Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top 10 Social Media Updates that Get the Conversations Started!

I'm constantly being asked for ideas of what post on social media. It's important to use those updates as a tool to start a conversation with your friends and followers. So I've compiled my top 10 list of Social Media Updated that Get the Conversations Started!

10. Now that hashtags have caught on on a lot of different social media platforms, ask your followers/friends to share their favorite hashtags.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Social Media Monday—Facebook Enables Hashtags—Is It a Match Made in Heaven?


I think it definitely is…and something long overdue.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Facebook has now enabled the use of hashtags. This use of hashtags follows Twitter (of course) and now Pinterest. Not sure what hashtags are? Here's a post I wrote on Hashtags and Twitter

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Weekend Worship—I Wouldn't Choose It, But I Wouldn't Change It

And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27 (NIV)

A lot of writing is like cross carrying. We tend to write about things that matter to us. Things matter to us because of our life experiences. 

When difficult things arise we all tend to ask why. I've found a more productive way to look at those traumas that shape us.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Impossibilities


I took this picture off of my screened porch. I love to watch those rare times when it's raining and the sun is shining. It reminds me that God can do anything! 

I'd love to know, what impossibilities has God worked in your life or the lives of those around you? 

"We have a God who delights in impossibilities." - Billy Sunday

Share your answers in the comment section below. 

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

Friday, July 26, 2013

Life Lessons—Don’t Miss the Journey Looking for the Destination


by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D

Reba & Dakota taking off.
It seems so long ago now that Edie loaded Dakota and me in her car and took us to our starting point of my Road to Freedom solo bicycle tour across America.

Weakly and wobbly I made my way down the road, determined to make it to my daily destination. I struggled, fought and fussed about how much farther I had to go, as my childhood badgering haunted me. I heard my little girl voice shout repeatedly, “Are we there yet?”

 I was so glad to make it to my destination that first day. Since that time, so many things have happened. I’ve completely changed directions. Instead of heading over the mountains, I turned south to skirt below them. As soon as I did that, I began to enjoy the journey.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Calendar Days—Holidays, Special Days & Downright Crazy Days in August


Last month I continued my end of the month post listing all the crazy special days in the coming month. I always share this info on the last Thursday of every month. So be sure to drop by. Today I’m going to continue with the upcoming crazy and normal holidays in the month of June.

Using the calendar for blog post or even article ideas is a great way to jumpstart your creativity. It's also a fun writing prompt idea. 


Calendar days are also great conversation starters for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

August Holidays, Special Days & Downright Crazy Days

August is:
Family Fun Month
National Catfish Month
Admit You’re Happy Month
National Picnic Month
Inventor’s Month
National Win with Civility Month
American Artists Appreciation Month
American Indian Heritage Month
National Minority Donor Awareness Month
National Runaway Prevention Month
It's Romance Awareness Month!
Black Business Month
Cataract Awareness Month
National Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Month
National Goat Cheese Month
National Immunization Awareness Month
National Panini Month
What Will Be Your Legacy Month
Romance Awareness Month
National Eye Exam Month
Peach Month
National Golf Month
Water Quality Month

Weekly Celebrations
Week 1:
National Simplify your Life Week
International Clown Week
World Breast Feeding Week

It's Assistance Dog Week!
Week 2:
National Smile Week
National Fraud Awareness Week
National Farmers’ Market Week
Old Fiddler’s Week
Exercise with Your Child Week
Single Working Womens’ Week
Rock for Life Week
Assistance Dog Week
National Resurrect Romance Week

Week 3:
Friendship week
Elvis Week
Feeding Pets of the Homeless Week

Week 4:
Be Kind to Humankind Week
National Safe at Home Week

Individual Days
August 1
National Raspberry Cream Pie Day
Vegetarian Day
National Minority Donor Awareness Day
Girlfriends Day
Spiderman Day
World Wide Web Day
Us Air Force Day
Yorkshire Day

August 2
National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

August 3
National Watermelon Day
National Mustard Day (first Saturday in August)

Celebrate the Twins in your life!
August 4
International Forgiveness Day (first Sunday in August)
Friendship day (first Sunday in August)
Sisters Day (first Sunday in August)
Twin Day Festival
National Doll Day (first Sunday in August)
U.S. Coast Guard Day
Single Working Womans’ Day
Chocolate Chip Day

August 5
Beer Day
Work Like a Dog Day
Assistance Dog Day
National Oyster Day
National Underwear Day

