Thursday, June 30, 2016

Why Write?

Edie here. Today I'm very excited to have the author of the new book, Damn Shame, with us today. Curtis H. Tucker has the pulse on the church community (and those beyond) when it comes to our struggle with shame. He's also got a lot to share in regard to the writer's life, so I'm hoping you enjoy getting to meet him. 

Why write?
Why Write?
by Curtis H Tucker @MavMinister 

Write a blog for a blog about writing. I’m sure I'm not the first person to be caught by the paradoxical nature of this idea: write about writing. This could go any number of directions. But for me: To write or not write, that is the question. 

I don’t write to meet expectations or deadlines (except in this case of writing about writing). Maybe it's just me, but deadlines and expectations don’t help me. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Are You Taking Care of Yourself as a Writer?

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Writing is hard work.

Beyond the physical part, it’s emotionally taxing. We pour our hearts and souls into the words we arrange into stories, articles, even blog posts. We spend time and money learning how to write, constantly improving our skills.

Then, we take a deep breath and share our words with the world. So often that world can be less than kind. To face the tumultuous life of writing, we have to take time to nourish the writer within.

Today I want to share some tips you can use—even if life is crazy—to feed your writer’s soul.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

When Writers Should Just Be Quiet

by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson


I live in the Orlando area.

A week or so ago, we endured the most awful few days I can remember in a long time. Sure, in 2004 we were hit by three of the four major hurricanes that nearly beat our state to death. We lived without water. Without electricity. And we did so in hot and humid conditions.

But this … these events—the murder of Christine Grimmie, the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub, the alligator attack and subsequent death of little Lane Graves while vacationing at Disney with his family—took us by surprise. There were no warnings. No one on The Weather Channel told us to baton down the hatches.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Keep Your Social Media Life in Top Shape

By Edie Melson @EdieMelson

We all know the importance of staying in shape. 

Today I’m going to give you a workout plan to keep your social media life in shape. 

To stay efficient at social media we’ve got to be lean. 

After all our goal is a writing life, not a marketing one.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Writing Journey

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

As writers, we have chosen to follow a difficult path. I remember, after a particularly hard week, my husband remarked that he wished I’d chosen another career, something simple—like becoming a movie star. 

His comparison was more appropriate than he realized. Success, for both career choices appears, from the outside at least, to rely on being popular with a lot of people. Reaching the top seems to come and go with the whims of an unknown audience. We struggle and strive for numbers—likes on our Facebook pages, followers on Twitter, and ultimately sales numbers. We seek to please our readers, our publishers, even other writers. 


But when we have chosen this path at God’s calling, our focus needs to be somewhere other than those who will read our words. Our audience is an audience of One, and it is to Him and Him alone that we owe our allegiance. He will dictate, with wisdom far beyond our own, who will read our words and the reach they will have. And I for one, am well pleased to leave my destiny in His capable hands. 

So today I encourage you to seek out the joy of your audience, because I know He is well pleased by your obedience to follow His call. Let Him lavish you with praise and protect you from worry. Leave the numbers to Him and concentrate only on the words.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Simplify Your Online Presence

By Penny L Hunt @PennyLHunt

Like many beginning writers, speakers and entrepreneurs I went a little overboard creating clever domain names, websites and e-mails. I had different business cards printed for each website but was never sure which card to hand out when, and often left potential clients as confused as I was. Back at the office keeping up with all the websites and e-mails became a total nightmare. Clarity with consistent follow-up became an impossible task. I still cringe thinking of lost opportunities.

Friday, June 24, 2016

I’ve Attended a Writing Conference. Now What?

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2


If you’re a serious writer, you know the value of attending writers conferences. The combination of training, networking, and inspiration is like gasoline on a campfire for a writer’s career. Last month God blessed me with the opportunity to attend one of my favorite conferences, the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

For four days I attended classes, met conferees, and brainstormed with industry professionals. Now that I’ve come down from the mountain, it’s time to get to work. The time and money I spent will do me no good if I don’t apply what I’ve learned.

Maybe you haven’t had the opportunity to attend a conference this year. Or perhaps you have, but are struggling to implement what you heard. As I wrote my To Do list, I thought it might be helpful if I shared it with you.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

We are Equipped

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

God has a will, a plan for each of us. Psalm 139:16 (NLT) tells us, You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Each of us is on this earth for a specific reason. We may not know it completely right now. We may be in a season of preparation to enter that calling. But God has a plan for each of us.

Some are called to be pastors and teachers, some doctors, lawyers. Some to be auto mechanics, electricians, and plumbers.

Some, like myself, are called to be writers.

In Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT), God tells us “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Whatever our calling, God will not just throw us into.
Whatever our calling, God will not just throw us into it, like throwing a toddler into the pool so he is forced to learn to swim.

He prepares us.

What makes the preparation fun, and at times frustrating, is that it’s uniquely different for each of us.

One person may go through an entirely different set of life experiences than me, yet end up as a writer. I think this is another example of how God cares for us as individuals. He has a unique and personal relationship with each of us. We are all His favorite child.

