Monday, March 31, 2014

Social Media Monday—The Basics for Building a Strong Platform through Social Media

by Edie Melson

Anyone who reads this blog knows I believe it’s possible to build a strong platform through social media. I should, I did it. Beyond that, I’ve helped hundreds of other writers do the same things.

But with all the posts I’ve shared over the years, I haven’t lately laid out the basic building blocks, all in one place. Today I’m going to do just that.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Weekend Worship—What Am I Really Afraid Of?

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, 
turning people away from the snares of death. Proverbs 14:27

Image credit: stuartphoto / 123RF Stock Photo
We writers are a fearful lot.

We let so many things stand between us and the words we’re called to share.
  • The opinions of others.
  • Being ridiculed.
  • Falling short.
  • Failing.
  • Success.

And writers don’t have a monopoly on fear. We all struggle against this deadly enemy. No, I didn’t misspeak. Fear is deadly. It strangles all hope, killing our dreams with a dreaded whisper of what if.

But what if fear isn’t always a death sentence for our dreams. What if the right kind of fears could propel us into fulfilling our callings?

I’d like to propose that we’re afraid of the wrong things.
  • Instead of fearing the opinions of others, we feared the opinion of God
  • Instead of fearing ridicule, we feared NOT standing for something that matter.
  • Instead of fearing falling short, we feared not making an effort.
  • Instead of failing, we feared immobility.
  • Instead of fearing success, we feared putting the emphasis on the wrong things.

Today I’m starting new, redirecting the fear I feel in the right direction. How about you? What fear do you need to redirect to once again get back in the middle of the path God has for you?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Social Media Image—The Greatness of God

What reminds you of the greatness of God?

I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth & be an atheist,
but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens & say there is no God.
—Abraham Lincoln
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, March 28, 2014

How is Writing Like a Blind Date?

by Edie Melson

No the title isn't just a bad joke. There really are amazing similarities between these two things. Today I’m going to share the answer to the burning question, “How is writing like a blind date?”

You may think I’m nuts, but hang in here with me. There are a lot more similarities to these two circumstances than you might initially think. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the writer or the reader, unless you’ve met before neither one of you knows exactly what to expect.  So I’ve come up with some writing/dating Dos and Don’ts you might want to consider. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tips for Finding & Managing the Blogs You Read—or How NOT to Get Blogged Down

by Edie Melson

I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about how to keep up with the blogs you want to read. And some of you complain (rightly so) that you’re following so many blogs you don’t have time to write. Of course I’m also hearing from some who haven’t committed to following any blogs because of a fear that there won’t be any time to write.

Either extreme will blog…er…bog down your career. So today I’m sharing tips for finding & managing the blogs you read.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Holy Grail of Writing—Finding the Right Word

by Edie Melson

We’re writers, so it’s a given that we’re word people.

For most of us it goes way beyond just a love of words. Writing is the way we process the world around us. As a matter of fact, I was having a discussion with someone who was bemoaning the fact that I’m nearly as nice in person as I am on paper.

Unfortunately she’s right. I’m not.

It’s not that I don’t try, I really do. But I need the opportunity to filter my words through the act of putting them on paper first.

And that brings me to the point of this post. How do we find that perfect word when we’re trying to convey something on paper? Today I want to share how I go about searching for that elusive holy grail of writing.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pinterest Business or Personal Page—Which Should a Writer Have & How to Convert Your Account

by Edie Melson

Pinterest has rolled out the option of having a business page. And although there isn’t currently any difference in how a business and personal page looks, there is a difference in the user agreement and in some aspects of how you sign up for an account.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weekend Worship—The Breath of God

Your name will no longer be Abram, but your name will be Abraham, for I will make you the father of many nations . . . God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. Genesis 17:5, 15

So often we become God’s children, long before we allow Him to breathe life into our lives. Our hearts belong to him, but we often resist the changes He wants to make in us.

I think the same thing was true of Abraham and Sarah. They followed God for quite a while before they actually let Him make the changes He wanted. It this instance in the Bible is when He made those changes.

