BioPicBlues Hey, writers! Jan here, writing once again with a focus on nonfiction–though the topic today could apply to fiction writers as well.

Last month I offered In the Trenches, Part 1, where we looked at how crucial it is to get into our reader’s skin and keep them in mind while we write. We looked at ways we can get closer to our reader—intentional about knowing who they are from multiple angles, including through real conversations.

We’re going to take that deeper in this post.

Begin by imagining being trapped in a room . . .

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BioPicBlues Jan here, writing to you on one of CAN’s devotional Fridays. I have a question for you: Who are you and what are you doing here?

I ask that with a chuckle because it stirs a memory of when that very question was asked by my daughter, about three-years-old at the time, to an adult who was attending a dinner at our ministry. She asked the question entirely out of innocent curiosity.

Not a bad question to consider.

I met with a young man last week who is preparing to transition from the residential ministry where my husband and I live and work. One of the questions I asked him is: Who is the person you now are that you are taking away from this place?

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BioPicBlues Jan here joining you from sunny California.

In March, I had the delightful opportunity to mentor writers for one of the Head Start Clinics at Mount Hermon’s Christian Writer’s Conference. A “ridiculous” delight—to use one of my student’s favorite expressions.

If you asked any of those in my nonfiction clinic to state one of the most important factors in our writing of successful nonfiction, I have no doubt what their answer would be.

They would tell you . . .

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BioPicBlues Greetings from Jan!

Today I’m busy packing and making preparations for the Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference where I’ll be teaching a Head Start Mentoring Clinic and running the manuscript retrieval process for editors, critiquers, and writers. One of my other delightful tasks for the week will be to give a workshop for the writers about midway through our time there.

We will stop to take a few deep breaths. We’ll step away from the busyness of the conference into God’s waiting arms to catch a glimpse of his hand in all our circumstances. In that place with him, we’ll reflect, refocus, and rechage. As our spirits quiet, we will open our hearts to listen for the specific and intentional ways he is calling us to step into “the next” of the conference with more energy and confidence, with God going before us.

I’m convinced we need many of these moments in our lives as writers to care for ourselves–emotionally, physically, and spiritually–so that we might be fully available to do all God calls us to as writers and speakers.

For this post, I’d like to share one of those difficult, yet recharging moments I’ve enjoyed in God’s arms, reposted from my coaching site, Courageous Moves.

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BioPicBlues Jan–nostalgic and wishing we could get together and chat about writing over a cup of tea or coffee.

Yesterday, I slid a package out from my mailbox at the end of the country road where I live. Inside, along with a couple of text books I ordered, was a book about writing nonfiction and understanding the editor’s perspective. Earlier today, I turned to another resource to look up a grammar tip. What was that rule about . . .?

After that, I read a few blogs I visit from time to time and read about writing and marketing. On a recent road trip, I listened to an entire track from a 2009 Mount Hermon conference on article writing and a few others on speaking.

I love to remain curious and learn new things generally, but I know I must when it comes to my writing. I’m guessing you know that too. After all, you stop by this blog to read the posts hoping to pick up something new and interesting.

How do we, as professionals, take it a couple steps beyond perusal to making it a part of what we know well and apply to our writing?

I’d like to offer one quick two-part tip for today:

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