And he equips us.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How to Help a Writer Brainstorm

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills


Writers of all genres welcome brainstorming sessions. 

The opportunity to discuss new ideas and solve problems in a creative environment is an amazing resource. Our minds kick down the doors that hold our imaginations captive, and the result is a collective stroke of genius.

Writing Through Tragedy

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

Will we ever get used to hearing that there has been a mass murder of innocent people? In a church? In a theatre? In a school? In an office? In a nightclub?

I hope not.

I hope we remain horrified. And utterly saddened. I hope we never get blasé or resigned to this kind of life.

Because then “they” would win. The ones who hate. The ones who crave power or fame or just some twisted sense of belonging to something big.

Monday, June 20, 2016

5 Simple Ways Counting Kittens Can Boost Your Blog Traffic

by Molly Jo Realy @RealMoJo68


For realz. Who doesn’t love photos of cute kittens? (Which begs the question: Are there ever any ugly kittens? I think not.) And better ratings? And smart, helpful people? Those social bees will be swarming all over for a piece of this sweet pie.

Just like with books on the shelf, a post on the blog is competing with many more like it. The reality is titles are the money-maker. You could have found the cure for the common cold, but unless your title gets the reader’s attention, no one else will benefit from your wisdom.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day to the Coolest Dad Ever

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Today is my first Father's Day ever without my dad. 

Daddy passed away on December 4, 2015, and I was privileged to give a tribute at his memorial service. 

Today, in honor of him, I thought I'd share it with you. 

My Daddy Was a Traveling Man
Some of my earliest memories were of being bundled into our VW Squareback for a trip across country. We lived in Texas and traveled mainly west, to New Mexico, Arizona, and amazing places in that part of the country.

But my dad was a traveling man way before I came on the scene. I’ve seen the pictures to prove it. He traveled with his best friends before he got married and with my mother after they became husband and wife.

And when we came along, he included his daughters in his travels. We started traveling with mom and dad almost as soon as we were born.

Each trip started the same way, just after midnight. I’d go to bed at the regular time, listening to the hustle and bustle of mom and dad packing up our camper as I drifted to sleep. Later, I’d be roused just enough for daddy to pick me up and deposit me in a makeshift bed in the back of the VW Bus. I’d snuggle in, my sister close by, and we’d sleep until the bright sun woke us up many miles outside of Dallas.

I remember picnics on the side of the road. Nights spent under the stars. I remember camping in our VW Bus and eating Dinty Moore Beef stew and Spam sandwiches. We camped all over the country. We’ve been in blizzards so bad that we had to scrape ice off the inside of the camper while it was moving and the heat was on. We’ve driven through 110+ weather in death valley without air conditioning. I even have a picture of our VW camped under a huge fir tree on top of Mt. Saint Helens, years before she erupted.

My dad’s favorite trip was always the same, though. The Grand Canyon held a fascination for his photographer’s eye. It was where he and my mom spent their honeymoon, and I think that by the time I was 16, I’d visited the Grand Canyon with them 18 times. He used to say he could stand on the rim for the rest of his life and the view before him would never be the same twice.

I remember one particular trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We pulled off at a roadside park to cook bacon and eggs. And we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a swarm of dive-bombing bees, intent on adding themselves to our eggs as additional protein.

He frequently let me tag along as he rose early, in the black cold of predawn as he chose a perfect place for sunrise pictures. On those excursions I learned so much about lighting, composition and the importance of framing an image to photograph. I didn’t know I was learning anything. All I cared about was the fact that my daddy wanted me along with him.

I also learned something more subtle—the importance of making time for the people and the activities you love.

We didn’t grow up rich. We always had enough, but mom and dad’s priority was making sure we could spend important time together as a family. Our vacations were never extravagant. No five-star resorts for us. But they were always an adventure we shared.

If you ask my mother today, she’ll tell you that the decision to spend time together instead of amassing things was the best decision they ever made.

Daddy also instilled in me the love of reading – and without meaning to – ignited my love of writing. Looking back, I realize this was just one more way he fed his passion for travel. Through books he could go anywhere an author’s imagination could take him. He particularly loved science fiction, and I remember early on sitting on my daddy’s lap watching the original Star Trek television show.

But he didn’t limit his reading only to fiction. He read everything. As a matter of fact, He’s the only person I ever met who loved to read encyclopedias. Our house always boasted more books than we had shelves – even though at least one room in every house had floor to ceiling book cases.

In some ways though, his travel didn’t serve him well. His intellect made him skeptical, and He struggled with what life after death would look like. He couldn’t settle on what God meant by an assurance of Heaven. Because he was a just and humble man, he had trouble reconciling the fact that Jesus was the only way to heaven. To him it was the height of egotism to believe there was only one way to get to Heaven.

After I grew up and got married, he and I had some difficult conversations about Christianity. But even as we disagreed, he made sure I knew how much he loved me and kept our relationship strong and intact.

I believe this lack of certainty haunted him as he grew older. In 1998, he went in for quadruple bypass surgery. I remember being there through the doctor appointments when they asked him what life-saving measures he wanted. “I want you to fill me up with every tube you’ve got, hook me up to every machine that will help, even prop me in the corner, but DO NOT LET ME GO."

