Friday, January 31, 2014

Keep Writing—Sometimes You Have to Go Through the Junk to Get to the Gems

by Edie Melson

A writer's life is one filled with ups and downs.
A writer’s life is one filled with ups and downs. Some days the words flow and it seems that you have a pipeline from Heaven to the computer screen. The words swirl and dance with a life of their own.

At other times the sentences start and stop, stuttering in an ugly disjointed rhythm. You can’t seem to connect the words into coherent thoughts, and the voices in your head are no longer kinds ones brimming with inspiration. Instead they scream at you to stop. Give up the dream, and quit kidding yourself. The secret to success on those frustrating days is to keep writing—sometimes you have to go through the junk to get to the gems.

I know it’s true because I’ve been there . . . more than once.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Interview With a Conference Director—Eva Marie Everson—Florida Christian Writers Conference

Eva Marie Everson
I’m continuing my series introducing you to the people behind the conferences. Today I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Eva Marie Everson. I first met Eva when I was an attendee at Blue Ridge, and she was part of the faculty. As a matter of fact, she helped me get one of my first articles published with Crosswalk.com. 

I’ve been privileged to sit in many of her classes, as have many of you. And if her name sounds familiar, not only is she a best selling author and conference director, she’s also the contest director at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Support Your Writing by WRITING—How to Earn Extra Money While You're Working on Your Book

by Edie Melson

If you’re truly serious about being published, you’re going to have to put some time, energy, and yes, even money into that endeavor. Trust me, we’d all like to think we have enough talent to make it, but talent will only get you so far in this industry.

The publishing biz is built on networking. And while it’s possible to create valuable contacts online, there’s still no substitute for an in-person meeting. That means you’re going to have to get to some writing conferences, and those aren’t cheap.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Turning Publishing Rejection into Acceptance


Andrea Merrell is a good friend of mine and an AMAZING editor. I asked her to share some of the things that stand in the way of acceptance when a writing submits a manuscript.

She's been a guest here on The Write Conversation before, but now that she has a book out for writers I persuaded her to come back. 

I predict that MURDER OF A MANUSCRIPT  is going to become one of those must-haves for writers. It's published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and now available on Amazon. Personally, I give it a 5-star rating! 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Social Media Monday—They’re People—NOT Numbers!

by Edie Melson

They're people—NOT numbers!
As writers, we all know the importance of building an online following. We spend time crafting valuable blog posts with SEO rich headlines. We follow others on social media, working to connect. All the while keeping a sharp eye on those numbers that define success or failure. It’s easy to get caught up in those numbers.

But the truth is, they’re people—NOT numbers!

We even begin to judge the worth of what we have to say by those numbers. Let me remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why you sweat over a keyboard, struggling to find the right word. Why you risk rejection by submitting those carefully crafted words to editors, agents and contest judges.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekend Worship—Discipline versus Freedom—Not Really Opposites

I press in toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Freedom and discipline may seem like opposite ends of the spectrum. But recently I’ve discovered, through experience, how related those two terms truly are. For those of you who follow my blog regularly you’ve noticed a common theme in my Weekend Worship—stress due to saying yes to often.

There are many reasons I tend to automatically say yes instead of no. 
Some of them may strike a nerve with you as well.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Social Media Image—The Craft & the Creative

As writers, we all strive to improve our craft. What has helped you the most? Do you have a favorite craft book, an instructor that has inspired you? Beyond that, what authors have touched your soul?


It's up to the author to intertwine the craft with the creative,
and find the balance that touches the soul of the reader. - Edie Melson
Share your thoughts 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, January 24, 2014

Life Lessons—What Writing has Taught Me about Myself & about Life

by Edie Melson

Following my heart to become a writer has taught me a lot. I still remember the first time I got brave enough to call myself a writer, and the excitement the first time I sold an article.

It wasn’t all rainbows and roses though. I remember the excitement of having my first manuscript taken to committee—and the devastation when the publisher ultimately rejected it.

