Monday, March 31, 2008

Mowbray Designs Logo Options for FCCW

Word Weaver Officer, Al Mobray, designed a few sample logos for FCCW so we can brainstorm ideas for our image. Check these out! My favorite one is number... never mind, I'm not going to tell you. I look forward to putting it to a vote at our next meeting.

Thank you Al!

Dr Lorraine

FCCW Founder & President



Logo #1 



Logo #2


FCCW3 (2) 

Logo #3


FCCW5 (2)

Logo #4

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Johnson's System Helps Writers Organize and Prioritize

"Use electronic folders liberally," Jean recommends, "and don't keep hard copies." While working in the advertising industry, Jean developed a simple and effective three-step system to stay on top of all her writing projects. This evening she shared her three secrets that can help all writers improve their productivity.

Jean Johnson IMG_2947 - Cropped

Lavada Haupt & Jean Johnson

Jean tells writers to:

  1. Use folders liberally
  2. Use Excel as a giant notepad
  3. Back up often!

Use folders liberally

Have you ever wasted time looking for a chapter or an article that you wrote? If you apply Jean's system for managing your file folders, you can spend more time writing and less time searching for what you wrote.  Computer file manager programs display your file folders and file names alphabetically. Jean recommends that you use numbers before folder and file names  so that you can prioritize your projects like this:

+ 01  My novel

+ 02  My church essay

+ 03  My Rendell study

+04  Future Projects

+05  Past work

Use a two-digit format in case your list goes beyond ten and use the same directory line-up for your web Favorites to capture related web links and references. Renumber your folders as your priorities change. 

So let's assume that you're ready to start you work day on your top priority, your novel. So you click into the 01 My Novel folder where you see your progress:

+ 01  My novel

-00 Novel groundwork

- Chapter 01  Done

- Chapter 02  Done

- Chapter 03

          Chapter 03 Storyboard.xls

          Chapter 03 Text.doc

You left off on chapter 3, so you can begin working on chapter 4 or you can continue working on chapter 3 until it's complete. Jean stores a text file and an Excel storyboard for each chapter.

Use Excel as a Giant Notepad

Jean uses Excel's powerful color and drawing tools to map her stories and characters. She turns off the grid lines and then brings her story to life using colors, text boxes and connector lines. Excel provides thousands of rows and columns, enough for you to plot out the details of just about any story.

Back up Often

Don't count on your computer to start up the next time you're ready to work. Every computer will fail eventually--it's just a question of when. Be sure to back up your files regularly on a hard disk, a CD and/or on flash drives (a.k.a. pen drives or thumb drives). You can also back up your files by posting them on a web site. If you lose your data, it's your own fault!

Total Attendees at today's meeting:  7

Total current members: 11

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Time Management for Writers

Can't seem to find the time to write? Is a busy daily schedule keeping your fingers off the keyboard, or a pen from your hand? "Carving out the time to write can be easy and fun," says Leech, now a full-time writer after 23 years as a journalist.

Larry began his speech by asking each of us to jot down our top two favorite writing topics on separate sheets of paper. He collected our #2 priority and tore those up and then he asked us to crumple up our #1 priority. An idea isn't worth any more than that crumpled paper, he suggests, unless we're working on it or writing about it. Nearly all the ideas we had today will be lost if we didn't take the time to record them.

If we don't free up some time in our calendar to write, then we probably won't get around to writing. "A one hour TV show can eat up about two hours of writing time," says Leech. First you start anticipating that you want to watch the show. You might get a drink and a snack before you sit down to watch TV and get distracted with several other activities in the process.  After the show is over it could take you a half hour to get yourself in the frame of mind to write.

Track Your Time For Two Weeks

Larry recommends tracking how you spend your time for two weeks. Note all the major activities that you're doing in either 15 or 30 minute increments. You need to do this every day throughout the day because you won't remember precisely what you were doing several hours after the time has passed.

"Most people neglect their health, their sleep and/or their relationships when they're trying to find more time in the day." Over time, any one of these can negatively influence your health or your relationships. At the end of the two weeks, analyze how you're spending your time and decide where and how you can make more time to write.  You may be surprised at how much time you can find in your days if you eliminate lower priority activities.

Everyone Gets 168 Hours A Week

Everyone has 168 hours a week to use or lose. "If God is calling you to write and you aren't, then you're filling your schedule with things that don't belong there," says Leech. "Only you can decide what changes you need to make." Be creative. Larry told the story of a mom who taught her young children that she needed ten minutes of quiet time every hour, without any distractions. By writing ten minutes every hour, day after day, she eventually became a published author.

When you're writing, be sure to limit your distractions. Shut down your e-mail and the internet. Turn off your cell phone. Let others know that  you are unavailable for ten minutes, thirty minutes, one hour or two hours. Only you can decide what will work best for you. Larry listens to rock music when he's writing a fast scene and slow music when he's working on a piece that's more serene.


Larry Leech with Domino showing all or nothing.

