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As with any good book, 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers started with a “what if…?” question. Published by the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship (ICWF), the book is another step in the organization’s development from simply supporting fellow wordsmiths to providing them with tools they need to start, improve and develop their writing skills.
ICWF started out as the Alberta Christian Writers’ Fellowship in the early 1980s and provided fellowship through its regular newsletters and annual conferences (the book’s introduction includes a brief history of the ICWF).
An ACWF workshop I attended proved integral to my own career, where a connection with Peter Fleck from the Alberta SonShine News led to freelance work and, eventually, a writing/editing career in mainstream and faith-based publications. In recent years, the organization expanded its reach outside of Alberta and changed its name to reflect the change.
7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers was published specifically for writers working within Christian genres and provides advice on:
- Time with God
- Healthy Living
- Time Management
- Honing writing skills
- Crafting a masterpiece
- Submitting your work
About 30 ICWF member contributed articles, short stories, poems or photos to add meat to the bones. While much of what was written was review for me, I was able to see how 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers would benefit a beginning or novice writer.
7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers is a valuable resource that every beginning and novice writer needs.
The advice is solid and comes from the experience of the writers. Unlike many “how-to” books, it doesn’t provide a recipe for success. Instead it provides a smorgasboard of perspectives, allowing the reader (and writer) to choose which fits their own experience. One example is Ruth L. Snyder’s chapter “Fit Writing into A Busy Schedule” and Loretta Bouillon’s chapter “To Schedule or Not to Schedule.” Both talk about fitting writing into busy lives (a common conundrum for beginning writers), but Snyder and Bouillon provide different means and methods to do so. By including both perspectives, the underlying message is: the only “right” way is the one you find works in your circumstances.
If there was one drawback to the book, it would be the chapters written as a short story. I found the change in narrative styles, from non-fiction to fiction, jarring; with many of the short stories coming across as contrived. The practical tips within the short stories could have worked just as well if they’d been presented as a non-fiction article.
And, while the book was written specifically for those working within a Christian milieu (for denominational and devotional publications and Christian publishers), it would have been beneficial if one or two articles about writing for a non-Christian venue were included, specifically in the “Submitting Your Work” and “Marketing” chapters.
Despite these drawbacks, 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers is a valuable resource that every beginning and novice writer needs.
For more information on 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers check http://inscribe.org/anthology/