Monday, January 4, 2010

Introducing Writer to Writer

A Double Commitment

I can't recall when I didn't want to write. Although I tried to get published at age 16, I had nothing accepted until I was 38, and only after I learned a few things about the publishing industry.

After I had sold at least 20 articles, I made a double commitment to God and to myself. First, I promised that I would never stop learning and improving as a writer.

Second, I promised I would do whatever I could to help other writers. I've tried to offer help and to find more opportunities of sharing what I've learned.

This blog represents my commitment to continue to improve and shows the results of my learning that have enabled me to partially fulfill the second part of the commitment. The best statistics say only about 2 percent of writers make a full-time living at the craft. I consider myself greatly blessed because God has honored my double commitment and my writing income has supported me since 1984.

Why this blog?

For years, I've cringed when I read shoddy writing in print, especially in those instances that would take little effort to improve the quality. I assume that's because writers don't know better and want to learn.

I want to help you to become better; however, through this blog, you'll discover no easy path to writing success. Good writing demands discipline and constant learning. I hope you'll find this blog helpful in your growth.

I also confess that writing this blog is a defensive action. My assistant, Twila Belk, and one of my writing cronies Jim Rubart continue to urge me to share what I've learned about writing. Hence, the tag line supplied by Jim, "Lessons learned from a lifetime of writing."

I'm still learning. My goal is to send in manuscripts that make editors weep and tell me, "I couldn't find a single thing to change." In the meantime, I pass on what I've learned from my years of professional writing.

Who is Cecil Murphey?

Hi, this is Twila, Cec’s loyal assistant. Cec doesn’t like to talk about himself, so I get the job of answering the “who is Cecil Murphey” question. He specifically told me to write something nice.

Cec proudly refers to himself as the curmudgeon on writing loops because he often takes the contrarian viewpoint. Rather than being saintly sweet and orthodox when helping other writers, he prefers the honest approach. (They don’t call it the Cec fire for nothing!) But writers don’t always see him as curmudgeonly. Many have experienced his philanthropy and gift of his time. I remember Cec telling me years ago that he could think of no better way of investing in God’s Kingdom than by helping other writers. He has mentored countless writers over the years, many of whom are mentoring others today.

Cec is a well-decorated author, having won many awards, including the Gold Medallion Award, a couple of Silver Angel Awards, two Retailers Choice Awards, and three Author of the Year Awards from the Dixie Council of Authors and Journalists. The list goes on and on.

In April 2009, the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) honored Cec with the Extraordinary Service Award, one of their most prestigious awards. This award reflects the great respect the ASJA membership holds for Cec and his extraordinary service to other writers. In 2007, Cec received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from The Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. He was recognized not only for his excellent writing but also for his selfless mentoring of other writers.

Cec has authored or co-authored more than 100 books, including the New York Times’ best seller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, which was made into a TNT-TV movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr. This month Cec’s 116th book will release.

53 comments:

  1. Cec, Looking forward to your comments. Thanks for your friendship and encouragement. Blessings.

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  2. And Cec is an extrememly decent man (who happens to be a writer...and a very good one). If you can get a "tsk tsk" out of Cec, wear it like a badge of honor!

    Phil Hopsdaddy

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  3. I look forward to reading and learning from your words of wisdom, Cec. Thanks for doing this blog!

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  4. Cec,

    Good to see this blog up and running. This is your friend from OKC, John Chasteen. Keep up the great work, you're a blessing to many of us freelance writers, bloggers and authors.

    blessings,

    Coach John

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  5. Cec, I'm so glad to see you here. Looking forward to many great posts from you (and Twila)!

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  6. Thanks Cec for being true to your commitment to helping new writers. I'm ready for some volleys of Cec fire. Craig Duddles

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  7. Welcome to blogdom, Cec! I look forward to learning more from you.

