Writing the Best You Can by Cindy Sproles, and Who Won the Writer’s Block Blocks?

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Today I’m sharing a post from Cindy Sproles, faculty member at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, co-founder and executive editor of Christian Devotions Ministries and ChristianDevotions.us, and much more. Be sure to read her bio below. But today, I want to share her experience and sage advice for those seeking critiques at Blue Ridge next week, as well as for all of us who are writing and submitting.

Writing The Best You Can by Cindy Sproles

“This is what I see needs a little tweaking.” I twisted the paper around so the author could see.

“What? Tweaking?”

“Yes, did my accent throw you? I’m a Tennessee gal. Sometimes folks don’t understand my accent.” I chuckled and pointed to the first remark on the page.

“I’ve worked on this. It’s done. I didn’t pay for it to be torn apart.”

Needless to say, I was a little taken back by a conferee who would pay for a critique only say she didn’t pay to have it critiqued. (I don’t tear apart – honest. Ask anyone who’s received one of my critiques.) I took in a deep breath and smiled. “Well, what would you like to receive from this appointment? How can I help you?”

She took her paper, snorted and left me sitting with my jaw hanging.

It was obvious, this woman had an attitude. But what was more blatant was she felt her work was perfection. Truthfully, I’ve yet to write the perfect piece myself, and I doubt few others have.

I recently took up crocheting and when I ran across a lady in our church who is a pro at the craft, I asked her. “How on earth, Helen, can you do that type of work? It’s beautiful.”  Helen proceeded to tell me how many times she’d torn out a section and reworked it.

“I didn’t think I’d ever get through that one part. Had to do it over and over before I figured it out, but when the light came on, it fell into place.”

Writing is not easy. And beware of those who tell you it is. Like any gift it has to be practiced, honed, worked and reworked before the words finally fall into place. Word weaving is a gift. Some have the gift to read the words aloud and make them sing, but those who write the phrases into melodic, sweet movements understand the hours of tedious work involved.

God graces us each one with unique gifts and talents and it’s up to us to develop them into the gems that will pierce the hearts of those who experience them. Write the best you can, and when you think you have it perfected, start over. Write it again. Do your best. Give of your best. You owe it to yourself and to your reader, but more so, you owe it to the Father in heaven who gifted it to you.

Study to show yourself approved and then prove it by doing the best you can do.

BIO: Cindy Sproles is the co-founder and executive editor of Christian Devotions Ministries and www.christiandevotions.us.  She is a popular speaker at women’s retreats and conferences and teaches at writers conferences across the nation. Cindy is the co-writer of the successful He Said, She Said devotions and is the co-host of the nationally syndicated BlogTalk Radio show, Christian Devotions Speak UP! She is a contributor to CBN.com and is the director of Writers ADVANCE! Boot Camp Writers Conference. Cindy is the author of two devotional/inspirational books, one with her co-writer Eddie Jones and the most recent, a solo book, New Sheets: Thirty Days to Refine You into the Woman You Can Be. You may visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com or contact her for speaking engagements at cindyksproles@gmail.com.

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Who Won Cyn Rogalski’s Writer’s Block Blocks?

Okay, we’ve just read about writing the best we can write, but now it’s time to celebrate writing BAD! In last week’s post, we helped Chip MacGregor celebrate his birthday by participating in his 7th Annual BAD Poetry Contest.

Those who posted a bad poem on his site and then left a comment here to let us know, were automatically entered in the contest. At the time of my writing this post, Chip hadn’t yet posted his winner. But that doesn’t matter, because we have our OWN winner here!

Drumroll, please…

And the winner is…Tim Knopp! Congratulations, Tim! I’m proud to say I knew you before you were such a bad poet! You should be proud of your bad self. 🙂

Tim, all you need to do is contact me with your snail mail address, and the Writer’s Blocks by Cyn Rogalski will be on their way–AFTER the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

And friends, don’t feel bad if you didn’t win. You can get your OWN Writer’s Blocks through Cyn’s site–and remember, Cyn is donating the profits from these items to the Christian Communicators Scholarship Fund. Thank you, Cyn Rogalski!

