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Monthly Archives: November 2015


My affirmation for November was that I write a novel every November for NaNoWriMo. This month was no exception. As you can see, I wrote the entire first draft of my novel The Anvil in less than 30 days. I currently have over 56 thousand words written.  I actually had that first draft completed and turned in by the twentieth. Like last year, I moved during this time, but I still got it all done.

What should I do now?

Cygnet Brown writing.

Working on Two Nonfiction Books

In addition to the The Anvil, I worked on two nonfiction books about overcoming writer’s block.These two books are moving along amazingly fast. I have almost 15 thousand words in both nonfiction books. One book is regards fiction writing and writer’s block and the other regards nonfiction and writer’s block. I am certain that you will be hearing more about these books in the days to come.

The Final Edits on Sailing Under the Black Flag

Finally, in addition to working on the novel and the two new nonfiction books, I am working on the final edits of Sailing under the Black Flag. By the end of next month, I have promised to get a copy of this book to my first beta reader so that she can do her part in the editing process.
December’s Affirmation: I am Forward Thinking
Can you believe that a year is already almost over? In December, I am going to be looking over the past year to see how much has changed during this year. I am also going to be looking ahead at the upcoming year. Rather than waiting for January to determine what 2016 will be like, I will do so in December. I will make a few quick adjustments next month so that I can make 2016 an even better year than 2015 has been.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


I hope that everyone here in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday.!

bookshelfMonday I suggested that you could start writing a book in fifteen minutes per day and suggested that you add to that fifteen minutes over time. However, what if you didn’t have more than fifteen minutes per day to write? Would you be doomed to working on this book forever?
The answer to that last question is no. If you were to write fifteen minutes per day, every day for the next year, you would have more than adequate time to write an eighty thousand word book in a year if you dedicated that time to that single book. Don’t believe me? Let’s do the math.

Doing the Math

Let’s take our fifteen minutes per day and multiply it by 366 days (2016 will be a leap year.) You’ll discover that if you write for fifteen minutes per day for a year, you will have written for 91 and a half hours in that year. That means that by writing for fifteen minutes per day for a year, you will have spent equal to just under two and a half work weeks of writing over the course of a year.
This may not seem like much, but if you were to write for fifteen minutes each day at just 25 words a minute (that’s about the speed that a person uses when they are searching and pecking for the letters that they are writing), that’s 375 words per day or 137,250 words in a year. That’s more than enough words to write your entire book and have words left over for editing.

Fifteen Minutes A Day is a Highly Productive Method

You’re probably thinking that perhaps it would be better to take a two and a half week vacation at a writer’s retreat, but in reality, the fifteen minutes a day is a more highly productive method of getting your book written.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that during the twenty-three and three quarter hours that you are not writing, you will probably be thinking about your writing at least part of the time and especially during your sleeping hours. During that fifteen minutes, you will know what to write and will be writing it because you are focused on doing as much during those fifteen minutes as possible. Not certain that you can write 375 words per day? Make it a game to see how many words you can write during those fifteen minutes. Can you write more than 375 words and can you do it consistently? You would be amazed at what you can do if you put your mind to it.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


tree of life

As the pastor of Faith in God Church, I realize that my main duty is not to point out people’s sin, but to point them to the righteous one. It is not my job to point out sin, but to introduce others to the one who will convict them from within.
That’s not to say that I will never talk about sin. To deny that sin exists would be unfair to those who are deluded into thinking that anything they do is okay with God.
In Genesis 3:22-24-It says that the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil and now lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever, God sent the man from the garden of Eden to till the ground where he came from. He placed Cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.
Years ago I was going from my home in Alton to where I worked at the time in Thayer, Missouri when I was thinking about all the bad things that we humans have done and were doing and I asked God how he put up with all of us. I asked him how a God of justice could allow man to continue as he did. He didn’t say anything right away, but when I got to work and was sitting at my machine, he told me, “I am God of Justice, but I am also the God of Love.”
Some people think that God drove Adam from the garden as punishment for eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The truth is, as you can see from this statement, he sent man away to protect him from having to live in his sin forever. He put a flaming sword and heavenly messengers to guard the way to the Tree of the Life.