August 6
Wiggle Your Toes Day
Hiroshima Day
National Root Beer Float Day
National Night Out (First Tuesday of August)
Fresh Breath Day

National Lighthouse Day, August 7
August 7
National Lighthouse Day
Sea Serpent Day
Professional Speakers Day
Purple Heart Day

August 8
Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day
Happiness Happens Day
Odie Day (Garfield’s Pal)

August 9
Rice Pudding Day
National Polka Festival
International Day of The World’s Indigenous People
Worldwide Art Day
Book Lover’s Day

August 10
Lazy Day
Garage Sale Day (anyone who’s ever held one knows this is NOT a Lazy Day!)
National Duran Duran Day
Skyscraper Appreciation Day
Smithsonian Day
National S’mores Day

August 11
Son and Daughter Day
Ingersoll Day
Presidential Joke Day (did you hear the one about…)

Vinyl Record Day, August 12
August 12
Middle Child’s Day
Vinyl Record Day
IBM PC Day
Sewing Machine Day
Youth Day

August 13
Left Hander’s Day
Blame Someone Else Day
Chinese Valentine’s Day (also known as Daughter’s Day )

August 14
V-J Day (marks the end of WWII. There are actually 3 dates with this designation. August 14—Japan surrenders; August 15‑Surrender announced to the world; September 2‑Ceremony and formal signing of surrender.)
National Creamsicle Day
National Navajo Code Talkers Day

August 15
V-J Day (see note above)
Lion Day
National Failures Day
Best Friends Day
Chauvin Day
National Relaxation Day

National Airborne Day, August 16
August 16
National Tell a Joke Day
Hug Your Boss Day
National Airborne Day
Men’s Grooming Day
Bratwurst Festival

August 17
National Thriftshop Day
International Geocaching Day (Third Saturday in August)
International Homeless Animals Day (Third Saturday in August)
The Meaning of IS Day

August 18
Bad Poetry Day
Birth Control Pills Day
Mail Order Catalog Day
Serendipity day
World Daffodil Day
God’s Preeminence Day (Third Sunday in August)

August 19
Potato Day
World Humanitarian Day
Aviation Day
Cupcake Day

National Radio Day, August 20
August 20
National Radio Day

August 21
Spumoni Day
Senior Citizen’s Day
Poets Day

August 22
National Tooth Fair Day (is also designated on February 28)
Be an Angel Day

August 23
National Spongecake Day
Valentino Day
Ride the Wind Day

August 24
Knife Day
Vesuvius Day
Pluto Demoted Day
William Wilberforce Day
National Waffle Day

Kiss and Make Up Day, August 25
August 25
Kiss and Make Up Day
Founders Day

August 26
National Cherry Popsicle Day
Women’s Equality Day
National Dog Day

August 27
Global Forgiveness Day
Petroleum Day
The Duchess Who Wasn’t Day (Margaret Wolfe Hungerford http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Wolfe_Hungerford, she’s responsible for the popular phrase, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” It’s from her book, Molly Bawn) Just Because Day

August 28
World Sauntering Day
Radio commercials Day
Crackers over the Keyboard Day
Race Your Mouse Around the Icons Day

August 29
More Herbs, Less Salt Day
Individual Rights Day
According to Hoyle Day
International Day Against Nuclear Tests

Slinky Day, August 30
August 30
National Toasted Marshmallow Day
Slinky Day
National Holistic Pet Day
Frankenstein Day

August 31
Love Litigating Lawyers Day
National Trail Mix Day
Franchise Appreciation Day

Now let's do a little brainstorming for next month. What are some of your favorite days from the list and how do you propose using them?

Don't forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fiction Techniques for Non-Fiction Writers—Verbs Can Change the World


Active verbs and specific nouns bring the article/story to life

FICTION:
Not: The scent was fresh and new like a flower after the rain.
Instead: The fresh scent hung in the air like a late blooming rose after the rain.
NON-FICTION:
Not: It’s hard on feet.
Instead: It’s not abrasive on bare feet.
Not: It looks good in any room.
Instead: It looks equally well in a metal loft or a room with exposed wooden beams.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Feeding Your Creative Spirit—Are You Filling the Well, or Draining it Dry?


Like I shared in last week's post about Juggling Famiy, Commitments and Writing, we all have way more things to do than time to do them. But one thing I didn’t address, was the necessity of feeding your creative spirit.

