Now Accepting Submissions :)

Hey Divas!

I had my baby, I moved across the world back home to the USA and I’m ready to start accepting submissions for Devotional Diva again.

Got an idea for a story or devotional? Here’s our “Become a Diva” submission page with more information.

It has been a whirlwind few months, and I thank you for being patient with me during my recovery and all these changes. (To be honest, everything was a lot harder than I expected!)

My husband has been with our family for a full six months, and that hasn’t happened in over three years. Thank you for understanding my need to also soak up this time together.

I have new ideas for this year, and you’ll probably notice some changes soon! Now that I’m a mom of two, I’m trying to be intentional about being efficient. I want to have good time management for ALL my priorities. 😊 A couple of things right off the bat: formatting for the posts will be a little different (simpler) and I will not be accepting submissions year round (more efficient). I’ll always post and update the become a diva page when they are open 😊

I am also striving to make the devotionals easily visible and accessible for everyone. I think we have amazing writers and content and I don’t want you to miss it! I’ve been trying to figure out the best ways to share on social media. I might need to try a few things out, but I’m going to start by adding the devotionals to Instagram (and Facebook) stories. I hope you’ll check those out! Follow the devotional_diva IG here and Facebook here. I’m most active on those platforms, and appreciate your follow!!

Stay tuned for new posts, and until then, if you’ve got a story or devotional to share, email me at editor@devotionaldiva.com to connect with me 🙂

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Diva Christmas 2018!

Diva Christmas Series 2018

It’s the 5th annual Diva Christmas series!

I really can’t believe that I’ve been able to do this for five years! If you’ve seen any of my commentary on past year’s series, you know I just love Christmas. And I love doing our Christmas series.

For me, there’s nothing like connecting with God through these devotionals over Christmas. Christmastime is a time I always feel the need to worship Him even more.

I know Halloween season is just starting and you might not be in a Christmas-y mood yet, but I gotta plan ahead! So here’s the scoop on theme, length and other guidelines of submission for this year’s series.

Theme: “The Best Christmas Ever” Pretty self-explanatory, but what I’m looking for here are stories reminiscing on the best (or one of the best) Christmases you ever had. I love reading these types of stories. When amazing things are happening, I feel very close to God because I marvel at His work. Maybe it’s a Christmas miracle. Maybe it’s a magical Christmas from your childhood. Maybe it’s sharing the Christmas story with your own kids. What’s the best Christmas you ever had? What memories do you like to look back on? How were you blessed?

Length: Normal requirements. 500-700 words.

Bio: If you’d like to share a photo and bio (you can now submit anonymously if you’d prefer!) the bio should be 3-4 sentences and all your social links can be included in there.

Examples of Past Christmas Posts: The True Star (2017), Our Finest Christmas Tree (2017), Joyous Response (2016), Peace and Joy (2014)

Deadline:  October 25th (finished product)

How to Submit: Email me at editor(at)devotionaldiva.com with your idea!

I hope you’ll consider submitting to the series this year! Please let me know if you have any questions. By the way, I did have to close all regular submissions for the rest of 2019. It’s just the Christmas series for now!

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Devotional Diva Turns 10!

On July 15, 2008, founder Renee Johnson (now Renee Fisher) wrote on Facebook that her work was cut out for her thanks to her coach. That was the day DevotionalDiva.com was born!

Editor’s Note: I asked Renee to share a note on the anniversary of Devotional Diva turning ten! Here is her letter:

It was my (Renee’s) dream to become a published author, and my coach, Marcia Ramsland, suggested I use DevotionalDiva.com as my website and brand because I had already blogged hundreds of devotionals.

I worked hard to launch the website in September and bought the trademark. Within a few short months, I had a literary agent and a publisher for my first book, a 365-daily devotional for 20-somethings entitled Faithbook of Jesus.

My first book sold so well that I was offered a second contract from NavPress. Then the economy tanked and my contract was canceled. I had no idea what God was up to or what might come next.

Another dream of mine came true, In 2011, I married a wonderful man and God gave me a new identity, and not just because of my new last name. He called me “Peaceful” despite my health issues of anxiety and severe eczema. 