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  8. Ces, you are my nudge from God! Just when I think maybe I really didn't hear God tell me to write, I get an email from you! And now this blog. Thank you for all you do for others. You are a gift from God to us! Lori

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  9. Wow, a gift I didn't even think to ask for! Thanks, Cec; this is a blog I won't want to miss. Thanks, Twila and Jim, for sparking this Cec-fire.
    -Robin Steinweg

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  10. Cec, thank you for starting this blog!!! You know how I'm always trying to catch up with you and glean whatever writing wisdom I can gather from you! God has blessed you with such divine wisdom, strength and compassion. Thanks for all you do. Keep being you and be blessed!

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  11. Aloha Cec,
    Thank you for being an example. A friend and a fellow novice writer shared to me his writing last night on the phone. I said to myself, "Your writing really improved!." As I listened, I thought about your advice you gave me during a writers' conference in Wheaton - "open your life, your open your soul, and open your heart. Share the story with clarity, give the reader something they can carry the rest of their lives." Not the exact words but this is the gist of what you shared that I am carrying the rest of my life.
    God bless from Honolulu, Hawaii H C Villanueva

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  12. Thank you Cec. Again, you are giving to us all so unselfishly. So very like you. I appreciate all you have done for me. Looking forward to this. Ann

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  13. Woohoo! (I know you hate that kind of writing.) Thanks for launching this blog to further teach and encourage those of us who so respect and appreciate your mentoring. Thanks, Curmudgeon.

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  14. Yay, Cec! So happy to see you have a blog! I look forward to reading each post. I do wish you had an email option. I never read RSS feeds, so I'll try to make it a point to get over here. Blessings on your new venture and may others be blessed as well!

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  15. In August of 2008 a little sponge disguised as a writer came to the door of Cec's house for a One-Day Intensive. Since then, she's has soaked in gallons of curmudgeonly wisdom and has begun to spill some of it on others, too.

    You'll understand, then, when I say that a blog from Cec is like water for sponges. Blessings!

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  16. I am looking forward to your posts : )

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  17. Thanks, all of you, for commenting and helping me convince Cec that he has something valuable to say to writers. Some day he'll start to believe me. Now, if we could just get him to write that book. :-)

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  18. What a great birthday gift -- finding out you've started a blog! I will read with an appetite whetted for knowledge and a desire to improve my craft.

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  19. Thank you for reaching out to us in yet another way. I look forward to learning more from you!

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  20. So glad you are a blogger! Really looking forward to learning more from you. Thank you for investing the time.

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  21. Cec, glad to know you'll be blogging!

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  22. I'm looking forward to your posts. Happy New Year.

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  23. Adding you to my "favorites." And glad you're coming back to the Florida Christian Writers Conference.

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  24. I am one blessed by Cec commitment to God. In writing I try to be real, share truth with grace and minister to others. As God opens and closes doors as He sees fit, I am amazed by the ones He has opened in the last year.

    I am 'impatiently' waiting to hear back from a publishing house on something requested from the Ghost Ranch Writer's Conference in November. The only reason I attended is because Cec Murphey gifted me with a scholarship.

    I too love to learn! If one is still living one should still be learning. And I long to see others to be able to follow the path I have been walking to become a writer for God, but not only a writer...all of the arts created by God.

    It is high time for Kingdom minded people to create, invest, and saturate their community with the gifts God has given. This is what I want to be a part of...one small active piece of His body, the living Church of Jesus.

    God's people should be the greatest writers, singers, artists, photographers, woodworkers, speakers and teachers! We have what others do not possess - the indwelling creative Holy Spirit!

    to God be the glory,
    Lindy Abbott

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  25. So glad to know you are going to share more of your writing knowledge with us. Thanks Cec. Clella

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  26. Thanks to all of you who have commented or joined.

    Tomorrow I'll post my first blog on writing. I'll start with basic information and plan to move ahead.

    I'll do anything to get Twila to be quiet and leave me along.

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  27. This is Cec's mother speaking. One of the rules of good writing is to proofread what you've written. The curmudgeon has given us his first test. Can you see anything wrong with his comment (other than his rudeness to me)?

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  28. Cec is one of the most authentic, Christlike people I've ever met. (I'm sure the Pharisees considered Jesus to be a curmudgeon.) I look forward to reading this blog frequently.

