BioPicBlues Jan here. I’m enjoying a quiet day of reflection and challenge, especially around the idea of Lent.

Lent is not a tradition that I grew up with, but I’ve enjoyed watching and hearing how individuals and various faith communities observe it. I like its call to be intentional about letting go of earthly distractions and drawing closer to God—particularly in relationship to preparing our hearts for taking in the passion of Christ, his suffering and resurrection, and what that means to each of us personally as his children in living this life in him.

So I’ve felt stirred to consider ways to incorporate the parts I understand into living out my worship of God—though I admit I tend to approach it somewhat nontraditionally.

In that nontraditional vein, let’s bring the observation of Lent a bit closer to home as authors looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). How might the ideas around Lent present a worthy challenge for us as a writers and speakers?

Consider . . .

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BioPicBlues Hello! Jan here hoping to generate some freshness into not only our nonfiction writing, but also our speaking.

Today is the Friday before Valentine’s Day. My childhood memories create a picture of schoolchildren across the country stuffing decorated boxes with sentiments and enjoying cupcakes with red sprinkles and candy hearts.

What does that have to do with writing and speaking?

Starting places for infusing very needed freshness into what we do . . .

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Kern_web shot Jan here, writing on a drizzly but pleasant evening from northern California.

Did you know that yesterday was Hug-A-Writer Day in Canada? I’m wondering how many people knew about it—in Canada or anywhere else. I mean, did you get a hug yesterday? For being a writer?

As writers and speakers we enjoy those hugs once in a while, don’t you think? If not physical arms wrapping around our shoulders, at least someone in our corner who is willing to encourage us from time to time and say, “Hey, keep going! You can do it! You’re on the right track.”

But many days we keep going, pushing toward those deadlines and fulfilling speaking obligations, often without those background echoes of encouragement. We feel carried forward by our passion for our current WIP, our topic, or sometimes simply by the pleasure of stringing words together. It seems like enough.

Not for long.

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Kern_web shot Jan here, writing about nonfiction writing craft on this fine Friday in January of the new decade.

Let’s talk about the craft of storytelling in nonfiction. Fiction writers naturally spend much focused time developing the craft of story. Nonfiction writers quickly discover this is essential for their writing as well.

It is very possible that a section of story excerpted from its larger context could be told so well that a hearer or reader would need to guess if it’s nonfiction or fiction. Is it a true account told by a storyteller who has skillfully woven the facts through a creative use of fiction techniques? Or is it fiction written with such factual, researched detail that it seems real?

For this post, we’ll look specifically at the story crafted as nonfiction. What are some of the ways we can build stronger storytelling technique into our nonfiction—whether essay, article, or book?

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Kern_web shot Jan here, writing as 2009 is drawing to a close about a recent prodding I received through another look at Psalm 23.

As writers we seek to factor in the best point of view (POV) for the piece we are writing. We make intentional choices or shifts to bring out nuances of meaning or story direction. The topics and characters are important, as are the readers we bring along with us through our story or narrative.

The power of POV came through recently as I was rereading Psalm 23.

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