Lockdown? -Yeah, Right!

America and the world have experienced something we have never dealt with before. COVID-19 has everyone running for cover. Certainly we need to use common sense and use good hygiene. I’ll leave my political views out of it except to say I believe it’s an overactive media at its best – or worst. I can see how the current events fit neatly into Bible prophecy. I’ll save that for another time as well.

So the country is in lockdown. Does that mean you can’t accomplish anything worthwhile? Nope! This may very well be a blessing in disguise for writers. So few places to go. So few things to do. It’s the perfect time to devote yourself to your next writing project. Or if you don’t write, curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee and ten books. Don’t waste the time we have – and don’t complain about it either.

Now, on to something practical. Well, I’m not sure. I’m always looking for new things to try, new techniques to use, to keep the creative juices flowing. I came across something interesting today. Have you ever thought about copying a finished novel? I don’t mean copying it and claiming as your own. I mean taking pen and paper and writing it word for word. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But here’s the payoff.

  1. You learn commitment – Taking time to handcopy a great work is a great work. You’ve chosen to place yourself in lockdown as you undertake many hours of scribing. You risk writer’s cramp. The sacrifices you make and the commitment you claim will go miles as you set out to work on your new manuscript.
  2. You learn the hidden, internal structure of the manuscript. How does the author structure his/her sentences? Are they short? Long? What about the cadence? You’ll see things you never thought of before, and I believe in the long run that will help shape your writing. (But you have to use a quality text to copy. It works both ways. If you use an inferior manuscript, it will pull your writing down just as easily).
  3. You strengthen vocabulary. There can be no doubt, left to ourselves, we have a tendency to overuse certain words. Think about the word but. What other words could you use in its place? Maybe however. How about in contrast? It might even be possible to change it up by using the word and.

    There is much more that can be said. however, I think you get the point. I’ve never done this before so I’m hoping to try it in the near future. Let me know what your thoughts are.

Until next week, keep healthy and busy. Don’t let the lockdown get the best of you.



Welcome to Wednesday



Welcome to our new day – Wednesday! I don’t have much to say this week as I’m under the influence – the influence of influenza. I’m just chillin’ if you know what I mean. The old flu bug has me tight in its grip. At least, it’s not COVI-19. With that being said, just to let you know I said a prayer for you, and plan on giving you something worthwhile next week. Right now, worthwhile escapes me. Have a great week!

Time for a Change

red and green tree leaves on a sunny day

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Mondays were getting to be increasingly busy. With that in mind, I will be changing the Monday Update to the Wednesday Update. This will begin on March 18th. A new routine always lends itself to readjustment, so if I miss a Wednesday or two, please forgive me – and feel free to chew me out! I deserve it.

But there’s more than that changing. It’s a beautiful pre-spring day in PA. Not a cloud in the sky and temperatures near 70 degrees. Maybe the old weather-forecasting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, was right this year.

A change in the weather seems to bring a change in my writing habits. I tend to spend more time outdoors looking for subjects to write about than actually writing. Shame on me, but in one way or another, it’s all needed. When I want to rationalize, I can rationalize. Pretty good, don’t you think?

Actually, it’s all excuses to avoid doing what needs to be done. I am also a wonderful procrastinator. Unfortunately, procrastinating and rationalizing doesn’t accomplish much. Commitment and hard work do.

I said all that to say this. Writing is made up of more than just taking an idea from the brain and transferring it to the fingertips. There are legitimate times of looking for new subjects and situations to write about. Where would the writer be without taking time out to study the craft of writing? With so many articles and videos available on the internet these days, there is no excuse for not developing your writing skills. But it does take time – time away from forming the written word.

Time out to do research is always necessary, whether we are writing a factual or fictional piece. Good writing involves more than just typing away. Then we always have the editing process, which I hate. Anybody know what I’m talking about? Writing takes place between gathering your information and editing. Good writing takes place after the final edit. There really is no way around it. So on this beautiful Monday, suck it up, and let’s get to it! See you the 18th.


La Da Da Da De, La Da Da Da Da


As Sonny and Cher would say, The Beat Goes On. And it does. One thing leads to another and to another. In our cause and effect world that’s how it plays out. Things could be good or bad depending on our attitude. It’s our attitude that changes everything.

But for the writer, it’s more like Linda Ronstadt’s, The Beat of a Different Drum, our own drum. We set our own tempo, our own dynamics. We decide our own rhythm. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is playing. We do what we do because we must.

We see the world through different eyes and we’re driven to let people see what we see – the injustice, the evil, the unfairness of life. the cruelty, the pain . . . and the beat goes on. We long to give hope to a world gone bad, to lift up others, to keep their heads above water. And so we become vulnerable, at risk of exposing ourselves.

Such is the life of a writer.

But, back to attitudes. Regardless of the material we write, there is always an upside. We have within us an invisible sense of the flipside. We may write with all the horror we can imagine or have experienced. We can write with all the heartbreak relationships may cause. We can put our pen to paper and create a tricky mystery. Even if the villain kills our protagonist, in the end, good usually comes through.

We writers are a lonely breed. We may lock ourselves away and come out with a most beautiful piece of poetry. We may exit with a great comedic piece. We come out and have the ability to touch lives. I can’t get away from the thought that everything I have written that someone has read results in them taking a part of me. I’ve given myself to the task of writing because the beat goes on. I can either overlook it, avoid it, or confront it head-on.

But more than that, I’m thankful for the spoken word. As a pastor, I have the wonderful opportunity each week to speak words – hopefully, words of hope to a world gone bad, to lift up others, to keep their heads above water. Spoken or written, that’s my purpose. That’s my calling.

The meaning of life runs deep, deeper than most people want to face. I can only speak for myself, but I do think most writers are willing to take that look into the deep, dark crevasses of our soul. We bring it forth and put black on white. Others read and enter the crevasse with us. So, here’s my question – where are you leading them? La Da Da Da De.