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  29. I'm looking forward to future posts by Cec. I admire his work.
    Twila, I did see a misuse of the word "along" in his comment. I see he's trying to keep us on our toes!

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  30. Twila,

    Yes. I think he meant to say, "I'll do anything to get Twila to be quiet and lead me along."

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  31. I am delighted to learn Cec has a blog! I met him at a writing conference in Spokane, Washington, several years ago, and since then Cec has continued to bless me. I was touched by his quiet announcement that he wanted to help writers and welcomed our contact in the future, so I took him up on it. I'm going to let several of my writer friends know about the blog too. Blessings to you, Twila and Cec!
    Linda Thomas

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  32. Hi Cec, I am very excited about your new blog, and signed up to follow it the minute I read about it in your newsletter.
    You are a very generous writer, and I treasure that you wrote an endorsement for my co-authored Christmas book, among many of your kind acts and words.
    Terra Hangen

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  33. So glad to see one of my favorite writers joining the blogging world. I have a feeling this is going to be a daily stop for me. Bless you!

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  34. Looking forward to your posts, Cecil. Thanks for taking the time to teach.

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  35. Thanks, Cec, for starting this blog. I value your advice.

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  36. Great idea, Cec. Sincere thanks for all the help you've given me with my writing. And now, more help coming through your blog. My cup runneth over. May God continue to bless you and your ministry of sharing His love.

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  37. Cec, I'm ecstatic that you have finally started this blog to share your expertise with the rest of us. Thank you so much, dear curmudgeon, friend, and mentor.
    Love & Prayers,
    Yvonne Ortega

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  38. Great initiative, Cec! Long may it live...

    And thanks Twila for being so persistent!

    (Happy New Year to you all!)

    Love,

    Israel

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  39. Also glad to see you both keeping your sense of humor ; )

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  40. Cec, Welcome to the blogosphere. I look forward to more of your wisdom and again say..."Thank You!"

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  41. Welcome to wonder world of blogging Cec!!

    Look forward to the things that you will be sharing!

    Paul

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  42. Welcome, welcome. I'm so glad you're here! Buckle up and get ready for the wild ride into the blogosphere.

    BTW, I'm sure in his comment Cec wanted to be left alone instead of being left "along".

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  43. So glad I found your site. Looking forward to your posts and mentoring. I'm sure you will be a great help to me in my journey to getting a book published.

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  44. Cec, welcome to the Blog world. Thank you Twila for getting him to the point of wanting you to leave him alone. :-) (And PLEASE don't critique that sentence.)

    I look forward to meeting you at Florida. I've learned so much from you over the years.

    Blessings from S.Africa!

    Shirl

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  45. i have just joined the blog.i am still a young impatient writer, but i believe........................

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  46. Delighted to be a new subscriber.

    Proofreading tip: read your text backward, or out loud (even if no one is listening).

    Blessings for this new decade to all.

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  47. Cec:

    I'm a little late to the party, a combination of illness and busyness. Thanks for starting this blog; I'll be a regular reader.

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  48. I've heard a lot about show and tell but your blog helped me to understand the difference. Thanks for taking the time to help out this growing writer.

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  49. Wow! What an inspiration you are to me. I've had a passion for writing since I was quite young. Even though I have written many things over the years, publication remains elusive. My only publishing credits are a couple poems when I was a teenager, and I am currently a regular columnist with a homeschool magazine.

    Now, at the age of 44 I have felt God re-stirring and restoring that passion and calling to write. Part of me is gripped with fear and trepidation as I've never had any formal training in the craft (besides a few courses in high school - many years ago!) Will I have what it takes?

    What a blessing it sounds like you have been to many writers! I look forward to reading through your various posts and learning along the way!

    Thank you for your faithfulness,
    Jodie

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  50. A question:
    "This month Cecils's 116th book will release." Release what? (Release from what?)
    I know that brakes release. Do books also?
    Is "book will be released" now considered cliche?
    Thanks for help.

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  51. Babushka, Cec answered your questions in a bonus blog post today. See the October 4 entry.

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