Saturday, June 10, 2023

Writers, I Double-Dog-Dare You to Have Fun This Summer

by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

A few nights ago, I dusted off our long-ignored backgammon board my husband Rob and I’d received as newlyweds oh-so-many-years-ago. 

Were we rusty? Yes. The game required a review of the rules and a search for an extra set of mismatched dice. Our game was more low-key than competitive, but that will change as time goes on. 

The TV was turned off. Our laptops were shut. The To Dos were ignored. 

It was a fun hour—and yes, Rob won. Give me a few more practice games, and things will get more intense. 

What does backgammon have to do with writing, Beth? Maybe the heroine of my work-in-progress (WIP) will play backgammon. 

Friday, June 9, 2023

Sometimes Writers Need Soul Care When Things Go RIGHT

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Yep, you read that title correctly. 

Soul care isn’t just for times when life is difficult. 

I’m recently back from one of the highlights of my writing year—The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. For me, this is a spiritual high. It’s a time when:
  • I’ve heard from God 
  • Gotten to witness what He’s doing in my life and in the lives of other writers 
  • And a time when I’ve been able to fellowship with other believers who are also writers. 

I come back from this even like I do every year—overwhelmed, blessed, and absolutely exhausted.

As I said above, Soul Care isn’t just for times when life is difficult. 

I’ve learned that exhaustion is exhaustion and even when it comes from a good source, it still means I have to take care of myself. 

10 Things I Do to Care for My Writing Soul

1. I spend time in prayer and fellowship with God. Only God can renew my spiritual energy and only He can give me the right perspective on where to go from here. 

2. I take some time doing other things I love to do. For me, that often involves my camera. The day after BRMCWC this year, I spent the day with my husband and best friend, DiAnn Mills and her husband Dean. We took a field trip to the Carl Sandburg home. My husband Kirk had several jokes about where writers go to rest, but we ignored him and had a marvelous time! And I took my camera and captures some fun images—inside the house of his workspace, typewriters and books—as well as pics of his garden and ground. It was a day that ministered to my creative heart.

3. I get extra rest. I’m not someone who likes to nap. I take pride in being an early-to-rise-and-early-to-bed sort of girl. But after this event, I’m tired and I need to set aside my pride and build in some extra sleep time to allow my body—and my mind—to recover.

4. I don’t give in to the guilt. Coming home from a trip means coming back to a mountain of a to-do list. But to do those things well will take some time. I didn’t get behind in a single day and I won’t get caught up in a single day. 

5. I spend time with friends, especially friends who understand my writing gift. It helps me process when I share the highs and the challenges with someone I trust. 

6. I wait to make important decisions. When I’m exhausted, I’ve found that I don’t think clearly. I need time to recuperate before I sign any contracts or make any life-altering career choices. 

7. I acknowledge that after a high comes a low. It’s a natural progression. It’s not always fun, but when I know to expect a low, it’s much easier to deal with and it doesn’t derail my writing journey. Instead I accept it’s part of the process and I know “this too shall pass.”

8. I go outside and stay active. No this isn’t a contradiction to #3. My body needs healthy activity as much as it needs rest. Plus spending time in the sunlight has physical as well as mental benefits. I’m not running a marathon (I’m actually not running at all) but short walks help me reorient myself to normal life. 

9. I watch what I eat. I’ve learned that when I’m exhausted, I tend to gravitate toward comfort foods. Too much of these foods, which for me are high in empty calories and starches, make me lethargic, depressed and fat. I indulge carefully and with an eye toward renewing my energy, not prolonging my exhaustion.

10. I read and write in my journal. One of things I urge writers to do during a conference is to write down the good stuff that happens. The reason is that when we get home and the lows come, we often don’t believe or second-guess the good things people have said and the God moments we’ve had. When the doubts creep in, I go back and read what I recorded and it gives me hope. 