What started out as one woman bravely sharing her story of overcoming incredible odds became a mantra to spur others forward to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).

I had no idea that God would use my voice to empower hundreds of women to share their story so they too could be set free. 

It was such a comfort for me to create an online platform that encouraged women to share their joys as well as their sufferings. I loved inviting women, as well as being asked by many women for the opportunity to share their story. 

When Devotional Diva® took on a life of its own, I knew it was time to pass the baton to the next generation. It was never mine, to begin with. I was just the steward!

I met Maggie Winterton at the San Diego Christian Writers Guild in 2013 when she asked if she could share her story. Her courage to talk openly about her trials and tribulations inspired me.

The next year, I felt called to step down as Editor-in-Chief.

After Maggie saw my original decision to end Devotional Diva, she felt God compelling her to email me and offer to help keep DD up. 

If it wasn’t for Maggie’s courage once more, Devotional Diva® would have ended.

It felt like an Abraham moment when God asked me to sacrifice my baby. Not only was Maggie the only person to ask me, she now owns the website and the trademark. This is a relief to me because I am no longer a devotional writer. I help women self-publish their stories with the world on my website here. I don’t have enough words to say thank you to the many women, including Maggie herself who bravely shared and will continue to share their story. 

The bravest thing we can do is to use the voice God gave us to speak up and share from the heart. To be open about all the things. 


renee fisher

Renee Fisher is an author, coach and consultant who recently launched a full-service creative agency for authors. She is passionate about defending dreams and spurring others forward to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). #DreamDefender. Renee is a BIG fan of glitter, a graduate of Biola University and lives in Austin, Texas with her handsome husband and their fur child named “Starfish.”

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Introducing the Secret Story Series

secret stories

Introducing the Secret Story Series

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. 

Galatians 5:13-14 (MSG)

I’m the editor of a blog that prides itself on helping women share their stories. I truly believe that sharing your story is not only one of the most brave things you can do to help heal others from similar wounds, but it is healing for yourself.

I’ve experienced it myself. I started as a guest writer here.

So why did I slowly stop feeling confident enough to share?

I listened to people around me in real-life (despite literally making a video 4 years ago about how listening to God over people is the way to go). I took in the criticism deeply. I thought I was whining and complaining too much in my writing, because my life is “great” in comparison to so many others.

And, as a Christian, other Christians would tell me I wasn’t being Christian enough, that I was using the Word of God wrong, send me emails with a scripture and a question mark and say, “what about this, Maggie? Huh?”

I knew those people were just being incorrect holier-than-thou jerks, but I couldn’t help feeling like I failed God.

So I wouldn’t write. Or sometimes I would, but I couldn’t hit publish.

Because again, a little voice would creep in and say, “What if someone says something hurtful? What if they don’t understand? What if publishing this only makes me feel worse?”

In 2016, I wrote about the fear of vulnerability. It was almost like I was a lightning rod for negative energy after I wrote it. I couldn’t stay true to my words. I still cannot write about 2016. It was a painful year.

I slowly stopped sharing as much, to protect myself and my family.

But I wondered, how can I be an encourager if I am just sitting back, clapping everyone else on, and not also sharing? I can’t. I can’t. It feels wrong after a while.

I am afraid I won’t be inspiring enough. I am afraid that I’ve got it all wrong – that everyone else’s point of view is more right, and my story doesn’t matter.

I think the whole problem is this: I don’t want to be misunderstood. And isn’t that what we all truly want? To be understood? Accepted?

And if I’ve done my job as an effective writer, I shouldn’t be misunderstood. Everyone should get it.

But, they don’t. That’s just the truth I’ve slowly had to accept. I’m not writing a technical paper medical paper here. I’m writing devotionals. My journey. I’m writing about my family.

And people will have their own projections and judgements…like I am not guilty of the same thing as a reader?

So how do I deal with this reality?

I have to remember that the people I’m potentially helping are more important than anyone who doesn’t understand.

While working through this stuff, I thought…maybe I’m not alone in my fear.

