Saturday, October 10, 2015

Defining Success — in Life and in Writing

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

"Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill
People like to talk about success—they like to bandy about different definitions for it. Success is this. Success is that.

And they’re all usually talking about something as far from failure as you can get.

I’ve been reading Alton Gansky’s book Imagination@ Work. (Alton’s a friend and a colleague.
I admire him. Even if I didn’t know him, I’d recommend his book. It’s like a series of “here’s what I’ve been thinking about” conversations with a witty, intelligent guy.)

But back to the topic at hand: failure.

Alton poses the question: What would you do, if you knew you could not fail? (That is a topic for another blog.)

I answered his question by writing this question in my journal: How do you define failure?

And then I wrote:
Success—less than

And by that I mean that what appears to be success in one person’s eyes can feel like a failure in someone else’s.

Say, for example, I land a book contract.

But I don’t earn out my advance.

Or I don’t win an award.

Or I don’t get offered a second contract.

Or I don’t ______________ (fill in the blank).

It’s the whole “being nibbled to death by ducks” experience. Turning success into failure because it wasn’t good enough.

But Beth, you say, Winston Churchill was talking about success—and defining it as facing failure enthusiastically.

I know. And I love his definition.

But Churchill got me thinking. And so did Alton. We need to enthusiastically face both our failures and our successes and not let the little duckies (dare I name them comparison and envy and disappointment?) nibble them all to pieces.

In Your Words: How do you define failure or success? And how do you face them with enthusiasm?

Defining success - in life and in #writing - via @BethVogt on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” 

A nonfiction writer and editor who said she’d never write fiction, Beth is now a novelist with Howard Books. She enjoys writing inspirational contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. Connect with Beth on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or check out her blog on quotes, In Others’ Words.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Quick Tips for Writing a Synopsis

by Vonda Skelton @VondaSkelton

You've just completed the Great American Novel. You've done everything you've been told to do. You've created compelling characters and plopped them right smack in the middle of emotional/physical conflict. You've engaged the reader with your perfectly executed plot and subplots. You've edited and proofed and allowed your baby to be critiqued by your writer's group.

Now it's time to share the pictures and see if anyone wants to hold her. So you register for a writer's conference where editors, agents, critiquers, and contest judges may ask for a synopsis.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Will TV/Film Kill the Literary Star?

by Warren Adler @WarrenAdler

As a longtime practitioner of the art of fiction writing and a committed reader of the works of others, I have been thinking a great deal about the impact of the proliferating film/TV industry on the future of reading.
Having lived through the golden age of Hollywood films shown in ubiquitous neighborhood theaters in the United States with outlets throughout the world, I hadn’t given much thought to the moving images’ actual impact on reading up until recently. Although there were voices that persisted in sounding the death knell of the novel, the popularity of novels and short stories never seemed challenged by the movies.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Love/Hate Relationship between Writers & Word Count

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Sometimes our lives seem governed by word count.
As working writers, our lives sometimes seem governed by word count. We use these numbers to set goals, define projects and sometimes even determine our victories. But it’s important to also view these numbers as a guide to show us how far we’ve come.

I remember in high school—the anguish I felt when an English teacher assigned a 500-word essay. Pulling together that many words in an original sequence seemed an almost impossible task. I spent hours looking for places to add the words that, the, and of course and. Of course back then, essays were written long-hand. No quick check in MS Word or an easy way to add in extras here and there.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Time Management Tips for Writers

Edie here. I'm so excited to introduce you a friend of mine and share some of her insight about time management for writers. 

Penny and I met while I was working on my first book for military families  (she has a piece in Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle). 

Now she has a wonderful new book, Bounce! Don't Break...coming out this month. Be sure to check out this encouragement for when life hits hard.It's available now for pre-order!

When You Can't Do It All
by Penny Hunt @PennyLHunt

Is it better to meet a deadline late—or submit an un-edited piece?

Late is awful. It always ends up sounding like: “My schedule is more important that yours.”

Un-edited is worse. That’s like attaching a note that reads: “You’re not worth the effort.”

It is a terrible choice to have to make but a nightmare every writer faces.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Tips for Getting More Comments on Your Blog—Blogging for Writers, Part 5

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Even today—with as many blogs on the Internet as there are—blogging is still a valuable part of building and maintaining an online community. But it’s rare for a blog to take hold and grow—if it’s not a place where comments proliferate. Almost no one likes to be lectured, and that’s what a blog can feel with it the conversation is only one-sided.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Watch Your Language

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24

As a writer, I love words. In fiction, I love finding just the right words for my character to use when they speak to each other.

But one thing I discovered.

I wasn't as careful when I chose the words I said to myself. I realized that I said things to myself that I wouldn’t allow even the most evil character use. And that negative self-talk was having a huge negative affect on me. Unfortunately, I was beginning to believe the things I said to myself, and it was pulling me under.

Maybe you do the same thing.

“I’m so stupid.”
“I should just quit, I’ll never amount to anything.”
“I’m ugly.”
“I don’t know why anyone would want to hang out with me.”
“I can’t do anything right.”

Statistics tell us that when we speak negative things to someone close to us, it takes anywhere from eight to sixteen positive things to outweigh one negative remark. This holds true when we talk to ourselves.

The truth is, each of us is unique and precious to God.

He paid the ultimate price to bring us back to Him. How can we denigrate what God esteems? Think about how different your outlook might be if you spoke respectfully to yourself?

Join me today as I make the decision to watch my language