Why a Cowriting with the Holy Spirit Class?

on 20 August 0 Comment

The Problem

Even though I’d had a successful editorial career as a managing editor, marketing manager, and creative director, something had been missing throughout my professional writing experience.

My natural talent or even trying really hard—didn’t cut it at all times. More often than I would like, I would cave under pressure, succumb to stress, or make major mistakes.. 

I felt a little better when I saw the same thing happen as I supervised incredibly talented writers and graphic designers in top corporations and universities in Chicago. I had seen them do incredibly wonderful work—most of the time. 

These troubles happened to me and others in every environment during the course of more than 20 years—in both agency and corporate—whether secular or Christian. 

What was missing?, I wondered More time for creative work, I thought. We were all under too much pressure from difficult deadlines and a strenuous workload. 

I dreamed of the day when I would have time to write as I wanted—without the pressure.

Would a different era bring hope for a resolution?

When I married my gracious husband, he understood my previous struggles with time for creative pursuits. He said, “We will have to live frugally, but take more time for your writing. Pursue your dreams. Help others part time if you want and write the rest of thetime.” 

I had that flexibility to write for years—and yet, I STILL didn’t finish a book. 

So, I’ve found, while more time could help—it may not. In reality, my own thoughts and circumstances have given me false justification to put my writing on the back burner despite the flexibility not to. 

And I know, from working with at least 200 writers over the last two decades, I’m not alone…However the blocks come, they come—and they keep us from starting or finishing.

I call these roadblocks writer stressors. Time and earning money are big ones.

Others include being overwhelmed with the enormity of a book or being indecisive, not knowing which of 50 ideas to execute first. 

I’ve battled fears that my writing won’t be good, or that it will only be interesting to me. 

I sometimes get stuck wondering if the time and money sacrifice will be worth it.

I get frustrated when I see that some online entrepreneur executes similar ideas to ones that I had years ago. 

And there are other stressors too. I know you know them…

But then as I was ready to throw in the towel and give up on my writing dreams, God nudged me, saying, “It’s not about you…it’s about your obedience and glorifying Me.” He reminded me that 1 Corinthians 2:10 tells us that we have received God’s Spirit, not the world’s spirit, so that we can know the wonderful things he has freely given us. 

In other words, the Holy Spirt, who guides us into all truth, will download to us in our writing.

A Revelation… 

Then the A-HA moment came, in the middle of the night, which is unusual for me.  

I had been praying, studying, and journaling with God, but I had never asked God to help me deal with these writer stressors. I searched for a class that combined writing strategies and getting free from these blocks by giving them to God, and I couldn’t find one.

So I responded. I tested this combination. And it worked wonderfully.

And I found that inviting the Holy Spirit into the work of writing, inviting Him to break down the barriers, was the missing ingredient I had been seeking for years. 

Therefore, I created an online seven-week pilot class, called Cowriting with the Holy Spirit, and over time, the class turned into a series of classes. Each class is seven weeks, with a two-hour session each week.  

All of the classes integrate the Holy Spirit into every part of the writing process. I also combine best practices that I learned from supervising and collaborating with writers over the last two decades to walk people through writing and editing their manuscripts. I’ve also added a synthesis of current information that I’ve learned from three well-respected writing subscription training services. If you subscribed to each of these, you would pay more than $150 a month.   

Because the most progress is made when writers actually do the work, I include an hour of independent writing time embedded in the class time, during which people may apply what they have just learned.

As we learn and work, we form a creative community for encouragement and accountability.

I have had dozens of students participate, saying this practice and format helped them experience breakthroughs and make the progress they desired. Not only that, but they have said that God had ministered to their own hearts through their writing efforts. 

And, they love having a prayer record of their writing journey, during which they often receive new ideas. These classes offer a win-win for all writers! 

So why am I sharing this with you all, now? Because classes start next month. 

I’d love to have you in a class and to write with you so that we can both experience this win-win, and spur each other on.