My #1 priority here is that everyone feels safe.

If you’re given the gift of writing, if you feel called to share, to bravely spill your guts on the page (because it is an act of bravery, to ignore the inner voice, to ignore the voice of critics, to be truly vulnerable) you no longer have to be afraid of anything. If you’re not ready to post a bio or picture with your story, as part of the 2018 10th anniversary of Devotional Diva, I’m opening up anonymous submissions.

This series will be called the Secret Stories Series.

All of the submission processes will the same except for the bio and photo and I will state in the editor’s note that the submission is a part of the series. See the Become a Diva page for more information.

I hope that this new series will be a blessing to anyone feeling timid like me.

 

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June Editor’s Note

I wanted to open June with a quick note from me. I don’t check in enough, and take a backseat to editing instead.

2018 is really turning out to be a year of surprises and uncertainty for me. I really thought I knew where this year was headed, and I’m completely wrong. We plan and God laughs, right?

Without going into tons of details in this short post, stress is high. My grandmother suddenly died. My husband’s deployment is ever-changing and lengthening. And I am continually reminded of God’s commandment to rest. I may need to put less pressure on myself as I tend to do.

Even though my grand plans for this year may not be working out how I’d like…well, I’m not the one really writing the plans here.

You might have noticed I updated the DevotionalDiva logo and theme! That’s part of the #Diva10 DevotionalDiva 10th anniversary celebration. I’ll have more to share with you when DD actually turns 10 in the fall.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

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A Very Diva Christmas 2017 — It’s Time to Submit!

Hey Divas,

It’s that time again… DIVA CHRISTMAS!

I can’t believe this will be my 4th Christmas here. Each year, I do a special guest poster series and this year will be no different. Today, I’m announcing our special theme and opening up submissions. 🙂

Anyone is welcome to submit — even if you have submitted recently. I try to fit as many guest bloggers as I can into this series and include everyone who wants in. I just love Christmas and this is my special way of celebrating the birth of our Savior on Devotional Diva.

Our standard devotional guidelines will NOT apply! That’s the theme!

I realize how busy people are during the holidays…and that makes it harder to keep up with our devotionals. So this year, I’d like to try out a special concept — Short & Sweet devotionals.

All submissions should be under 400 words and somehow be related to Christmas  — but you can get creative here: maybe it’s the scripture you choose to work with, or maybe you’ll share a story about your family’s Christmas traditions. You decide! We can talk it over, too. Whatever you choose, it’s just gotta be Short & Sweet.

Here are some of our past Christmas devotionals that have worked well (but would have been too long for this series!):

A Mary Little Christmas by Carla Gasser

Has Anyone Seen Jesus? by Terasha Burrell

Her Everything by Jo Ann Erwin

Of course, I’ll still need your 3-4 sentence bio and a current picture.

The deadline to submit is November 14th!

If you would like to write a devotional for A Very Diva Christmas or have any questions about the series, please don’t hesitate to email me, Maggie, at editor (at) devotionaldiva.com

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Inspiration for the Creative: Push Yourself

Creative Inspiration

 

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by veteran Diva Fran Thring. Today she’s sharing a poem that dares creative individuals to take a look at their approach to their craft. Thanks for coming back, Fran!]

As a creative individual, I often find myself frustrated with my work. I feel as if it is not making the impact I wish it would. I think perhaps a large part of this common frustration found in the creative life is the cocoon of comfort we envelop around our everyday.

We go to work, complain about the rain and come home to our snug apartments. Day after day, after day.

I wrote this poem as a challenge to myself and the artist in you. I believe we were created to serve a God who folds mountains and yet desperately yearns for the human heart. If your art is stale, maybe it’s because you play too safe.

For me, I’ve found when I live life in its gutters, when I’m unafraid of different and when I say “yes, why not?” inspiration finds me like a tired homing pigeon fluttering home.

Here is my poem. It’s titled “The Creative Who Sold”

THE CREATIVE WHO SOLD

The carpets are thick in the Apartment on Old
the kitchen has magnets and photos I’m told.
A man sits at a table varnished brown burnished bright
he stares at his paper which flickers winsome white.

