How to Access Your Natural Writer

Writing is all about babbling on the page. Really.

Photo Credit: alvaspappa

This notion changed the way I write. In order to access my natural writer, I have to approach the writing process in the same way a baby approaches learning a new language. Since I’m around children a lot,  this concept was a lightbulb moment for me.

My children didn’t start off speaking the King’s English, and as a mom, I didn’t expect them to do so. Yet when it came to writing, I was super-hard on myself. I wanted to write perfectly from the start. Writing this way is contrary to becoming a natural writer. My formal education had a lot to do with this. How many of us wrote papers, handed them over to the English teacher, and received our papers doused with red ink?

When my children were babies, they gurgled and cooed all day, and I never put them in time out for incomprehensible speech. Instead, I cheered them on.  After receiving my encouragement, they grinned and  “goo-gooed” even more. As writers, we need to turn off that internal editor and “goo-goo” on the page. Now when I sit down to write, I make a conscious effort to be a child again. If I don’t, perfectionism will paralyze me and, quite frankly, perfect sucks. So what principles can we take from how children acquire language that are similar to accessing our natural writer?

Children learn language by first hearing language. Likewise, natural writers read a lot of writing to get a feel for how language works.

With my busy lifestyle, it can be a challenge for me to carve out time to read, but I try to set aside a couple of evenings a week. Reading widely keeps me from getting lost in my own head. It exposes me to different literary voices and styles. Each story I read sharpens my literary ear and helps me become a more natural writer.

Babies gurgle and coo a lot. In a similar respect, natural writers gurgle and coo by free writing.

Once I got rid of the notion that I had to be the “most perfectest writer that ever lived” (ha!), I wrote a whole lot more and I wrote a whole lot faster. Ideas for scenes abounded; article ideas flowed. After turning off that internal critic, I enjoyed writing. Early morning free writing quickly squelches the internal critic. Julia Cameron calls this free writing, “Morning Pages.” She describes it as three pages written in longhand. Those pages can be about anything. In her book “The Artist’s Way,” she says Morning Pages are a vacuum cleaner for your brain. They clear out the gunk so you can think clearly.

So there you have it. By reading a lot and free writing a lot, you’ll access your natural writer. Ba-da bing. Ba-da boom. Next Monday, I’ll discuss my process for generating ideas quickly.

What about you? Have you had a desire to write but felt stymied by perfectionism?

Review of The Hesitant Heiress

Today, I am VERY excited to review the debut release, The Hesitant Heiress, by my writing friend Dawn Crandall. I met Dawn for the first time at my very first ACFW conference in 2011. We were roommates. I recall reading the first couple of pages of her manuscript in our hotel room, and my jaw dropped. This gal had a unique voice, and I knew she was going to be published one day. Well…enough of my gushing. Here goes a summary followed by my review.


Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall


After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, disappearing before her very eyes. Now, the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: Marry within the year to inherit the immense fortune of her estranged grandmother. Amaryllis reluctantly moves in to her aunt’s Boston home and rubs shoulders with fashionable society. Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself quickly falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, the envy of every eligible female, whose father has haunted her dreams for the decade following her mother’s tragic death. However, Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems…and everything she never knew she wanted. But can she ever really trust an Everstone man?

My Review:

Amaryllis Brigham is determined to go against the grain of society and forge her own path in the world. Crandall did a great job of writing Amaryllis as a woman of her time while making her uniquely witty at times. I felt emotionally involved in this story as Amaryllis fought her feelings for Nathan Everstone. Crandall’s writing style plucked my heartstrings and kept me turning the pages. She does an excellent job at writing in first person POV. She writes in such a way that made me fully absorbed in the story. This is a fresh and unique story, and I can’t wait to read book 2!!

Dawn Crandall About Dawn:

A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming published, he let her quit her job in 2010 in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take encouraged long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.

My Review of In Perfect Time | Kindle HDX Giveaway from Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin In Perfect Time
Don’t miss Sarah Sundin‘s hot-off-the-press novel, In Perfect Time. Publishers Weekly gives it an enthusiastic thumbs up: “Sundin excels at well-researched historical detail . . . with such accurate depictions of culture and setting that we are fully immersed in the times as well as in the story. The strength of relationships forged in war and the apprehension of God in times of trouble infuse this well-crafted novel with substance and light.”

Sarah is celebrating the release of her book with a fun giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle HDX
  • The Wings of the Nightingale Series (With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, and In Perfect Time)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 24th. Winner will be announced August 25th at Sarah’s blog.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Sarah’s blog on the 25th to see if you won! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

My Review

This novel was a great read. Another excellent story from Sarah Sundin. The perfect combination of historical fiction and romance that made me sigh at the end. Lovely!


Too Busy to Talk to the Potter

For the past couple of months, I’ve been overloaded, too busy and too distracted to spend time with The Potter.

It reflected in everything I did: my eating habits, how I related to the kiddos, how I related to The Man…and in my laundry pile.

Image Credit: Colin Broug

After a couple of month’s of frustration with the overall discombobulation of of my life, I decided to get back to basics: my journal, my pen, and my Bible. I started with baby steps, waking up a couple of minutes earlier than usual, and basically ranted to God about everything on my brain. Then I read some verses to hear what He had to say back to me. Many times, my readings didn’t directly relate to how I felt at the moment, but I left those God sessions feeling refreshed and empowered. As a result, I zoomed through my day, attacking my ‘to-do’ list with a vengeance, getting clear ideas on how to meet the goals I’ve set for myself. It was awesome.

So the next day, I did it again. And again. And again.

Funny how all my inner angst could be solved with some sessions with the Potter. He’s the Author and the Finisher of my faith, and so it would behoove me to tune in to His station to see what He wants to say. Yet I often get caught up trying to do things MY way or the way all the experts recommend. In the end, working apart from His plan left me tired, bedraggled and crabby.

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

 (Isaiah 64:8, NIV)

How about you? Are you spending daily time in prayer and meditation? If not, what could you do to set aside 15 minutes each day for Your Maker?

THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN – Kindle Fire Giveaway & RSVP for 8/7 Facebook Party!

The Butterfly and the Violin
Welcome to the launch campaign for debut novelist Kristy Cambron‘s The Butterfly and the Violin. Romantic Times had this to say: “Alternating points of view skillfully blend contemporary and historical fiction in this debut novel that is almost impossible to put down. Well-researched yet heartbreaking. . . .”

Kristy is celebrating the release of the first book in her series, A Hidden Masterpiece, with a fun Kindle Fire giveaway and meeting her readers during an August 7th Facebook author chat party.

One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 7th. Winner will be announced at The Butterfly and the Violin Author Chat Party. Kristy will be connecting with readers and answering questions, sharing some of the fascinating research behind the book, hosting a fun book chat, and giving away some GREAT prizes. She will also be giving an exclusive look at the next book in the series, A Sparrow in Terezin!

So grab your copy of The Butterfly and the Violin and join Kristy on the evening of August 7th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 7th!

My Review

This book is AMAZING. Kristy Cambron is a powerful wordsmith. I couldn’t put it down. Every word was divine. I was swept into this story and I couldn’t put it down. I loved how she wove together two time periods: WWII and the modern day. The story is both heartbreaking and beautiful, and it truly resonated with me.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you pick up a copy.