Sunday, June 30, 2013

Weekend Worship—You Gotta Go Deep to Grow Strong

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:3

I’m fortunate to have already spent a lot of time at the beach this year. Although most of the time has been spent working, I did manage to take some long, morning walks on the beach. I was fascinated by the many types of birds I saw. Each one had its own way of foraging for food, and I couldn’t help but draw parallels between my own spiritual life and their quest for a meal.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Life Lessons—Follow Your Dream

by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Don't hide your dreams.
Let me guess. You want to be an author but you’re afraid others won’t understand or approve. So you keep your dream tucked away inside your heart so no one can talk you out of it.

That works for a while but inevitably you feel like a criminal hiding the truth from those who are important to you. There comes a time when you have to walk the path you’re destined to. That’s not easy sometimes. Let me help. There are some things you need to know:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Do You Want a Drill Bit or a Hole?

guest post by Alton Gansky

Years ago Discover magazine ran an article about Amory Lovins (as told to Cal Fussman). Haven’t heard of him? Neither had I, but he’s made a name for himself by having innovative ideas about energy, oil, and the like. He’s a physicist, economist, inventor, automobile designer, and several other things to make mortals like me feel like gross underachievers.

In the article he discusses ways to deal with the world’s energy problems, but that’s not why I mention him. Although I found his thoughts interesting, I found his way of thinking even more so.

He made a point by describing a man who walks into a hardware store to buy a drill bit. Lovins asks, “What does the man really want?”

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Budgeting Your Time at a Conference

By Laurie Epps

The first big writers conference is overwhelming for most of us. It was for me too. Though I was so excited about all that I'd be learning and the contacts I'd make, I still arrived, and as you learned at my last post, I got lost right way. 

Because it can be so overwhelming, it helps to remember why you decided to come in the first place, and pace yourself. You may have a commando approach like I did, where you just want to dig in, and learn as much as possible, but allowing for mental breaks will best optimize your time.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Weekend Worship—Do I Have the Stones to Fight for God?

Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. I Samuel 17:40

I don’t know about you, but I recently discovered I had a Goliath in my life. No, it wasn’t a person—it was an obstacle—and it was standing between me and God’s victory.

My enemy was time, or more accurately, the lack of it.

As you may have guessed, time wasn’t really the enemy. I discovered time is neutral. Instead the problem came from how I was using it. I had begun to let other things crowd out God’s priorities in my life. When that happened, everything spiraled out of control.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Life Lessons—Correct Your Vision

by Reba J. Hoffman

I’ve worn glasses or contacts since third grade. Interesting thing is that I can clearly see a mile without my glasses. The doctor said I’m farsighted. And color blind. I didn’t know what that meant so I became a student of eyesight at a young age.

Turns out we suffer from the same vision problems when it comes to our writing dreams. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Business Basics for Today’s Writer—Follow Up and Follow Through

An area where a lot of writers struggle is knowing when and how to follow up on a submission.

And I know just how you feel!

I’ve sent something out through email and then I wait…and wait…and wait…without a word. My mind begins dreaming up scenarios. I think about the horror stories I’ve heard about writers who’ve bugged editors about a submission and it’s been automatically rejected. I think about the number of times I’ve sent something through email and it never arrived. And I worry that my email has been relegated to spam or just buried in a too-full inbox.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fiction Facts—Use the Narrative of Your Story to Add Depth to Your Characters

I love to read, and I spend a lot of my reading time with novels. I also spend a lot of my editing time working with fiction writers. And one thing almost all beginning (and some not so beginning) writers struggle with is characterization. 

And I’ve found one way to add depth to your characters is through the narrative.

The narrative is the part of the book that isn’t dialogue. It’s mainly classified as description, but when done right is so much more. It sets the stage for the reader, giving them a context for the story. It involves all five of the senses, and there is definitely a learning curve to getting it right.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Social Media Monday—Tips to Connect with Pinterest

Pinterest is growing by leaps and bounds as a valuable social media tool for writers. It’s a great way to connect with readers and there are numerous ways to utilize this image driven platform.

Here are just a few ways to connect with Pinterest:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Weekend Worship—Perfect Parenting

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

For anyone who has a child the thought of perfect parenting elicits a range of emotions, from hope to discouragement to outright terror.

We all hope we’ll be good parents, but most of us expect to fail in some ways. And every parent I’ve ever spoken with lives in fear of being such a bad parent they mess up their child permanently.

I’m writing this as I look back over my parenting journey. We have three grown sons, so the intense time of parenting is past. Sure we still give advice—when asked—but for the most part we’re finished.

Looking back was scary at first. I was afraid of the regrets and remorse I’d feel, from all the shoulda, woulda, coulda scenarios. But the process of evaluation wasn’t nearly as terror-inducing as I expected and I’d like to share some of the insights I gained.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Destination

I had run across this quote a while back and was on the lookout for a picture to illustrate it. Then, this past week while I was on a cruise to the Bahamas, I took this photo. I couldn't wait to share it with you, and be inspired by the things you're doing to make your dreams come true. So.... 

What are you doing to reach your destination?

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!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Life Lessons—Facing Fear and Finding Freedom

by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Your book is your baby - learn to get past the fear!

You’ve written a story. Maybe it’s great. Perhaps not, but it’s your baby. You know you should go to a writer’s conference to meet editors and agents. There’s just one thing that stands in your way: A HUGE wall of fear.

I’ve heard it over and over. It’s a frightening experience to display your manuscript in front of literary professionals. What’s worse, you’ve been conditioned to avoid things you fear. After all, they’re dangerous, right?

In my new book, FacingFear and Finding Freedom, I point out that an overwhelming percentage of all the things we fret about never come to pass. We worry needlessly. Most writers run the other way when they feel the fear. Bad move.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Business Basics for Today’s Writer—How to Set Format Settings for Microsoft Word

It’s been a couple of weeks since I had the opportunity to teach at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. I also had the opportunities to meet with numerous attendees and discovered that many were unaware of how to set formatting in Microsoft Word.

If you aren’t aware, Microsoft Word is the gold standard when it comes to submitting things for publication. BUT, there are some basics you need to know.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Reflections from My First Writers Conference

By Laurie Epps
Pictured with Edie Melson

Most of you will recognize the wonderful lady to my right (your left). After attending my first writers conference, I can tell you that there were some things I was, and wasn't prepared for. I knew I'd be meeting industry professionals, but somehow it didn't register that I would also be forging friendships.

Today, I'd like to talk to you about what to expect at a writers conference.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Social Media Monday—Take Your Blog from Good to GREAT!

Competition in the blogosphere is fierce. To stand out above the rest, we must raise our blogging to a new level of excellence.

There are approximately 181 million blogs in existence today. Add to that the additional competition from other social media outlets and you have to be on your game to make it out of the slush pile.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Weekend Worship—Declare Yourself!

No one can serve two masters. The person will hate one master and love the other, or will follow one master and refuse to follow the other. You cannot serve both God and worldly riches. Matthew 6:24

In today’s busy world, trying to stay on track seems to be an unattainable fantasy. We’re pulled from thing to thing—urgency and immediate need pushing away thoughts of priority.

The Bible warns us of trying to do too much at once—in a lot of ways it’s like trying to serve two masters.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Life Lessons—Taking Advantage of the Storm

by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I’m a sunny day gal. Perhaps you are, too. I don’t like to see dark clouds in the sky and I get rainy day blues. That can be challenging in the summer in Florida since it rains every single day.

As I write this, it’s rainy in Appalacia where I am. *sigh* I’d much rather be out riding my bike or hiking through the woods in the bright sunshine. Instead, I’m holed up in the Barnes and Noble café getting work done.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursday Review—How to Find out Anything

by Lynn H Blackburn

One of these days, there’s going to be a knock on my door.

I’ll see a couple of people in dark suits and sunglasses.

They won’t be smiling.

When I open the door, one of them will flip open a badge.

I’m not sure which agency it will be. My guess is Homeland Security (do they have badges?) or the FBI.

They’ll ask to come in. Tell me they have “some questions.”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Get Ready to Submit, Part 1—Every Writer Needs a Bio

Today I'm starting a new series, Get Ready to Submit. Conference season is upon us and whether you've already attending one and are getting ready to submit requested material or are getting ready to attend and need to get everything in order—this series should help. 

This first post deals with a basic component you'll need, because Every Writer Needs a Bio

Monday, June 3, 2013

Social Media Monday—Use the Permalink to Save Time

Most of you know how much I rely on scheduling to help give me a consistent presence on social media. It's one of the ways I keep my time on social media down to only 30 minutes a day. But there are some tricks I’ve developed that you may not have thought of. Today I’m going to share one of the time-saving tips that help me be successful. How to use the permalink to save time.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Weekend Worship—Keep Him Safe

And my God will supply all your needs, according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

When our son joined the Marine Corps, I had to face every parent’s biggest fear, that one of my children might die. I knew he’d face deployment in the Middle East—that was why he’d joined—and that I couldn’t keep him safe. This was tough, because keeping him (along with my other two sons) safe had been my goal for a long time. And all things counted, I hadn’t done too bad a job of it.

But facing his deployment made me examine my belief that I’d spent the last 18 years keeping him safe. Could I really claim that? I’d given him the tools to make wise decisions, and I’d been around to prevent some mishaps, but not many. Had I truly equipped him to face what was ahead?