The man picks up his coffee
wriggles his toes on the rug
the inspiration he seeks gives a half hearted shrug.

He looks out of his window
taps his pen on the page
A word, please, dear God,
I ask- “just a phrase!”

The man stares out the window
through the blinds that sag down
On the pavement below scrambles a jostling town
It runs and it ravages and it reeks of revenge
but the man doesn’t know that, it’s silent his end.

He stands in a hurry, gets a blanket, “I’m cold,”
He stomps to the fridge. His cheese, it has mold.

Three months and a quarter his apartment is sold
We don’t want your work he heard publishers scold
You’re too bland, you’re not bold.

And the man then he knew his Apartment on Old was too cosy and careful and certifiably cold.
So he sold up his carpets and coffee and gold
Now he roams on the street where the stories unfold.

Fran Thring CreativeSpunky, empathetic and humorous- I’m a writer, thinker and sushi eater. I enjoy life. I believe when we are generous, cool things happen. Running, writing and Jesus keep me (mostly) sane. Some days I eat banana chips for dinner. Some days I drink wine with my friends while the Cape Town sunsets. Most days I change the world in a Creative Agency where we talk innovation, ideas and images. Download two free ebooks at franthring.com

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20 Ways to Make Every Day Better

20 ways to make every day better

20 ways to make every day better

20 Ways to Make Every Day Better

By Joyce Meyer

–A Diva Review & Excerpt–

Disclaimer: FaithWords sent me a copy of Joyce Meyer’s new book, 20 Ways to Make Every Day Better for review. I was not compensated.

You divas know I love Joyce Meyer. A lot of my favorites from her are more devotional-based, but I thought her new book was so practical and I loved it.

I also thought this felt like a good post going into spring — I don’t know, spring makes me want to be happier!

In fact, the subtitle of 20 Ways to Make Every Day Better is Simple, Practical Changes with Real Results. I just noticed that as I was looking for the table of contents! I guess I was spot on with my word choice.

Each chapter is a “way” you can make your day better. They are broken down into sections. Each chapter has “suggestions” at the end, which are, again, very practical and in my opinion very original. Here is one from the Chapter entitled Be Patient with Yourself:

 

Suggestions for Putting “Be Patient with Yourself” into Practice:

  • Write up to three “Get out of Jail Free” cards. Give them to yourself when you mess up in the future. You don’t have to live in a jail of condemnation.

  • The next time you are feeling overwhelmed or impatient with yourself, stop and count to twenty. Allow God to speak to you in those twenty seconds, reminding you to be patient with yourself.

  • Write down your intentions–not your actions–for your life and those around you. That list describes what I call your “heart motives.” You may not always be perfect, but God sees your heart. Ask Him to help you line up your actions with your intentions in the future.

 

I picked that chapter’s suggestions because I thought they were most unique. Maybe you need to be a little more patient with yourself right now — I hope this can be an inspiration to you!

FaithWords also let me know about a promotion they’re having that I wanted to pass along:

If you purchase the book before April 31st, you’ll receive a free downloadable sampler from Joyce Meyer that includes Living Beyond Your Feelings, Battlefield of the Mind (my fav), Overload, and Let God Fight Your Battles.

Just follow this link: http://www.faithwords.com/20ways. And fill in your name, email, and upload a copy of your receipt.

 

This post contained an excerpt from the book 20 Ways to Make Every Day Better by Joyce Meyer and was used with permission. 

 
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Getting Through Rough Waters — Staci Frenes Q&A

staci frenes

staci frenes

Unpathed waters, Undreamed shores[Editor’s Note: Hey divas! Spring Break is over! Today I’m sharing a Q&A I did with Staci Frenes, a musician and author! She just released her ninth album, Unpathed Waters, Undreamed Shores and is the author of the book Flourish. Thank you for sharing with us, Staci!]

MW: Wow! Congrats on nine albums! How does this one compare to the first?

