Increase Your Creativity

Saturday, February 24th, I went to a writers’ retreat at one of my writer friend’s home. It was with a group of ladies whom I got to know through Lancaster Christian Writers. We always begin with a devotion and opening prayer. We follow that with a creative writing exercise, which, besides the free writing time, is my favorite part of the retreat because someone leads a creative writing exercise, and they have never failed me. They have always gotten my creative juices flowing and given me a wonderful day of writing.

Of course, lunch is always fun, too, because we get to know each other better and share lots of things about writing, healthy eating, and our lives in general.

Anyway, back to the creative writing exercise. This time, Mandy led the creative writing exercise, and she played three different pieces of music, one at a time, for a few minutes each, and we were to just listen and let our imagination flow and write whatever the music brought to our creative minds. I totally LOVED this exercise because I’ve always really enjoyed music, but I’ve never used it with my writing. But this exercise really worked.

The three pieces of music were all quite different, and have given me three new story ideas; not ideas for full-length novels per se, but they could very easily show up on one of my Friday posts as either a flash fiction or short story.

And, even though each of those gave me three completely different story ideas, it put my creativity in high gear and even helped those juices flow into my work-in-progress!

Therefore, if you ever feel stuck or think you’re suffering from the dreaded writer’s block, try listening to some music and start writing whatever thoughts, actions, scenes, etc. that start going through your mind.

By the way, these were all instrumental pieces.

So, if you’re a writer, I know you’re probably an introvert, as most of us are, but I highly encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and attend a writer’s retreat, critique group or conference at least once because I am sure you will find value in it, and it’s always fun to connect with others who share your struggles and/or successes; who have things in common with you.

Poem: Why Are Other People Important?

Why Are Other People Important?
by Kelly F. Barr

When I see someone suffering,
Why should I care?
When I see someone eating alone,
Why should I care?
When someone is cold or hungry,
Why should I care?

Do the sufferings of others
Affect me?
Do the feelings of others
Affect me?
Do the needs of others
Affect me?

The answer to all of the above
Is a resounding “YES”!
Because we are all made in
God’s image. That gives each of us
More value than humanists could ever imagine.

Poem: From Busyness to Rest

From Busyness to Rest
by Kelly F. Barr

I arose early,
Before the sun,
To run taxi for my kids.
Later, one dog, one boy and I
Walked in fresh air and sunshine.
It’s been a good day.

Enjoyed a Tropical Smoothie dinner
And now I relax and write.
Soon my eyelids droop,
My thoughts get fuzzy.
It’s been a long day.
Looking forward to my warm bed.

Poem: A New Outlook

This is a very unconventional poem. I used no rhyme scheme or any pattern, but I like the message I have created here. I hope you will like it too.

A New Outlook
by Kelly F. Barr

January brings a new year;
A chance to reflect,
A chance to look ahead,
A chance to begin anew.
Dream dreams and set goals.
Build relationships.

January brings a new beginning-
A fresh start.
Turn a new page; wipe the slate clean.
The possibilities are endless;
Opportunities abound,
All you have to do is look around.

Shake the dust of the past year from your feet.
Determine that this year, you can’t be beat.
Take a new journey,
Open your heart,
Try something you’ve never tried before
Because this could be your best year yet.

Abba’s Promise Has Arrived!


This is the book!

“What book?” You might ask.

The book for which I sent a short devotional story for submission about two years ago and it is now published, my story is in it, and you can get your own copy from Cross River Media.


Yes, this is my story! They chose my story for Day One! Yes, this is a teaser. If you want to read this story, you’ll have to buy the book. It’s a beautiful little volume and three of my other writer friends have stories in it too — Jill Printzenhoff, Cheryl Weber, and Renita Gerlach. Altogether, there are 33 encouraging, inspiring stories in this little book!


Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s theme, chosen by The Broke and the Bookish, is a Halloween Freebie, and we’re supposed to create a list of anything Halloween related or scary.

However, I do not celebrate Halloween. Therefore, I have decided to create my own Top Ten list of Books that encourage and inspire me.

  1. The Bible, my preference is the NIV published in 1984 or earlier, and the 1599 Geneva Bible.
  2. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.
  3. A Charles Dickens Devotional This book offers an excerpt from a Dickens novel, with a lesson and Bible verse for each day. I enjoy it because I have always enjoyed Dickens’ novels, though I still haven’t read them all.
  4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
  5. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. This is a wonderful story of redemption.
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This story is a wonderful example of standing up for what is right, for what you believe, no matter what everyone else thinks.
  7. Long Way Gone by Charles Martin. This is a story about real unconditional love and second chances in an unexpected way.
  8. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd because it’s a great story of love and acceptance across color/race boundaries.
  9. Grey Matter: A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer by David Levy, M.D. This is a story of testimony of the power of prayer.
  10. Dirty God by Johnnie Moore. This book is about the amazing grace we can freely receive through/from Jesus Christ.

