Welcome to the CMBA Newsletter!
As you prepare for the busy-ness of the next few months, be encouraged that your blog is part of the good fruit of the spirit. Many of us view our marriage blogs as a response to God’s call to us. We pour ourselves into our blogs and into the lives of our readers.
Even if you need to slow down or ease up on the blogging as you head into the holiday season, remember that God’s work will still be done. Our archives are still available, and a slower publishing pace may be just what your busy readers need.
In this newsletter, you will find information about Awaken-Love’s new video course and some strategies for improving your writing.
The following blogs joined CMBA since our last issue. Be sure to visit the site and share an encouraging word.
October Blog Challenge
Who knew that one picture could be seen in so many different ways?
CMBA members shared the following posts as part of our blog challenge:
Where’s Your Marriage Umbrella? The Generous Wife
Dissecting the Romantic Umbrella, The Romantic Vineyard
A Good Marriage Is Like This Red Umbrella, The Forgiven Wife
Sensuous Shadows, Awaken-Love
Set-backs Aren’t Stop Signs, Bonny’s OysterBed7
PDA: How Much Is Too Much? Journey to Surrender
Is Your Intimate Life Properly Covered? The Generous Husband
When I Went from Anonymity to Transparency, Hot, Holy & Humorous
Over the last 4 years Awaken-Love has spread by word of mouth as live teachers have taught over 500 women. One thing we constantly hear is “Every woman that is married needs to take this class!” Now, every married woman can!
Awaken-Love is now available using Videos!
In the 6-week video class, Ruth and Melanie provide respectful teaching that is designed to facilitate transformation in groups of 2-15 women. The videos are formatted to provide some teaching, then prompt the participants to pause and discuss specific questions, followed by more teaching. The class is grounded in reading from Song of Songs, and Christian books Sheet Music and Intimate Issues. A facilitator helps to create a safe environment for respectful discussions, that overflow into great conversations with husbands at home.
Week 1 – What is intimacy?
Week 2 – God’s design for sex
Week 3 – Lies, baggage and body image
Week 4 – Boundaries and communication
Week 5 – How our body works
Week 6 – How his body works, navigating frequency, and date ideas
Christian women are hungry for good information about sex – and not just the same old message – “do it for your husband.” Women want real answers that address everything from “What does God really want for my marriage bed?” to “How does my body work?” Gather women to learn, share, laugh, cry and be transformed as they discover God’s design for intimacy – with her husband and with Him. Please pray about hosting a class or help us spread the word. For just $10/participant we provide everything you need.
The world has corrupted sex and it is time for the church to take it back!
Bravely celebrate sex within marriage and help wives claim God’s powerful gift.
Visit www.Awaken-Love.net to learn more
How Do I . . . ?
5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Writing
By Chris Taylor, The Forgiven Wife
Taking time to write well matters. Your theology may be sound, and you may have wonderful insight that can help readers improve their marriages—but if your blog is riddled with errors, you limit your reach.
Writing well makes the difference between being respected and being dismissed, being bookmarked and being deleted, having advertisers wanting to affiliate with you and being avoided by advertisers, and so on.
Good content should not come at the expense of readability.
So how can you improve your blog writing? How can you up your writing game?
1. Remember that writing is a process.
We often have an idealized image of a writer putting together brilliant work in one sitting—but it’s an image that isn’t based on reality. Writers who take their work seriously revise as much as needed, and then they edit and proofread.
Develop a habit of doing three drafts of your blog posts. The purpose of the first draft is to get the ideas out of your head and onto paper or the screen. Let your ideas flow. (If you get stuck, take a look at Strategies for Conquering Writer’s Block.)
Use your second draft to revise, or re-see. Rearrange things so they work better. Cut or add where needed to balance all the sections of your post. Rework your opening to help readers know where you’re headed.
In your final draft, edit (check your sentence structure and wording) and proofread (fix mistakes).
As you gain more experience and proficiency with these things, you may start to do some of these things automatically while you are writing the first draft. While you’re being intentional about improvement, though, it is helpful to stretch this process out so you can give your full attention to the writing process.
2. Edit and proofread.
If you aren’t used to editing or proofreading, it is worth reading each final draft a couple times to look for different issues. As you get more adept at finding things, this shouldn’t be necessary.
Try this approach:
- The first time you read through your final draft, look specifically at your wording. Did you say things in the best way? Did you use the right version of their/there/they’re, to/too/two, or effective/affective?
- The second read-through should be specifically to look for your problem areas. If you know that you tend to use passive voice or that you use “I think” too much, look specifically for occurrences of these things. In fact, reading your post backwards, sentence by sentence, is useful in helping you focus on sentence structure without getting caught up in the flow of your ideas.
- Use the last time to look specifically for errors in punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.
3. Use the tools available to you.
Take advantage of some of these resources.
- If you compose your blog posts in a word processing program such as Microsoft Word, you will have access to spell check, style check, and a thesaurus. Let these tools help you. When you see a squiggly line, you’ll know there’s a spelling or grammar/style problem that needs your attention. When you are stuck for the right word, type in a similar word and look for synonyms to try out.
- Many of us use the Yoast SEO plugin on our WordPress blogs. Use Yoast’s Readability feature to help you identify weaknesses in your writing. If you have a question about what something means, you can usually click on a link for more information.
- Learn From Grammar Girl. Grammar Girl has articles and podcasts to help you learn about writing. Topics include common problems (when to use “affect” and “effect”) as well as things you may never need to know (such as whether you should capitalize the Force when writing about Star Wars—and the answer to that is yes.)
- If you are using the Chrome browser, add the Grammarly extension. This can be really handy when you’re responding to comments on your blog. After all, it’s important to maintain quality in the comment section, too!
- The Hemingway App uses highlighting to show you where your writing needs some work. Delete the highlighted text when you go to the site and paste in what you’re working on. Or, you do your composing there.
These are wonderful tools, but they don’t have to overrule your style and voice. Your writing should still sound like you. Most grammar and writing tools will flag passive voice as a problem or will tell you your sentences are too long—but there are times when these constructions are helpful to your readers.
4. Give yourself time.
As nice as it is to write up a blog post and hit the publish button on the same day, this may not be the best plan for improving your writing.
Give yourself a good chunk of time before you do your final read-through. Wrap up your writing and revising one day, and wait until the next day before you tackle editing and proofreading. When your mind is fresher and not still thinking through the content, you will be better able to notice your errors. At the very least, give yourself at least an hour of doing something else after writing before you come back to edit.
If you want to be intentional about improving your writing, consider slowing down your content development. Instead of writing three posts a week, slow down to one for a few months. Take the extra time to work on the areas where your writing can improve. As they become more automatic, they will take less time and you can increase your posting frequency again. If quality is a priority for you, it is important to carve out space to develop the necessary skills.
5. Take small steps.
Think of small things you can do, and work on just one thing at a time for a few months. If you use the word “very” a lot, focus on finding alternatives. If your posts are too long, make yourself cut 100 words from each post before you publish. If you confuse “its” with “it’s,” look specifically for these words in your writing so you can consider them one by one.
Are you on social media? Follow CMBA!
- Pinterest (If you would like to be added to CMBA’s collaborative Christian Marriage and Sex board, email Bonny at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Image credit bekahboo42|morguefile.com