I wouldn’t have traded a single minute of my experience. Even that rejection was good because truthfully, neither my manuscript or me was ready for publication.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Interview With a Conference Director—Linda Gilden—Carolina Christian Writers Conference

I have known Linda Gilden from way back when. We both started in the industry about the same time. I respect her writing, her leadership, and her heart to help others live out the dream God has planted in their hearts. And it's an honor to introduce her to you!

EM: When did you take over this conference?

LINDA: This is my third year directing the Carolina Christian Writers Conference. In 2011 it moved from Anderson, SC, to Spartanburg’s First Baptist Church. There is plenty of room, and it is a great facility.

As the director of this conference, as well as the CLASS conference, can you share a little of your philosophy behind running a conference?

When I first attended a writers conference, my young children said I had gone to “writers paradise.” I think that’s because when I returned home I was so excited and happy. I had found where I belonged. I had been to a place where there were people just like me who loved to write and shared a mission to tell the world about God’s love.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Steps to Block Someone from Following Your Facebook Page

by Edie Melson

I've gotten a lot requests for directions on how to block someone from a professional Facebook Page. It's not all that difficult, but you have to know what to look for.

Although I encourage Facebook users to try methods other than blocking first, sometimes it’s necessary to block someone from following your Facebook Page. Also note that your page can be followed by a person or another page. The directions to block them are the same for either. But before you take those steps, here are some good reasons to proceed with this drastic step:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

12 Surefire Signs You Really Are a Writer

by Edie Melson

Many of us hit places in our journey where we wonder if we're really cut out for writing. Insecurity and the general insanity of the business can whittle down our confidence until we're ready to throw in the towel. 


In the past I’ve shared a couple of blog posts on 10 Reasons Not to Become a Novelist and 20 Things to Never Say to a Writer

Today I'd like to share a list of things that can reverse that insecurity. If you find any of these familiar, you're definitely on the write . . .  uh . . . right path.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Social Media Monday—Know What You Can & Can’t Legally Pin on Pinterest

by Edie Melson

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing
social media platforms around.
Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media platforms out there. Although it’s still not on my list of sites writers HAVE to be a part of, it’s getting close. It’s a great way to connect with your readers. But with the added visibility it's even more important to know what you can and can't legally pin on Pinterest.

For those not familiar with Pinterest, it’s like a collection of virtual bulletin boards. It is also an image driven site. Which means the emphasis is on pinning pictures and graphics. Everyone who joins can build their own boards and then others can follow those boards. Here are just a few things that writers can share to connect with potential readers:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weekend Worship—Are You Following, Running Ahead or Just Complaining about the Journey?

Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will do this. Psalm 37:5

A few summers ago, a group of us drove to the beach. We took several cars and, although I’d never been to that particular beach, I agreed to drive. Things were a little crazy when we left and, after we got on the road, I realized I hadn’t gotten written directions, or even the address to plug into my phone.

The car I was following was driven by a close friend, and I knew she could get us there, no problem, but it still made me a little nervous.

I was careful to keep her car constantly in sight, and stay alert to any signs that she planned to change direction. I had to rely on her to get me safely to our destination. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Social Media Image—Understanding the World Around Us

I love to read science fiction and fantasy, and watch movies from those genres. I see in the worlds of Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov mirrors of the struggles facing our world today. I also find hope, that one person really can make a difference.

What books and movies have you seen that help you process and understand the world around us?

Oh, and if you're curious. This is an UNTOUCHED photo. I took it at the Indianapolis ACFW conference in 2010, on the roof of the Hyatt Regency. It was a reflection in a window of the building behind us. Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.
"Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it." - Lloyd Alexander
Share your thoughts 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, January 17, 2014

Life Lessons—Equip Yourself for the Writing Journey

by Edie Melson

Stephen King once said, “Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”

I'd like to go one step further and add that choosing the writing life isn’t a choice for the faint of heart. If you’re serious about having a career in publishing, you’re going to need some tools to equip yourself for the writing journey. Beyond that, you’re going to have to make some decisions about how you spend your time.  I did. And I haven’t regretted a moment of it.