These name changes were very significant. God added an H to both their names. If you say the sound that an H makes, it’s an exhalation of breath. I think this was when they allowed God to breathe life into them.

How would your life change, if you allowed God to breath life into your current circumstances? Definitely something to ponder.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Social Media Image—Spring Really Is Coming

I'm tired of winter. But I know spring really is coming . . . eventually. 

How do you keep your spirits up when winter drags on and on and on. And no, I'm not just talking about the physical seasons. Sometimes our times of winter have nothing to do with the weather.

the earth laughs in flowers —e.e. cummings
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, March 20, 2014

Fueling the Creative Fire

by Edie Melson

Tips for Fueling the Creative Fire.

We all need to stoke creative fire from time to time. This is my short list of how I recharge and renew.
  • Schedule a movie night—I love to see the way others present stories.
  • Get away with my camera—Focusing on a new point of view through the lens of a camera gives me a new perspective.
  • Brainstorm with writing buddies—I have an amazing network of writing friends. When we get together and just let our imaginations soar the stories get more interesting.
Getting away is a good choice.
  • Take a walk—Even though I never really want to go for that walk, the exercise brings energy to whatever I’m working on.
  • Visit a museum—I’ve always loved museums, all types, from art to history. To me, they are a time machine to another time and place.
  • Try something out of the box—If my current project is long, like a book, I begin something short, like flash fiction or even a poem. I’ve even been known to make up a new persona and write something in a different voice.
  • Exercise another creative muscle—For me that’s knitting, jewelry making or even crafting.
  • Take the day off—Sometimes getting away is the best the best choice of all.

These are my best tips on how to fuel the creative fire when it begins to burn low. I’d love to know what you do.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!



Monday, March 17, 2014

Social Media Monday—7 Tips to Get More Comments on Your Blog

by Edie Melson

Even today—with as many blogs on the Internet as there are—blogging is still a valuable part of building and maintaining an online community. But it’s rare for a blog to take hold and grow, if it’s not a place where comments proliferate. Almost no one likes to be lectured, and that’s what a blog can feel with it the conversation is only one-sided.

I’ll go one step further and add this comparison. Your blog is your Internet home. And because it’s your home, you are responsible for being a good host and making people feel welcome.

Facilitating conversation is just one of the duties of a good host, but it’s the one I want to concentrate on today as I share tips to get more comments on your blog.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Weekend Worship—Don’t Get Caught in The Comparison Trap

. . . He says, “Don’t be afraid, because I have saved you. I have called you by name, and you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

Image credit: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo
I just finished a wonderful weekend at the Carolina Christian Writers Conference. But there was something I noticed while I was there. We writers are way too hard on ourselves. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to each other. No matter where we are in our career, we’re always looking at the person ahead of us.

We need to quit looking ahead and start looking up.

It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison mentality. There’s so much about our industry that depends on the opinions of others. We check to see how many views our articles get, how many followers our blogs have, and/or how many stars the reviewer gave our latest book.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Social Media Image—Criticism

We've all had our fair share of criticism. How do you handle it when it's harsh and undeserved?

Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man's growth,
without destroying his roots. - Frank A. Clark
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, March 14, 2014

You Know You’re Editor Material When . . .

by Edie Melson

I LOVE editing!
I love editing.

To me, it’s the process of bringing order to chaos. It’s not just my own words that I want to make sing, it’s the words of others. I get as much joy when an author I edited succeeds as when I do.

I’ve discovered this isn’t a universal gift. Some would even argue that it's a curse. But you know you’re editor material when . . .

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Top 10 Favorite Writing Quotes

by Edie Melson

I love quotes about writing.
I love quotes about writing. So today I thought I’d share my top 10 favorite writing quotes with you.

10. It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.

- C. J. Cherryh

9. It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.

- Ernest Hemingway

8. I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.

- Stephen King

Monday, March 10, 2014

Social Media Monday—How I Do Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day or Less

by Edie Melson

You can look at this digital age we live in as a blessing or a curse—and there are merits to each viewpoint. Since I’m a glass half-full type girl, I happen to take the positive approach. I like the connectedness of this time and place. I like connecting in person and online—especially through Facebook and Twitter.

