September 3, 2015

Writing in Your Own War Room

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine

To me, Labor Day weekend always signals the beginning of a clean slate. The lazy, unstructured, carefree days of Summer 2015 are coming to an end. In the south, we might be able to squeeze a few more afternoons and weekends of pool time before the climate turns crisp, and the trees lose their leaves. 

We have about two months before the holiday rush morphs into overdrive. These two months allow everyone a fresh start. Students from PreK to college have new classes, teachers, textbooks, and friends. Schedules resume and these days take on a purpose of readjusted goals. It's the perfect time for writers to realign what they want to focus on and meet deadlines before 2015 ends. 

This past weekend I was at the movie opening of War Room. With me was my daughter, Lily and my movie buddy Renee. We all loved the movie. We laughed; we teared up and have thought about what we saw in the movie even days after watching it.  Thank you and a shout out to brothers, Alex and Stephen Kendrick, who wrote the screenplay and produced the movie. The Kendrick brothers are not new to writing screenplays. Their first four films were Flywheel (2003), Facing the Giants (2006), Fireproof(2008), and Courageous (2011). Regarding the title of the film, director Alex Kendrick says "We called it War Room because, like the military, we should seek God for the right strategy before going into combat. By combat, I mean daily issues we face in our culture." 

***Spoiler alert*** The "War Room" is a closet within a widow's home where she focuses prayers for all aspects of her life. She writes the prayers and pastes them on the wall of her "War Room." It is a wonderfully compelling story woven with subplots that merge and converge to a feel-good ending. To complement the movie there are several books and a bible study which helps layer the concepts of the movie to use in your every day world. Very smart marketing to help grow the viewership of the movie and power of word of mouth reviews.

As a writer, if you have lost focus over the distractions of summer take heart. You can develop your own "Writer's War Room." Decorators call it a "cloffice." I call it a "War Office." You take a closet and empty it of anything that doesn't have to do with your job as a writer. If you already have a room dedicated to your writing room, I suggest moving the furniture to give you a reboot and refocus of your writing goals that will carry you through until the years end. I like the "War Office" idea so much because the confined space does help you keep focus without distractions because the former closet has limited space and dimensions. On the closet doors, taking an idea from the movie, I can put up prayers, goals, and character sheets. 

The two takeaways are go see the movie, War Room, and think about creating your own writing "War Office" in order to refocus your writing. What do you think?

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