Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Emergence of Thought

By Laurie Epps
No matter how many books I read on writing, I keep seeing the same hint. Journal, or free-writing is the pathway to greatness. But due to my own artistic expectations, sometimes I don't feel the greatness. That is when things like doubt, boredom, the fly on the wall, or your kid in the next room seem to be louder than ever before, demanding my attention and calling me. There are days that I would swear that those feelings of doubt and insecurity are sticky out their tongue at me.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Social Media Monday—Google Rumors, What True, What’s Not, and Why it Matters

Lately there have been a TON of rumors about what’s going on with Google. First came the rumor that Google was going to do away with Feedburner. That threw everyone into panic mode, and caused many to jump the Feedburner ship and join FeedBitz. Some social media sites were even posting supposed dates for when Feedburner would disappear. The last concrete date I saw posted was October 18, 2012. Thankfully, that rumor is beginning to fizzle.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekend Worship—The Breastplate of Righteousness

Stand firm…having put on the breastplate of righteousness. Ephesians 6:13

Many years ago I majored in costume design and, for a short time, worked as a costume designer. I love the theater, and I love being involved with productions—as long as I don’t have to be on stage. In college, one of the first productions I designed for was the musical, Camelot. I’d been a fan of King Arthur in literature since I was a child, and working to make this production come alive for the audience was a dream come true.

I worked on several of King Arthur’s elaborate fabric costumes, but the armor came from someone else, someone specialized in that ancient craft. I found myself fascinated with the process of building and designing the armor, especially the chain mail. It involved a lot more than I had first expected. The armor had to protect the wearer and provide a full range of mobility. After all, a warrior who can’t fight is pretty much useless.

The righteousness of God is like that as well. His righteousness gives us strength beyond measure, but doesn’t hamper us or weigh us down. So many of the world’s religions are burdened with cumbersome rules and regulations, but our God has stood in our place and cuts directly to our need. And it’s that provision that gives us the strength and stamina to stand firm when the enemy attacks.

So I ask you, have you put on your armor? Or are you relying on some set of rules and regulations that do nothing more than hamper your efforts?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Following Your Dreams

What are you doing to make your dream come true? 

Copying someone else's dream won't make yours come true.
~ Reba J. Hoffman

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.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Life Lessons—Don’t Talk to Strangers

by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D

Reading that title, you may have just taken a stroll down memory lane. You gathered your books and Barbie lunchbox and headed out the door. Mom called out the door to make sure you knew the rule was, “don’t talk to strangers!”

I understand mom was trying to protect us, but there’s just one problem. When we got to school on the first day, we didn’t know anyone. So, if we didn’t talk to those strangers, how would we meet them?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Business Basics for Today’s Writer—Part Two—Submission Standards

Last week I began a new series on the Business Basics for Today’s Writer. This morning I preempted that post with my Calendar Days post. But I know you all are looking forward to this series, so I didn’t want to disappoint you.

Today I’m continuing with a link on submission standards. I’m going to go over the standards today. If you’re unfamiliar how to make these changes in Microsoft Word, leave your question in the comments section and I’ll walk you through it.

Every industry has standards and the writing community is no different. However, since the advent of email submissions, the rules have gotten muddy. Today I’ll share some rules to follow that will help you present yourself professionally.

May Holidays, Special Days, & Downright Crazy Days

Last week I also began a series on the Business Side of Writing, Part One. Today I’m going to continue that series and put up two posts. The Business Side of Writing, Part 2 will show up later this afternoon, and you’ll get notice in your inbox if you’ve signed up for email updates.

Last month I continued my end of the month post listing all the crazy special days in the coming month.  Today I’m going to continue with the upcoming crazy and normal holidays in the month of May.

If you missed my last post, here's a link to the April Holidays, Special Days & DownrightCrazy Days.  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. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How Writing Ruined My Wife—Don’t You Recognize Me? I’m a Model

by Kirk Melson

I know, in real life I’m an engineer. At least that's what I always thought.

But I’ve discovered something truly scary about living with a writer. Most of what they draw on to write about is from personal experience.  I don’t want to frighten anyone, but in case you haven’t figured it out, that means you and me.

This goes beyond what I shared when I talked about my lifein print. I’m talking about characters—in books and short stories—that strangely resemble people I know…like me.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Good or Maybe Not So Good Writing Ideas

By Laurie Epps
The Grand Canyon—there's just something about the vastness and the magnificent majesty of it that keeps drawing me back. So when I was asked to write a non-fiction essay about nature for class, it seemed an obvious choice for me.

