Writing craft

In Pursuit of the Reasonable Deadline

Hi Everyone, it’s Judith Couchman. My assignment for this year focuses on blogging about writing: technique; practical pointers, encouragement, and such. I hope this helps you.


dorothy parker post card
Writing craft

No Time Like the Present

"MaureenHi! Maureen Pratt here with my monthly blog. Usually, I write in this space about the craft of writing. But today, I want to take a bit of time out to ask: Are you ready for the flurry of the holiday season? Or, more to the point, are you looking ahead to the next couple of months to make sure that writing commitments can be fulfilled in a quality way while the social and spiritual whirl of November and December move all about?

I find this time of year one of the most inspirational, but also one of the most difficult to keep working away steadily and with full attention. Yes, the music and festivities of these months are wonderfully moving. But they happen at just the time when I literally must not move for chunks of time…move, that is, from the chair in front of my workspace…Deadlines don't seem to disappear merely because we're celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.

So, each year at about this time, I try to look ahead. I scan my calendar for key dates, then work back and assess just how much time I need leading up to those benchmarks to comfortably complete my writing work while making progress on Christmas cards, menus plans, and all the other activities for this season. I do this with my "optional" works, too, those pieces not under deadline but no less important creatively.

Writing too quickly, or too distractedly, can erode style and depth of any piece, fiction or non-fiction. Being mindful of the unusually busy next couple of months also ensures that the quality of the work will be preserved. 

One other thought on the subject: Heaping holidays on top of pressing deadlines can lead to the exclamation, "How will I ever do it all?!?" If you need encouragement in that regard, you might find some inspiration in a recent radio interview I gave on Relevant Radio. There's a link to it on the homepage of my website –

Next month, I'll get back to talking about the "how" of writing. But I hope that this departure from the usual will help with planning for the rest of the year. And I hope that, with better time management, you'll have oodles of hours to enjoy all the beautiful things that this very special time of year brings!



Writing Business Writing craft

When Something Happens

Maureen Pratt, CAN Member-at-Large
Maureen Pratt

Hello, again!  Maureen Pratt here for my monthly blog post. And what a month it’s becoming! No doubt many of you have multiple works in progress gracing your keyboards, computer screens, notebooks, and imaginations. Some deadlines, too. The life of a working writer. And then…something happens. How do we handle health and other emergencies and keep our writing in mind and heart, too? We are writers, after all, and writers, well, we write.

As I write this, I am in the midst of a significant family emergency. One minute, I was working on a new magazine article, and hours later, wham!  Still consumed by the situation, I have come up for a bit of air – I know that other writers experience the same thing. Certainly those of us with ongoing health conditions have experienced “life intervening,” fracturing the fragile status that we create in which we pen our work. So, with this in mind, I have some suggestions for us working writers “when something happens, and especially how we can keep our writing skills going along the way:

Writing Business

Love That Travel, But. . .

Gail Gaymer Martin Hi from Gail Gaymer Martin at  Traveling is a passion of mine along with writing fiction. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to so many countries and every state in the union, and I love setting stories in those places. Some of my travel is the result of teaching writing at conferences or speaking at various events around the country, so my writing career offers me opportunities to do two things I love at one time—talk about writing in other places than home.

But. . .

Inspiration for Writers

Thriving Through the Holidays

Kern_web shot Jan here, hoping to offer a few encouraging thoughts and ideas to help you as writers thrive through the approaching holidays.

The past five or more years, I’ve headed into the Christmas season with either book deadlines or December speaking engagements (or both). I loved the work and ministry involved, but it made an already busy season extra busy. In some ways, I approached it by doing what I could to survive and get through to other side. I want to do it differently from now on.

How about you? There’s the usual excitement and activity of the season, the family events and traditions that you love to participate in. Add in writing, speaking, and marketing deadlines and goals. What can you do to keep moving forward with energy and enjoyment of all that this season holds? To do more than survive, but to actually thrive?

Five ideas . . .

Inspiration for Writers

To My Fellow Hard-Working Writers

Author_Photo Happy Labor Day from Jeanette! While researching a new book idea I stumbled upon this bit of historical trivia: Labor Day was official recognized in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland signed a law establishing it as a national holiday. The observance actually dates back to September 5, 1882 when workers paraded in New York City, fighting for unionization and an eight-hour work day. Declaring it a holiday was the president’s way of honoring the American workforce. By the early 20th century Labor Day marked the official end of summer.

As a kid Labor Day meant:
• A barbecue with neighbors
• Anticipating the first day of school
• The Jerry Lewis Telethon

I don’t think I even knew what Labor Day meant. Even as an adult it’s easy to let the meaning slip past me as I try to work in a final dose of summer fun. So today I’d like to take advantage of this historical day to honor my fellow hard-working writers.