If you want to learn more about various courses, read the descriptions. 

Enroll now—at a deeply discounted price. 

Blessings on your writing! 

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422 Writing Challenge

on 30 April 0 Comment

Who works best in spurts, and has daytime availability? Join me for an upcoming writing challenge!

Write 4 days a week for 2 weeks and 2 days for 2 hours at a time.

The next challenge is 5/10­–5/13; 5/17­–5/20, 5/20–5/21. We meet from 9 to 11:30 on Zoom. 

I’ll open with share a prayer, verse, or quote on my heart. I’ll offer the chance for others to share if they’d like to after we get the hang of it. We will interact for no more than 20 minutes. Then we write for 2 hours until 11:20. 

You do not need to be able to attend everyday live or even any day live to participate. The challenge may be writing at different times and days if that’s what your schedule needs. Although if you can attend live, I know you will be blessed! I’ll also start a private Facebook group that we can also use to connect and cheer each other on with our daily successes. 

About 14 of us gathered in 2020 for this challenge, and it was so fruitful. One participant came back to the writing table, and a year later, she has led groups, developed curriculum videos, and she is about ready to publish another book. Others began new projects that are now much further along.

I also recommend spending up to 20 minutes of each session writing a prayer that includes being thankful, asking God what He might be saying to you, writing out anything that is concerning or blocking you, and asking Him to cowrite with you during the 2 hour session. 

If you feel like this is a “now” activity for you to move forward, please email me at loralpepoon@gmail.com.

There is no cost to participate in the challenge. I’m just looking to have others join me in this journey! 

Be blessed, and happy writing! 

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Write to Wrap Up Your Week

on 28 August 0 Comment

I’m passionate about teaching people to write to help them take stock of their lives and to find their greater purpose beyond themselves. I’ve found that recording what has happened  in my life reveals God’s handiwork. Journaling helps me remember His goodness and clarifies my next steps, especially in these seemingly crazy times.

I’m still asking Him about how my roles as wife and professional writer and editor intersect with His larger purposes, but I do know that each time I write, I get a step closer to finding out. This process of inquiry can be just like a hiking adventure. You never know what’s around the bend until you get there.

If I haven’t journaled daily (and I haven’t this week), I at least like to ask myself a few questions, to help me record my journey. I ask myself different questions at various times, but here’s a few that I think might spark reflection. My hope is that you may be inspired to write down the answer to at least one of these questions.

What sticks out in your mind as something that you came across as inspiring this week? I saw a post with a quote that I haven’t thought about in several years, but at one point was top of mind:

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” ― Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC

If you could only remember one thing, that you want to remember about this week, what would it be?

Hands down, it was the feeling of absolute freedom I felt after I made the decision to go climb on the rocks to the waterfall. Looking up the water dripping down realizing how big God was to enable me to safely get under the tallest water fall East of the Rockies was mindboggling. The experience was metaphorical because it showed me that when I pushed myself, doing my part, God multiplies the blessings The flow went from a light showering to a heavy downpour. I believe He is going to do that in our lives.

Writing in a cafeWhat happened this week that made you smile?

  • Holding my 6-month-old granddaughter at church, thanking God of all he’s done in my life in the last three years. Who knew being single and 41 that I could be a grandma in just three years? Wow—I never would have predicted that!
  • Meeting Wes and Olivia, a sweet couple in their 70s, who inspired us to stay in shape until we are in our 90s. They, like my husband and I, met later in life. We talked with them about our love for God and creation and had a wonderful time with them on the trail. Here they are. You can read more about our encounter on my husband’s blog, Hiking With Your Honey.
  • Watching my amazing husband take care of me as I have been sick—I thank God for him.

What took place that made you cry?

Being too sick to see my friends who are visiting from out of town, and not being able to keep up with regular exercise.

What work projects did you make progress on?

I finished editing two books, recorded an online class, wrote 6 blog posts and finished interviews for a writing deadline next week.