SF: Thank you for inviting me to come and share on your fabulous blog! Well, my first album was right out of college. It was a hodge-podge of songs, style-wise, and all over the map. Pop, country, folk. You name it. Listening back now, there are a couple of gems I still like, but not THAT many. This new album feels more mature, coherent and intentionally written. Each song tells part of the story, and together they form the soundtrack to my heart during this season of my life.

MW: What are some of your favorite songs on Unpathed Waters, Undreamed Shores or ones you’d like to talk about?

SF: One song people seem to be responding to a lot is ‘Storms.’ I wrote it for my kids, and it talks about how everyone wishes you sunshine and happiness because they think that’s what’s best for you. And of course, any mom wants her kids to be happy and healthy. But we also want them to know how to love well, how to empathize, how to be patient and long-suffering. Those things get developed during difficult times, so the song says, ‘I wish you storms, beautiful storms. The kind that break you and make you more tender than before. I wish you storms.’ As hard as those words were to sing and write, I DO wish those things for my kids and for anyone I love. Storms are where our faith gets tested—like precious metals in the furnace—and hopefully comes out strong and beautiful.
MW: How did you get into music?

SF: When I was little I wrote poems and stories, but something musical awakened in me when I was around 12 and became a Christian. The words I was writing started forming into melodies. I asked my parents for guitar lessons and started to write songs before I knew anything about music. Songwriting in those awkward teenage years was my lifeline. It’s how I processed the confusing stuff. It’s how I expressed my gratitude to God and learned how to praise Him. And since I’m pretty much a textbook introvert, I found songwriting to be a safe way to share my thoughts and feelings with others.

MW: Did you feel led into this career?

SF: I did for sure! I taught high school English after college for a few years before quitting my ‘day job’ and going into music full-time. It was a leap of faith, but it also felt incredibly freeing. I believe when we’re developing and using our gifts there’s a deep joy in our lives, not because of any paycheck or affirmation from others, but because it’s what we’re wired for and find fulfilling. That’s how I found my ‘calling’ really, by listening to my own joy.

MW: Do you have a process for your writing, whether for a song or book?

SF: I’m definitely a morning person, so most of my productivity happens in the morning when my mind is fresh and sort of a blank slate. With a song, it’s harder to just sit down and write because something has to stir your heart first before you can follow it. Even if it’s just a single word or emotion. But once I have the core idea, I’m like a dog with a bone. I don’t give up until I get all the meat off that idea. I try different melodies, lyric combinations, chords, until it sounds right in my head and heart.

MW: Could you share about your Christian journey?

SF: I encountered Jesus at a winter Christian camp in the 7th grade. Our family had just moved from North Dakota to California and I was in culture shock. I was lonely and shy, so the fact that I agreed to go to a winter camp was a miracle in itself. The speaker gave an invitation and I walked up and prayed that Jesus would be the Lord of my life from that moment on. I’d never known how personal and intimate God could be until that night. I was forever changed. Since then, I’ve been on a journey to know Him more.

MW: What has happened in your life to test your faith the most?

SF: I’ve been through some rough waters in the past few years. I lost my dad to cancer and then my brother to a sudden heart attack soon after that. Not long before that, we had lost our home in the housing market crash, and our teenage daughter came out to us quite unexpectedly. Talk about storms. It was like wave after wave kept coming. Some days it felt suffocating and hard to breathe. I thought of the Psalms, how David cried out to God in despair and then praised Him in the next breath. That’s the thing about faith. You experience painful loss and then you have to choose every day to believe that God is still good. That He still loves you and hasn’t abandoned you.

MW: What do you feel is next for you?

SF: This year I’ll be playing music from my new album wherever I’m invited; churches, house shows, concerts, podcasts. I’m also doing a few Flourish events (based on my book), where I share insights and stories about my creative process and encourage people to develop and nurture their own creativity. I’m grateful for the chance to share about hope and change in this new season of music.

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Writing Tips from Author Frances Gregory Pasch

writing-tips

Writing Tips from Author Frances Gregory Pasch

[Editor’s Note: This is an interview I conducted with author Frances Gregory Pasch. She’s 82 years wise and has blessed us with some awesome writing tips! Some background on Frances…

Frances Gregory PaschFrances Gregory Pasch has been married to her husband, Jim, since 1958. They have five sons and nine grandchildren. They live in New Jersey.

You can contact Frances on her website: www.francesgregorypasch.com.]

Do you consider yourself a lifelong writer?

No. I did write couponing and refunding columns for a year in the early 1980’s for a local newspaper, but I had not written anything before that.

In 1983, at the age of 50 I had a life changing experience when I committed my life to Jesus (story below). He blessed me with the gift of writing poetry, and in 1985, the church I attended started publishing my poems in their bulletins. In 1991, I began attending a local Christian writers’ group. After six months, the leaders could no longer attend so one woman suggested I lead the group. I didn’t want the group to break up so I accepted.  Twenty five years later, I am still leading that group.

How did you become a Christian?

From the time I was ten, I believed in God and followed the rules of my church. My husband Jim and I took our five boys to weekly services until they were in their later teens.

In the early 1980’s, my son Brian came home one day and shocked me with two unexpected questions. “How come you never told us we could have a personal relationship with Jesus?” and “How come you didn’t tell us that we could know for sure that we will be going to heaven?” I asked where he learned this and he told me one of his high school teachers shared this with him.

I wanted to learn more, so I attended Brian’s church but still continued going to mine. I also attended Bible studies at his church. In 1983, at the age of 50, I invited Jesus to be my personal Savior and began an exciting adventure with Him. From that time on, I also knew that my eternal salvation was secure.

Double Vision by Frances Gregory PaschHow does your book combine your devotionals and poetry?

My book has a unique format. It pairs each poem with a devotion on the same subject. A double eye-opener. Two ways of looking at the same spiritual truth.

When do you feel most inspired to write?

I have always enjoyed marketing, so when I hear of an opportunity to submit to a magazine or Sunday school paper, I feel inspired. Throughout the years, my poems and devotions have been published hundreds of time in different Christian and secular publications and book compilations. I am still getting published regularly.

Could you tell me what inspired you to start your new community initiative and a little about it?

The past two years, several writer friends either interviewed me or asked to use one of my devotions or poems on their blogs. Since my website had never been set up for me to return the favor, I had someone help me design a community page. Mine is different in that in addition to reading my posts, visitors can go to my community page and click on my friends’ writing sites and read their posts at any time.

What do you consider to be your mission?

Since a large percentage of my poems and devotions contain the salvation message, I felt that the Lord was leading me to reach out and share them to tell others the Good News. I also began creating my own Christmas and Easter cards using my poetry and clip art. I have been sending them for 25years to over 300 friends and relatives. I also have a bi-weekly e-mail ministry; I send a devotion or poem to over 300 people along with prayer requests and updates.

What do you hope your writings can do for those who read them?

I hope that my devotions and poems will uplift my readers and bring them closer to the Lord. I want them to have a relationship with God like I do.

How has writing blessed you?

God has blessed me in so many ways. I never dreamed that I would be writing and ministering to others. He continues to open new doors for me which bring me even closer to Him.

Eddie Jones, editor and publisher of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, gave me the opportunity to write my first book. At the age of 80, “Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions,” came out December 2013 and is available on Amazon.

What book of the Bible do you find most inspirational for devotionals and poetry?

I use verses in both the New and Old Testament. Most of my devotion and poem ideas come from seeing God in my everyday life experiences. Then I look up a scripture to go along with the subject

Do you have any devotional writing tips?

The most important tip I have for writers is to follow the guidelines of each publication they are submitting to. Each editor has different requirements for submission. A writer has a better chance of getting his/her work in print by carefully following the guidelines.

A copy of the Christian Writers Market Guide is an valuable asset for finding writing tips and lists of places to submit articles, poems, short stories, and books. A new edition comes out yearly.

Try to find a writers’ group so you can fellowship with people who are also interested in reaching out through writing. There are some groups listed in the Christian Writers Market Guide. If you can’t find one there, start one. You might ask your pastor if you can hold your meetings at the church. All you need are a couple of writers and enthusiasm to help each other. Critiquing each other’s writing blesses all the members

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