The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

Michelle’s Writing Exercise September 9, 2009

Filed under: Writing — ashleybarrett @ 9:30 am
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I wish I could write stories that are both simple and profound. I like good stories just because they are good. But good stories that tell the truth are great. I would love to write stories (and poems) that communicate truth while being enjoyed at the same time. I want to strike that universal chord where everyone can relate to the characters in my story. I want to write about characters who are real and live and breathe off the page. I want to incorporate the details about life that I savor: sunshine, warm bread and honey, smiles etc.  I wish I could write stories that have artistic merit but still hit home with people outside of academic circles. I also wish I could write something that I would/could finish. I wish I could write prose that moved seamlessly. I wish I could write stories that don’t avoid hard topics but ultimately speak on hope and redemption.  I wish I could write about all the wonderful details of my own life and thoroughly mine my own experiences to entertain and help others.  I wish I could write with the humor and authenticity of Anne Lamott and the realism of Stephen King.


“I wish I could write …” Writing Exercise, part 2 August 28, 2009

Filed under: Writing — Erin Joy @ 1:54 pm
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In line with Michelle’s post, I’ve decided to write my own 250 words (plus a couple) about what I wish I could write. Here it is:

I wish I could write something I think others find worth reading. I wish I could do this on a regular basis. The standard I place on my writing should be higher, and I should consider the audience more when I write. Writing is not only for my benefit, but should be beneficial to those who are readers. Not every word is worth reading, and I desire my writing to be something people consider worthwhile.

I wish I could write something creative. I know that I think creatively, but to convey this through words and make it understandable to others beyond my own mind is the challenge. I need to expand my vocabulary on a regular basis, making sure to use the new words that I learn.

I wish I could write something inspiring. I don’t want to be just writing simply to write, and I don’t want what I write to lay dull on the page (or screen) where people pass right by it without giving it a second thought. In order to do that, I need to put more thought into what I write, down to each word I choose, even if that means I need to go back and rewrite multiple times. I know I need to do that more.

I wish I could write and rewrite without becoming bored with what I’m writing. That is a habit that I have acquired through the awful tendency to be last minute on everything, procrastinating it all until I must get things finished. It has been too long since I have been forced to make a rewrite of something once it is on the page.


“I wish I could write…” Writing Exercise August 21, 2009

Filed under: Writing — michellehuegel @ 8:56 pm
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A Twitter friend posted this 250-word-goal writing prompt, and it hit a chord with me. So I pulled up Word and started writing. Here’s what I came up with.

I wish I could write funny, witty blog posts like Creative Junkie. She makes me laugh out loud, shake my head, and feel like I know just what she means. I want to write things that relate to people’s lives, make them chuckle and think a little deeper sometimes. I wish I could write imaginative fantasy stories and create fresh new magical systems and mythology for my worlds. More importantly, I wish I could come up with a sparkling plot and multidimensional characters, ones that no one has ever read before in another incarnation. Sometimes I wish I could get all the stories I’ve ever read out of my head so I could actually think of something new and different instead of all these used ideas crowding my brain. But come to think of it, “repurposed” items are pretty hot nowadays, and maybe I can turn some of those “used” ideas into jumping-off points, or recombine elements in a fresh way. Should I use the same adjective twice in one paragraph (“fresh”)? Perhaps I analyze my writing too much—even before it leaves my fingers I’m analyzing the words. Funny enough? Too cliché? Trying too hard? I question my every word and phrase, and when I get that far, I question the paragraphs and pages too. This tendency makes for a good editor, but not always a good writer. Which is why I enjoy the freedom of these writing exercises—freedom from inventing an original idea of my own and psychoanalyzing the life out of it. And looky there, I’ve written 250-plus words!

Now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what you wish you could write!

Michelle Huegel


My Professional Vision June 4, 2009

Filed under: Life in General,Writing — ashleybarrett @ 10:15 pm
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After reading Michael Hyatt’s post on vision, I decided to form a vision for my writing and editing career.

In the post, Hyatt explains that vision is the goal and strategy is the plan for getting there, so vision is actually more important than strategy.

I got quiet (or as quiet as I could get with stopping for lunch and pausing to talk to my mom). And tried to think without limitation. It was exhilarating and scary letting my heart and my mind run wild with where I felt God wanted to take me. God has been working with me in general about limiting Him in my thinking, “Look God, you don’t have to do anything impressive, I’ll settle for just getting me through this day.”

Now maybe I’m still thinking small because my vision doesn’t include a multi-million dollar book deal and building a separate office for all my fan mail. If that’s in my future so be it, but my destination isn’t fame and fortune. My ultimate desire is to serve God and the Kingdom well, to write well-crafted words. I’m pretty sure if this is the mark I’m aiming to hit God will not only meet the monetary needs of my family, but enable my family to be a resource for others.

For those of you who feel stuck or feel like they are drowning in a aimlessness, I’d recommend taking an hour and answering these questions. Knowing where you are going makes the route a lot clearer.

Here is my professional vision, but you’re not allowed to copy me:

I write well-crafted, meaningful, novels, poetry, articles and short stories. My query and cover letters are both honest and professional. I write every weekday and enjoy it. I make enough income from writing that I can quit both of my part-time jobs and the IRS lets me call what I do a business. I have written a novel, held the published book in my hands and flipped through the pages. I have a good agent at a reputable agency. I attend writer’s conferences as a participant and a speaker. Bethel will ask me to speak at their writing workshop. I publish at least 10 articles, short stories, poems or sidebars a year. I’ve sold everything in my “unsold” pile. I am confident and come up with ideas easily. People understand that I have to devote time to writing. I can still take care of my family and home the way I like to. I hear back from 75% of my e-mails. I accept only the projects that I want to do. I submit at least twice a month. I feel confident in my editing skills and have a reputation as a solid editor.  My mentor says she is proud of me and was right about me the whole time.

Please feel free to share your personal or professional vision with me!