I’ve had a crazy few months. Between writing deadlines, family crisis’ and summer craziness, I’m running on empty. But I don’t have time to lay out for a couple of weeks and recover. There are still more commitments and deadlines looming in the near future.

So how do I keep going and find a way to feed my creative spirit? I do a little inventory and then get my schedule down to the basics.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Social Media Monday—Top 10 Ways to Make Yourself Miserable with Social Media


Everywhere we turn we’re hit with the message of how great social media is. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media. But I didn’t start out loving it. I began my relationship with this new paradigm by hating it.

I don’t have a background in computers or marketing or anything that might make social media look interesting. Add to that fact that I’m a natural introvert, and you have a recipe for a disaster. Truthfully, that was how my relationship with social media began—as a disaster. Here are, from my own experience, the top 10 ways to make yourself miserable with social media.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Weekend Worship—Do You LIKE God?


It’s a rare thing these days to meet someone who isn’t familiar with Facebook, the social media platform. This online world has exploded into our physical experience to the point where even it’s terminology has become common place.

For example, almost every one know what it means to friend someone, or to invite them to be your friend through your Facebook profile. And we’re familiar with the not so nice opposite of that, unfriending.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Mothers

Mothers, we seem to love to hate on them, rolling our eyes at their outdated opinions and clothing choices. But truthfully, where would we be without them? 

I know my own mom was one of the first who validated my love of writing. And as much grief as I've brought to my own boys, they delight in telling others funny things I did that made their lives special. 

I'd love to hear some of your own experiences.




Share your answers in the comment section below. 

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

Friday, July 19, 2013

Life Lessons—What Faithful Really Means


by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D

Me and Dakota getting ready to take off.
Last Friday I announced my plans to set out the next day on a solo cross country bicycle trip to help women who suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Read my own story about overcoming PTSD.

I’ve had an entire week on the road and until this week, I didn’t understand the depth and breadth of faithful. God has shown Himself faithful in more ways that I can imagine and, trust me, I have a GREAT imagination.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Business Basics for Today’s Writer—Working with Photos and Images


Today’s writer has to be savvy when it comes to blogging and working online. One of the tools we need to have is the ability tow resize photos and upload them to the Internet.

Resizing photo’s is important because different platforms have different file size requirements. I’ve already given you the information you need to Resize a Photo

It’s also important to know how to crop photos that you may download from different image sites. I know that a lot of sites have standard dimensions for images and this can leave an odd white space around the photo and throw off the formatting of your blog.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Priorities—Juggling Family, Commitments and Writing


Life is busy. I know this fact catches no one by surprise.

We all fight the battle of too much to do and too little time to do it. And it’s one of the biggest struggles writers face. I know we all have the same 24 hours in each day, but at times it’s harder for writers. Juggling family, commitments and writing can seem like an overwhelming task.

Not because we face more time commitments, but we have the added challenge of working from home—at a job many people consider nothing more than a pleasant hobby.  Even if we have an additional job that takes us away from home, the time we spend writing is a job, and deserves the same kind of respect and priority. I address this issue specifically in my blog post, I Don’t Get No Respect!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fiction Techniques for Non-fiction Writers—Write Dialogue Correctly


I got my start as a freelance writer, primarily publishing non-fiction articles for print and online. And I was prolific, one year I had over 700 articles published. But I’d always thought I’d end up writing novels. Because of that, I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to write fiction. Those years of learning how to tell a good story did more than just prepared me to write fiction, they also enabled me to become a much better non-fiction writer.

In this new series, I’ll be sharing some of these fiction techniques that can also help you improve as a non-fiction writer.

Today I’m going to start by teaching you to Write Dialogue Correctly. As I travel and teach at writing conferences across the country I’m amazed at the number of non-fiction writers who have no idea how to correctly write dialogue. Many non-fiction works include dialogue, and this is one of the basics you must master as you advance your writing career.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Social Media Monday—Are You Guilty of Spamming?


Spam on the Internet is a big no-no. The definition has changed somewhat over the years and now includes social media posts as well as email. No average Internet user would ever dream of intentionally spamming, but without care we can be guilty of spamming.

Why is it called Spam?
Why is Spam called Spam?
There are a lot of theories about where the term SPAM originated, one school of thought is that it originated from the computer group lab at the University of Southern California. Those there applied that honorific because it has many of the same characteristics as the canned version we find in super markets.