A word of warning here, it’s possible to let these tools (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) eat into your writing time. For myself, the way I combat that temptation is to schedule my networking time. I prioritize the things I have to accomplish. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Weekend Worship—Prince of All

Spring is just around the corner, and with that comes Easter. Today I'm reposting one of my poems. I think we all need an occasional reminder that happily-ever-after ISN'T just a fairy tale.

Once Upon a Time
by Edie Melson

Dust & ashes
Filthy rags
Hateful masters
Ugly hags.

Aching heart
Wishes made
Things changed
Rules obeyed.

Pretty clothes
Delightful gathering
Striking clock
Hope unraveling.

Life abandoned
Party fled
Dream denied
Future dead.

Broken heart
Determined prince
Kingdom searched
Message sent.

Trail followed
Captive sought
Desolate found
Freedom bought.

Lifted up
Life redeemed
Carried away
Fulfilled dream.

Fairy tale
Cosmic joke
Cruel lie
No hope.

Jesus Christ

Heard my call
Paid the price
Prince of all.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Social Media Image—Patience

Patience . . .
We all need it and we all abhor it.

God has used patience to refine my character in ways I never thought possible. It's been incredibly painful and a blessing beyond belief as I've watched my hopes and dreams begin to come to fruition. 

How has God used patience to answer the cry of your heart?

Teach us. O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work. - Peter Marshall
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, March 7, 2014

Independent Publishing—Self-Publishing is all Grown Up

by Edie Melson

Self-publishing is all grown up.
There was a time, many years ago, that I would have much rather remained unpublished rather than admit to self-publishing. Back then the companies who charged you to publish your work were referred to as Vanity Publishers. Many of those companies charged thousands of dollars and left the author with boxes and boxes of questionable books.

Not any more.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thursday Review—The Art You Were Meant to Live

by Lynn H. Blackburn

I just finished re-reading A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman. I’ve dog-eared and highlighted half of the book. The last lines brought me to tears. Again.

A Million Little Ways isn’t a book on the craft. It isn’t even specifically a book for writers. It is, as the subtitle says, a book that seeks to help you “uncover the art you were made to live.” I have recommended this book to friends whose art varies from baking to decorating and from music to mothering. But if you have even the slightest inkling that your art is writing, you are going to see yourself in every chapter. Maybe on every page.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A New Chapter in My Writing Life

by Edie Melson

Over the course of my writing career, I’ve gotten to do a lot of pretty cool things. This past week I’ve been teaching at the Florida Christian Writers Conference and I got to sit and visit with the editor who purchased by very first article during my first time at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. The editor was Jesse Florea of Focus on the Family.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Social Media Monday—A List of Social Media Platforms and How They're Used

by Edie Melson

I've shared a breakdown of social media platforms, along with how they’re used, on my blog in the past. But things change frequently in the digital world so it’s time for an update. 

When we know what the focus of particular network is, it’s easier to evaluate if it’s a valuable addition to our personal plan. 

So today I’m sharing a new list of social media platforms and how they’re used.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Weekend Worship—Into the Storm

On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Mark 4:35-38

I’ve always known the storms of life would come. I also never believed that being a believer would guarantee me a life free from friction.

But I never clued into the fact that sometimes being in the middle of God’s perfect will would propel me into hurricane force winds.

Somehow I had developed the idea that God’s will was a safe haven. That when I was there, I’d be protected. Oh I knew the enemy would throw the weight of his frustration against me, but I still felt like God would direct me safely around and through his attacks.

But this passage above (and several others) show Jesus directing the disciples right into the teeth of danger. They obeyed, without the slightest hesitation, and still ended up in the midst of chaos.

As I considered all the implications of this passage it finally dawned on me that these storms have a purpose—a God-driven purpose. He sends me into these crazy difficult situations to strengthen me and to give me a foundation for my faith. Every time my own boat seems swamped and danger surrounds me, He’s there. He calms the waves of chaos when I turn to Him, each time making my faith stronger and more unshakable.