Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tips for Finding the Right Writers Group for You

by Beth Ann Farley

Tips for finding the right writers group
Writers need writers! We need to share our ideas over our hot cup of coffee or tea. What do we do when we do not have the help and support of other writers? Where can we find a good writers group?

When I moved, I had to leave my old writers group. It was difficult for me because I trusted them with my poorly written articles. I could trust them to be gentle with me as I was with them.

We not only drooled over each others’ words, but we shared personal journeys as well. We became a writing family.

A writers group is so much more than sharing ideas and critiquing each other’s work. A close writers group is where a writer and author can engage in honest critical feedback. A writers group is a source of support and encouragement. Every writer knows that in the beginning of his or her writing journey, there are more rejections than acceptances. We need like-minded people to hold us up when we have been rejected over and over, as well as, rejoice with us when we’ve sold an article or even signed a book contract.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Where to Find Free Images Online to Use in Blogging & Social Media

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson
(updated 10/10/19)

As bloggers, we all need images to illustrate our posts. There are many ways to get these images. There are also a lot of pitfalls if you accidentally download an image that has copyright constraints. Doing a search for free images won’t necessarily net you the results you need.

It’s our responsibility to know the Creative Commons License of any image we use. Today, I’m going to break it down for you.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How Does Writing Make You Feel?

Last weekend I had the opportunity to be part of the faculty at Weekend with the Writers. There I got to meet Kristen Heitzmann, an amazing award-winning writer. I sat in on her class and found my passion for writing reignited. Here's one of the quotes that reminded me of exactly why I write.

Writing Draws from our Imaginations the filaments to spin a web that
Snares & Captivates - Kristen Heitzmann
I'd love to know how you feel when you write.

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 27, 2015

Even More Tips for a Successful Book Launch Party

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2 

How to Have a Successful Book Launch Party – Part Three. 

For the last two months in From the Editor’s Desk – A No nonsense Approach to Non-Fiction, I’ve been sharing tips to prepare for a successful book launch party. 

If you missed the posts, you can read Tips for a Successful Book Launch Party Part 1 and More Tips for a Successful Book Launch Party. 
This month I’d like to share three more tips for planning and executing a successful event.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Keeping It All in Perspective in Publishing

Edie here. Today's guest, Dianna T. Benson, is the award-winning and international bestselling author of The Hidden Son and Final Trimester. Persephone’s Fugitive is her third release. An EMT and a HazMat and FEMA Operative since 2005, Dianna authentically implements her medical and rescue experience and knowledge into all her suspense novels. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and their three children. www.diannatbenson.com. I hope you enjoy her insight as much as me!

Keeping it All in Perspective in Publishing
by Dianna T Benson @DiannaTBenson

Since writing is my full-time career, EMS only part-time (too intense for me for full time), I’m reminded that as an author of fictional suspense I’m just an entertainer. Unlike EMS crews and firefighters, I’m not saving lives as a writer. That truth dissipates the pressure of being an award-winning author and the expectation to produce as good (if not better) book with each new book. Sure, the pressure is there but I don’t allow it to be anything more than motivation to write my best. With my experience and time in EMS over the years, I’m able to keep my publishing career in perspective and remain grounded.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ten Questions to Ask Before You Decide to Become a Writer

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

I love to say I’m a writer.

I love to say I’ve written.

I love to see my name on a book cover.

But I really wish someone had asked me ten questions before I delved into the wild, zany world of a writer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Finding Time to Write is a Myth

Edie here. I know you've already seen several posts by this talented writer. But I finally persuaded Henry McLaughlin to become a full-time member of The Write Conversation blogging team. I'm certain you'll be as encouraged and inspired by him as me!

A Time for Every Purpose
by Henry McLaughlin @Riverbendsagas

Many times, people come up to me and say they want to write a book but can’t find the time. Aspiring writers, people who are making an effort to write, often say the same thing.

Both groups cite full time jobs, church obligations, family responsibilities and activities that prevent or hinder them from pursuing their desire to write. These are all legitimate undertakings that must be accomplished if we’re to support ourselves, raise God-centered children and contribute to our faith communities and neighborhoods.

I want to share one insight I’ve gained over the years of pursuing this writing dream: You’ll never find the time to write. You make the time to write.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Work of Spring

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Since Friday was the first day of spring, I thought I'd share a recent experience in the form of a photo.