Another accepted opinion is that it came from the Monty Python son, "Spam spam spam spam, spam spam spam spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam” since, Internet spam is often repetitious and worthless.

Regardless of where the name came from, we all try to avoid receiving it, and definitely want to avoid sending it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Weekend Worship—Do You Know Who’s Calling?


When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." John 10:4-5 (NIV)

Throughout my years of teaching—whether I was at a writers conference, womens retreat or a Bible study—probably the question I’ve been asked the most has been, “How do I know it’s really God speaking to me?”

The answer is at once very simple and very hard. You can tell it’s God’s voice, because you recognize it.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Storms of Life


In this life we have have to weather all kinds of storms. How do you find the strength to hang on and make it through?


Share your answers in the comment section below. 

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

Friday, July 12, 2013

Life Lessons—Bigger Than Me


by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D

There comes a time in a person’s life when they have to do something that is much bigger than they are. Do something that will make a huge impact in the lives of others. To make a difference.

I’m hours away from doing that in my own life. I’m packing and preparing for departure on a solo, self-contained bicycle tour from Appalacia to the west coast. I’ll pedal thousands of miles over America’s heartland, all for a purpose.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Business Basics for Today’s Writer—Have You Installed the Hootsuite Shortcut, HOOTLET?


Today I’d like to share a little tool you can install yourself to help streamline your social media scheduling. It comes from Hootsuite and is known as Hootlet. If you’re not yet familiar with Hootsuite, you can visit my post on How to Schedule Social Media in Hootsuite to help you get started.

Hootlet is great because you don’t have to toggle between two windows, copying and pasting URLs. Instead, whenever you’re on a blog that you want to schedule to Hootsuite, you click on Hootlet and a small window will pop up. It’s like a miniature Hootsuite. See the Screen Shot below.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How Writing Ruined My Wife—Help. I’ve Been Infected—With Writer’s Block!

by Kirk Melson


Yes, believe it or not I’m back.

Between my traveling schedule and Edie’s it’s been hard find a Wednesday when we’re together. Of course I could have done this on my own, well except for uploading it to her blog that is. But the truth of the matter is that she’s rubbed off on me in a rather uncomfortable way.

I’ve been experiencing some rather alarming symptoms. I have a kind of fogginess in my mind, my fingers won’t work and when I look at the computer I only see white.

I’ve been told it’s a common malady among writers—which is something that alarms me even more than the symptoms.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tips to Silence Your Internal Editor


I’ve spoken with a lot of writers who have trouble disconnecting their INTERNAL EDITOR when they're working on an early draft of a manuscript. This overly helpful person lives inside most of us and comes in handy when we’re putting the finishing touches on our manuscript. But when we’re in the midst of a creative surge, that same person can short circuit our progress.

Today's post will give you the tips you need to silence your Internal Editor.

First you should know there’s a scientific reason for that roadblock. The creative act of writing your first draft stems from the right side—or creative side—of the brain. Later in the process, when polishing begins, the left side takes over. Here are some of the characteristics of each side.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Social Media Monday— To Blog or Not to Blog, That is the Question


Yes, I’m wading into the great debate today, al la Hamlet. 

TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG. THAT IS THE QUESTION.

I can hear the groans from here. But if you stick with me you might be surprised what you find out.

Here's the crux of the matter. You’re a writer and:
  • You either want to be published or you’ve recently been published.
  • You need an online presence, i.e. a platform.
  • You need to connect with your readers.

I hate to tell you, but blogging is a really good way to accomplish these three goals—and it’s probably a lot simpler than you realize.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Weekend Worship—Are You Just Another Parked Car?


And they passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; 7 and when they had come to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; 8 and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a certain man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10 And when he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:6-10 NASB

I found myself paralyzed between two choices.
I used to agonize over decisions in my life, worried that I might miss God’s answer and the consequences would be devastating (or at least unpleasant). This worry often kept me from acting because I really did want what God wanted.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Leanings


This image of one of my sons immediately came to my mind when I was watching THE LORAX. My question to you is this, which way do you lean when the times get tough and the clouds of life blot out the sun?

Trust in theLord with all your heart and
lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Share your answers in the comment section below. 

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

Friday, July 5, 2013

Life Lessons—Your Declaration of Independence


by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D

In 1776, a group of men made a bold move. They had a dream of a life like nothing anyone had ever experienced. They wrote a plan and signed it with ink and quill, not knowing how or at what cost their dream would come true.