Today, I want to share my story, about how good story ideas go bad, and about my hardest lesson as a writer.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Social Media Monday—Blogging, Do I REALLY Have To?

The answer to your question depends on your goals. Although blogging is a proven way of connecting to readers and clients, there are some options you may not have considered.

And beyond that, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all sort of world.

Here are some instances where you might want to ignore all the advice you’re getting. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekend Worship—The Word of My Testimony

They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not love their lives in the face of death. 
Revelation 12:11

“What do you find hardest about being a writer?”

Situations like this, was the answer on the tip of my tongue. 

Fortunately I had prayed for God to put a guard over my tongue and I managed to stammer out a less revealing answer.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Hitting a Wall

What do you do when you hit a wall?
Don't accept the limitations of other people, who claim things are unchangeable.
If it's written in stone, bring your hammer and chisel. ~Peter Williams

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.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Life Lessons—Facing Fear and Finding Freedom

by Reba J. Hoffman Ph.D.

You’d think writer wannabes call it quits because they realize they can’t write their way out of a wet paper bag. Not so. Bar none, the most common report I get for why writers aren’t successful is because they become paralyzed by fear.

Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of pitching. Fear of conferences. Fear of success. Fear of weirdoes who will take their prose and go viral in a non-flattering way. The list goes on but I’ll stop. After all, this is just a blog post.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Business Basics for Today’s Writer—Part One

For beginning writers, jumping into the publishing industry can be a daunting endeavor. It’s an ocean full of the unknown, from standard submission settings for your computer, to the protocol on the file type needed. Over the next few weeks I’m going to give you a primer on how to navigate these rough seas. One thing to remember is that NONE of us was born knowing how to do this stuff. We all had to learn, and a lot of us learned the hard way. So if you have a question, be sure you ask it so we can save you some of the heartache we experienced.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Freelance without Relying on Content Mills

by Guest Blogger, Chloe Trogden from http://www.collegegrant.net

A lot of freelance writers turn to content mills when they first get their start or when they are facing a dry time and aren't able to get the work they need. While it may be easy to crank out these articles, they don't pay what you need to make a good living as a freelance writer.

If you want to have long-term success as a freelancer without spending hours and hours working for peanuts, you have to find work outside the content mills.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Social Media Monday—The ABCs of Social Networking

Social Media doesn’t have to be difficult. These tips can take you farther, faster if you implement them into your social networking strategy.

A is for Answer. Think about the questions your target audience has and use social media to give them the answers. For instance, my followers want to learn how to use social networking efficiently, so I Tweet short-cuts, tips and easy solutions that take up very little time.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Words and Feathers

I'm a speak-your-mind sort of gal, but sometimes what I say comes out harsh and hurtful. How do you keep your words from hurting others?

Words and feathers are easily scattered, but not easily gathered up

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.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Life Lessons—It's About the Journey, Not the Destination

by Reba J Hoffman, Ph.D

I once rode my bicycle in an event that went right past the space shuttle on launch pad 39B at Cape Canaveral. It also passed one of the largest known eagle’s nests, weighing in at more than a thousand pounds. I won’t even mention the alligators that sunned in the ditches at the sides of the roads. Or the ospreys, blue herons or egrets.

When the ride ended, I asked a friend how he liked seeing the space shuttle. His response knocked me off kilter. He said, “what space shuttle?” Turns out, he’d been so focused on his destination, he hadn’t noticed a single thing except the spandex shorts of the rider in front of him… for a hundred miles!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What Works in Real Life Works Just as Well in Writing

I’m going to begin varying the Thursday posts adding more general writing instruction pieces. But don’t worry, Lynn Blackburn will continue to educate, entertain, and encourage us with her first Thursday of the month review.

I’ve done a good bit of editing and critiquing for fiction and one thing I see frequently is writers avoiding real life skills. I’m not talking about unreasonable story lines or science fiction. I’m talking about relating to your reader like you’d relate to another person in real life.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How Writing Ruined My Wife—Curious and Research are Synonyms for Nosy

by Kirk Melson

I grew up with certain expectations of behavior. They were the normal sorts of things we all learned as children. Near the top of the list was a warning not to be nosy. I took this aversion to those who exhibited this trait with me into adulthood.

