Writing for LifeWay

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by mcdirector, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. mcdirector

    mcdirector
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    An inquiring mind at the BB *coughEdEdwardscough* wanted to know more about my writing years at LifeWay, so here is the story . . .

    We were living in Marietta and I was a children's division director at a mega church and very active at the associational level. I had taken a group of preschool and children's teachers to Ridgecrest for training and one of the conferences was on writing. It was led by an adult editor. He did every thing possible to discourage anyone from writing as I recall. He made it sound grueling and boring and inconvenient and unrewarding. It is all those things - except for the unrewarding.

    At the end of the meeting, he handed out cards for us to fill out for our age division if we were possibly interested. I think I was one of a handful. He was a very good discourager :D

    Not too long after that I got a phone call from the editor of Bible Discoverers, Louise Hobson and was assigned to my first writer's conference. Lots of changes happened during my time writing, and I about 8-9 years ago, I made the switch completely to the Media Center, so now I'm completely out of the loop.

    When I first started, the KJV was still being used, not too long after that, we got an NIV-KJV parallel and used both in all the lessons. I know they use the HCSV now but that was after my time.

    At that time, there were two writers for each unit. The unit writer who worked with children in Bible study and a Bible background writer who was either an adult Sunday School teacher or a Pastor. I had the great fortune of always being able to write my own Bible background. I don't know how that worked out, but it did. Later, all writers got to write their own Bible background.
    In the children's area, we would have a writer's conference. Bible Learners, Discovers, Searchers all conferenced together at the same time. Family Bible Series - Children usually conferenced at another time. We were given our assigned scripture and we had to come in with a pre-assignment which changed depending on the layout of the curriculum - but would include a variety of ideas that we charted to make sure that there wasn't too much overlap. Some overlap was inevitable, but we really did try to minimize it.

    At the conferences, we would work in large groups, we would work one-on-one with the editor, and we would work in our quarter groups. All the time we were trying to eliminate duplication. Those of you who use the curriculum wonder what happened I know - it's hard. There are only so many things that can be done in a single Sunday, so many ways to present a lesson, so many ways to get the kids actively involved . . .

    The first year I wrote, I'd write a lesson and send it in. Louise would make corrections and call me. We'd argue ( ;) ), I'd fix what she'd told me to fix, and resubmit it. Because I worked so closely with her on that first unit, I was asked to immediately come back. And soon I was writing two units a year for Discovers. And then I started writing for two publications - Discoverers and Searchers and doing some work for Learners in other capacities, and then I started writing for Family Bible series and picking up pieces for the children's magazines.

    Writing curriculum is not like other kinds of writing. You write it, you submit it, they do what they want with it, and it is published. You are very removed from the process after you submit your work. You also work a year or two in advance. I remember one year, for my Bible background I'd written an intro about Anwar Sadat and I didn't know it had been cut until it the material was published. When I called the editor to find out why, I was told that she had good reasons at the time. This is one of the drawbacks of this kind of writing. At the time, she was a new editor and I was an experienced writer. I remember how unhappy I was because it was a strong intro for the background.

    One of the things I really enjoyed were rewrites. One year, the powers that be decided to redo the curriculum in the middle of the year. Six of us were brought in to rewrite two year's worth of curriculm in a week on computers in conference rooms to the new format. And a couple of times, I got to rewrite curriculum that was turned in but not usuable.

    I always wrote on a computer, but at first, I still mailed in a manuscript, then I mailed in a manuscript and a disc, then a disc, then I emailed it.

    Again, I haven't done this in 10 years, so I don't know what's going on now.

    OH and when I started, it wasn't LifeWay, but the Baptist Sunday School Board. Now I feel very dated.
     
  2. tinytim

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    *cougholdcough*
     
  3. tinytim

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    Thanks, Bitsy, that was groovy, neato!

    I enjoyed reading it..
     
  4. TaterTot

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    Cool, Bitsy, I had no idea.

    I wrote for a LifeWay publication once (The Senior Musician) and loved it. I am sure my experience was way different than writing curriculum, but I think it would be really fun to do. Do you think you would like to ever do that again?
     
  5. mcdirector

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    No, Tater, part of the reason I quit was I was way burned out. And I was ready to move on to something different. I loved working with children in Sunday School all those years I did in the various capacities that I worked, but now that I've been in the Media Center all these years, I love it too. It would be hard to go back. One of the qualifications for writing for an age group is that you have to work with that age group. I like where I am.
     
  6. Ed Edwards

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    Thank you Sister Mcdirector.

    That was really interesting.
    I knew there was some interesting story there
    waiting to be told (sometimes I think it is the Spiriltual
    Gift of Knowledge: knowing things I never learned.
    But I don't know here how that would help the Holly
    Spirit build up God's church). So I asked.
    And sure enough, there was an intersting story there.

    Thank you for sharing. Did the fact you lived close to
    the center of such writing help out?
     
  7. mcdirector

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    I wasn't actually very close. I lived outside of Atlanta, so I had to catch a plane everytime I went to go to LifeWay. Writers conferences were 4-5 days.

    Edited to add -- I also wrote for a while when we first moved to NC, but when I started teaching that was about the time I burned out on writing. Wonder if the two were tied together?? :D
     
    #7 mcdirector, Jan 13, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2008
  8. PastorSBC1303

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    Interesting stuff Bitsy, thanks for posting. I always wondered what that process was like.
     
  9. SaggyWoman

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    Back in the day, I have gotten a couple of articles published in the Christian Single. That was back when I was really single.
     
  10. mcdirector

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    If anyone is interested in writing, open the curriculum piece you use and look at the inside front cover. The editor is listed there. Now LifeWay tends to run through editors, but the office and number stays the same AND some editors stay for a while too. I worked with a couple of wonderful people who - Judy Latham comes to mind who did stay for years.

    Give that person a call and talk with him/her and express your desire. You never know what will happen.
     
  11. Chessic

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    Thanks, Bitsy! I write fiction but found your story to be informative and interesting. I'm not entirely certain what you were writing for, nor what a "curriculum piece" is, but I assume it's a church course or program whose materials are produced by LifeWay.

    I've long appreciated your clear writing style and it really shows in your OP here. Thanks again!

    -Will
     

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