Life is a series of small decisions that link together as a journey toward your goal.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Craft and Art of Being a Writer

by Edie Melson

So many of us agonize over the fact that our words aren't beautiful when we first put them on paper. Some even go so far as to interpret that lack as a a sign from God. They sigh and mope and finally shrug their shoulders. "Perhaps I was never supposed to be a writer." To which I say, "Poppycock!"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Time Off is Rarely Time Wasted—Even for a Writer

by Edie Melson


Time off is a GOOD idea.
I’m not always the brightest bulb in the batch, and what others learn quickly sometimes takes years to sink in. But one thing I have learned is this:

Time off is rarely time wasted.

My natural tendency has always been all or nothing. I go and go and go . . . and then I drop. Not really the healthiest way to do life.

I think part of the reason is that I’ve always equated down time with wasted time. But I’ve discovered that downtime, instead of being wasted, is when those create reserves are refilled and renewed.

It’s really hard to get water from a dry well.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

“Social Media Doesn’t Work for Me!” How to Fix It, Part Two

by Edie Melson

In yesterday’s post I listed out some of the reasons social media doesn’t seem to work. I also shared some suggestions on how to start making it work. You can read the details in “Social Media Doesn’t Work for Me!Part One.

Today, I’d like to give you some ideas of where to come up with social media updates that don’t just add to the noise. That’s the whole key to posting things on social media—learning to share something of value. But it goes even deeper than that, learning to share something that’s valuable to YOU.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Social Media Monday—Social Media Doesn’t Work For Me . . . and Other Lies People Believe, Part One

by Edie Melson

I get a lot of emails and phone calls from people who really believe social media doesn’t work for them. They’ve convinced themselves that they are the exception to the rule. And because of that, they’re somehow exempt from having an online presence.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s called an exception because it rarely ever happens. Actually I’ve NEVER seen an instance where it was true. But I’m skeptical about absolutes, so I’ll grant that there might be one single person out there that social media doesn’t work for.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekend Worship—When I Learned that Being Nice Wasn’t One of the Ten Commandments

Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. Ephesians 4:14-15

"Speak the truth in love.”

I’ve heard that admonition about as long as I’ve been in church. It’s advice that’s generally given when a situation is dicey. It’s uttered as encouragement, in an almost don’t-forget-to-buckle-your-seatbelt tone of voice. But just with a seatbelt, there’s no guarantee the outcome will be good.

I’ve also heard it bandied about after a situation blows up, usually with a sorrowful shake of a head. “If only they’d spoken the truth in love.”

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Social Media Image—Listen to the Music

For me to be able to pour out into my writing, I must also find a way renew my spirit. I do that through the music of nature.

How do you recharge and refill your soul?

"The earth has music for those who listen." George Santayana
Share your thoughts 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, January 10, 2014

Evaluating The Writer’s Path—A Journey of a Lifetime

by Edie Melson

The writer’s path is a journey of a lifetime—one fraught with discovery and discouragement. We can avoid some of its pitfalls if we define that path early on. Today, I want to share some insights into my writing journey and the markers I look for to help me stay at least in the vicinity of the path.

This time of year, with Christmas and New Year's still looming close behind, my thoughts turn backward. I use this time to evaluate the past year and prepare for the next one. I've given up New Year's Resolutions completely and find the freedom from those expectations (and failures) a major relief.

But I have implemented something else instead. My husband and I spend some time looking back at our spiritual markers for the past year. We evaluate them individually, as a couple and as a family. I also look at them in regard to my past year as a writer.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Behind the Scenes Look at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference

Yesterday I posted about the top 10 reasons to attend a writers conference, and I highlighted some of the conferences that I personally recommend. Starting today, and continuing over the next few Thursdays I'm going to provide you with a look at the people behind those conferences. We'll start with a behind the scenes look at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Since I'm the co-director, I thought I'd let Alton Gansky handle this one solo.





