Friday, December 28, 2012

Inspire Writers Fair Oaks Tea

Eras Cockran hosted Inspire Writers-Fair Oaks' first annual after Christmas tea. We enjoyed good food, tea and laughter and read devotions we started in our Devotions by Design workshop held in November. Then we posed for this picture wearing our critique hats. Twelve tags hung from each hat bearing the titles, Apostrophe Pro, M-dasher, Format Fiend, Misplaced Modifiers, Wordy Woodchuck, I Watch, Repeat Reporter, As Catcher, Was Patrol, Purple Prose Police, Quote Queen, and Comma King.

Leota helped Sue with the tags and hats earlier in December. Then they celebrated their accomplishments by sharing pie at Marie Calender's. :)

The tea was such a big hit, we decided we wanted to do this every year. The writers loved their hats so much, they suggested we wear them to writers conferences and seminars. We have a great group of writers/encouragers and I praise God for each one.

Thank you, Father God, for such a great group of friends. Help us to grow in your spirit and our craft so we may glorify you in what we do. Amen.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Easy Tips for Last Minute Christmas Letters

It's almost Christmas and we're just about out of time, but we can still write a Christmas letter that will get read by our family and friends (instead of set aside). Here are ten steps to make the job quick and easy:
  1. With modern technology we have several choices of format: A one, two, three or four page newsletter to be sent in the U. S. Mail or emailed in a pdf file, a blog post, or a Face Book post. Use an attention grabbing nameplate, columns and pictures. You can find attractive templates online or popular software.
  2. It's a good idea to draft an outline to organize your articles and pictures.
  3. Use common fonts (Times New Roman, Courier New, or Arial), no smaller than 10 pt.
  4. Make your feature article your Christmas message. It can be devotional, inspirational or humorous. This is our time to share the true meaning of Christmas.
  5. Family articles highlight special occasions, events and accomplishments. Children and grandchildren like to be remembered here. It's not cool to brag about fancy vacations, but it's nice to share something of interest about the places you visited.
  6. Current events validate the time of your writing and make your letter a collectible. Stories of loved ones in harms way or what you were doing when a historical event occurred.
  7. Pictures you collected during the year on your phone, FB or computer will come in handy. Be sure to enter captions with names and dates.
  8. Keep your letter positive. If you or someone in your family have suffered loss or illness, tell how God was faithful through this period of time.
  9. Don't be too concerned if you cannot fit everyone in your family in the letter. If it's your tradition, there are more opportunities in future newsletters.
  10. While style and design are necessary, content is most important. It's fun to share recipes, songs or stories that tell the real meaning of Christmas.
It takes a couple minutes at the most to read a Christmas newsletter, but maybe an afternoon to write it. If you have collected information and pictures during the year, it saves valuable time. After you have crafted your letter, proof it and send it your love and prayers.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Salvation Army Writers Conference

You have an opportunity to win a scholarship to the Salvation Army Writers Conference at the Sheraton, St. Louis City Center, 400 S. 14th Street, St. Louis, MO 63103.

October 8-13, 2013 - Five days of learning, sharing, inspiration and recreation for the advancement of the Salvation Army's publishing ministry. Look for announcements about special speakers and presenters in the months ahead.

Contest Categories: Fiction and Non Fiction
First Prize - Full scholarship for conference and airfare
Second Prize - Full scholarship to conference
Third Prize - Half scholarship to conference

Submit your original work, up to 1,200 words in length, by March 31, 2013. Submissions will be judged on creativity, plot and character development (fiction), and message, structure, style, substance, and related criteria.

Visit for the contest submission form. Submissions are to be sent electronically.

Conference Cost: $650, includes all meals and a Riverboat Cruise on the Mississippi.