Last weekend my husband and I had the opportunity to witness the shy blooming of an endangered wildflower, Oconee Bellsshortia galacifolia. These shy flowers only bloom for about two weeks in the early spring.
"Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm." -John Muir

What evidence of spring have spied recently?

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 20, 2015

Writers Beware: Butt in Chair can Kill You!

by Bruce Brady @BDBrady007

As writers, we sit a lot!
As writers, we sit. A lot. When we’re on a roll, or fighting a deadline, we can sit for several hours without taking a break.

So what’s the big deal?

While scientists don’t understand why, they say that sitting all day combined with the hours we spend in bed increases our likelihood of heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. 

In other words, our sedentary lifestyles are killing us.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

4 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Editor

by Harrison Demchick @HDemchick

We all need editing.
So after many months, and maybe even years, you’ve finally completed your very first manuscript. You’re proud of what you’ve accomplished, but at the same time, when you read through your work, you know you’re not quite where you want to be. Something isn’t clicking, and you don’t know what or why, so you’ve made the decision to bring on an editor.

Great idea! We all need an editor. (Even those of us who are, in fact, editors.) But if you’re new to the publishing industry, odds are you don’t really have a clear idea of what you should be looking for. The internet is filled with eager and enthusiastic people claiming that they, and only they, can enable you to complete the very best version of your story. Who do you pick? How do you know?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why Using Networked Blogs isn't Helpful for Building an Online Platform

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Lately I've seen a resurgence of an old Facebook app, Networked blogs. Truthfully, I didn't think anyone still used this. But it's come up, so I thought it would be a good idea to share what is involved with this app.

This is an app you sign up for on Facebook. Over time a new post is published, Networked Blogs picks it up, publishes it to Facebook and also to Twitter. 

On the surface it looks like a great idea.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

So What does Writing Lead to?

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

Just having a bit of fun here today. I read this quote and thought: Where else does writing lead to?

Writing leads to … late nights and little sleep.

Writing leads to … the red pen. (I’m an editor. What did you expect?)

Writing leads to … a serious break with reality sometimes. (The voices in my head are talking louder than the real-live voices.)

In Your Words: Your turn. How would you fill in the blank? Writing leads to _______________________. Writers, tell us where you’ve ended up. And everyone else, tell us what you imagine — or what you’ve discovered by watching your writer-friends.

Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

So what does #writing lead to - thoughts from author @BethVogt on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A nonfiction writer and editor who said she’d never write fiction, Beth is now a novelist with Howard Books. She enjoys writing inspirational contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. Connect with Beth on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or check out her blog on quotes, In Others’Words.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Taking the Question Out of Query Letters, Part 1

by Vonda Skelton @VondaSkelton

Query letters. I hate them. You hate them. Everybody hates them. But the ability to write a good query letter can mean the difference between publication and rejection. 

Over the next two posts, I'll be sharing a five-step formula for writing query letters that will create interest and increase the chances of seeing your name in print. 

I’ll present a query letter study for a proposed article, but the basic concepts would work for a manuscript cover letter, too.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

One Writer's Salute to Librarians

by Warren Adler @WarrenAdler

From the moment I entered the hushed, sacred precinct of the Brownsville Children's Library in Brownsville, Brooklyn, back in the mid-1930s, I have been a passionate advocate of the public library.

My most profoundly joyous memory is walking through the crowded, noisy, aroma-filled atmosphere of Sutter Avenue, between rows of pushcarts selling anything edible and wearable, on my way to that vine-covered magic castle of books. It was like crossing a moat from the reality of a contemporary world of struggle and strife, to a paradise of storytelling, which opened infinite possibilities and aspirations in a young boy confronting a strange and scary future.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

I’ve been nominated for the Sisterhood of World Bloggers Award by a writing friend, Elizabeth Van Tassel. 

Elizabeth and I met at ACFW last year and hang out on a lot of the same blogs. I was pleasantly surprised to find an email in my inbox yesterday saying she had nominated me.

I love the way Elizabeth shares life with her readers by bringing spiritual insight to every day experiences. You should check out her blog at Elizabeth Van Tassel 

There are some rules with this nomination. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Throw Out the Crutches When You Write

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

I buggered up my knee. It wasn't one of my more graceful moments and of all things, I let the competitive side of me win. "Let Grace have the chair. You don't need to win the game."