If you've had the opportunity to attend Blue Ridge (and I know a lot of you have) feel free to chime in with some of the highlights from your stay.

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

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Conference List & the Top 10 Reasons to Attend a Writers Conference in 2014

by Edie Melson

This time of year writing conferences are gearing up, the faculty has been chosen and the websites are humming, ready to take your reservations. So why attend a writer's conference? Is there anything to be gained? I believe the answer is a resounding, YES. 

Personally, I've been attending large conferences for years. And as my experience level has increased so have the benefits from attending. Here are my top ten reasons to attend a writer’s conference this year.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Confessions of an ADD Writer—How I Turned my Struggle into Success

by Edie Melson

Writing is the best and the worst career choice for me. I used to joke about the fact that if it wasn’t illegal or immoral, I’d write about it. A very true statement. You see, I’m definitely an Attention Deficit Disorder Writer. Today I want to share how I turned my struggle into success.

Freelance writing and blogging is a good fit for me, in that it gives me lots of varying subject matter. It also gives me the opportunity to work in small bites and find success with short pieces. But even working with small projects I had to find a way to manage my time and not get distracted.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Social Media Monday—Clean Up Your Twitter Ratios and Get Rid of Excess Weight

by Edie Melson

Twitter is great social media tool for growing an online presence. But like any good tool, you have to take care of it, to keep it preforming in tip-top shape.

Today I’m going to share how you can clean up your twitter ratios and get rid of excess weight to keep your account working efficiently.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Weekend Worship—Definition

A man’s steps are established by the Lord,
and He takes pleasure in his way. Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed,
 because the Lord holds his hand. Psalm 37:23-24

I’ve long since given up making New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I use this time to allow God to redirect my steps onto the path He has for me. I’d like to take today to share how I go about that.

I began this process in 1996 when, at the urging of several godly friends, I began asking God for a verse to guide my steps during the coming year. He faithfully supplied that first verse and has done so every year since.

I’ve loved the practice of searching out His will, and it’s become a sweet time of fellowship as I listen for His voice. Then, in 2012, a new friend suggested I also ask Him to supply a single word for the coming year. (Thank you, Beth Vogt.) I did, and again the process added depth to my relationship with God.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Social Media Image—What Adds Depth to Your Life, adds Depth to Your Writing

As I begin this new year, my thoughts turn to ways to make my life more meaningful. And it occurs to me that adding depth to my life will also add depth to my writing—not just through the richness of experience—although that's huge. But if I allow my characters to experience the same kind of richness that I seek, my stories will have an added color and depth.

What parallels do you see in living a life of depth and richness in your writing?

"It is not the length of of life, but the depth." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Share your thoughts 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, January 3, 2014

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

by Edie Melson

It's that time again—Calendar Days. I sure hope you all are enjoying this column as much as me. It's funny, as I research these each month, I think of so many of you.

And I can't help but giggle at the holidays that fall on or near the same date, like National Humiliation Day falls within the Someday We’ll Laugh About This Week.  And how National Pie Day is the same day as Women’s Healthy Weight Day. Did they even research this stuff?

I’m late this month because of the holidays, but I usually 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 January.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are You Struggling With Your Writing? Let God Decide Where to Put You!

by Lynn H Blackburn

Several years ago, my dad made a beautiful mirrored coat rack. I had the perfect wall for it and it hung in a place of prominence in my home where it received oohs and ahhs from friends, family, and guests.

Then we moved.

Our new home has an open floor plan with short walls. Most of the long walls are full of windows. There isn't a single spot in the house that made sense for the coat rack. I guess I could have hung it in the dining room. It would've made a great conversation starter, but it also would've made it functionally useless.