Were you able to reach out with notes to people you love like you promised yourself (and others) that you would do at the end of last week?

I invited six friends to get together, sent several text messages and notes.

Did you learn something new this week?

I refreshed my skills on Adobe Pro to use it for editing, and I practiced recording a class, speaking with more enthusiasm.

It’s your turn now. Happy recording! 

If I can help you process your thought to write a blog, article or book, I’d love to talk with you. If you have written something, and if you would like to have an objective content evaluation, please feel free to contact me.

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Why Writing Can Be Like Scrounging In Your Pantry

on 14 August 0 Comment

You’re depleted. Your resources are spent. Your low on time, energy, money, creativity. And yet, you have a deadline. Or a promise to yourself. What do you do?

You scrounge.

I’m scrounging today. I didn’t have the umph in me to do my planned blog topic—I’m fighting a cold or bug of some sort, and am slightly miserable.

I’m also scrounging for food in my pantry. Going to the grocery store just isn’t happening for another day or two. I’ve had soup the last two nights for dinner—you know, the soup you buy to stock your pantry but aren’t really going to use unless there is an emergency.

Well, Lord, protect us from a real emergency because I have dipped into my food reserves.

My husband loves scrounging, because it helps our food budget, and leaves more cashola for our hiking adventures together. You can read about the fun we have seeing various wonderlands at hikingwithyourhoney.com.

Sometimes, food scrounging produces really good results. My husband marvels at the creations I come up with sometimes…last week it was gluten-free pasta with tuna, pesto and cheese.

But the important thing is that scrounging produces results. You now have something to eat. When you sit down to write—even when it seems like you have nothing—something still comes out. Now you have a piece of writing.

So if you need to “scrounge around” to write, how about asking yourself a few questions:

  1. What have you been doing for the last hour—and are there any lessons you can glean from it that apply to what you are writing about? (That question was the source of inspiration for this blog).
  2. What momento in your house reminds you of happy memories? Tell a story about it and include universal, relatable human emotions.
  3. What activity makes you feel really alive? Why does the activity make you feel that way?
  4. What product or service are you consistently telling your friends about? Why do you share about it? What does using it make you feel like? Can you draw any parallels to your writing topic?

If none of these questions tickle your fancy, Google potential writing topics or writing prompts. You’ll find hundreds of ideas, from upcoming holidays, to current issues, to travel locations, to leadership and so much more. So, maybe it’s time you do a little “scrounging” of your own.

If you would like to skip the scrounging and let someone else brainstorm with you and give you concrete ideas for a writing project, please contact me. I’d love to help you.

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The Various Types of Editing

on 10 August 0 Comment

I would venture to guess, based on my relatively small sample size of conversations I’ve had in nearly 20 years since I first took editing classes in graduate school, that, unless you have ever worked in the field of editing, you may surmise that an editor is merely a grammar geek and a spelling nazi.

You would be right that an editor possesses those traits, but saying that grammar and spelling is all an editor does would be akin to saying that a general medicine doctor only has understanding of the skin, rather than the whole body.

You have choices in the field of editing, just like you do in the medical field. You can choose an editor who does everything, like a holistic practitioner; or, you can choose a specialist. And, sometimes after you get a general assessment, you may be referred to a specialist.

So what types of editors are there and when do you need which one? I’ll try to summarize that here.

 First, there is a content editor. Like a holistic practitioner, this editor looks at your document in its entirety, evaluating if your content is relevant and in the right voice for your target audience. A content editor assesses your table contents, chapter names, and the flow of the book. A content editor also identifies potential questions and points out extraneous information that interferes with clarity. This content editing process is also referred to as substantive editing in the traditional publishing world. Many content editors are general content editors, but there are also two other types of content editors as well.

 A technical editor is also a content editor, but more specialized.  If the material is highly technical and intended for a technical audience/teacher of that technical field, then a technical editor is a good choice. If however, you want your technical product to be understood by a nontechnical person, a general content editor may be a better bridge and representative of your audience.