They declared their freedom and set in motion the building of a whole new life. They declared their independence and forged a new road that we travel down today. They were so committed to that new way of life, they stood in the face of naysayers and shouted, “Give me liberty or give me death!”

What about you? Don’t you dream of a different life? One where magnificent prose is limited only by your own creativity? When was the last time you made a declaration of independence from the normalcy of mediocrity?

You can learn a lot about your own dream by revisiting the bravery of our nation’s founders. Here are a few:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thursday Review—I Want a Magic Bullet


by Lynn H. Blackburn

I want a magic bullet.

Somewhere there’s a book, a routine, maybe a diet, or even an outfit. Somewhere, there’s one thing I’m missing and when I find it, my publishing dreams will come true!

Right?

In my quest for the elixir of publishing success, I had a rare opportunity to do some extensive research. I got to hang out with four published authors as they wrote, brainstormed, and it must be said, consumed copious amounts of coffee and loaded grits.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Calendar Days—July 2013


Last month I continued my end of the month post listing all the crazy special days in the coming month.  You may have noticed that I'm almost a week late with this month's dates. To be totally honest, I was so deep into deadlines that I didn't realize last Thursday was the final Thursday in June. My bad!

Anyway, I usually share this info on the last Thursday of every month. I promise to try to do better with the August days. So be sure to drop by. Today I’m going to continue with the upcoming crazy and normal holidays in the month of July.

Using the calendar for blog post or even article ideas is a great way to jumpstart your creativity. It's also a fun writing prompt idea. 


Calendar days are also great conversation starters for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

July Holidays, Special Days & Downright Crazy Days

July is:
National Anti-Boredom Month
National Hot Dog Month
Nude Recreation Week
National Blueberry Month
Unlucky Month for Weddings
National Cell Phone Courtesy Month
National Ice Cream Month

Weekly Celebrations
Week 2:
Nude Recreation Week

July 1
Second Half of the Year Day
Build a Scarecrow Day (first Sunday in month)
Canada Day
Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day
International Joke Day

July 2
UFO Day
I forgot Day

July 3
Disobedience Day
Stay out of the Sun Day
Stay Out of the Sun Day
Compliment Your Mirror

July 4
National Country Music Day
Independence from Meat Day
Independence Day
Sidewalk Egg Frying Day

July 5
Bikini Day
Work-a-holics Day

July 6
Hop a Park Day
Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day
National Fried Chicken Day

July 7
Forgiveness Day
Chocolate Day
National Strawberry Sundae Day
Tell the Truth Day

July 8
Scud Day
Town Crier Day
Video Games Day

July 9
Sugar Cookie Day

July 10
Don’t Step on a Bee Day
Teddy Bear Picnic Day

July 11
World Population Day
Cheer up the Lonely Day

July 12
Different Colored Eyes Day
Pecan Pie Day
Cow Appreciation Day

July 13
Embrace Your Geekness Day
Barbershop Music Appreciation Day
Fool’s Paradise Day

July 14
Pandemonium Day
Bastille Day
National Nude Day

July 15
Get out of the Doghouse Day
Tapioca Pudding Day
Cow Appreciation Day
Gummi Worm Day

July 16
Corn Fritters Day

July 17
Yellow Pig Day
Peach Ice Cream Day

July 18
National Caviar Day

July 19
National Raspberry Cake Day

July 20
Lollipop Day
Moon Day
Ugly Truck Day

July 21
National Junk Food Day
National Ice Cream Day

July 22
Hammock Day
Ratcatcher’s Day

July 23
Hot Dog Day
Vanilla Ice Cream Day

July 24
Drive-Thru Day
Amelia Earhart Day
Cousins Day

July 25
Thread the Needle Day
Culinarians Day
Chili Dog Day

July 26
One Voice Day
All or Nothing Day
Aunt and Uncle Day
Talk in an Elevator Day

July 27
Take Your Pants for a Walk Day
Walk on Stilts Day

July 28
National Milk Chocolate Day
Parent’s Day (fourth Sunday in July)

July 29
National Lasagna Day

July 30
Paperback Book Day
National Cheesecake Day
Father-in-law Day

July 31
Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day
Mutt’s Day

Now let's do a little brainstorming for next month. What are some of your favorite days from the list and how do you propose using them?

Don't forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie