. As you sit there only a few inches from the printed page, the words you read go directly into the bloodstream and go into it at full strength. More than the painting you see or the music you hear, the words you read become in the very act of reading them part of who you are, especially if they are the words of exceptionally promising writers. If there is poison in the words, you are poisoned; if there is nourishment, you are nourished; if there is beauty, you are made a little more beautiful. In Hebrew, the word dabar means both word and also deed. A word doesn’t merely say something, it does something. It brings something into being. It makes something happen. What do writers want their books to make happen?
--Frederick Buechner, Listening to Your Life, p. 189-190

Tricia’s Thoughts:
What do you want readers to do after laying down your book? Would you like to see a change in their thinking, or perhaps a change in their lifestyle? Would you like them to show appreciate for God’s creation, be gentler with their family, or open their arms to friends? Would you like them to see Jesus in a new light or be more determined to love the unlovely?

Writing is power. The words we offer do change people. They will not walk away the same after reading them.

Just something to consider the next time you sit down to write: What do I desire for this book to make happen?

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Today’s writer’s quote was sent to me by my writing friend Cindy Thomson.

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing about. –Benjamin Franklin

Tricia’s Thoughts:
Or do both! I truly believe that the more we do worth doing, the more we have worth writing about. Remember, writers need to experience life in order to write about life!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Go with God...

“It never fails to surprise me, in conversations with writers who seek my advice as to what they should write, how many fail to see before their very eyes the hay that might be gold. Instead of honoring the subjects and forms that invade their dreams and diaries, they concoct some ideas about what’s selling or what agents and editors are looking for as they try to fit their odd-shaped pegs into someone else’s hole. There is nothing more refreshing for an editor to meet a writer or read a query letter that takes him completely by surprise, that brings him into a world he didn’t know existed or awakens him to a notion that had been there all along but that he had never much noticed. Some of the most striking and successful books in recent history were clearly born of a writer’s obsession and complete disregard of what, supposedly, sells.”
–Betsy Lerner, The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers, p. 17-18

Tricia’s Thoughts:
What is commonplace to you that might be new and fresh to the world around you? Think about that for a minute. For me, it’s teenage mothers. I was a teen mom, and I work with them on a weekly basis. When I put together my proposal for a book for teenage mothers, the editors loved the idea, but weren’t sure about the salability. (They thought it would possibly sell as many as 2,000 copies.) Zondervan finally gave me a contract because of my PASSION and my heart for teen moms.

When I received word that Life Interrupted had gone into it’s third printing, bringing the number of copies in print up to 7,600, I was amazed. I’ve also done dozens of radio interviews, magazine articles, and TV spots on the subject. Only God can do that! He placed this passion on my heart for a reason.

What about you? What do you really want to write but are afraid won’t sell? Forget the “numbers.” Go with God!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Write what you know...

"This is the oldest rule, but still true today-write what you know. But don't limit that to what you know in your head. Write about what you know in your heart-things you've lived and felt and experienced. Sometimes it's our biggest life challenges that produce our best writing. And, if nothing else, it's cheap therapy. But, honestly, I believe God can use our toughest trials to communicate from the deep places of our souls to others."
-Melody Carlson

Tricia's Thoughts: Write what you know . . . in your heart. I like that. Dig into those dark places. Those bright spots too. Remember your emotions and feelings when going through specific situations--the ones that really stand out in your mind, then transfer those feelings onto the page. No two of us will deal with the same circumstances in life. Yet we all understand pain, joy, fear, hope. And it's at these levels that we connect, and our writing will transform from mere words on the page to experiences that touch hearts.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Health and the Writer by Camy Tang

Whether you’re a writer who also works a full-time job or are a busy stay-at-home-mom, it’s hard to stay healthy. I researched and figured out a bunch of tips and tricks to help me stay in shape without carving out of my precious writing time. I also found some tips to help me have just general better health. Pick and choose which of these will work for you.

Use variety so you don’t fall off the wagon

Let’s face it, low-fat and high-fiber foods are often not very exciting. And they can get old really fast.

So why not experiment with your food choices? It’ll help you keep to your healthy lifestyle.

Change up your ingredients. Try whole-wheat sourdough instead of regular bread for French toast. Pick up a mango or a papaya. Try spreading hummus on your sandwich, to dip your crackers, or topping your salad.

Experiment with different ethnic recipes. Often the more exotic recipes also use exotic (healthy) ingredients, like couscous or bulgar.

Try Jamaican jerk chicken wings—pepper and spice increases metabolism. Chinese Mapo (or mabo) Dofu with tofu and ground chicken over brown rice. Thai prawns and asparagus or Tom Kah soup with reduced-fat coconut milk.

Recipes are easy to find on the internet, and there are always tons of recipe books for cheap at thrift shops.

Experiment! Be wild!

Camy Tang is a novelist also fighting the battle of the bulge. Find out more about her and her books at, or enjoy the read on her blog at


Friday, December 08, 2006

Books help...

“ . . . For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid pieces of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet you or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die. They are full of the things that you don't get in real life—wonderful, lyrical language, for instance. And quality of attention: we may notice amazing details during the course of a day but we rarely let ourselves stop and really pay attention. An author makes you notice, makes you pay attention, and this is a great gift. My gratitude for good writing is unbounded; I'm grateful for it the way I'm grateful for the ocean.”
–Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Tricia’s Thoughts:
I’ve always considered writing to be real life put in slow motion. We see clearer and understand deeper. We expect meaning and purpose. We anticipate resolution and hope. We pay attention, and for this our souls are satisfied.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Can I help YOU?

“I used to ask God to help me. Then I asked if I might help Him. I ended up by asking Him to do His work through me.”
–Hudson Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret

Tricia’s Thoughts:

As I read Hudson Taylor’s thoughts this morning, my mind immediately went to writing. In fact, I could easily rewrite the quote this way. “I used to ask God to help me with my writing. Then I asked if I might help Him by writing the things on His heart. I ended up by asking Him to do His work through me.”

I don’t know how to explain this concept, except that I’ve come to the place in my writing where I show up at the computer, eager to see what God has in store for that day. I have no faith in what I can accomplish. The faith that resonates in my soul is faith that God sees the end of the article, the story, the novel . . . and coming to that end is only possible as He works through me.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Personal storytelling helps us go beyond these tired, easy, blind responses and see the full range of wondrous moments and meaningful themes that exist in our day-to-day lives. We revitalize our sense of the miraculous. Viewed with this kinds of sensitivity, even the most apparently featureless, unexplored life can metamorphose into a story-rich odyssey.
--Jack McGuire, The Power of Personal Story Telling, p. 18

Tricia’s Thoughts:
If someone were to ask you, “What has God done for you lately?” or “What truth is God speaking to you through your family?” A recent event will most likely pop into your head. A moment that stands out as ordinary, yet also meaningful. Or perhaps a series of events.

As storytellers, I feel we have a unique advantage when it comes to evaluating the world around us. We see God’s themes, lived out. We are sensitive to His messages, because so often they are tied-in to the ones we share on the written page.

The deeper we dig into our own day-to-day lives, the more we realize God’s stories are happening all around us—if we just take the time to acknowledge them and explore their depths.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Professional eavesdropper...

As a writer—and eavesdropper—I know that genius lives where the language lives. Some witness it, overhearing by chance. I eavesdrop professionally, because such listening makes life a perpetual feast, and because I’m not always smart enough to invent things as powerful as what I hear. Another way to say this: By listening to the glories of conversation around me, I am moved to write, and I am reminded to listen closely to my own most quiet thoughts and dreams. In their inventive talk, my wise neighbors give me permission to take seriously my own internal voice.

--Kim Stafford, The Muses Among Us, 17

Monday, December 04, 2006

Health and the Writer by Camy Tang

Whether you’re a writer who also works a full-time job or are a busy stay-at-home-mom, it’s hard to stay healthy. I researched and figured out a bunch of tips and tricks to help me stay in shape without carving out of my precious writing time. I also found some tips to help me have just general better health. Pick and choose which of these will work for you.

You’re not a loser

I know you’ve heard the voices:

I can’t stick with this new eating and exercise lifestyle change.

I’m too lazy.

I’m too old.

I’m not disciplined enough. (I hear this one a lot!)

Don’t let yourself get down on yourself! If you have a calorie-fest or miss exercise for weeks on end, don’t hate yourself. Don’t believe the lie of “Why bother?”

Every day is a new day. So you ate over 3000 calories yesterday. So what? Today is brand new and you can eat within your calorie range today. Don’t think about the days or weeks you busted in that one meal at that decadent steakhouse. Just get back on track.

A healthy lifestyle is not like a bank where you withdraw and deposit calories/fat/exercise. A healthy lifestyle is training yourself to become used to a ROUTINE. A healthy lifestyle is training your mind, your stomach, and your emotions to form GOOD HABITS.

Routines and habits are LONG TERM.

Don’t think about the past. It’s over and done with. Concentrate on today, making good choices today, training yourself to make better choices in future.

Camy Tang is a novelist also fighting the battle of the bulge. Find out more about her and her books at, or enjoy the read on her blog at


Friday, December 01, 2006

Good or mediocrity or evil...

“Your imagination is a powerful tool, for good or mediocrity or evil. Begin by consecrating it to God and asking Him to guide you as you write.”

–Linda Nichols

Tricia’s Thoughts:
When it comes to preparing to write, we all have our quirks. I like to have a cup of coffee on my desk. The room has to be quiet, and if it’s winter I need to be dressed in a comfy sweater and fuzzy socks. . . just because. Yet how more important is to prepare our minds by consecrating our imaginations? Most of the time when I write, I blurt out popcorn prayers such as “Lord, help!” or “What now, God?” But this quote encourages me to take those prayers to the next step and offer my mind as a sacrifice to my God—before I begin—giving Him room to bless my thoughts and make them holy. . . for His glory and honor.