But noooo! I made a dash for sole surviving chair. It was between Grace and me . . . Grace won. Me, well, I caught my boot on the carpet, sailed into the air, and landed like a half-ton of bricks on my knees. Short version: torn ligament, broken patella. Yep, I needed crutches. I declined them and decided to push through, and find better ways to walk and strengthen my knee.

Early in my writing career, I had writing crutches . . .  words that, though they sounded really spiffy, were a lazy form of writing. I needed to push past them to improve. They were words that sounded well placed but as time and experience taught, proved to make my writing stilted and wordy. I learned not to write to impress, rather write to improve.

Monday, March 9, 2015

3 Reasons Twitter and Writers are a Perfect Match

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I remember the first time I ventured onto twitter. It’s an intimidating site, full of unfamiliar terms and strange rules. Beyond that, the more people I followed, the more confusing the newsfeed became. To my untrained eye, all those 140 character bursts were just disjointed and disconnected chaos.

I really didn’t understand how anyone could get anything good out of this network.

Luckily for me, I didn’t give up. I kept digging for articles to help me understand the value of Twitter. And that’s when I began to unravel the Twitter chaos. As I became more familiar with this alien landscape, I began to appreciate why Twitter and writers are a perfect match.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Don't Let Silence Reign When You Can Add Your Voice to the Chorus

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

So often we let a lack of perfection keep us from adding our voice to the forest of song. I think it's time to join the chorus, how about you?

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 6, 2015

Writing Conferences—Not Just for Pitching

by Bruce Brady @BDBrady007

I’ve just returned from the Florida Christian Writers Conference where I once again, learned many things.

One was the fact that new and seasoned writers have a misconception of the main reason for attending conferences. They think the most important reason is to pitch their work to agents and editors. While important, it’s not the main reason.

The most important reason to attend a conference is to network. I prefer to think of it as creating new, and nurturing established friendships. God considers relationships to be most important, especially the one with Him. He created us in His likeness, so building relationships with each other is the most important reason for everything.

Why, you may ask, is networking more important? Because we’re all human, and we prefer doing business with people we know and trust. That’s why focusing on friendships is most important. Ask any agent or editor, and they will tell you they give priority to writers they’ve met. Some won’t even consider submissions from writers they don’t know.

If we’ve established friendly relationships with agents and editors, they’ll be much more open to considering our work and helping us improve it. This, alone, is worth the price of admission. Having helped during the early stages, they look forward to seeing our results when it comes time to submit our work for their consideration.

There are many agents and editors whom I consider friends, and they have been very helpful with the progression of my novel. A novel I’ve only presented in concept, never formally. When they ask, I can’t yet tell them how it ends. But they’re all more than willing to help me with story, plot, and character ideas because they truly are interested in my success—and that of all writers. This is the result of my taking the time to befriend them. If my work is never accepted by them, I don’t care because they are my friends, and that’s more important to me.

Given the above, I think education is next in importance. As professional writers, it’s our responsibility to improve our craft as much as possible. Our readers expect a certain level of quality from us, and they anticipate improvement with each new offering. So we owe them the courtesy of becoming the best writers we can be. Yes, it’s hard, sometimes frustrating work, but the rewards are worth it.

If you just can’t get to a conference, I recommend using social media and blogs to develop relationships and hone your craft. This blog site is an excellent resource for connecting and learning. You connect by commenting or replying to them. And you learn from the posts. There are several other great writer, editor, and author sites that will serve your needs as well.

Whether you agree with me or not, or if you just have questions, please share your thoughts below. Let’s keep the conversation going.

#Writing conference, they're not just for pitching - via @BDBrady007 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Bruce Brady is an author, writer and playwright. His work has appeared in Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family, www.ChristianDevotions.us, and on stage. Currently, Bruce is working on a Young Adult Novel about a boy who must deal with the death of his dad, being bullied, and helping his mom through her grief. His first five pages took third place in the ACFW South Carolina Chapter’s “First Five Pages” contest.

When he’s not writing, Bruce spends time learning from and helping other writers. He serves as Mentor of Word Weavers International’s Online Chapter, and as a member of Cross ‘N’ Pens, The Writer’s Plot, ACFW’s National and South Carolina Chapters.

“My dream is to entertain my readers and give them hope as they travel the rocky road of life.”

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Is a Writing Retreat Right for You?

by Lynn Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

I just got home from my very first writing retreat.