NOTE: So what if you didn’t record the good stuff that happened? It’s not too late. Take it to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to bring to your mind the ways He’s worked and the things others have said about your writing. Here are FOUR verses to remind you of the truth that God will answer you:
  • Proverbs 8:17
  • Deuteronomy 4:29
  • Luke 11:9 – 10 
  • Jeremiah 29:13 

As long as we live on this earth, writers will need soul care. We must plug into the unending source of creativity if we want to continue and not burn out. 

Now it’s your turn, how do you find Soul Care after a good thing has left you exhausted? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


If you’re interested in my Soul Care for Writers, check out my book from Bold Vision Books, Inc. It’s available on 

Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through her camera lens. She’s a writer who feels lost without that device & an unexpected speaker who loves to encourage an audience. She also embraces the ultimate contradiction of being an organized creative. She knows the necessity of Soul Care and leads retreats, conferences & workshops around the world on staying connected to God. Her numerous books, including the award-winning Soul Cares eries & reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts. Her blog, The Write Conversation is recognized as one of the top 101 industry resources. 

She and husband Kirk have been married 40+ years and raised three sons. They live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and can often be found hiking—with Edie clinging to the edge of a precipice for the perfect camera angle and Kirk patiently carrying her camera bag and tripod. Connect with her on her website, and through social media.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

What to Do With All Those Business Cards After a Writing Conference

by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

A large number of us creatives just returned from the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. We brought much home with us—memories to treasure of sweet fellowship with those that truly get us, wisdom and knowledge gleaned from classes and keynotes, and dreams of published words dancing in our hearts. 

If you’re like me, you also brought home a collection of business cards from new friends and updated ones from previously-met friends. Before you absentmindedly file those away with good intentions, spend time completing these seven steps with each card to maximize the friendship and support attached to each small rectangle. Take care to follow all the steps with each individual card before moving on to another one. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

How to Develop the Characters You Write into Well-rounded People

by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

What's in Your Character's Wallet?

You’ve probably seen that credit card commercial where a celebrity looks straight into the camera and implies that, if you don’t have a certain card in your wallet, you’re somehow missing out. 

But think of it another way—what exactly does your wallet/purse have in it? Why? And what does it say about you?

Creating characters, deep, complex, well-rounded characters, can be accomplished in many ways, but one of my favorites is to show what they keep nearest to them. Even though the male persuasion-type may not carry a purse, they can stuff a lot of very personal items into a small space. So, let’s play with some options!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

How To Keep the Dialog You Write Fresh

by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

There is an art to writing dialog that takes place between multiple characters, yet the topic remains the same. Different conversations, same subject matter. How can you discuss a person, incident, or event multiple times without repeating facts?

Once your reader already knows something, resist being tedious by repeating that same information. When another character must be informed of the news already revealed, share the information in a way that 
  • does not repeat what the reader knows 
  • does give the reader new information 

Monday, June 5, 2023

Writing Strong Heroes - 7 Qualities to Include

By Kristen Hogrefe Parnell @khogrefeparnell

Gilbert Blythe. Mr. Knightly. Mr. Darcy. Doc MacNeill.

That is the short list of strong male heroes who wove themselves into my heart as a teenage reader. 

Gilbert Blythe may have called Anne “carrots,” but he did so to get her attention. He was a teasing schoolboy, but he grew to genuinely care about our favorite red-headed heroine.

Mr. Knightly. Where to begin? He was hard on Emma because he loved her, a truth she didn’t realize until much too late.

Mr. Darcy will forever be remembered for his flaw of pride but also for his loyal friendship and generosity that he would never speak of himself.

Doc MacNeill drove me crazy the first time I read Christy, but by the third or fourth reading, he had won me over. He was brave enough to move past his brokenness to love again.

These characters are all different, but they all have one thing in common: They are strong male characters. 

And the world needs more of them. We writers must write them.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

The Writer’s Critical Choice

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Ninevah, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord (Jonah 1:1-3).

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord (Jonah 3:1-2).

…And the people of Nineveh believed God (v.5).

I did not want to share my words. They were mine. My own special place, my own hiding place. Since I can remember, I wrote words out long and lean, sometimes short and fat, always with a force that broke the lead again and again in the orange number two pencils Mom bought me to use for school.