An expert/industry editor is also a content editor, just in a certain academic field or industry. If an industry is also technical, like medicine, an industry/expert editor can also be a technical editor. Sometimes it is wise to choose an editor with expertise in the subject matter you are presenting. If you are publishing in an academic journal, or if you are on a really tight deadline and your readers will also be experts or within your industry, you may need to choose an editor in the field of expertise. The danger here though, is that if you are looking to explain matters to someone outside the field, that audience may be better served by a general content editor who is expressly checking to see if someone without the expertise can understand it.

Tonight, for example, I had the opportunity to get an editing job that was far outside my expertise—that opportunity was actually the source of inspiration for this post. I realized that I would have had to study extensively to understand the material on a tight deadline. It was better for my client to go with another editor, who had expertise in the subject matter in this instance.

 Sometimes, it also serves authors well to have different types of content editors. You just need to determine which person will take the lead.

A copyeditor comes in after content editing is finished. After the author or editor has helped write the missing pieces and the author agrees to the cuts that are made, a copyeditor goes through the material to check transitions, sentence structure, word choice, subject clarity, verb strength and much more to make the work as concise and as clear as possible on the sentence level. So, in our doctor analogy, this editor is the specialist who looks over each part carefully.

A proofreader finalizes the work prior to publication. After a copyeditor checks to make sure the sentence structure is correct and that the text flows from one sentence to the next, a proofreader checks for grammar, spelling and style.

Can one person do all these processes? Absolutely. Can one person do all these processes at one time during one read?. No. But that is a topic for a different post.





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Write to Process Information

on 07 August 0 Comment

Do you have an important decision coming up like a job change, house purchase or college selection? Writing can be an effective way to evaluate and sort out information.

What’s a great way to start? That’s easy-peasy! A pro and con list!

As you write, you may also find that you:

  • Identify how you feel as you write the words.
  • Get in touch with your instincts.
  • Debunk a false perception about a situation, because the outcome of a situation may seem better or worse than you initially thought when you write everything out.
  • Confirm that your first impressions are accurate.
  • See additional benefits or challenges of a potential action than you might have initially considered.
  • Determine if there is a “middle ground” or intermediary step that might be better than either of the options you may be considering.

Sometimes, writing leads you in a completely different direction that the one you started on. Your path can seem tangential, or make you ask yourself, “Where did that come from?” In the end, though, those detours can end up being valuable information when you ask a follow-up question: “How does this idea relate to what I am considering?”

People who write consistently will tell you that this shift in direction happens all of the time.

For example, on Sunday, we heard a pastor at church share that as he prepared for his sermon, he knew that he wanted to talk about Jacob, one of the biblical patriarchs, but he didn’t know why or how that topic would fit into the theme of the sermon series.

He wrote down every idea that came to him. Three times. On the third try, he saw the connection he was looking for. The result was a powerful message that fit like a glove into the theme of the sermon series. Like this pastor story teaches us, writing helps us process information by finding the missing connections in what we are looking to share.

For me, faith is paramount to my life. Writing my thoughts helps me see if they are in line with Scripture. I also check for repetitive themes and words as guideposts in decision making.

I’ll often write about something for a designated times period—say a couple of days or a week. It really depends on the magnitude of the decision. As I journal, I see how answers to different questions may point to a similar answer.

In addition to looking to God’s Word, I also share my processing writing with my husband. He gives me additional insights or asks questions that I may not have yet answered. As I discuss situations with him and others like trusted mentors, friends and colleagues, I record their thoughts as well.

What about you? Have you discovered that writing helps you to process information or make a decision? If so, please let me know with a comment.

If you are a writer or if you have a story you would like to get out, let me help you take an idea to a blog, article or book. If you have already drafted something an are looking for content evaluation, I’d love to help you. Please feel free to contact me.

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