From Death to Life

In Romans 5:14 we learn that by one man, sin entered the world. Though Adam’s sin in the garden, we all are subject to sin. In Corinthians 15:21-23 it states that in Adam, we all face death, but in Christ we will all be made to live to face judgement. Later in the same chapter, in verses 45-50 we learn that in Adam we were made a corruptible living soul, but in Christ we are made an incorruptible quickening spirit.
We learn in II Timothy 1:10-In our Savior Jesus Christ, death is abolished and he has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Romans 45:15-21 teaches us that
In Romans 5:15-21 we see that though Adam brought death to reign in humankind, Christ brings life as a free gift of grace. Through his obedience, many are made righteous. We don’t receive this through following the law, because human nature proves that humans cannot keep the law. It is only through the grace that comes through the righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ.
The tree of life is again found in Revelation 22:2 where it says that in the New Jerusalem, The Tree of Life will again be seen. The tree will bear twelve manner of fruit and yield her fruit every month. And the leaves of the trees will be a healing for the nations.
This fruit that this tree bears is spiritual fruit which the word speaks about in other places. We get this fruit through the Holy Spirit who lives in us. This Tree of Life therefore produces spiritual life and fruit. It is through these fruits that true healing can occur. Forgiveness, love joy, peace all are part of this spiritual redeeming life.
With this knowledge, let us go back and look at sword that guards The Tree of Life as it was back in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:24. If you look at the flaming sword, it sort of looks like the cross. The sword of the spirit is the Word and the Word is Jesus Christ. The only way get to the Tree of Life (spiritual life) is through the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, in other words, Jesus Christ.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


On Writing Every Day

What should I do now?
One advice that most writers who have been writing a long time will tell you is that you should write every day. I saw in a video where in an interview Stephen King said that he wrote two thousand words every day even on Christmas. That’s a lot of writing.
I have written two thousand words in a day, but I don’t consistently write two thousand words every day, those days are rare. They usually occur when I am just starting a new book and I have new ideas that flow through my fingers onto the keyboard and into words on the computer screen. Some days I don’t write more than 300 words per day. These are days when I am primarily editing work that I have already done. Considering the number of projects I have in the works right now, these days are also rare. Rarer still however, once in a while, I will have a day where I don’t write anything. Life does get in the way of writing sometimes, but I try not to make it a habit. I do agree that writing every day should be a goal for everyone who wants to be a writer.
I have heard some writers who are good writers say that they don’t write every day. They say that they write three to four days per week, but they will spend hours at the computer writing on those days. The days away from the writing process give them time to formulate what they are going to be writing next while they go about their business of living life. I don’t think that would work for me. I tried to exercise 3-4 times per week, but then I discovered that didn’t work for me because I found it difficult for me to get back into it on the day after I didn’t exercise. I found that it took more willpower to exercise 3-4 times per day than it does to exercise every day. I discovered that if I want to make exercise a regular part of my life, I have to do some kind of exercise every day.

Making A Small Time Commitment

I believe that the same goes for writing. When I decided that I wanted to make a habit of writing, I started writing every day. I didn’t, however, decide to write all day long. I started by deciding that I would write for fifteen minutes every day.
I didn’t think of this on my own. I heard a story about a man who decided that he wanted to start running every morning, but he didn’t have the motivation to run every day, so he decided that rather than committing to running every day, he would commit to putting on his running shoes every day. He knew that he could commit to that each day and once he had his running shoes on, he figured that since he had his running shoes on, he may as well run at least around the block. Eventually, the man ran a marathon all because he made that commitment to put on his running shoes every day.

Understanding How Willpower Works

Remember how I said that I don’t enough willpower to do something 3-4 times per week, but I did have enough willpower to do that same thing every day? Well, I heard that there was a recent study that showed that each of us has a certain amount of willpower available to us every day and that when that willpower is used up for the day, we go back to doing things that we do habitually. That’s why exercise programs and diet programs and other things that we use willpower to promote change.
This is why when I decided that I would write every day, I determined that I would make the small commitment to write for fifteen minutes per day as early in the day as possible. This idea of as early in the day as possible is also a key because I didn’t want to use up my daily allotment of willpower on something else before I could begin writing.
That’s not to say that I write just fifteen minutes per day now. I write a lot more than that most days. However, in the beginning, I made certain that I took the time to write on a daily basis and developed the habit of writing every day. Once the practice of writing every day for fifteen minutes became a habit I increased the amount of time that I wrote every day.
If writing a book of any kind is a dream of yours, start today (or if your allotment of willpower is used up for today, begin tomorrow). Take fifteen minutes and begin writing that book. You can do it. Commit to fifteen minutes.