That is, until I discovered this tendency in my darling wife.

I came upon the surprising compunction to overhear every conversation nearby, ask prying questions of total strangers, and worst of all, take photographs of everything and every one she wanted—without asking permission.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Birth of a Writer

A.K.A. The Moment I Finally Admitted, "I Am a Writer" 
by Laurie Epps

Writing isn't a glamorous profession, but it is fulfilling.
Life often isn't fair. Those who dream of being writers aren't, and those of us who really are writers have to fight to prove it—often to ourselves. Sometimes it's external, due to lack of support from friends and family. Or it's due to the input from those in the industry who sneer at you until your first full-length novel is published. But by and large we are a sensitive, unique, and observant lot. Let me share with you the moments that made me believe I am a writer.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Social Media Monday—The Secret to Creating Great Blog Posts

A lot of folks I know struggle to increase the reach of their blogs. And growing a blog can be tough. But discovering the secret to creating great blog posts will put you head and shoulders above the crowd. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is unrealistic expectations for the growthof a blog. I’ve already discussed that in a previous post.

Another biggie is finding the focus for your blog. An unfocused blog is an unread blog. I’ve also covered this topic in previous posts.

But I haven’t covered one that is an occurring problem for writers, not matter if they’re bloggers, freelancers, or novelists. It’s the tendency we have to fall so in love with our words and ideas that we forget about our audience.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Weekend Worship—The Armor of God

Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. Ephesians 6:11

At first glance, this passage in Ephesians seems far removed from our modern day experience. I don't know about you, but not a one of my neighbors regularly dresses for his job with sword and shield. But my husband and I had the rare experience of watching our oldest son, a Marine, get ready for war when he was deployed to Iraq. God spoke to me through those somber minutes and I’d like to share the images He brought to my mind.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Sorrow

How do you endure when faced with sorrow? 
Sorrow comes in great waves...but rolls over, and though it may almost smother us, it leaves us.
And we know that if it is strong, we are stronger, inasmuch as it passes and we remain. ~ Henry James

Share your answers in the comment section below. The way I cope is by diving headfirst into the Bible. The book of Psalms kept me sane while our son was deployed to Iraq.

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.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Life Lessons—I Quit! And Other Daily Utterances

by Reba J. Hoffman

Hollywood paints a beautiful—if not glamorous—picture of the life of a writer… Well, at least until the James Caan Movie, Misery. Think about it. Castle shadows a beautiful police detective who plays poker with New York Times Best Sellers.

What it doesn’t show is Blank Screen Syndrome, voices in our heads that do NOT behave themselves, or the boxes of rejection letters we don’t know why we’re keeping.

Never do we see the thousands of times writers say, “I Quit!” or the awful things we say about the editor who just insists that we rewrite the same scene we rewrote seventeen times already. And, just to pour salt in your wound, the editor wants you to return it to its original version!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday Review—It’s National Poetry Month, so Let’s Talk Poetry!

by Lynn H. Blackburn

Hey—I saw you reach for the mouse. Don’t you dare skip this post because you don’t like poetry. Stay with me.

I’m not a poet. I don’t play one on TV. I haven’t studied poetry since I aced my British Lit class in 1993. (I’ll do the math for you. It’s been 20 years. 20 years? Please excuse me while I hyperventilate . . . )

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How Writing Ruined My Wife—I had to Learn a New Language

by Kirk Melson

I try to be a supportive husband when it comes to my wife’s publishing career, but I made a mistake early on in the process that has come back to haunt me…often

She’d been meeting with her critique group and was going on and on about how someone didn’t get what she’d written. Understand me, it wasn’t because she thought she was right and they were wrong. It was because they didn’t understand the GENRE she wrote in.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

SOS: Writing in Peril

by Laurie Epps

S.O.S. My writing needs help! 
We've all been there, when we have too many deadlines, and too little time. Although in some ways this is a good problem to have. It also gives us an opportunity to see the stuff we're made of as writers. This malady also comes with its own share of pitfalls. Last week this happened to me, in a big way. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Social Media Monday—The New Facebook Timeline is Here

I warned you several weeks ago that on March 7, Facebook would be rolling out a new look for the personal profile timeline. And right on schedule, they began the change. Of course they can’t make the change to everyone at the same time, but many of us are seeing the new timeline. I got mine this past week, and I have to say I’m pleased with the changes.