All or Nothing

Larry closed his speech by telling a story about going to a seminar where he was asked to select one domino among many. As the dominos were being passed around, he decided that he wanted to find one with nine dots on one side and none on the other. When the box came to him, he found one very quickly. Since then, this domino has reminded Larry that if he decides to do something, he's going to give it his all or he's not going to do it at all.

Larry Leech is a full-time freelance writer and the current president of Word Weavers, a Christian writing critique group in Orlando, Florida, with about 70 members.

Total Attendees at today's meeting:  6

New members joining today: Lavada Haupt

Total current members: 11

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Moore's Ten Disciplines for Writers

This evening Ron Moore described ten disciplines that have helped him write weekly sermons for the past several decades. If you focus on any one of these items, your writing career is sure to benefit.

IMG_2846 - Ron Moore Cropped

  1. Determine your goal. We need to know what we want to accomplish as a writer and what we want to accomplish through our readers.
  2. Know your audience. Whether the audience is familiar or unfamiliar, it's vital to understand their expectations.
  3. Set aside a day, time and place. Ron sets aside Thursday to write his sermons. He has a designated room with a computer and his books. He turns down Thursday invitations and delegates responsibility to his staff for everything that comes up on Thursdays.
  4. Reduce distractions. Ron's writing room includes a computer and books, but no TV, radio or telephone! This is his writing room. He also has a prayer chair in his home. The only time he sits in the prayer chair is when he prays.
  5. Develop a thesis statement. Every piece of writing, whether it's an article, a chapter or a book, must have one specific goal or theme that runs throughout. If you can't boil it down to one sentence yet, then you still have some work to do.
  6. Write, write, write. Ron encourages writers to read books about writing. He recommends On Writing by Stephen King, Before We Get Started: A Practical Memoir of the Writer's Life by Bret Lott, and Writing for the Soul: Instruction and Advice from an Extraordinary Writing Life.
  7. Revise, revise. Ron reminds everyone to appreciate how easy it is for us to revise now that we have word processors. Hemingway retyped one of his manuscripts 23 times!
  8. Collaborate. Get involved with a writers critique group where you can work on improving your writing on a regular basis.
  9. Read. It's important to read books similar to what you want to publish. Read good books in your field. Don't just read for pleasure, but read with the "eye of a writer."
  10. Rest. God told us to work for six days and then to rest with him on the seventh.


Buddy Putman joined the FCCW leadership team this evening, volunteering for the Sergeant at Arms position. In this role, Buddy will do the following:

  • maintain & post club signs so that visitors can find us easily
  • maintain stopwatches and other equipment so that everything is presentable and in good working order
  • arrange & confirm the room is ready 15 minutes before meeting is scheduled to begin
  • works with MC to ensure that meeting starts on time
  • at end of meeting assures that room is left in same condition or better than when group arrived

Today I, Lorraine Haataia, President FCCW, opened a checking account for FCCW. Initial deposit was $160 from funds collected for membership dues, donations and door prize tickets. I need to file for a nonprofit tax ID and then follow up with the bank. The Treasurer will handle the account. Officers make financial decisions by consensus.

If you're interested in serving on the FCCW leadership team, we still have a few openings:

  • President: Lorraine Haataia
  • Vice President of Education: Mary McCormack
  • Vice President of Membership: Debi Wilson
  • Vice President of Public Relations: OPEN
  • Secretary: OPEN
  • Treasurer: Inez Holger
  • Sergeant at Arms: Buddy Putman
  • Web Master: OPEN

Officers meet the last Thursday of the month following our regular meeting, from 8:50-9:20 PM.

Total Attendees at today's meeting:  6

Total current members: 10

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dr Lorraine Encourages Writers to Attend Conferences

If you want to be a writer, write. If you want to be a published author, go to writers conferences where you meet writers, authors, editors, literary agents and publishers. They can answer your questions and help you navigate your words into print, into magazines, into bookstores and into the hands of your readers. 

Over the past several years,  I've attended numerous conferences and just recently returned from the 21st Annual Florida Christian Writers Conference held at the Christian Retreat Conference Center in Bradenton, FL. First-timers may feel overwhelmed at a conference, but it's the best way to learn about the publishing world. Just dive in and start swimming. Attend lots of workshops. Ask a lot of questions and listen carefully.

What is your goal? I look forward to the day when I'm walking along a tropical shore line and I spot a stranger sitting in a beach chair reading my book. That's just part of my vision. I also look forward to the day when readers tell me that my books changed their lives for the better. I've read countless books that have improved my life and I'm very thankful for the authors who went to the trouble to organize and preserve their good ideas.

Ultimately, I'm looking forward to the day when I hear, "Well done my good and faithful servant. With you I am well pleased."

IMG_2795 - DrLorraine Speaking at FCCW

Dr Lorraine is the founder and president of First Coast Christian Writers. She is dedicated to providing educational opportunities, resources and effective critique group opportunities on a weekly basis to writers in NE Florida. FCCW leadership team shares a common vision of growing our group to 52 active members by December 31, 2008.

Total attendees at today's meeting: 4

New members joining today: Emory "Buddy" Putman

Total current members: 10