IMG_8330 final copy

 

Donna Brown is the pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri. . As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


success sign postWon Another Year in NaNoWriMo!

As of today, I have already won the NaNoWriMo challenge for my latest manuscript The Anvil by writing 50 thousand words. I turned it in and can now focus on finishing out the rest of the year by getting the final drafts completed of my book Sailing under the Black Flag. Not that that is the only project I am working on, because I also have to start writing the second draft of The Anvil as well as work on the drafts of my next nonfiction books. I have started work on two nonfiction books about writing. Both are about overcoming writer’s block, one is about overcoming writer’s block when writing fiction and the other is overcoming writer’s block when writing nonfiction.

Excited about New Nonfiction Projects

I got the idea for writing these books from a conversation that I had with Michael H. Brown, author of a number of nonfiction books about steam engines. I met him at the Go-Green Sustainability Festival in Thayer, Missouri on October 17, 2015 where I was selling my books. He said that he has been helping women in Missouri prisons develop a passion for writing and is helping them write romance books so that when they leave prison, they will have an income of their own with which to develop independence.
In our conversation, we discussed how I never got writer’s block. He was amazed when I told him that I have a system for avoiding writer’s block. I told him how I knew that my system would work for others because I had already given advice that was helpful to other writers. I told him about the young man who blocked and wrote for the first time in almost a year. I told him about a journalist who I told I had never had writer’s block, and she said that was a book she would buy. He told me that he had never heard of anyone who had a specific system like mine. He said that if I wrote the book, he would buy it. I had not even put a word to paper yet, and I already have two sales. Michael H. Brown thinks this is a million dollar idea.

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss!

Since that day in October, not only have I finished the first draft of The Anvil, but I have written over ten thousand words in each of these two books about overcoming writer’s block. I have also started writing sales copy for these books as well.
This isn’t to say that writing is all that I have been doing during the past month either. I have also started a pastorate at a church and moved my home thirty miles to be closer to the church. Plus I have had to research, write, and give sermons during the transition. Not bad, eh?

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is the pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri. . As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


We Are At War

crusaders

If you are a Christian who desires more than life itself to follow Our Lord Jesus Christ, you have probably noticed that we have been under attack lately from all different directions. Put a post up that you love Jesus and there is apt to be someone who tells you that you are ignorant for believing “fairy tales”. It is not politically correct to believe that life begins at conception or that marriage is between a man and a woman-period. Our schools allow every other religious belief to be taught to our children, but if our child brings his or her Bible to school, that child might be sent to the principal’s office. History books are being rewritten to exclude any mention of our forefather’s Christian faith.

It is not only that true that the powers that be make it difficult for us to share our faith with others, but it can even make it difficult for us to work in what is often a hostile environment to Christians. Militant groups have in recent months targeted Christians and posted gruesome videos of torture and sacrifice. We are in a war which if we lose, even those who persecute us will lose as well.

Fighting the Wrong Enemy

We however have been fighting the battle on the world’s terms, not God’s terms. In Ephesians Chapter 6, verse 12, It says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood,, however, I have noticed however, that the entities that we do fight against try to use that flesh and blood against us Christians. This causes a very serious problem because we are allowing that enemy to use us to prevent the very people that we want to see come into the kingdom from entering into God’s fullness. The Christian culture is trying to fight the battle  politically. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. . .

We Should Be Winning

In Isaiah 54:17 it says, No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their righteousness is of me,saith the Lord.”

But this doesn’t seem to be the case. If we look around us, it looks as if we are losing. Our churches are more than half empty. Ministers of the gospel giving into lusts of the flesh. Why does it look as though we are losing, and what can we do about it?

We’re Not Using Our Greatest Weapon

our greatest weapon against the rulers of this world is God’s love. Here are a few ways to sharpen our weapon of God’s love.
The beloved verses of John 3:16-17 tell us “For God so loved the World that He gave us his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have ever lasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.
To use our greatest weapon, first we have to attain that weapon. We have to ask the Lord Jesus Christ into our Lives and ask him to put his Love into us. Then as with any other weapon, we have to learn to use it. It might seem awkward at first but believe me, it gets easier. Here are a few ways that you can begin practicing God’s Love in your life.
Take ACTION:

1.Rather than looking for the sin in the lives of others, look for ways that you can show God’s love to them. Begin with just a smile.  On your next trip to the grocery store, the dry cleaner, or out to lunch, practice smiling at everyone you see. Smile and say something to break the ice..