One-Day Super Saturday Writers’ Conference

A writers’ conference is a great place to learn more about writing techniques and marketing and publishing opportunities and possibilities.  It is also a great place to meet other writers and make connections and form bonds, which is a wonderful thing since writing is a lonely business.  You can make lifelong friends who can help and encourage you and you can do the same for them as you walk your writing journey.  I attended this event last year, and cannot wait to attend this Saturday.  If you are anywhere near Lancaster County, I invite you to come and see what this one-day conference has to offer, and if you like, I can meet you face-to-face if you let me know you are coming so we can connect.


For a bargain of excellence and price, no writer, whether beginning or advanced, within driving radius will want to miss Lancaster Christian Writers’ Super Saturday 2015!! to be held April 11th, 2015, from 8:30am.-4:30pm at Lancaster Bible College, 901 Eden Road, Lancaster, PA 17601.

This one-day writers conference offers a full slate of workshops taught by top industry professionals in both fiction and non-fiction fields. An early registration price of $50 is due by Wednesday, April 8, and includes soup/sandwich buffet lunch (think Panini!) and LCW membership. Registrations after April 9 and walk-ins day of the conference are $60.

A fiction track will be taught by award-winning novelists Dina Sleiman and Kelly Long along with children’s author Brenda Hendricks. Non-fiction faculty include TV/radio speaker, marketing expert, award-winning author of 19 books Karen Whiting, professional memoir and ghostwriter Shawn Smucker, journalist/social media experts Lisa Bartelt and Alison McLennan.

Keynoting the opening session will be linguist, missionary, and author Grace Fabian. Workshops cover such topics as: 

Market Yourself Now! Learn Tools to Develop Press Kit, Bio, Website, and Other PR Products.

Writing Blockbuster Scenes: How To Keep Readers Flipping Pages and Asking For More.

 Transformed Manuscripts: Repackaging Your Ideas (Sold or Rejected) to Expand Marketability.

 The Unfortunate Truth in Fiction: Addressing Hard Issues Without Pulling Down Your Story.

 A Story To Tell: Surefire Do’s and Don’ts to Write a Gripping True Life Story or Memoir.

 Myers-Briggs for Your Protagonist: Applying Personality Types to Create Characters with Distinctive Qualities, Motivations, and Voices.

 Let’s Ride the Seesaw: Recruiting Your Inner Child to Communicate with Young Readers.

 100% Guaranteed (Oh, Yeah?) Secret to Blogging Success Beyond Your Wildest Dreams!

A conference bookstore will offer a wide variety of writer resources and faculty titles. Conference attendees can get personal consultations with faculty on a first-come, first-serve basis. Lancaster Christian Writers welcomes writers of all churches and denominations, all levels and genres. Monthly meetings offer opportunities for manuscript critique, networking with other writers, workshops and guest authors.

Where do my Ideas and Inspiration Come From?

I love to watch people and have enjoyed doing this for as long as I can remember.  Some of my ideas come from things I see people do or simply just from a person I see.  Sometimes as I am people watching, I catch bits and pieces of conversations, not because I am deliberately eavesdropping, but just because of the close proximity, and some of my ideas come from overheard pieces of conversation.

Sometimes I get ideas from songs I hear, books I read (no, I don’t plagiarize), but I can get an idea from something I have read.  Sometimes I get an idea from a movie I see or a character I like or from what I hear or read about someone famous.

Sometimes I get ideas from conversations I have with people.  Many ideas come from people around me, the area I live in, and my life experiences.  Ideas are all around me.

Inspiration is a bit more difficult, and no, I don’t think that ideas and inspiration are the same thing.  Ideas are quick, simple and can be found anywhere, whereas, inspiration is something that stimulates my thinking or makes me feel something or sparks my creativity.  Inspiration is stronger and harder to find than an idea, and though an idea can start me writing, inspiration compels me to write.  Inspiration comes from something or someone who sparks a passion in me.

A good story can be written from either an idea or inspiration, but I believe that it is easier to write a good story from inspiration.  I also believe the story will flow, keep me writing and be finished faster than a story that starts from an idea because something I am passionate about holds my attention longer than a mere idea.

Writing from either an idea or inspiration is still hard work.  It requires time, commitment and dedication.  It requires re-reading and re-writing to get to my best possible finished story.