Then in 2011, after his diagnosis of dementia, I once again asked him if he’d like to know for certain that he was going to Heaven. This time he took a deep breath and said yes. He listened and I could see the truth break through. He prayed as he made the decision to place his hope in Jesus, no matter what. With his amen came an instant transformation. Gone was the fear and paranoia about death and in its place was a profound core of peace. That was when he found this church family and for me – you all are a gift from God.

Oh he still struggled and fought against the disease, but under-girding that battle was a certainty that He had an advocate who would ensure his victory after death. 

As that disease began to bring him closer and closer to Jesus, he got ready to travel again. And I got to watch a beautiful closure in the circle of life when it came time for Daddy to leave. I sensed his Heavenly Father reach down, wrap him in a blanket of peace, and gently carry him on. Our joy came with being certain of where he was going.

And right now I know he’s seeing things that defy earthy words. Yes my daddy was a traveling man, and he’s once again blazing a trail, and I know he’s looking forward to the time when we’ll once again be traveling together as a family.

I love you, Daddy, and I miss you so much...

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Days of June

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

This image was taken last weekend while we were at a production of our local Shakespeare in the park. We love taking advantage of all there is to do during the summer months.

Since summer is truly upon us, especially here in the south. I'd love to know what some of your favorite summer pastimes are.

Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

I 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, June 17, 2016

25 Things People Say to Writers—And How We’d Like to Reply

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Below is my list of comments I’ve received over the past years since I’ve admitted to being a writer. 

In the parenthesis after each comment is what I wish I could have said. 

I’m happy to report I’ve not given in to the temptation…yet.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

5 Ways to Write Using the Five Senses—Taste

by Cyle Young @CyleYoung

Now that we’ve taken a deeper look at two of the senses, sound and sight. Let’s take a more in depth look at one of the hardest senses to describe in some settings—taste.

All great authors write using the five senses, and the best know how to incorporate just a touch of taste to highlight an emotion, experience, or mood, or to fill out a setting. These masters draw their readers deeper into the world, scene, or setting of a story by embracing utilizing the five unique qualities of taste savory, sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Spiritual Battle of Writing

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28


He doesn’t like it when we sit down to write. Our spiritual enemy’s mission to hurt God’s children and keep hearts blinded to the truth, is thwarted when we write for God. We may grow weary with writing and rewriting, but what we’re really doing is preparing for battle.

Satan delights to hinder God’s work. I’ve experienced his tactics. Have you? Even this week as my family works to release a magazine on spiritual warfare, we have gone through our own spiritual warfare. Satan will try to hinder God’s people from sharing the truth. Although we have a skilled enemy, our Lord Jesus Christ is a more powerful commander, and He has called us to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12 NKJV). Are you faithfully serving at your post? Are you allowing any part of your writing or enthusiasm to diminish because of spiritual warfare?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

9 Things Authors CAN Do to Restore Value to Writing Books

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted
In this day of brick and mortar bookstores dropping like flies I realize the price of a book can be $12-$15. By the time the publisher takes their cut, the distributor takes their chunk, and agents get their share, book dealers can barely butter their bread and authors are left crumbs. When you factor in book returns to the publisher and those monies being taken away from the author - you can see why people tell writers to keep their day job.

Monday, June 13, 2016

9 Things I Learned About Blogging From My Dog

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson


9 Things I learned about blogging from my dog (Jake).
Most of you know I’m an animal lover. We have one cat, Emily Dickinson, an old dog, Jake, and a new puppy, Cosmo, that belongs to our youngest son. I don’t know what I’d do without my four-legged friends cheering me on as I work every day.

But they’re more than just great companions, they’ve got a lot to teach me. I’ve shared lessons from Emily before in a devotion on BeingStill. So today I’d like to pass along some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned from my dogs.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Find Freedom from Shame’s Shackles

by Sarah Van Diest @SarahVanDiest


“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalm 139:14

Shame: “a painful feeling that's a mix of regret, self-hate, and dishonor.”* We all know how it feels. 

Simply put, it’s a negative feeling we work diligently to avoid, and yet so many of us live with shame as our constant companion. (https://www.vocabulary.com/

Saturday, June 11, 2016

This-a-way or That-a-way

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it." Yogi Berra
by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

This-a-way or That-a-way

I so enjoy the eloquence of Yogi Berra.

Granted, it’s a bit garbled, but the man speaks truth.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Make a decision. Make a choice. Keep moving. 

And yes, sometimes the decision we have to make is all about choosing between a right or wrong possibility. But sometimes it is about making the decision to take the fork in the road — either one — and face the coming consequences.

Make me know Your ways, O LORD, Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day. (Psalm 25:4-5 NASB)


In Your Words: When you face a fork in the road, what helps you take it? How do you decide this-a-way or that-a-way? Where has the path led lately?

TWEETABLE
When you come to a fork in the road, take it - Yogi Berra quote @BethVogt (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.