It wasn’t well-planned or lengthy. It was a spur of the moment decision to take an extra night away from home to write.

With not even a full 24 hours to work with, I wondered if it would even be worth it.

It so was.

Maybe you’ve thought about getting away to write but you aren’t sure if it’s a wise use of time or resources. I get that.

Here’s why I think it worked for me.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Writing Motive

Hi Everyone, Lynette here to say Happy Wednesday once again. And it’s March, too. HOW did that happen? Is time passing as fast for you as it is for me? Goodness, Christmas will be here before we know it. LOL.

Well, I have a real treat for you today. Since I’ve been working like crazy, I asked a friend if she’d like to step in and offer some excellent writing advice. Advice that I’ve taken note of and plan to incorporate into my own writing. Read on, friends, I think you’ll like what Kristen has to say. So let me introduce her.

Kristin Billerbeck is a CBA bestselling novelist of over 40 books, Her work has been featured in The New York Times, World Magazine, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and on "The Today Show." Her love of romance and wit began with an awkward childhood crush on Mr. Darcy, which continues to this day.  She makes her home in Silicon Valley.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Writing Quotes to Inspire

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Today I thought I'd share some of my favorite quotes about writing. They're arranged on memes and you're welcome to share each and every one.

"We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever
becomes a master." Ernest Hemingway

Monday, March 2, 2015

Calendar Days—March's Crazy Holidays & Special Occasions—Idea Starters for Writers

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Last month I did a post listing all the crazy special days in the month of February. 
Many of you contacted me and requested I bring it back as a regular part of this blog. I thought it would be a fun addition, so I'm adding it back into the regular schedule.
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. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Weekend Worship—What's Gonna Be Your Wake-up Call?

by Brenda McGraw @BrendaMMcGraw

I walked into the doctor’s office not knowing what to expect. After all, I was only 24. The waiting seemed like it lasted forever, as I flipped through a magazine anticipating the nurse calling my name. I thought to myself, I probably don’t need to be here. It’s probably nothing. 

When my name was called I met the nurse at the door and she showed me to my room. It was white, and seemed cold. But don’t most examining rooms? She asked me my name and why I was there to see the doctor.

I told her I had found a lump in my left breast. I said, “I am sure it’s nothing, but my mom wanted me to have it checked. You know how moms are, always worrying?” She took a few notes for the doctor and told me the nurse practitioner would be in shortly.

That day started the beginning of a year-long battle with breast cancer and reconstruction surgeries. Being so young, I really thought I would just be told “Don’t worry, it’s nothing.” No one else in my family ever had cancer.

To hear the words “You have cancer” is devastating, and pretty scary, to say the least. Thus started the “wake-up call” and the call on my life to follow Christ. What’s a wake- up call? It is a defining moment in one’s life when he or she realizes something needs to change.

My defining moment was cancer.

For Peter, it was the rooster crowing when he realized what Jesus had said was true. He had turned his back on Jesus. This broke Peter and he went outside (alone) and wept bitterly.

For some it was the writing in the sand, the healing of a disease, or sight for the blind. Thomas had to touch the holes in the hands of our Savior. It took Nebuchadnezzar seven years in the wild with the animals. And do you remember the forty years the Israelites wandered through the wilderness?

However, for Judas it was too late.

Twenty-eight years ago God started waking me up to His plans and purpose for my life. I wish I could say I never strayed, but I can’t. After my cancer was removed, I put God back into my little God box. I pulled Him out again a few years later when I realized I was lost and He had not quit searching for me. God’s never been back in my box again. I prayed and asked Him to show me who Jesus is and that He would never let me stray again.

Have you heard the wake-up call? Can you pinpoint that defining moment in your life where you said, “Less of me and more of You, Lord?”

He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. John 3:30 (NLT)

Brenda McGraw is an author and speaker who reveals how to discover joy beyond the clutter of life. She draws from her own life experiences in the #1 Amazon Best seller, “Joy Beyond, 28 Days to Finding Joy Beyond the Clutter of Life”. She is the founder of Ask God Today Ministries where she has a team of writers sharing truth and hope with others.

Brenda currently lives in South Carolina with her husband, Jeff and three of their five children. She is a survivor of breast cancer and a heart attack.. Despite the challenges she has endured, Brenda found peace through her relationship with Jesus Christ.

You can connect with Brenda at: