Friday, February 28, 2014

One Writer’s Bucket List

by Edie Melson

Isn’t it funny how certain phrases become part of the vernacular? One phrase I find myself using fairly often is Bucket List. For me, it denotes more than just a wish, these are goals and dreams that I’d like to accomplish before I kick the bucket.

I had the opportunity to hear Debbie Macomber  speak at ACFW in 2008. One of the things she said that stuck with me was to make a list—a crazy, I’ll-never-in-a-million-years-accomplish-this list—and write it down. She shared how she had done that, and been able to cross off almost everything on that list.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

How to be a Top Blogger

A Guest Post by Joel Key

You might be wondering what I mean by being a top blogger.

Well, I don’t mean that that you have to have 100,000 subscribers to be considered a top blogger, or that you have to be making huge sums of money through courses and affiliate sales to be doing a good job. Although these things would be nice.

The question is, how do the top bloggers become the personalities that we all and love, and how can you become one too?

How can you create a legion of adoring fans that hang off your every word?

Well the answer isn’t cut and dry, although I’ll help to fill in one piece of the puzzle.

What top bloggers know
It’s tempting to think that the best bloggers are omnipotent entities who’ve grown their blogs organically from day one through sizzling content and wild-fire, word-of-mouth marketing.

They’re not.

They started small, worked extremely hard, and made lots of mistakes. They suffered from growing pains like the rest.

For even the very best bloggers, it wasn’t plain sailing. 

But even during their early days, these bloggers attracted dedicated readers, and supportive communities.

So how did they do it?

Sure, part of the reason is that they write great content, promote the hell out of it, and make excellent connections in their niche.
But, there’s more.

Top bloggers are honest, and they write with integrity.

They’re real.

They don’t sugarcoat their troubles, telling their readers they’re doing brilliantly.

Instead they publish their woes for the world to see, hopeful they can use their difficulties to teach and inspire their readers.

They know that being human, and being flawed, is their best asset. Readers can relate to that.

They aren’t some faceless, corporate entity with a business strategy, but just normal people, trying to write helpful content for their followers.

They’re self effacing, and happy to acknowledge they don’t have all the answers.

We can all empathise with that.

Some of the best posts ever written are about bloggers overcoming adversity, or learning from their mistakes.

It shows character, and reflects the kind of positive change we’re all looking to make in our lives.

Keep it real
The modern Internet contains too many self confessed experts, who pretend to have all the answers.

Real bloggers don’t have to pretend.

They’re honest about their limitations, and are happy to publish their aborted endeavours and most embarrassing failures. They provide an accurate reflection of life in all its glorious colors.

They create audiences that rejoice in their success and commiserate them in failure.

Symbiotic communities.

Learn from your failures by writing about them. Inspire your followers, and take solace from their unwavering support.

Be a top blogger.

Author bio
Joel Key is a writer, journalist and blogger. When he’s not indulging his passion for motorcycle adventure, he’s finding inspiration through writing over at Pick up a free copy of his ‘Change Manifesto’ today.

Joel has just created a new campaign on his site called WRITE FOR LIFE, the purpose of which is to raise awareness of worldwide illiteracy.

He will donate one cent to a literacy charity for every word I write on my blog, or as a guest post. And guess what? This guest post is his first contribution!

Be sure to check out what Joel is doing here, at WRITE FOR LIFE.

Follow Joel on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What to do if You do NOT want more Twitter Followers

by Edie Melson

Today I want to give you a short list for Twitter—specifically things to do if you do NOT want more Twitter followers.

Number 1—always talk about yourself. With the 140 character limit, Tweets that are always, Me, Me, Me, are guaranteed to not only keep you from new Twitter followers, it will help you lose the ones you have.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

At a Loss for Words? 7 Tips to Help You Find Blog Post Ideas

by Edie Melson

It happens to us all. It’s the night before a blog post is due and we have no idea what to write about. It seems like all our creative juices have run dry. 

Do we just bail and skip that post, or is there something constructive that can bail us out? 

Don’t panic. There are some specific things you can do and places you can look to find, not just something to fill in with, but something truly creative to blog about.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Social Media Monday—The Basics of Composing a Successful Social Media Update

by Edie Melson

Conference season is gearing up and I just finished a great weekend teaching at Writer’s AdvanceBoot Camp. One of the things I get asked over and over is how to compose a successful social media update.

Although there are some major differences between Facebook and Twitter, composing an update has some similarities.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weekend Worship—Labels, Where are you Getting Yours From?

You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. I Corinthians 7:23

We’ve all got them in our lives—people who label us. 

Sometimes the labels are good.

“You’re so smart.”

“You’re so beautiful.”

“You’re so organized…




These are the labels we like to hear—whether they’re true or not. They have a seductive quality, inviting us to congratulate ourselves on what we’ve accomplished.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Social Media Image—Contradictions

We are a people defined by contrast. We judge good by bad, abundance by lack, happy by sad. We can't even imagine one without the other—think I'm wrong? Try to picture a coin with only one side. Not possible, is it?

Often my most treasured times follow my most trying times. What about you?

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. - John Steinbeck
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!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Business Basics for Today’s Writer—An Unwritten Contract with the Reader

By Edie Melson

Did you know that you have a contract with your reader? You do. And it doesn’t matter if you write fiction, non-fiction, short or long. If what you write is being read, you have entered into a contractual agreement.

Today I want to explain what those expectations are and how you, as the writer, can fulfill those.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Writers Helping Writers—Book Reviews that Help

by Edie Melson

As many of you know, I’ve frequently cautioned you that your first loyalty needs to be to your audience. Beyond that, I’ve taught that for most writers, that audience is composed of readers, not writers. That focus is tough because most of our friends are writers, and it’s only natural to want to help by promoting their books. So is there anything we can do to help our writer friends?

You better believe it!

So I’m sharing how writers can help other writers. There is one thing that gives an author the biggest bang for the buck—a book review. Today I want to teach you how to write book reviews that help.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

One Successful Author Shares Why She Decided to Try Self-Publishing

Today I'm excited to introduce you to one of my critique partners, Jessica Keller Koschnitzky. Beyond being an incredible writer, she's also willing to step out of her comfort zone to follow the stories God has laid on her heart. I think we'll be seeing more and more writers taking the path she and others like her are blazing. 

Her first self-published book, Saving Yesterday, debuted yesterday. I've already had the opportunity to read it and I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. 

Why I Went Indie as an Author
by Jess Keller

"I love every aspect of this industry."
After writing more than one hundred magazine and newspaper articles, having short stories published in multiple anthologies, celebrating a debut novel release, and signing another three book contract with my publisher—I can honestly say I love every aspect of this industry. I love writing proposals. I love getting feedback as ideas go to pub board. And I love the process of polishing a book with an editor.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Social Media Monday—The ABCs of Blogging

by Edie Melson

The ABCs of Blogging
Today I’d like to give you 26 tips for success with your blog. I’m calling this my ABCs of Blogging.

A is for Accessibility—Make sure your blog is easy to find, easy to navigate, and easy to read. And don’t forget to make it accessible to those who are visually impaired

B is for BasicsWhatever you’re doing, make it excellent. That means take time to check for typos and readability, in your posts. Also be sure you’re using giving accurate links. There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking on a link that takes you nowhere.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weekend Worship—Whatever You Do in Word

by Allison Gentry

Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness...’ Genesis 1:26a (NASB)

As a writer, I love the fact God chose to write a Book to communicate all truth to us. Better yet, He chose to write a series of sixty-six books that together constitute the Bible. He is literally the bestselling author of all time!

When you and I write, we’re doing more than dabbling in a hobby or paying the bills—we’re imitating God’s likeness. Nothing else in all creation can communicate through the written word. Only mankind was fashioned after God’s image and given such distinctive, exceptional qualities. Painting, music and even a good work of fiction can only be accomplished and appreciated by mankind.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Social Media Image—Light

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this quote.

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy
of life is when men are afraid of the light." —Plator

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!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Fall Back in Love With Writing

by Edie Melson

Between deadlines, edits and rejections it’s easy to fall out of love with our writing. It can get so bad that we begin to dread sitting down at the keyboard.

When that happens to me my mind begins to reprioritize my life. I can suddenly find a million things more important than putting my rear end in the chair and pounding out words. When I begin arguing with myself, stating that clean baseboards are more important than word count goals, I know I’m in trouble.

Today, in honor of Valentine's Day, I want to share some tips that help me fall back in love with writing.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Business Basics for Today’s Writer—Tips to Help You Stay on Track with an Article

by Edie Melson

I have the opportunity to meet with lots of new writers. I spend a lot of time teaching writers how to earn an income, especially with article writing. I enjoy critiquing their work and helping them get better. I especially love talking to those just starting out—they are so enthusiastic—so ready to change the world. Listening to them helps me stay fresh and motivated.

But with that enthusiasm often comes a lack of focus. This lack of focus is something I see over and over again. For some reason, newer writers tend to want to cover everything, in every piece they write. So today I’m going to give you some hints to help you stay on track with an article.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Use What You’ve Got—Learning to Write in Bits & Pieces of Time

by Edie Melson

I had always believed that I needed at least an hour, and preferably three, to make any progress at all with my writing.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

In the past year, I’ve learned how to use the time I have, even if it’s just fifteen minutes. Today I want to share with you the things I do to help me increase my productivity when life intrudes.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Social Media Monday—Instagram—The Social Media Network that Encourages Writers to Show Don’t Tell!

by Edie Melson

As writers, one of the things we hear over and over again is Show Don’t Tell. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a social media platform that helped us practice that concept? Well there is—it's Instagram. And Show Don't Tell is  the best way to describe Instagram.

Today I’m going to share some of the best ways for writers to utilize this image driven network.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weekend Worship—Heaven or Hell

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Today I’d like to pose a question. Where do you live? No, I’m not talking about your address, town, state or even country. The question I’m asking has to do with your spiritual address. Let me be a little more specific.

Are you living in Hell or in Heaven?

Bear with me while I give you some background on why I’m asking such an unusual question. I recently heard a statement that I can’t get out of mind. It’s stayed with me, influencing the way I view things. Tighten your seatbelt, I predict it may shake your world a bit, too.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Social Media Image—Solitude

Yesterday I shared tips to help focus the writer's eye. I think one of the keys to that is building in time for solitude. Solitude renews and restores our creativity.

So my question to you is this. How do you build in the time you need to be alone?

"Then stirs the feeling infinite, so felt in solitude, where we are least alone."
-Lord Byron

NOTE: I actually took this pic while I was on a retreat with my dear friend and writing partner, Vonda Skelton (

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!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thursday Review—Comprehensive List of Resources for Writers

by Lynn H. Blackburn

I’ve had the privilege of guest posting here for 3 ½ years. I’ve written about everything from NaNoWriMo to how to keep your word count up during the holidays. But most of the time, I review books about writing. Short books and long books. Easy reads and deep dives into craft. Books that cover specific topics in depth and books that touch on almost everything a writer might encounter in their career.

Sometimes we need something to remind of us why we write. Sometimes we need something to help us through a sagging middle or a pesky re-write. Sometimes we just need something that makes us laugh. And sometimes, we know we’ve read a review, but we can’t remember where or when. So to make things a touch easier, I’ve compiled a handy reference. This is by no means a comprehensive list of books on writing, but it is a list of my reviews here at The Write Conversation.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Need Freelance Writing Ideas? Think Local—It’s NOT just for Food!

by Edie Melson

So often writers look for opportunities far from home. But truthfully some of the best paying gigs and clients may be just around the block from where you live. Today I want to challenge you to think local—it's not just for food!

Where to Start
Copywriting is the easiest thing to do locally, and it’s a great way to earn money as a freelance writer. It may sound a little intimidating, but it’s great fun.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Social Media Monday (Tuesday)—Tips to Create and Maintain a Successful Group Blog

by Edie Melson

Many authors I talk to are frustrated by trying to grow and maintain a solo blog. My suggestion for a lot of them is to either find an established group blog to join or to start a group blog. Today I’m going to share my tips to create and maintain a successful group blog.

There are several advantages to a group situation

Monday, February 3, 2014

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

I know, this is supposed to be Social Media Monday. But I'm out of town on short writing retreat and I can't answer questions because I won't have Internet access until Tuesday. So I'm postponing Social Media Monday until Tuesday. Hope you'll forgive me!

Now onto some really fun holidays in February!

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.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Weekend Worship—Window or Mirror

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:5

As our society drifts farther and farther from God, it gets easier and easier to point fingers and assign blame. So much of what’s wrong with the world today has to do with not following what’s been clearly spelled out in the Bible. It seems that even the ten commandments, the foundation of God’s word, are now open to interpretation.

But along with those harsher-sounding commands is also the command that we love one another. And that love isn’t dependent on the recipient being loveable.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Social Media Image—Snow at Night

by Edie Melson

This past week Greenville SC got it's first snowfall. I took a short walk one night, enjoying the silence. There really isn't anything as quiet as the whisper of snow at night. I took this photo with my digital camera just using the flash.

What's your favorite part of a snowstorm?

Nature is full of genius, full of divinity, so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.
Henry David Thoreau

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!