2. Go beyond yourself and find out the story of the person you are interacting with (cashier, clerk, wait person, etc.) get to know that person’s name.

3. Consider how you can “give beyond reason” and make a difference to them. It doesn’t need to be money, it may be advice, an opportunity, a connection, a suggestion.

4. Notice in your life, the times someone has “given beyond reason” to you. I’ve no doubt it has happened to you, you just may not remember it in the warp speed world we live in. Cherish it and look for opportunities to create that for others as it will attract more of it in your own life.

5. Every time you come to a time of prayer, sit down and pray for the people that you have randomly met. Ask God to allow you to feel his love for that person.
IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is the Pastor of Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri. . As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


What should I do now?

What should I do now?

You have been meaning to write for days now. Every day you look at your desk and think, perhaps I will start tomorrow. Tomorrow however never seems to come. Ah, you think, you must have writer’s block.
You were excited about this project for a while. You sat down and wrote out your first chapter and even the outline for how your book was going to go. Then you went back and edited chapter one again and again. It never seems like it will ever be right. You’re stuck because you can’t get beyond editing chapter one.
You have a deadline looming and you feel like the walls are caving in on you. The song comes on your oldies station and the words “time keeps on slipping slipping slipping into the future” mocks you as you sit there, afraid that you won’t have anything to present at the deadline. You wish that you had not procrastinated this assignment but you did and you can’t roll back the clock now.
You have been working on writing projects for days, months. You have been putting out ream after ream of work and sending it out only to have it rejected time after time. Now you are sitting in front of the computer wondering if you are really a writer or if you have simply been fooling yourself into believing that you could write in the first place. You are paralyzed. What if what you write now won’t be good enough either?
You have researched and researched your topic. You have read forty books both in print and on e-book. You have scanned hundreds of websites and now you are stumped about where to go from here.
You have worked and worked on this project and you are burned out. You feel as though you want to throw the book out the window. You feel as though something is wrong, but you don’t know what it is, however, you no longer have the energy to put into this project.
If any of these sound like you, you have a diagnosis of writer’s block.
What can you do? Your editor, your instructor, your teacher, your mentor, and even your significant other tell you all you need to do is sit down and write. So you sit down. You stare at the computer screen and still the words do not come. You turn on your favorite oldies radio station and the Song “Fly like an Eagle” by The Steve Miller Band is on. Your time keeps on slipping slipping slipping into the future. If you don’t get some words on your computer screen. You now have doubts that you’ll get a passing grade, you’ll meet your deadline, or even whether you’re cut out to be a writer at all.

Basic Causes of Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block comes four basic causes:

  1. You don’t know what to write
  2. You have too many ideas and can’t figure out where to begin.
  3. You have an underlying physiological or psychological problem that prevents you from writing. (No that doesn’t mean you’re crazy.)
  4. You haven’t disciplined yourself to write on a regular basis using a specific process.

What To Do About Writer’s Block

Based on our four causes, I am going to share four basic ways that you can fight writer’s block:

  1. If you don’t know what to write, Brainstorm various ideas.
  2. If you have too many ideas and can’t figure out where to begin- Do a brain dump, dump all of your writing ideas as well as any other things that are on your mind. Then prioritize and put what you have written down into some sort of order.
  3. If you have an underlying physiological or psychological problem that prevents you from writing, journal about what is going on in your life that is keeping you from writing.
  4. If you lack discipline, determine to write on a regular basis at the same time and place every day. Even if all you have is fifteen minutes between brushing your teeth and making lunch, Write every day and develop a specific writing process.

Writing A Book About Writer’s Block

I know that writer’s block and its causes and the solution to those problems is a far more complicated subject. That is why I have determined to write a book about the subject. I will share more information in my upcoming posts.

IMG_8330 final copy

 

Donna Brown is the pastor at Faith in God Church, Brandsville, Missouri. Under her pseudonym,  Author Cygnet Brown, she  has published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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