ADDENDUM 7:30AM: I just went back to Chip’s site and hoo-wee!!! Our own Jeanne Doyon is a finalist! Way to go, Jeanne. I’m so proud of you. You made The Christian Writer’s Den look good…er…bad!

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Well, Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference begins this Sunday and I can’t wait to see many of you there! Be sure to say hello.

Grace and peace,

Vonda

Posted in categories: Announcements | Business of Writing | Christian Living | Uncategorized | Writer's Conferences | Writing Instruction

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  • Nan Jones

    Vonda, thank you for featuring Cindy today. You and Cindy are kindred spirits. I appreciate you both so much. If you get a minute, ask Cindy to say Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference three times. She’ll crack you up 😀

    • I’ll have to do that, Nan! It’s gotta be a hoot! And yes, I do believe Cindy and I are kindred spirits. 🙂

  • I love this story! It’s not always easy to see our “baby” inked-up, but it’s worth it to get better. Thanks, Cindy and Vonda!

    • Yes, once I got serious about writing, I got to the point that I felt cheated if someone handed me back my stuff and just said something like, “That was good.” I know I can always make it better…and I want to!

  • Sandy Quandt

    Loved the crochet analogy, Cindy. Like you said, writing does take our willingness to be open to critique that will help us improve. Thanks for pointing out willingness to learn and improve, is all part of what helps us give of our best to the Master Creator.

  • Glenda Mills

    Loved Cindy’s writing and always yours Vonda. Thanks to both of you for cheering writers on! Have a blessed time anointed time at BRWC.
    Hugs!

    • Thanks, Glenda. I’m looking forward to it, and I know Cindy is too!

  • Barb Winters

    I cherished the critique I had at a writer’s conference. I feel sad for those who are not willing to seek help and accept it when offered. Thank you for the reminder that our work reflects God and we should put forth our best.

    • I know what you mean about feeling sorry for people who don’t see the value of critique. They will stay where they are if they’re unable to learn and grow.

  • Thank you Vonda! I would like to add the sale will be going on until June 28th, & commissioned pieces are available! This means, if you have an idea of a sculpture, or need a specific color, etc, I will work with you. Thanks for your support of Christian Communicators!

    • And thank YOU for your support, Cyn! You’re awesome!

  • Debra L. Butterfield

    Even after I see something I’ve written in print, I want to change things! I am flabbergasted at the woman at this conference. To be a great, or even good, writer, one must have a teachable spirit and always seek to learn more about the craft.

    • Oh, Debra, I get so frustrated with myself when I find a typo or something that just isn’t well-written. I’d MUCH rather someone tell me if they find something and save me from embarrassing myself!

  • Jeanne Doyon

    Congrats, Tim on winning the writer’s blocks–so exciting!! And, wow!! Who knew that I could be recognized for being bad!! LOL. Just knocked my dirty socks off this morning.

    • Hahahahaha! Your poem was incredibly awful, too! Thanks for sharing it with the world.

      Oh, and if you’re agreeable, I’d be happy to post it here for everyone to enjoy. 🙂

  • Sue Badeau

    As much as I am willing to work and rework my own writing, I have to admit it still stings when someone else criticizes a passage or even a sentence that I feel has already been polished to near-perfection (I never think anything is actually perfect!) Unlike the woman in the story, I am more likely to find that unbidden tears spring to my eyes at times like this. I also take every word of criticism to heart, so my challenge is to discern when it is truly valid and needs to be addressed and when it is not. I have learned a lot from watching my husband work on re-finishing the woodwork in our home – a little sandpaper can do wonders!

    • I love that sandpaper analogy! A vivid picture of what reworking can do for our words. Thanks!

  • Cindy, sometimes it’s tempting to settle for less than our best — like you said, writing is hard work! — but it’s always worth it to go to the time and effort to make our work the best we can make it.

    • I know what you mean. Sometimes I catch myself going, “Well, it’s good enough.” And later I find I’m rarely satisfied with “good enough.”