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Writing for Your Life

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James Scott Bell

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Trivia About Writing for Life The Narrative Paragraph 6. The Process Paragraph 7. The Example Paragraph 8. The Classification Paragraph 9. The Comparison and Contrast Paragraph The Definition Paragraph The Cause and Effect Paragraph The Persuasive Paragraph Part 3: Writing an Essay Understanding the Essay Effective Introductions, Conclusions, and Titles Using Patterns of Organization to Develop Essays Focus on people; focus on results, we tell ourselves.

How do we communicate that the mission is accomplishing its goals? The two work together. Every one of us who writes for the Internet has to listen closely to the needs of our audience and then determine the types of content we can create to meet those needs. Those of us who write for nonprofits understand we define ourselves by the stories we tell, the people we profile and the events we write about. While stories resonate with our readers, they are difficult to write because the author has to show life change.

That kind of change is harder to identify and write about. Frequently this happens when a person comes to Christ or starts to grow in their faith. How do you show life-change? Ask your story subjects if they can give you an example. Whenever you can, write about their response to a difficult situation, demonstrating how they changed.

What do they do, and what experiences have led them to do it? Even though they might not have an obstacle to overcome, they show up week after week, accomplishing the goals of your mission. Inexperienced writers might choose this format to help them gather all of the necessary facts. Once the facts are gathered and assembled, an experienced editor can help identify a focus that could allow the writer to create a personality profile. A report explains what happened and answers questions your readers might be asking.

For example, what happened? When did it happen? Where did it happen? How does it show our mission in action? According to writing coach Roy Peter Clark, the difference between a story and a report is this: A report tells the facts of what happened. A story evokes an emotional response. A report shows scope on a large scale. A story shows life-change in an individual. One of the students made a decision to trust Christ to forgive her sins.

This works well when you want to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary of a well-known person. Each of these forms has its place on your website, in your emails and in your publications.

Know what they are and understand the purpose they serve. If you are the editor, know the difference between each piece of content, and be clear with the writer exactly what you expect.

If you are the writer, understand the differences between each piece of content, and ask questions to help you understand what your editor expects from you. Because variety is the spice of life, consider varying the types of content you put in front of your readers. Know the difference between each one. Try each one out to see if it helps you accomplish your goals. In the email, I wrote that Bethany is a conscientious student.

I copied her and my husband, Mark as a courtesy. The next morning, Mark very gently pointed out to me that I had written Bethany is a very contentious student. Mark would have caught the mistake had he read my email before I sent it. We call this process peer editing. Pay close attention to the spot where your reader wanted to stop reading. Are they active enough? Can you find a more compelling way to move the action along in your prose? From time to time, my son, the engineering student, sends me research papers to read for him.

After I provided feedback on one of his pieces, he added illustrations so that his readers could see what he described. Maybe the bravest part of the process is turning your work over to someone else so you can listen to their feedback. Think of it as your focus statement. Next time, you write, ask yourself these questions:. What is this piece really about?

Decide the one piece of information you want your readers to remember when they finish your piece. Try stating it as an opinion so that you can tell stories, use statistics and present facts to illustrate your point.

After you decide, ask yourself what makes that part so interesting to you. If you are writing a topic or an experience you can relate to, allow your perspective to influence your text. None of us are truly objective.

Maybe God picked you to write the piece because your experiences allow you to better understand the events and principles you are writing about. While there is nothing new under the sun, you can add fresh perspective to stories and topics that have already been covered. Most faith-based stories tell the same series of events over and over again. An unbeliever refuses to believe, has an experience and crosses the bridge to belief.

The events leading up to crossing the bridge to belief. Can you be more specific? As you answer these questions, pick one main idea to center your piece around. State it as a sentence. Be as specific as possible. Your focus statement is like the string that holds a strand of pearls together. Each pearl fits on the string because it is the same size, shape and color as the other pearls. In the same way, when you write, pick one main point and then choose details that reinforce that idea.

This is harder than you think it is. It also means saying no to good information so that you can pick the best information. Great writing begins by making hard choices. So, which part will you tell? In the movie City Slickers , Curly, the cowboy, tells Mitch, the er, the secret to life is one thing. When Mitch asks what that one thing is, Curly tells him he has to figure it out for himself. In the same way, only you can figure out for yourself what your main point ought to be for each piece you write.

At a time when your readers are constantly distracted, you can make your work easier to read by organizing your ideas around one central thought. Pick one point, prove that point to your readers, and you will give them the gift of being able to remember what you have written.

I continued hoping that the travelers would keep moving toward the back of the plane, passing up the empty middle seat next to me. I looked up to see a man 10 in his mids asking the question. He sat down, yielding the armrest to me, and smiled a playful grin.

How could I not like him? He had no carry on luggage. And then he told me his story. He runs a family farm in Central Nebraska, approximately 30 fields that span 30 miles.

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Skills for writing–process and strategy Writing for Life: Paragraphs and Essays is part of a two-book series that helps students understand the importance of strong writing skills and motivates them to become better $

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In real life, the engine of a train always comes first because it pulls the cars behind it. While the focus statement of your story should appear early in .

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Writing for Life: Sentences and Paragraphs is part of a two-book series that helps students understand the importance of strong writing skills and motivates them to become better writers. Students are encouraged to take charge of their own learning, and to transfer the strategies they currently apply to reading visuals to reading and writing text. Writing for Your Life is pleased to offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for pastors for our online and in-person writing conferences and advanced writer’s retreats. Writing for Your Life is a member of the Association of Leaders in Lifelong Learning for Ministry (formerly the Society for the Advancement of Continuing Education for Ministry).

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My grandmother recently passed away at 99 years old. When she was born, in , the average life expectancy for a white American women (higher than that for males, or people of color) was 56 years old. As a child, the idea of a 99 year-old person, let alone her own ability to live to 99, would have astonished my grandmother. A blog about writing, photography and travel. I love to write, and photograph, and travel. Every post here is a story from coast to coast of North America and sometimes beyond.